Raoul Walsh’s later pictures are often dismissed. But when you turn out both White Heat and Colorado Territory in the same year (1949), you’re entering the 1950s with talent very much intact.
His Fifties Westerns, Lawless Breed (1952) and Gun Fury (1953), pale in comparison with Colorado Territory. They’re a great way to kill 80 minutes, however.
He knew how to make movies — and he’s endlessly quotable. Here are a few things pulled from various sources, along with Lee Marvin talking about him.
Walsh (in 1952): “Most movie scripts today are overwritten. I go through them and cut out the dialogue wherever I can. That may be why my pictures are so popular in foreign countries.”
Lee Marvin (who played Blinky in Gun Fury): “I don’t think he was much interested in dialogue. He was an action director. He loved horses, stagecoaches and explosions. He was an old timer and rolled his own cigarettes. If you had a scene to do with dialogue, he’d say ‘You’re over here, you’re over there, roll it.’ Then he’d look down and roll a cigarette and when all this talking had stopped he’d turn to the script girl and say, ‘Did they get it all.’ She’d say, ‘Yeah,” and he’d say, ‘Print it.’ But for the action stuff he’d get all excited… ‘OK, we’re over here with a 35mm lens. Now the stagecoach comes rolling down the pass and the gunmen gallup out from behind this rock.’ Raoul would come to life!”
Walsh: “A lot of actors didn’t want to work with me because I worked too fast. I believed it was a motion picture, so I moved it.”
Walsh: “I made some hits, I made some near-hits and I made a lot of turkeys. You make a lot of pictures. It’s like raising children. Some go out and make good, and some don’t. And you don’t want to play any favorite. Let it go, you know.”
Sources: various newpapers, The Men Who Made The Movies, Raoul Walsh: The True Adventures Of Hollywood’s Legendary Director.