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Darryl F. Zanuck’s Wilson

  • Mark Wheeler
Part of the The Evolving American Presidency Series book series

Abstract

Wilson, the biographical film (biopic) about America’s twenty-eighth president, Woodrow Wilson, was produced by the studio mogul Darryl F. Zanuck at Twentieth Century Fox in 1944. Costly and ambitious, the movie was a prestige production for the studio and a personal crusade for Zanuck. Wilson marked the first time Hollywood had tackled the life of a recent president and its cast of characters included many real-life principals who were either still alive or remained vivid in popular memory.1

Keywords

Film Industry World Peace Joint Session Crowd Scene Academy Award 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

  1. 1.
    Leonard J. Leff and Jerold Simmons, “Wilson: Hollywood Propaganda for World Peace,” Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television, 3 (1983): 4. For a synopsis of the movie, see Harry Keyishan, Screening Politics: The Politician in American Movies, 1931–2001 (Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press, 2003), 180–3.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Wendell Willkie, One World (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1943).Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Thomas J. Knock, “History with Lightning: The Forgotten Film Wilson (1944),” American Quarterly 28 (1976), reprinted in Peter C. Rollins, ed., Hollywood as Historian: American Film in a Cultural Context, rev. ed. (Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 1998).Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    For biographical detail, see Mel Gussow, Don’t Say Yes Until I Finish Talking: A Biography of Darryl F. Zanuck (New York: Pocket Books, 1972).Google Scholar
  5. Leonard Mosely, Zanuck: The Rise and Fall of a Hollywood Tycoon (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1985); and Thomas Thackerey Jr, “Darryl F. Zanuck, Last of the Movie Moguls, Dies at 77,” Los Angeles Times, December 23, 1979, 1.Google Scholar
  6. 5.
    Joel Finler, “Darryl F. Zanuck: Don’t Say Yes Until I Finish Talking,” in Ann Lloyd, ed., Movies of the Sixties, (London: Book Club Associates, 1984), 41.Google Scholar
  7. 6.
    Norman Zierold, The Hollywood Tycoons (London: Hamish Hamilton, 1969), 256–60.Google Scholar
  8. 9.
    For the Zanuck-Willkie relationship, see John B. Wiseman, “Darryl F. Zanuck and the Failure of ‘One World,’ 1943–1945,” Historical Journal of Radio, Film and Television 7 (1987): 279–87.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 10.
    Donald E. Staples, “Wilson in Technicolor: An Appreciation,” in Peter C. Rollins and John E. O’Connor, eds., Hollywood’s White House: The American Presidency in Film and History (Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 2003), 118.Google Scholar
  10. 11.
    Rudy Behlmer, ed., Memo from Darryl F. Zanuck: The Golden Years at Twentieth Century Fox (New York: Grove Press, 1993).Google Scholar
  11. 12.
    Leff and Simmons, “Wilson: Hollywood Propaganda for World Peace,” 4; Chris Fujiwara, The World and its Double: The Life and Work of Otto Preminger (London: Faber and Faber, 2008), 26.Google Scholar
  12. 15.
    Knock, “History with Lightning,” 96; Alexander Knox, “On Playing Wilson,” Hollywood Quarterly, 1 (1945), 110–11.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 22.
    For historical discussion, see Robert Ferrell, Woodrow Wilson and World War I, 1917–1921 (New York: Harper & Row, 1980).Google Scholar
  14. Lloyd Ambrosius, Woodrow Wilson and the American Diplomatic Tradition: The Treaty Fight in Perspective (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1990).Google Scholar
  15. and Thomas J. Knock, To End All Wars: Woodrow Wilson and the Quest for a New World Order (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1992).Google Scholar
  16. 23.
    For an explanation of Lodge’s position, see William Widenor, Henry Cabot Lodge and the Search for an American Foreign Policy (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1980).Google Scholar
  17. 24.
    Leff and Simmons, “Wilson: Hollywood Propaganda for World Peace,” 5; Ian Scott, American Politics in Hollywood Film (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2000), 142.Google Scholar
  18. 25.
    John Milton Cooper, The Warrior and the Priest: Woodrow Wilson and Theodore Roosevelt (Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press, 1983).Google Scholar
  19. See too Stephen Graubard, Command of Office: How War, Security, and Deception Transformed the Presidency from Theodore Roosevelt to George W. Bush (New York: Basic Books, 2004), chapter 6.Google Scholar
  20. Peri Arnold, Remaking the Presidency: Roosevelt, Taft and Wilson, 1901–1916 (Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 2009).Google Scholar
  21. 28.
    John Dos Passos, USA: Vol. 2: 1919 (Boston: Mariner Books, 1919). For Wilson the reformer, see Richard Hofstader, The American Political Tradition and the Men Who Made It (New York: Knopf, 1948).Google Scholar
  22. and John M. Blum, The Progressive Presidents: Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Lyndon B. Johnson (New York: Norton, 1980).Google Scholar
  23. 34.
    Leo A. Handel, Hollywood Looks At its Audience: A Report on Film Audience Research (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1950), 170.Google Scholar
  24. 39.
    Geoffrey Perrett, Days of Sadness, Years of Triumph: The American People, 1939–1945 (New York: Putnam, 1973), 236.Google Scholar
  25. 44.
    Michael Coyne, Hollywood Goes to Washington: American Politics on Screen (London: Reaktion Books, 2008), 61; emphasis in the original.Google Scholar
  26. 45.
    Mark Wheeler, Hollywood: Politics and Society (London: British Film Institute, 2006), 163.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Iwan W. Morgan 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mark Wheeler

There are no affiliations available

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