W.S. Van Dyke - Rotten Tomatoes

W.S. Van Dyke

Highest Rated:   100% The Prisoner of Zenda (1937)
Lowest Rated:   43% Naughty Marietta (1935)
Birthday:  
Birthplace:   Not Available
W. S. "Woody" Van Dyke II inaugurated his career at age three as a stage actor, in the company of his widowed actress-mother. When acting jobs were scarce, young Van Dyke worked as a miner, electrician and (allegedly) a soldier-for-hire in Mexico during the 'teens. In 1916, he was hired as one of several assistants to director D.W. Griffith, working in this capacity on Griffith's mammoth Intolerance. After assisting director James Young at Paramount, Van Dyke was allowed to direct his first solo film in 1917. He spent most of the 1920s laboring on quickie Westerns, earning a reputation for speed and efficiency. In 1928, he was brought into MGM's troubled production White Shadows on the South Seas, which, under the snail's-pace direction of Robert J. Flaherty (a brilliant documentary maker whose skills at fictional filmmaking was slight), was running way behind schedule. When White Shadows opened to critical and audience approval, Van Dyke was elevated to Hollywood's A-list of directors, though even when handed huge budgets and big stars he never altered his rush-it-through directorial technique (the one exception to this was his year-long sojourn on Trader Horn [1931]). "One Take Woody" was often derided by his fellow MGM directors, who bemoaned Van Dyke's "carelessness" and "sloppiness." However, Van Dyke's best films -- The Thin Man (1934), San Francisco (1936), It's a Wonderful World (1939) -- hold up far better than the works of many of his more art-conscious colleagues. A favorite of no-nonsense leading men like Clark Gable and William Powell, Van Dyke was not held in as high esteem by certain actresses accustomed to being fussed over for hours before stepping in front of the cameras; still, he got along quite well with the temparamental Norma Shearer when he took over direction of the troubled Shearer epic Marie Antoinette (1938). Working at MGM until 1942, the year before his death, Van Dyke could take pride in the fact that virtually all his films made money for the studio -- and virtually none went over budget.

Highest Rated Movies

Filmography

MOVIES

RATING TITLE CREDIT BOX OFFICE YEAR
No Score Yet Journey for Margaret
  • Director
1942
No Score Yet Cairo
  • Director
1942
No Score Yet I Married an Angel
  • Director
1942
83% Shadow of the Thin Man
  • Director
1941
No Score Yet The Feminine Touch
  • Director
1941
No Score Yet Rage in Heaven
  • Director
1941
No Score Yet I Love You Again
  • Director
1940
No Score Yet I Take This Woman
  • Director
1940
No Score Yet Bitter Sweet
  • Director
1940
81% Another Thin Man
  • Producer
  • Director
1939
No Score Yet Andy Hardy Gets Spring Fever
  • Director
1939
No Score Yet It's a Wonderful World
  • Director
1939
No Score Yet Marie Antoinette
  • Director
1938
No Score Yet Sweethearts
  • Director
1938
100% The Prisoner of Zenda
  • Director
1937
No Score Yet They Gave Him a Gun
  • Director
1937
No Score Yet Rosalie
  • Director
1937
No Score Yet Personal Property
  • Director
1937
100% After the Thin Man
  • Director
1936
No Score Yet Love on the Run
  • Director
1936
No Score Yet The Devil Is a Sissy
  • Director
1936
No Score Yet His Brother's Wife
  • Director
1936
100% San Francisco
  • Director
1936
No Score Yet Rose Marie
  • Director
1936
43% Naughty Marietta
  • Director
1935
No Score Yet I Live My Life
  • Director
1935
No Score Yet Forsaking All Others
  • Director
1934
No Score Yet Hideout
  • Producer
  • Director
1934
97% The Thin Man
  • Director
1934
85% Manhattan Melodrama
  • Director
1934
No Score Yet Eskimo
  • Director
  • Producer
  • Actor
1934
No Score Yet The Prizefighter and the Lady
  • Director
1933
No Score Yet Penthouse (Crooks in Clover)
  • Director
1933
100% Tarzan the Ape Man
  • Director
1932
No Score Yet The Cuban Love Song
  • Director
1931
No Score Yet Guilty Hands
  • Director
1931
100% Trader Horn
  • Director
1931
No Score Yet Never the Twain Shall Meet
  • Director
1931
No Score Yet The Pagan
  • Director
1929
No Score Yet White Shadows in the South Seas
  • Director
1928
97% Intolerance
  • A Wedding Guest
1916

Quotes from W.S. Van Dyke's Characters

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