Lesley Selander

Active - 1936 - 1968  |   Born - May 26, 1900   |   Died - Jan 1, 1979   |   Genres - Western, Action

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Biography by Hal Erickson

A studio lab technician in his teens, California native Lesley Selander worked his way up to cameraman and then assistant director in the '20s. Until 1936, his solo directing credits consisted of modest 2-reel comedies. Selander received his first feature film directorial break through the kindness of western star Buck Jones; not surprisingly, the bulk of Selander's subsequent film assigments were westerns. Possessed of an unerring eye for visual excellence, an inborn sense of pacing and timing, and an overall easygoing expertise, Selander had what it took to gain "maestro" status, but by devoting himself almost exclusively to series westerns (the Hopalong Cassidys, the Tim Holts), his accomplishments went unnoticed by the film-critic cognoscenti. Selander's most accomplished work can be found in a group of medium-budget sagebrushers made for Allied Artists in the late '40s: Panhandle, Stampede, Shotgun, Short Grass and Cow Country. The films made by Selander outside the western field range from fascinating (1946's The Catman from Paris) to surprisingly spiritless (1951's Flight to Mars). With the 1952 series Cowboy G-Men, Selander launched his TV-western phase, which lasted until the cowboy craze died out in the early '60s. Selander's final films, the second-feature A.C. Lyles westerns of the Arizona Bushwackers (1968) variety, found him plugging away perfunctorally but professionally at the movie style he knew best. Before his death in 1979, Lesley Selander was gratified by the adoration and devotion of his now grown-up fans, who retained fond memories of the "something special" which distinguished his dozens of '40s B-films.

Movie Highlights

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