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Hal Wallis might not be as well known as David O. Selznick or Samuel Goldwyn, but the films he produced—Casablanca, Jezebel, Now Voyager, The Life of Emile Zola, Becket, True Grit, and many other classics (as well as scores of Elvis movies)—have certainly endured. As producer of numerous films, Wallis made an indelible mark on the course of America’s film industry, but his contributions are often overlooked and no full-length study has yet assessed his incredible career.
A former office boy and salesman, Wallis first engaged with the business of film as the manager of a Los Angeles movie theater in 1922. He attracted the notice of the Warner brothers, who hired him as a publicity assistant. Within three months he was director of the department, and appointments to studio manager and production executive quickly followed. Wallis went on to oversee dozens of productions and formed his own production company in 1944.
Bernard F. Dick draws on numerous sources such as Wallis’s personal production files and exclusive interviews with many of his contemporaries to finally tell the full story of his illustrious career. Dick combines his knowledge of behind-the-scenes Hollywood with fascinating anecdotes to create a portrait of one of Hollywood’s early power players.
Bernard F. Dick, professor of communications and English at Fairleigh Dickinson University, is the author of numerous books on film history, including Engulfed: the Death of Paramount Pictures and the Birth of Corporate Hollywood.
"This readable and well-documented book is enhanced by interviews with Wallis's widow and with numerous individuals who worked with Wallis in Hollywood. . . . Recommended"—Choice
"Includes enough good gossip to keep movie addicts reading."—Hollywood Reporter
"Heston remarked, 'Hal was very good. Surely one of the two or three best of them all.' Hal Wallis: Producer to the Stars offers plenty of reasons to take that assessment seriously, and it gives a great filmmaker his due."—Hollywood Reporter
"For someone whose name appears in the credits of hundreds of movies, Hal Wallis doesn't get a lot of credit. Bernard F. Dick has tried to rectify that with the first biography of the great Hollywood producer."—Philadelphia Inquirer
"A masterful job of charting Wallis's career and examining his roles as production executive and independent producer. This is an engaging and illuminating narrative."—Film Quarterly
"It is one thing to understand the complex operation of the film industry, particularly in the wake of the studios having been absorbed into conglomerates. It is quite another to tell the story of the producers involved in this industry with insight and wit, in a way that appeals to the general reader as well as to film scholars. Bernard Dick has accomplished this feat once again in his book on Hal Wallis."—Gene Phillips, Loyola University
The University Press of Kentucky
Place of Publication
Hal Wallis, Movie history, Film history, Motion picture producers
Film and Media Studies
Dick, Bernard F., "Hal Wallis: Producer to the Stars" (2004). Film and Media Studies. 22.