Mini Tribute: W.S. Van Dyke at Work

Born March 21, 1889 Director W.S. Van Dyke!

Woody Strong Van Dyke started his film career working as an assistant to the legendary D. W. Griffith. In 1917, he directed his first film, The Land of Long Shadows for Essanay Studios, followed by five more films that year. Over the course of the next 25 years, he directed over 85 films, and was remarkably versatile — equally ‘at home’ directing costume dramas, westerns, comedies, crime melodramas and even musicals — many of which were hits and/or top box office draws.  His most notable works include Tarzan the Ape Man, The Thin Man (& After the Thin Man, Another Thin Man, Shadow of the Thin Man), Manhattan Melodrama, San Francisco, Marie Antoinette, and six Jeanette MacDonald / Nelson Eddy and  films (Naughty MariettaRose MarieSweetheartsNew Moon (uncredited), Bitter Sweet, and I Married an Angel).

W.S. Van DykeVan Dyke became known as ‘One-Take-Woody’ because he shot each scene as quickly and efficiently as possible.

“We shot it in sixteen days, retakes and all. And that sweet smell of success was in every frame.” – W.S. Van Dyke (about The Thin Man)

In celebration of ‘One-Take-Woody’ let’s take a look at some behind-the-scenes photos of W.S. on the set of some of his most famous films:

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Myrna Loy presents Manhattan Melodrama director W.S. Van Dyke with a birthday cake Myrna LoyMyrna Loy presents W.S. Van Dyke with a birthday cake (behind the scenes, Manhattan Melodrama 1934)

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W.S. Van Dyke & Clark Gable on the set of Manhattan Melodrama (1934)

W.S. Van Dyke & Clark Gable while filming Manhattan Melodrama (1934)

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Director W.S Van Dyke, Maureen O'Sullivan and Johnny Weissmuller on the set of TarzanDirector W.S Van Dyke, Maureen O’Sullivan and Johnny Weissmuller on the set of Tarzan the Ape Man (1932)

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W.S. Van Dyke directs Myrna Loy and William Powell on the set of The Thin Man (1934)W.S. Van Dyke directs Myrna Loy and William Powell on the set of The Thin Man (1934)

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James Wong Howe, Myrna Loy, W.S. Van Dyke, William Powell during filming of “The Thin Man” (1934)Long shot of the above, with James Wong Howe (cinematographer), Myrna Loy, W.S. Van Dyke, William Powell (The Thin Man, 1934)

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Maureen O'Sullivan, William Powell, W.S. Van Dyke, Unknown, Myrna Loy, Ronald Colman on the set of The Thin Man 1934

Maureen O’Sullivan, William Powell, Hunt Stromberg*, W.S. Van Dyke, Myrna Loy, Ronald Colman on the set of The Thin Man (1934) [*seems to be some discrepancy here, if anyone can clarify, please leave comment, thanks!]

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 Director W.S. Van Dyke with Myrna Loy & William Powell on the set of After the Thin Man  (1936)W.S. Van Dyke with Myrna Loy & William Powell on the set of After the Thin Man  (1936)

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Filming After the Thin Man with Sam Levene, William Powell, Myrna Loy, director W.S. Van Dyke, cinematograher Oliver T. Marsh.jpgW.S. Van Dyke and Oliver T. Marsh (cinematographer) filming After the Thin Man with Sam Levene, William Powell and Myrna Loy (1936)

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W.S. Van Dyke and Tyrone Power discuss film Marie Antoinette over a hot cup of tea (1938)W.S. Van Dyke and Tyrone Power discuss film Marie Antoinette over a hot cup of tea (1938)

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Producer Hunt Stromberg, Director W. S. van Dyke and Norma Shearer on the set of Marie Antoinette (1938)Producer Hunt Stromberg (left), W. S. van Dyke and Norma Shearer on the set of Marie Antoinette (1938)

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Director Woody Van Dyke, Norma Shearer and Tyrone Power on set of Marie Antoinette (1938)W.S. Van Dyke, Norma Shearer and Tyrone Power on set of Marie Antoinette (1938)

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W.S. Van Dyke, Nelson Eddy and Jeanette MacDonald.

W.S. Van Dyke, Nelson Eddy and Jeanette MacDonald

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Director WS Van Dyke and Jeanette MacDonald on the set (with goat) of Naughty Marietta 1935

W.S. Van Dyke and Jeanette MacDonald on the set of Naughty Marietta (1935)

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Director W.S. Van Dyke and Jeanette MacDonald between takes of Naughty Marietta in 1935

W.S. Van Dyke and Jeanette MacDonald between takes of Naughty Marietta (1935)

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Woody and Ruth Van Dyke, Jeanette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy on the set of Rose MarieW.S. and Ruth (wife) Van Dyke, Jeanette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy on the set of Rose-Marie (1936)

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Woody S. Van Dyke, Nelson Eddy and Jeanette MacDonald on the set of Sweethearts (1938) celebrating Nelson's birthdayW. S. Van Dyke, Nelson Eddy and Jeanette MacDonald on the set of Sweethearts (1938) celebrating Nelson’s birthday

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Filming of Sweethearts - Woody Van Dyke, Nelson Eddy and Jeanette MacDonaldW.S.Van Dyke, Nelson Eddy and Jeanette MacDonald on the set of Sweethearts (1938)

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Woody S. Van Dyke, Nelson Eddy and Jeanette MacDonald in between scenes on the set of I Married An Angel (1942)

W. S. Van Dyke, Nelson Eddy and Jeanette MacDonald in between scenes on the set of I Married An Angel (1942)

Director W.S. Van Dyke, Mickey Rooney, and Lewis Stone on the set of Andy Hardy Gets Spring Fever (1939).W.S. Van Dyke, Mickey Rooney and Lewis Stone on the set of Andy Hardy Gets Spring Fever (1939)

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–Annmarie Gatti for Classic Movie Hub

 

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3 Responses to Mini Tribute: W.S. Van Dyke at Work

  1. That is Edgar Rice Burroughs in the Tarzan still, not Woody.

  2. Pingback: One-Take Woody: Behind the Scenes Photos of Classic Movies | Lamoka Ledger

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