King Wallis Vidor (February 8, 1894 – November 1, 1982) was an acclaimed American film director whose career spanned nearly seven decades.
He was born in Galveston, Texas, where he survived the great Galveston Hurricane of 1900. His grandfather, Charles Vidor, was a refugee of the Hungarian Revolution of 1848 who settled in Galveston in the early 1850s.
A freelance newsreel cameraman and cinema projectionist, he made his debut as a director in 1913 with Hurricane in Galveston. In Hollywood from 1915, he worked on a variety of film-related jobs before directing a feature film, The Turn in the Road, in 1919. A successful mounting of Peg o’ My Heart in 1922 got him a long term contract with Goldwyn Studios, later to be absorbed into MGM. Three years later he made The Big Parade, among the most acclaimed war films of the silent era, and a tremendous commercial success. This success established him as one of MGM’s top studio directors for the next decade. In 1928, Vidor received… read more
"Vidor’s long career, which began with short films made in his native Texas in the 1910s, intertwines two principal strands. He was a sociologist (and marginal socialist) who documented American economic malaise both before (“The Crowd,” 1928; “Hallelujah!,” 1929) and after (“Street Scene,” 1931; “Our Daily Bread,” 1934) the great stock market crash. He was also a moody romanticist whose work remains startlingly frank in its treatment of passionate sexual attraction (“Stella Dallas,” 1937; “H. M. Pulham, Esq.,” 1941; “Duel in the Sun,” 1947). His best films, like “The Fountainhead” (1949), combine sociology and sexuality into hormone-charged fables in which rampant capitalism and an irrepressible life force come together, a combination most recently explored in Paul Thomas Anderson’s Vidoresque “There Will Be Blood.” " ---Dave Kehr
I'm finally getting back on track with my chronological King Vidor analysis -- the first new entry (on BARDELYS THE MAGNIFICENT) can be found here: http://anagramsci.wordpress.com/2012/07/17/of-deeds-to-selves-and-derring-do-genre-and-agency-in-king-vidors-bardelys-the-magnificent/ next up: THE CROWD please let me know what you think of these posts, fellow cinephiles!
Unquestionably the most neglected major filmmaker. I can't say I'm acquainted with many of his sound-era films, but The Big Parade, Show People, Hallelujah, and ESPICALLY The Crowd are masterpieces of the first class.