W. Lee Wilder

Active - 1945 - 1968  |   Genres - Drama, Mystery, Thriller, Crime, Horror

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The brother of director Billy Wilder, Austrian-born W. Lee Wilder has worked in a distinctly lower-budget, less-visible manner. After abandoning an industrial career in Europe, Wilder came to New York as the head of William Wilder Productions, and produced The Great Flamarion (1945), directed by Anthony Mann and starring Erich Von Stroheim in a drama about betrayal under the big top. Wilder received his first directing credit in 1946 as director of Republic's The Glass Alibi, a crime drama about a confidence man who marries a terminally ill woman to secure an alibi, only to learn that she is recovering. Two years later, he produced and directed the thriller Vicious Circle (1948), a drama about Jewish farmers in Hungary being framed for murder. But his best film--and his best known movie, at least among horror movie buffs--is easily Killers from Space (1953), a bizarre and compelling science-fiction thriller about an attempted alien invasion of Earth using giant insects and lizards whose low-budget shooting techniques, staccato editing, and cheap special effects combine into a spellbinding whole. From the later '50s onward, Wilder worked in low-budget independent movies such as the British made The Man Without a Body (1957), starring Robert Hutton and George Coulouris--about an attempt to revive the disembodied head of Nostradamus--and Bluebeard's 10 Honeymoons (1960), with George Sanders.

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