Walter Lang

Active - 1925 - 1991  |   Born - Aug 10, 1898   |   Died - Feb 7, 1972   |   Genres - Fantasy, Science Fiction, Drama

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Biography by AllMovie

After a checkered early career as actor, illustrator, stage director and assistant film director, Walter Lang was hired by Dorothy Davenport -- aka Mrs. Wallace Reid -- to wield the megaphone on her "socially conscious" features (Davenport developed this consciousness after her husband died of morphine addiction). Lang's first feature-film directorial credit was The Red Kimono (1925), a delicately handled prostitution drama. After parting company with Davenport, Lang worked at the fledgling Columbia Pictures, briefly shelving his career during the early talkie era to try his luck as a commercial artist. Back in Hollywood in 1932, Lang inaugurated his long association with Fox Studios (later 20th Century-Fox) with The Warrior's Husband (1932). Lang's Fox output consisted mainly of frothy romantic comedies and lush Technicolor musicals. He was instrumental in developing the movie stardom of Clifton Webb (an "overnight success" after a lifetime in the business) with such delightful vehicles as Sitting Pretty (1947) and Cheaper by the Dozen (1950).

In 1954, Lang directed Fox's first Cinemascope musical, There's No Business Like Show Business; a year earlier, he'd directed the studio's last non-Cinemascope musical, Call Me Madam (1953). It might seem an ignominy that Walter Lang's final film was Snow White and the Three Stooges (1961), but in fact this slapstick confection was produced with the same high-budget gloss as Lang's earlier Fox endeavors (it should be noted in passing that this was Lang's second collaboration with the Stooges: in 1933, he directed Moe, Larry and Curly in Meet the Baron).

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