Author: Ray Olson
On the supposition that lightning strikes twice, the movie industry loves remaking box office bonanzas. There are six Hollywood versions (and one Japanese) of Peter B. Kyne’s short novel, The Three Godfathers (1913). In 1929, when the talkies were taking, if not baby, then toddler, steps, everything clicked.
Of the first generation of top Hollywood directors—Griffith, DeMille, Stroheim, Walsh, Curtiz, Chaplin, Dwan, Fleming, Brown, Lubitsch, Sternberg, Ford, Borzage, Vidor, Keaton, Hawks, Wellman, Capra, McCarey… W(oodbridge) S(trong) Van Dyke II (1889-1943) is the most unjustly forgotten and underrated.
Everybody interested in movies has heard of Leni Riefenstahl. She made the famous, though now quite dull, film of the spectacular 1934 Nuremberg Nazi Party rally, Triumph des Willens (1935), and Olympia (1938), a far more durable record of the 1936 Berlin Olympics.
…there was a great German expressionist filmmaker whose surname is Leni—Paul Leni. He made his mark in Germany, but his finest work was done in Hollywood.