William Beaudine is one of the most misrepresented directors in film history. Inaccurately called “One-Shot” due to false claims that he hurried through his projects with disdain and never filmed more than one take, Beaudine was actually a very skilled director whose career ran from silent movies to television. Beginning with one-reel short comedies, Beaudine learned how to be efficient within the parameters of a low budget, but when allowed to open up production and given time to be creative, the results were classic films like “The Canadian,” “Sparrows,” and “The Old Fashioned Way.”
At the height of his career, William Beaudine went to England and spent several years helming popular movies. When he returned to America, the industry had passed him by, and he was relegated to working in low budget movies for poverty row studios.
Still, he was instrumental in helping to form the popular Bowery Boys movie series, and recalled his efficiency with silent comedy shorts to make low budget films look better. The limitations of TV production also benefited from this efficiency. William Beaudine directed everyone from Mary Pickford, Jean Harlow, Tom Mix, and W.C. Fields, to Bela Lugosi, The East Side Kids, and John Carradine. In his career he made films for Fox, Warner Brothers, MGM, Paramount, Universal, and Walt Disney, as well as Monogram, Republic, and Producers Releasing Corporation. The rumors and tales that have plagued William Beaudine’s legacy are dispelled in this overview that examines his long and varied career.