Charles Swickard

Active - 1914 - 1920  |   Born - Mar 21, 1861   |   Died - May 12, 1929   |   Genres - Western, Adventure, Action

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Biography by Hans J. Wollstein

The brother of character actor Josef Swickard, Charles Swickard became a prolific director with Thomas H. Ince's New York Motion Picture Company, where he helmed the still extant 1916 version of The Three Musketeers. Swickard was the credited director on the seminal William S. Hart Western Hell's Hinges (1916), but it has long been assumed that the film was actually directed by Hart himself. Swickard's later problems at Fox seem to support this theory: In 1920, his footage for the initial Buck Jones Western, Square Shooter, had to be shelved and the released film was eventually credited to Paul Cazeneuve. Swickard, in the opinion of William Fox himself, counted for "the worst amateurish direction I have ever reviewed." Fox demanded Swickard's departure, instructing studio manager Sol M. Wurtzel to hire someone else to complete the picture. The director's career took an instantaneous nosedive from which it never recovered.