Friday, December 28, 2018

Pioneer Filmmaker Allan Dwan 1981 San Fernando Mission Cemetery

Allan Dwan (April 3, 1885 – December 28, 1981) was a pioneering Canadian-born American motion picture director, producer and screenwriter.

Early life

Born Joseph Aloysius Dwan in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, Dwan, was the younger son of commercial traveller of woolen clothing Joseph Michael Dwan (1857–1917) and his wife Mary Jane Dwan, née Hunt. The family moved to the United States when he was seven years old, on 4 December 1892, by ferry from Windsor to Detroit, according to his naturalization petition of August 1939. His elder brother, Leo Garnet Dwan (1883–1964), became a physician. At the University of Notre Dame, Allan Dwan studied engineering and began working for a lighting company in Chicago. However, he had a strong interest in the fledgling motion picture industry and when Essanay Studios offered him the opportunity to become a scriptwriter, he took the job.[2] At that time, some of the East Coast movie makers began to spend winters in California where the climate allowed them to continue productions requiring warm weather. Soon, a number of movie companies worked there year-round and, in 1911, Dwan began working part-time in Hollywood. While still in New York, in 1917 he was the founding president of the East Coast chapter of the Motion Picture Directors Association.[3]


Dwan operated Flying A Studios in La Mesa, California from August 1911 to July 1912.[4][5] Flying A was one of the first motion pictures studios in California history. On August 12, 2011, a plaque was unveiled on the Wolff building at Third Avenue and La Mesa Boulevard commemorating Dwan and the Flying A Studios origins in La Mesa, California.

After making a series of westerns and comedies, Dwan directed fellow Canadian-American Mary Pickford in several very successful movies as well as her husband, Douglas Fairbanks, notably in the acclaimed 1922 Robin Hood

Dwan directed Gloria Swanson in eight feature films, and one short film made in the short-lived sound-on-film process Phonofilm. This short, also featuring Thomas Meighan and Henri de la Falaise, was produced as a joke, for the 26 April 1925 "Lambs' Gambol" for The Lambs, with the film showing Swanson crashing the all-male club.

Following the introduction of the talkies, Dwan directed child-star Shirley Temple in Heidi (1937) and Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm (1938).

Dwan helped launch the career of two other successful Hollywood directors, Victor Fleming, who went on to direct The Wizard of Oz and Gone With the Wind, and Marshall Neilan, who became an actor, director, writer and producer. Over a long career spanning almost 50 years, Dwan directed 125 motion pictures, some of which were highly acclaimed, such as the 1949 box office hit, Sands of Iwo Jima. He directed his last movie in 1961.[6]

Allan Dwan died in Los Angeles at the age of ninety-six, and is interred in the San Fernando Mission Cemetery, Mission Hills, California.

Dwan has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6263 Hollywood Boulevard.

Daniel Eagan of Film Journal International described Dwan as one of the early pioneers of cinema, stating that his style "is so basic as to seem invisible, but he treats his characters with uncommon sympathy and compassion."[7]

Partial filmography as director

The Gold Lust (1911)
The Picket Guard (1913)
The Restless Spirit (1913)
Back to Life (1913)
Bloodhounds of the North (1913)
The Lie (1914)
The Honor of the Mounted (1914)
Remember Mary Magdalen (1914)
Discord and Harmony (1914)
The Embezzler (1914)

The Lamb, the Woman, the Wolf (1914)

The End of the Feud (1914)
The Tragedy of Whispering Creek (1914)
The Unlawful Trade (1914)
The Forbidden Room (1914)
The Hopes of Blind Alley (1914)
Richelieu (1914)
Wildflower (1914)
A Small Town Girl (1915)
David Harum (1915)
A Girl of Yesterday (1915)
The Pretty Sister of Jose (1915)
Jordan Is a Hard Road [fr] (1915)
Betty of Graystone (1916)

The Habit of Happiness (1916)

The Good Bad Man (1916)

An Innocent Magdalene (1916)

The Half-Breed (1916)

Manhattan Madness (1916)
Accusing Evidence (1916)
Panthea (1917)

A Modern Musketeer (1917)

