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  • Nov 3-5

Who Was Andrew V. McLaglen?

andrew-mclaglenFRIDAY HARBOR, WA – Who was Andrew V. McLa­glen? The man behind the Fri­day Har­bor Film Festival’s Andrew V. McLa­glen Life­time Achieve­ment Award. This year, the award will be giv­en to Richard Chew. The award pre­sen­ta­tion will occur at the Open­ing Night Film­mak­ers Gala, held at the San Juan Island The­atre. Doors will open at 6:30pm and tick­ets are $45.00 or includ­ed with pur­chase of an all-access fes­ti­val pass.

Obit­u­ary: Andrew V. McLa­glen, was a film direc­tor whose col­lab­o­ra­tion with JOHN WAYNE extend­ed the life of the west­ern.

Three long shad­ows lay heav­i­ly across the career of the film direc­tor Andrew McLa­glen, who has died aged 94: those of two actors, his father, Vic­tor McLa­glen, and John “Duke” Wayne, and that of the direc­tor John Ford. By mak­ing most­ly west­erns, four of which starred Wayne, and by cast­ing many actors from Ford’s reper­to­ry com­pa­ny, such as Har­ry Carey Jr and Ben John­son, McLa­glen brazen­ly invit­ed com­par­i­son with the great direc­tor. Yet he denied being influ­enced by Ford. “I nev­er thought of John Ford at all. I knew Ford from the time I was 13 years old because my father worked with him. But once you direct, you become your own per­son,” he said.

Nev­er­the­less, take away Ford’s eye for visu­al com­po­si­tion and poet­ry, and play up his machis­mo, slap­stick and sen­ti­men­tal­i­ty, and you have a movie by McLa­glen. With good scripts and Hol­ly­wood leg­ends such as Wayne and James Stew­art, McLa­glen made some enter­tain­ing action movies and was able to extend the life of the west­ern beyond the genre’s sell-by date.

McLa­glen was born in Lon­don, the year that his father, a for­mer box­er, appeared in his first film, Call of the Road (1920). After estab­lish­ing him­self in about 20 silent British pic­tures, McLa­glen senior was offered a Hol­ly­wood con­tract in 1924, and 18 months lat­er was joined in Los Ange­les by his wife, Enid (nee Lam­ont), daugh­ter and five-year-old son. From a very ear­ly age, the young McLa­glen was around movie peo­ple and on the sets of many of his father’s films. Stand­ing at 6ft 7in, he was even larg­er than his hulk­ing father, who was a kind of tal­is­man of Ford movies, of which he made more than a dozen.

McLa­glen, who was mar­ried four times, is sur­vived by a son, Josh, and a daugh­ter, Mary, both film pro­duc­ers, who got their start on their father’s films. His son with Borg, Andrew, died in 2006. Andrew Vic­tor McLa­glen, film and tele­vi­sion direc­tor, was born 28 July 1920, and passed away 30 August 2014

Through­out the week­end, Fri­day Har­bor Film Fes­ti­val will fea­ture qual­i­ty doc­u­men­taries and docu-dra­mas that high­light com­pelling sto­ries about human­i­tar­i­an efforts, envi­ron­men­tal issues, social con­cerns and dar­ing explo­rations.  Each film will be fol­lowed by live­ly dis­cus­sion with the film­mak­er or a local expert.  For addi­tion­al infor­ma­tion on this year’s fea­tured films and spe­cial events, vis­it the Festival’s web­site, www.fhff.org.  And for infor­ma­tion on how to get to San Juan Island or where to stay, go to www.visitsanjuans.com.

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