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.