He was one of the most sought after directors of Hollywood’s Golden Age.
His career, beginning as a teenager, lasted nearly seven decades netting him a Guinness World Record. His cinematic passions were fueled by religion (Christian Science) and fascinations with nature and with the making of and building with steel. He was unabashedly a director of “message pictures.”
King (he was named after his mother’s favorite brother) Vidor was involved in the making of his first movie (a documentary filmed during a devastating hurricane which ravaged his native Galveston, Texas) as a teenager. At his Hollywood zenith, he made big pictures at MGM both during the studio’s formidable silent film and “talkie” incarnations (respectively, in the Twenties; and in the Thirties and early Forties).
He worked with some of classic Hollywood’s biggest stars, and had a hand in some renowned classics. Orson Welles viewed him as a formative model and mentor. He has been hailed as among the greatest filmmakers of all time but also as the creator of more great moments and fewer great films than any director of his rank. (Take your pick.)
The question is: how much do you know about King Vidor? Why not take our informal Quiz, and find out. As usual questions today and answers tomorrow. Here we go:
1) Question: Which of the following stars did NOT receive a career boost from appearing in a Vidor picture? a) John Gilbert; b) Spencer Tracy; c) Gary Cooper; or d) Marion Davies.
2) Question: Uncredited, Vidor guest directed Judy Garland’s ‘Somewhere Over The Rainbow’ scene in 1939’s The Wizard of Oz. a) True; or b) False?
3) Question: Vidor made his professional mark by directing MGM’s most profitable silent movie. Can you name it (it came out in 1925) and describe its general plot?
4) Question: Vidor pictures generated Oscar nominations for which of the following actors? a) Wallace Beery; b) Barbara Stanwyck; c) Robert Donat; or d) Miriam Hopkins.
5) Question: Wallace Beery was the star of Vidor’s 1931 melodrama, The Champ, about a washed up boxer and his young offspring. Who played the part of Beery’s son? a) Mickey Rooney; b) Freddie Bartholomew; c) Macauley Culkin; or d) Jackie Cooper.