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