King Vidor

King Vidor

  • Highest Rated: 100% Northwest Passage (1940)
  • Lowest Rated: 17% Solomon and Sheba (1959)
  • Birthday: Feb 8, 1894
  • Birthplace: Not Available
  • Born in Galveston, TX, King Vidor was the son of a wealthy lumber manufacturer. He became interested in movies -- then a brand new form of entertainment -- as a young boy, and later took a job as a ticket-taker at the local theater, where he subsequently became a fill-in projectionist. Vidor took this opportunity to watch the same movies over and over, learning from what he saw and deciding that he could do as good a job as most of the people whose films were up on the screen. After working as an amateur photographer, he began shooting newsreel material of events in his area of Texas and selling it to newsreel producers. It was after his marriage to the former Florence Arto in 1915 that he decided to head out to the then newly formed film colony in Hollywood. The couple entered the motion-picture business, but Florence Vidor was the far more successful of the two at first, starting out as a bit player and moving up to supporting roles in films such as A Tale of Two Cities (1917) and into starring roles in the late teens and 1920s. King Vidor, by contrast, worked as an extra and clerk while writing scripts in his spare time, which he was mostly unsuccessful at selling. In 1918, he moved into the director's chair at Universal, making two-reel shorts, and in 1919 he moved up to directing features with The Turn in the Road, which was based on his own screenplay. The Vidors soon began working together under the aegis of his own production unit, called Vidor Village, making movies from his screenplays with Florence Vidor starring in them, including a 1923 production of Alice Adams. By that time, however, their marriage was in trouble and they divorced a year later. Vidor joined the newly organized MGM, where his real reputation was made, on pictures such as the antiwar drama The Big Parade (1925), a silent version of La Boheme (1926) starring Lillian Gish and John Gilbert, the costume drama Bardelys the Magnificent (1926), starring Gilbert and Eleanor Boardman (who became Vidor's second wife), and The Crowd (1928). The latter, a story (written by Vidor) of one anonymous clerk's drudge-filled life, displayed a remarkably sophisticated social conscience as well as an innovative directorial technique that placed it at the pinnacle of silent-era cinema. Vidor moved with ease into the sound era, largely because he was one of the few silent directors who didn't let the new medium intimidate him -- rather, he used sound to enhance his visual technique, which was unimpaired; his 1929 musical Hallelujah! worked better than most musicals of the era simply because Vidor refused to let the presence of sound (and sound-recording equipment) restrict the mobility of his camera or the editing of his shots. He was also one of the bolder directors of the period in his willingness to work in new formats and media, such as his 1930 Billy the Kid starring Johnny Mack Brown and Wallace Beery, which was shot in 70 mm. His output in 1931 included Street Scene, an adaptation of Elmer Rice's play that utilized an extraordinary block-long tenement set; and The Champ, starring Wallace Beery and Jackie Cooper, one of the most popular melodramas of its era. Vidor also found time as a writer and producer to return to the social conscience themes displayed in The Crowd, in the form of Our Daily Bread (1934), a story of a young farm couple trying to cope with the effects of the Great Depression; the film is widely celebrated today for its stylistic eloquence. Vidor was one of the few filmmakers of his era who could make such "message" pictures and present their content gracefully. Vidor enjoyed considerable box-office success during the remainder of the 1930s, on movies such as Stella Dallas (1937) and The Citadel (1938), and even when his movies weren't entirely successful, as in the case of The Wedding Night (1935), they were always interesting to watch, and almost every Vidor movie contained at least one visually dazzling sequence; indeed, one of the complaints

Highest Rated Movies

Filmography

Movies

Rating

Title

Credit

Box
Office

Year

No Score Yet Hollywood Mavericks Actor 1990
No Score Yet 30 Years of Fun Actor 1963
No Score Yet Confessions of an Opium Eater Himself 1962
17% Solomon and Sheba Director 1959
43% War and Peace Screenwriter Director 1956
No Score Yet Man Without a Star Director 1955
57% Ruby Gentry Producer Director 1952
No Score Yet Japanese War Bride Director 1952
No Score Yet Lightning Strikes Twice Director 1951
No Score Yet It's a Great Feeling Himself 1949
83% The Fountainhead Director 1949
No Score Yet Beyond the Forest Director 1949
No Score Yet On Our Merry Way Director 1948
80% Duel in the Sun Director 1946
86% An American Romance Director Producer 1944
No Score Yet H.M. Pulham, Esq. Director Screenwriter Producer 1941
No Score Yet Comrade X Director 1940
100% Northwest Passage Director 1940
98% The Wizard of Oz Director $3.9M 1939
89% The Citadel Director 1938
88% Stella Dallas Director 1937
No Score Yet The Texas Rangers Director Producer 1936
No Score Yet The Wedding Night Director 1935
No Score Yet So Red the Rose Director 1935
92% Our Daily Bread Screenwriter Director Producer 1934
No Score Yet Stranger's Return Director 1933
No Score Yet Cynara Director 1932
No Score Yet Bird of Paradise Director 1932
88% The Mask of Fu Manchu Director 1932
86% The Champ Director 1931
100% Street Scene Director 1931
No Score Yet Billy the Kid Producer Director Man at Bar 1930
No Score Yet Not So Dumb Producer Director 1930
88% Hallelujah Producer Director Screenwriter 1929
100% Show People Special guest appearance Director 1928
No Score Yet The Patsy (The Politic Flapper) Producer Director 1928
96% The Crowd Director Producer Screenwriter 1928
No Score Yet The Red Mill Producer 1927
No Score Yet Bardelys the Magnificent Director 1926
No Score Yet La Boheme Director 1926
100% The Big Parade Producer Director 1925
No Score Yet Happiness Director 1924
No Score Yet Wild Oranges Screenwriter Director 1924
No Score Yet Souls for Sale Actor 1923
No Score Yet Peg o' My Heart Director 1922
No Score Yet Tol'able David Director 1921
No Score Yet Love Never Dies Producer Screenwriter Director 1921
No Score Yet The Sky Pilot Director 1921
No Score Yet The Jack-Knife Man Director 1920
No Score Yet The Jack Knife Man Screenwriter Director 1920
No Score Yet Turn in the Road Screenwriter Director 1919
No Score Yet The Family Honor Director

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