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Walter Wanger, independent producer.

Inside the Walter Wanger Film Company

Written by studio publicist John LeRoy Johnson

February 15, 1940.


Beginning his twenty-first year as a motion picture impresario Walter Wanger has established himself as one of the industry’s outstanding progressives and daring producers.

Meeting Walter Wanger one quickly understands why.

Possibly no Hollywood producer has had the close contact, the directorial supervision and the actual operation of more phases of motion picture activity than this energetic independent producer. He heads his own organization, releasing through United Artists exchanges, plans his work a year ahead and is most successful doing the things his contemporaries have felt impossible, or overlooked.

Well educated, Wanger has learned what he knows of motion pictures and picture making in this hard school of experience. Few producers put as much of themselves into their films as he does. When he believes in a thing he has both the courage and the energy to see his dreams picturized with impressive finesse. Wanger thrives on overcoming difficulties. His office is a bee-hive of well organized activity. His daily phone calls average more than 100 and his personal interviews run from 25 to 50 a day. He is a keen analyst of any problem and, being a well read student of world affairs, he couples a broad knowledge of many subjects with a delightful sense of humor and he can (and does) talk with potentates and studio laborers with equal grace and understanding. Few film leaders are more approachable.

Wanger is a man of few words who knows how to make a quick decision. He never dodges a sharp question nor leaves a challenge unanswered. Because he has a sympathetic and intelligent interest in new talent, new technique and the untried in picture production most men with practical dreams seek out Wanger before going elsewhere with their new ideas. Few film men have given so much encouragement or such opportunities to previously unheralded talent as has Wanger. He is frank, often brutally so, but a man knows exactly where he stands with Wanger at all times.

Visiting Wanger in his offices one is impressed by his "well organized" mind and pleasant informality. There is nothing pompous, artificial or exhibitionistic. Wanger is both the head and the heart of his organization. He makes his associates respect him making them respect themselves. That that Wanger company is "long" on team-work and "short" on temperament and inter-studio politics is likewise pleasantly obvious. Few studios may boast a more genuine business decorum, less pettiness.

The Wanger company concentrates on Class A pictures. Making each new picture better than its predecessor seems to be foremost in the minds of every employee and congenial working conditions reflect the willingness of the company's executive head to provide a reasonable solution to any perplexing problem.

Wanger's production staff is one of the largest single picture units in the industry. Its organizer has seen to it that it is one of the most flexible. Men and women with broad experience in many branches of the business and service in other studios constitute the staff. Department heads understand their assignments and are given authority to fully meet every exacting obligation. When Wanger asks a question regarding some phase of departmental work he wants the exact answer. Evasion and carelessness are unpardonable sins in this small but efficient organization. The Wanger company prides itself on high standards and ideals and its ability to meet many unusual demands. As a consequence Wanger, like the captain of a well trained football squad, knows his production strength and in making pictures results are accomplished that would be impossible with less co-operation, or the thousand and one complexities that enter into such work at most of the studios.

The man who heads this unique production organization has not allowed grass to grow under his feet.

MORE:

See Walter Wanger: Hollywood Film Producer

 


SOURCES:

Johnston, John LeRoy, Profile: Looking at Walter Wanger Film Producer, February 15, 1940, pp. 1-2.

See Bibliography.

 

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