Roland West

Active - 1921 - 1931  |   Born - Jan 1, 1887   |   Died - Mar 31, 1952   |   Genres - Crime, Mystery, Thriller, Drama, Horror

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Biography by Hal Erickson

A former vaudeville and stock actor, Roland West entered films as a performer during the World War I era. A director from 1918 onward, West specialized in "old dark house" thrillers with an inner lining of humor, notably The Monster (1925) and The Bat (1926). Appearing in many of West's silent efforts was his actress wife, Jewel Carmen. In the first three years of the sound era, West turned out a fascinating body of work: Alibi (1929), The Bat Whispers (1930) and Corsair (1931), standard melodramas lifted out of the ordinary by the director's innovative camera techniques. Corsair turned out to be West's last film; his many personal idiosyncrasies had hardly endeared him with the Hollywood hierarchy: he insisted upon shooting only at night and never permitted any producers of any kind on his set. If his film career hadn't ended in 1931, it would have been utterly destroyed in 1935, when West was implicated in the mysterious -- and still unsolved -- death of his former mistress, actress Thelma Todd. During the last two decades of his life, Roland West managed a popular Hollywood restaurant.

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