Charles Walters: The Director Who Made Hollywood Dance

Charles Walters: The Director Who Made Hollywood Dance

by Brent Phillips


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From the trolley scene in Meet Me in St. Louis (1944) to Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers's last dance on the silver screen ( The Barkleys of Broadway, 1949) to Judy Garland's timeless, tuxedo-clad performance of "Get Happy" ( Summer Stock, 1950), Charles Walters staged the iconic musical sequences of Hollywood's golden age. During his career, this Academy Award—nominated director and choreographer showcased the talents of stars such as Gene Kelly, Doris Day, Debbie Reynolds, and Frank Sinatra. However, despite his many critical and commercial triumphs, Walters's name often goes unrecognized today.

In the first full-length biography of Walters, Brent Phillips chronicles the artist's career, from his days as a featured Broadway performer and protégé of theater legend Robert Alton to his successes at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. He takes readers behind the scenes of many of the studio's most beloved musicals, including Easter Parade (1948), Lili (1953), High Society (1956), and T he Unsinkable Molly Brown (1964). In addition, Phillips recounts Walters's associations with Lucille Ball, Joan Crawford, and Gloria Swanson, examines the director's uncredited work on several films, including the blockbuster Gigi (1958), and discusses his contributions to musical theater and American popular culture.

This revealing book also considers Walters's personal life and explores how he navigated the industry as an openly gay man. Drawing on unpublished oral histories, correspondence, and new interviews, this biography offers an entertaining and important new look at an exciting era in Hollywood history.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780813169712
Publisher: University Press of Kentucky
Publication date: 04/05/2017
Series: Screen Classics Series
Pages: 368
Product dimensions: 5.80(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Brent Phillips is a former Joffrey Ballet soloist. He currently serves as the Audiovisual Archivist at theRockefeller Archive Center in Tarrytown, New York.

Table of Contents

Preface ix

1 The Anaheim Hoofer 1

2 A "New Face" in Town 12

3 Beginning the Beguine 21

4 The Show Is On 28

5 Broadways "Ranking Dancing Juvenile" 39

6 Backstage 49

7 "You Think Like a Director" 55

8 Putting His Best Foot Forward 64

9 A Company Man 75

10 Good News 85

11 A Swell Couple 95

12 Fred and Ginger 103

13 Metro-Goldwyn-Schary 111

14 Get Happy 119

15 "A Dear Dame" 128

16 Playing the Palace 136

17 Hi-Lili, Hi-Lo 145

18 "A Masterpiece of Modern Moisture" 155

19 "Two-Faced Woman" 162

20 Cinderella Stories 170

21 In High Society 180

22 Branching Out 193

23 A Virgin and a Housewife 202

24 Spoiled Spinster 210

25 "What Elephant?" 217

26 Ain't Down Yet 225

27 After the Lion 235

28 Final Ovation 244

Appendix: The Works of Charles Walters 255

Acknowledgments 265

Notes 267

Index 301

Illustrations follow page 130

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Charles Walters: The Director Who Made Hollywood Dance 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
SteveoSM More than 1 year ago
A wonderful book & a very enjoyable read ! A must for any fan of the art of film.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Much has been written about those wonderful MG films but not much about the talent ,energy and creativity from behind the scenes . Chuck Walters deserves this mention as one of those who had great contributions to the art for and maybe we will read about Roger Edens and Robert Alton from this author soon.