(The Alligator People A young wife is abandoned by her h...)
The Alligator People A young wife is abandoned by her husband on their wedding day. Distraught, she traces him to his ancestral home in the bayous of Louisiana, where, amid the swamps and dense undergrowth, she discovers a terrible secret. She'll face any danger to help him, but soon discovers her love may not be enough! Lake Placid Bill Pullman, Bridget Fonda and Oliver Platt share an appetite for sheer adventure when a tranquil New England lakefront is transformed into a watery den of death. Betty white costars in this terrifying tale of survival that "combines humor and thrills with remarkable deftness". Swamp Thing Swamp Thing is the perfect blend of thrills, chills, "winsome humor" and amazing special effects from the master of horror, Wes Craven. Deep in the Florida Everglades, a brilliant scientist, Dr. Alec Holland (Ray Wise), and a sexy government agent, Alice Cable (Adrienne Barbeau), have developed a secret formula that could end world hunger.
Educated in public schools in Philadelphia and Williamsport, Pennsylvania, and Brooklyn, New York, Del Ruth filled his textbook margins with sketches, revealing an early interest in art.
After a stay in London, Del Ruth returned to Philadelphia, where he worked as a sketch artist and then as a reporter, first for the Philadelphia North American and later for the Philadelphia Inquirer. Varied assignments, usually in sports, provided an outlet for his restless nature and artistic talent. Del Ruth reported and illustrated prizefights, World Series games, polo matches, and tennis tournaments. He attained a pinnacle of sorts when he covered the Jack Johnson-Jess Willard championship fight at Havana in 1915 for the Curtis Publishing Company.
But a journalistic career was not satisfying. In 1915, Del Ruth's brother Hampton, already working as a director and "gag man" for Mack Sennett's Keystone Film Company, got him a job as a scenarist.
Del Ruth moved to Hollywood and spent the next two years writing slapstick comedy scripts for the Keystone stable of stars, which included Mabel Normand, Wallace Beery, Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle, Gloria Swanson, and Ben Turpin. In 1917 Del Ruth advanced to the direction of shorts starring Turpin.
After brief military service during World War I, Del Ruth joined William Fox and the Fox Film Corporation in 1918 as a writer and director of two-reel comedies, then the staple of the film industry. During the next few years he wrote and directed 150 of these.
In 1925, Warner Brothers, then a second-rate production facility, hired Del Ruth to direct feature-length films. It was an apparent stroke of good fortune for him. Within five years, Warner Brothers' promotion of the Vitaphone sound process and close identification with sound films through the release of The Jazz Singer (1927) made it one of the major motion picture studios.
Almost as quickly, under the close supervision of Jack L. Warner, vice-president in charge of production, and Darryl F. Zanuck, head of production until 1933, Warner Brothers' films developed a distinctive "look. " Fast-paced, action-packed crime melodramas and musical extravaganzas, characterized by medium shots, low-key lighting to add atmosphere and hide shabby sets, and raucous dialogue, were turned out by the score for a mass audience. If a film achieved commercial success, its formula was repeated, often with the same plot and actors. Production resembled a factory assembly line: directors were foremen who took the scripts, cameramen, and actors assigned them, shot the film entirely in first takes (if possible), and completed it under budget and within a rigid production schedule. Studio technicians cut the film to a maximum of seventy minutes, and editing insured a distinctive "look. " The final print was approved by Warner and Zanuck before being released. Since most Warner Brothers' films were the creation of many hands, it is not easy to pinpoint the director's contribution or discuss his artistic vision.
Without doubt the studio's assembly line production and forced "style" diminished Del Ruth's directorial imprint, but his technical virtuosity and ability to work with actors shine through, distinguishing his films from those of other directors. Both abilities helped to give the studio a more reputable image and to assist its leading contract players in giving strong, highly characteristic performances.
For example, Del Ruth's direction helped James Cagney project a pugnacious screen image in Blonde Crazy (1931); Taxi (1932), a typical Warner's working-class melodrama and one of Cagney's best early screen performances; and LadyKiller (1933), a satire on the movie industry. Above all, Del Ruth was efficient. Although he is not generally regarded as one of Warner Brothers' top-ranking directors, he directed thirty-seven feature films there - comedies, mysteries, melodramas, and musicals - between 1925 and 1934. In some years he was pushed to turn out as many as six.
After 1934, Del Ruth did not direct another film for Warner Brothers until 1949. Perhaps he was no longer willing to accept the studio's excessive demands for output, but Zanuck's resignation in 1933 and Jack Warner's decision to cut all salaries by 50 percent to compensate for the fall in business caused by the Great Depression in that year may also have been factors.
Del Ruth already had a reputation as a director of musicals and comedies, and for the next twenty years he made two or three films a year for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM), Twentieth Century-Fox, and Paramount, many of them vehicles for screen or show-business personalities.
While many of the films contain charming episodes and are not completely overshadowed by the best musicals of these years, it is clear that Del Ruth was faltering.
Del Ruth's last feature film, Why Must I Die (1960), an embarrassingly executed diatribe against capital punishment, was a sad conclusion to a forty-year career that had produced approximately 100 feature films.
In the last years before his death Del Ruth moved into television, directing episodes of "Warner Brothers Hour, " "Four Star Theatre, " and "Adventures in Paradise. "
(The Alligator People A young wife is abandoned by her h...)
Despite his productivity, technical proficiency, and association with some of Hollywood's most appealing personalities, some critics regard Del Ruth as little more than a Warner Brothers' hack. But such a dismissal ignores the characteristic style of the American cinema from 1930 to 1940 and the demands the studio system made upon directors. Certainly it disregards the intelligence and charm of many of his films. If not an artist, Del Ruth was a diligent and skilled craftsman created by the studio system of the 1930s.
On March 14, 1921, Del Ruth married Olive Simons; they had one son.
After his first marriage ended in divorce in 1947, on August 6, 1947, Del Ruth married Winifred Reeves Lightner, a musical comedy star whom he had directed in four musicals for Warner Brothers in the late 1920's and early 1930's. They had one son.