BRETAIGNE WINDUST. (1906 – 1960)

Humphrey Bogart,Bretaigne Windust

Humphrey Bogart,Bretaigne Windust

BRETAIGNE WINDUST, that’s a name to conjure with.
A director Warner Brothers brought out to Hollywood from Broadway and then only used  to direct five  films over a three year period.
Born in Paris to an English father and American mother, the director moved to America in his teens and attended Princeton University where his interest in the theatre was born.

Mr WINDUST directed Broadway productions for 30 years. His biggest hits were ARSENIC AND OLD LACE,LIFE WITH FATHER, STATE OF THE UNION and FINIAN’S RAINBOW.
But he didn’t do the film versions ( though Finian’s Rainbow was made after his early death).

After the call from Warners, he was dialogue director on STALLION ROAD (1947), and then the novice film director was handed two Bette Davis films back to back – WINTER MEETING and JUNE BRIDE,both in 1948.

 

In 1950, he did PERFECT STRANGERS  with Ginger Rogers, and PRETTY BABY with Dennis Morgan and Betsy Drake.
And finally, THE ENFORCER with Humphrey Bogart in 1951.

Dennis Morgan. Ginger Rogers

Dennis Morgan. Ginger Rogers

And that was the extent of his Hollywood film career. ( He later directed some episodes of Wagon Train and Alfred Hitchcock Presents).

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Of the few films he made ,I rate The Enforcer very highly, a very well made drama about District Attorney Humphrey Bogart’s attempt to bring a murder gang to justice.
June Bride is a bright comedy with Davis and Montgomery. Perfect Strangers has similarities to Twelve Angry Men,but the script just isnt good enough.
Winter Meeting wasn’t a great film for Bette Davis.
I haven’t seen the comedy Pretty Baby.
Still, two hits out of five isn’t a bad average. Who knows what else he might have done if he had been in Hollywood longer.
Maybe he didn’t want to be tied to a long term contract with Warners or any other studio.
But I wish BRETAIGNE WINDUST had been in Hollywood longer.

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2 responses »

  1. THE ENFORCER is a great film;although some people
    think that Raoul Walsh had a hand in directing it.
    It’s funny how sometimes these little known directors can
    often make excellent movies.
    Someone sent me a copy of QUIET PLEASE MURDER the
    other day,a Fox forties B Movie.
    This one was directed by John Larkin,a new one on me who
    only directed two movies. (Larkin was mainly a writer-producer
    of TV series like M Squad and Riverboat).
    Anyway i thought a murder mystery set in a library,how exciting can
    that be.The fact that I am on a Gail Patrick kick at the moment
    made me move the film up the “to be viewed” heap.
    Anyway QUIET PLEASE MURDER is a knockout B movie.
    We get a wisecracking private eye,(Richard Denning) sinister
    Nazi agents,an even more sinister mute assassin,a sado Masochist
    villain (George Sanders) with a femme Fatale assistant (Patrick)
    There are,naturally several murders.
    Never a dull moment in this fast moving little gem which certainly
    made me wish Larkin had directed more films.

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