William Wyler reloaded Excerpt: It s not as if Wyler intended it, I suppose, but for whatMessage 1 of 1 , Oct 4, 2007View Source
It's not as if Wyler intended it, I suppose, but for what seemed like the longest period--from the thirties (Wuthering Heights, Jezebel) through the war years (Mrs. Miniver, The Best Years of Our Lives) right up to the threshold of the socially turbulent sixties (Ben Hur) and late into it (Funny Girl) he was a force to be reckoned with. He was Hollywood, or at least that part of Hollywood that needed prestige pictures (preferably the kind that also made money); he wasn't half as prolific as Ford--around 70 films in 46 years, compared to Ford's 140 plus in 49 years--and his reputation today isn't as formidable, but to misquote yet another Hollywood icon "what's there is cherce."
Or, at the very least, entertaining. Melodramas like The Letter (with that great opening shot of Bette Davis stepping out of her bungalow, gun blazing) and Jezebel (which I much prefer to the more conventional Gone With the Wind) showcased Davis' inimitable brand of feminist perversity to wonderful effect; Wuthering Heights diminished the intense mysticism of Bronte's great novel (not to mention--this being an MGM production, where good taste is paramount--cleaning up much of the novel's blood and dirt and sadism) but did give us Laurence Olivier's huge hands, rising up to give the pretty (and rather vacant) Merle Oberon two full palms across the cheeks.