Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Born Today In 1891, British Director Edmund Goulding

Edmund Goulding was born today, March 20, in 1891. He was a British film writer and director. As an actor early in his career he was one of the 'Ghosts' in the 1922 British made Paramount silent Three Live Ghosts. Also in the early 1920s he wrote several screenplays for star Mae Murray. Goulding is best remembered for directing cultured dramas such as Love (1927), Grand Hotel (1932) with Greta Garbo and Joan Crawford, Dark Victory (1939) with Bette Davis, and The Razor's Edge (1946) with Gene Tierney and Tyrone Power. He also directed the classic film noir Nightmare Alley (1947) with Tyrone Power and Joan Blondell, and the action drama The Dawn Patrol. He was also a successful songwriter, composer, and producer.

Before moving to films, Goulding was an actor, playwright and director on the London stage.

Much of what we know about Goulding comes from the book by noted film historian Matthew Kennedy, Edmund Goulding’s Dark Victory: Hollywood’s Genius Bad Boy. It is the first biography ever written about this "eccentric genius" of early-20th-century filmmaking. 

Edmund Goulding directs a young Joan Crawford in the MGM melodrama Sally, Irene and Mary (1925)

Goulding was by turns a writer, producer, composer, and actor, but it is as a director that he made an indelible impression. Grand Hotel, was the "great Event Movie of the Depression." At the dawn of sound, he wrote the story for the Academy Award–winning musical The Broadway Melody and collaborated memorably with Gloria Swanson and Joseph Kennedy for The Trespasser, which was Swanson's first talkie

He excelled at anti-war drama (White Banners, The Dawn Patrol, We Are Not Alone), fantastic Bette Davis weepies (Dark Victory, The Old Maid, The Great Lie), lilting romantic dramas (The Constant Nymph, Claudia), big-budget literary adaptations (The Razor’s Edge), and even film noir (Nightmare Alley). 

The description of Kennedy's book describes Goulding as a "complicated and contradictory man whose notorious orgies, bisexuality, drinking, and drug addictions were whispered about in Hollywood for years."

Because of his involvement in bisexual orgies and voyeurism, Goulding was embroiled in a sex scandal in the mid-1930s and exiled to Europe. When he returned, he worked at MGM, but was fired by Louis B Mayer, who did not abide with his sexual proclivities. 

Goulding was married briefly to dancer Majorie Moss, but she died in 1935 from tuberculosis.

He died on December 24, 1959, during heart surgery in Los Angeles, California.

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