Wild Bill Wellman

William “Wild Bill” Wellman was an accomplished director from Hollywood’s Golden Age. His credits include Wings (1927), which won the first Academy Award for Best Picture; Public Enemy (1931); A Star is Born (1937); The Call of the Wild (1935), Beau Geste (1939); The Ox-Bow Incident (1943); and more.

Wild Bill Wellman: Hollywood Rebel, written by William Wellman, Jr., is a fascinating biography. With a personal connection to the source, Wellman’s son draws from his father’s letters, diaries, and memoirs to portray a strong and independent–albeit chaotic–image of his father. A maverick in his own right, Wellman was a World War I flying ace–an experience that would serve him well during Wings–and a highly decorated pilot.

Later in his career, fighting in the air primed him for fighting, occasionally with his fists, on the ground–this time against producers and movie moguls for the rights to make his films exactly as he envisioned them.

Loaded with anecdotes both humorous and dramatic, Wild Bill Wellman: Hollywood Rebel is a must-read for fans of early film, war films, and Wings.

Wild Bill Wellman: Hollywood Rebel is available for purchase via the University Press of Kentucky.

About Annette Bochenek

Dr. Annette Bochenek of Chicago, Illinois, is an avid scholar of Hollywood’s Golden Age. She manages the Hometowns to Hollywood blog, in which she writes about her trips exploring the legacies and hometowns of Golden Age stars. Annette also hosts the “Hometowns to Hollywood” film series throughout the Chicago area. She has been featured on Turner Classic Movies and is the president of TCM Backlot’s Chicago chapter. In addition to writing for TCM Backlot, she also writes for Classic Movie Hub, Silent Film Quarterly, Nostalgia Digest, and Chicago Art Deco Society Magazine.
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