Bound in Morocco (1918)
Headin' South (1918)
Mr. Fix-It (1918)
He Comes Up Smiling (1918)
Cheating Cheaters (1919)

The Dark Star (1919)

Getting Mary Married (1919)

Soldiers of Fortune (1919)
In The Heart of a Fool (1920) also producer
The Forbidden Thing (1920) also producer
A Splendid Hazard (1920)
A Perfect Crime (1921)
Robin Hood (1922)

Zaza (1923)

Big Brother (1923)

Manhandled (1924)

Argentine Love (1924)
The Coast of Folly (1925)
Night Life of New York (1925)
Stage Struck (1925)
Gloria Swanson Dialogue (1925) short film made in Phonofilm for The Lambs annual "Gambol" held at Metropolitan Opera House
Padlocked (1926)
Sea Horses (1926)
Summer Bachelors (1926)
Tin Gods (1926)
French Dressing (1927)

The Joy Girl (1927)

East Side, West Side (1927)
The Big Noise (1928)
Frozen Justice (1929)
The Iron Mask (1929)
Tide of Empire (1929)
The Far Call (1929)

What a Widow! (1930)

Man to Man (1930)
Chances (1931)
Wicked (1931)
While Paris Sleeps (1932)
Counsel's Opinion (1933)
Black Sheep (1935)
Navy Wife (1935)
High Tension (1936)
15 Maiden Lane (1936)
One Mile from Heaven (1937)
Heidi (1937)
Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm (1938)
Suez (1938)
Josette (1938)

The Three Musketeers (1939)

The Gorilla (1939)

Frontier Marshal (1939)

Sailor's Lady (1940)
Young People (1940)
Trail of the Vigilantes (1940)
Look Who's Laughing (1941) also producer
Rise and Shine (1941)
Friendly Enemies (1942)
Around the World (1943) also producer

Up in Mabel's Room (1944)

Abroad with Two Yanks (1944)

Getting Gertie's Garter (1945) also screenwriter

Brewster's Millions (1945)

Rendezvous with Annie (1946)

Driftwood (1947)

Calendar Girl (1947)
Northwest Outpost (1947) also associate producer

The Inside Story (1948)

Angel in Exile (1948) (with Philip Ford)

Sands of Iwo Jima (1949)

Surrender (1950)

Belle Le Grand (1951)
Wild Blue Yonder (1951)
I Dream of Jeanie (1952)

Montana Belle (1952)

Woman They Almost Lynched (1953)
Sweethearts on Parade (1953)

Silver Lode (1954)

Passion (1954)

Cattle Queen of Montana (1954)

Tennessee's Partner (1955)

Pearl of the South Pacific (1955)
Escape to Burma (1955)

Slightly Scarlet (1956)

Hold Back the Night (1956)
The Restless Breed (1957)

The River's Edge (1957)

Enchanted Island (1958)

Most Dangerous Man Alive (1961)


2. Brownlow, Kevin (1969). The Parade's Gone By... New York: Ballantine Books, Inc. p. 111.
3. Fournier, Pierre (4 December 2010). "The first Frankenstein of the movies". io9. 
4. "La mesa to honor its tinseltown roots aug. 12–13".
5. "Proto-Hollywood: 100 Melodramas Were Made In La Mesa 100 Years Ago".
6. "Allan Dwan, Filmography". American Film Institute. 
7. Eagan, Daniel (31 January 2018). "MoMA's Republic Pictures series offers B-movie rediscoveries and restorations". Film Journal International. Prometheus Global Media, LLC. 

Further reading

Brownlow, Kevin, The Parade's Gone By... (1968) ISBN 0520030680 ISBN 978-0520030688
Bogdanovich, Peter, Allan Dwan: The Last Pioneer (1971) ISBN 0289701228 ISBN 978-0289701225
Foster, Charles, Stardust and Shadows: Canadians in Early Hollywood (2000) ISBN 1-55002-348-9
Lombardi, Frederic, Allan Dwan and the Rise and Decline of the Hollywood Studios (2013)
Print ISBN 978-0-7864-3485-5 E-book ISBN 978-0-7864-9040-0

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