Jules White

Last updated
Jules White
Stooge060 jules.jpg
Born
Julius Weiss

(1900-09-17)September 17, 1900
DiedApril 30, 1985(1985-04-30) (aged 84)
OccupationFilm director, producer
Years active1924–1974
Height5 ft 9 in (175 cm)
Children1
Relatives Jack White (brother) [1]
Sam White (brother)

Jules White (born Julius Weiss; 17 September 1900 30 April 1985) was a Hungarian-born American film director and producer best known for his short-subject comedies starring The Three Stooges. [1]

Hungarians Ethnic group

Hungarians, also known as Magyars, are a nation and ethnic group native to Hungary and historical Hungarian lands who share a common culture, history and language. Hungarians belong to the Uralic-speaking peoples. There are an estimated 14.2–14.5 million ethnic Hungarians and their descendants worldwide, of whom 9.6 million live in today's Hungary. About 2.2 million Hungarians live in areas that were part of the Kingdom of Hungary before the Treaty of Trianon and are now parts of Hungary's seven neighbouring countries, especially Slovakia, Ukraine, Romania, Serbia, Croatia, Slovenia and Austria. Significant groups of people with Hungarian ancestry live in various other parts of the world, most of them in the United States, Canada, Germany, France, the United Kingdom, Brazil, Australia, and Argentina.

United States Federal republic in North America

The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States or America, is a country comprising 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, and various possessions. At 3.8 million square miles, the United States is the world's third or fourth largest country by total area and is slightly smaller than the entire continent of Europe's 3.9 million square miles. With a population of more than 327 million people, the U.S. is the third most populous country. The capital is Washington, D.C., and the most populous city is New York City. Forty-eight states and the capital's federal district are contiguous in North America between Canada and Mexico. The State of Alaska is in the northwest corner of North America, bordered by Canada to the east and across the Bering Strait from Russia to the west. The State of Hawaii is an archipelago in the mid-Pacific Ocean. The U.S. territories are scattered about the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, stretching across nine official time zones. The extremely diverse geography, climate, and wildlife of the United States make it one of the world's 17 megadiverse countries.

Film director Person who controls the artistic and dramatic aspects of a film production

A film director is a person who directs the making of a film. A film director controls a film's artistic and dramatic aspects and visualizes the screenplay while guiding the technical crew and actors in the fulfilment of that vision. The director has a key role in choosing the cast members, production design, and the creative aspects of filmmaking. Under European Union law, the director is viewed as the author of the film.

Contents

Early years

White began working in motion pictures in the 1910s, as a child actor, for Pathé Studios. He appears in a small role as a Confederate soldier in the landmark silent feature The Birth of a Nation (1915). By the 1920s his brother Jack White had become a successful comedy producer at Educational Pictures, and Jules worked for him as a film editor. Jules became a director in 1926, specializing in comedies.

Pathé Name of various French businesses of the film industry that were founded and originally run by the Pathé Brothers of France

Pathé or Pathé Frères is the name of various French businesses that were founded and originally run by the Pathé Brothers of France starting in 1896. In the early 1900s, Pathé became the world's largest film equipment and production company, as well as a major producer of phonograph records. In 1908, Pathé invented the newsreel that was shown in cinemas prior to a feature film.

<i>The Birth of a Nation</i> 1915 film directed by D. W. Griffith

The Birth of a Nation is an American silent epic drama film directed and co-produced by D. W. Griffith and starring Lillian Gish. The screenplay is adapted from the novel and play The Clansman, by Thomas Dixon Jr. Griffith co-wrote the screenplay with Frank E. Woods, and co-produced the film with Harry Aitken. It was released on February 8, 1915.

Jack White (film producer) film producer, director and writer

Jack White was a Hungarian-born American film producer, director and writer. His career in the film industry began in the late 1910s and continued until the early 1960s. White produced over 300 films; directed more than 60 of these, and wrote more than 50. He directed some of his sound comedies under the pseudonym "Preston Black."

In 1930 White and his boyhood friend Zion Myers moved to the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer studio. They conceived and co-directed M-G-M's gimmicky Dogville Comedies, which featured trained dogs in satires of recent Hollywood films (like The Dogway Melody and So Quiet on the Canine Front). White and Myers co-directed the Buster Keaton feature Sidewalks of New York (1931), and launched a series of "Goofy Movies," one-reel parodies of silent-era melodramas.

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer American media company

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc. is an American media company, involved primarily in the production and distribution of feature films and television programs. One of the world's oldest film studios, MGM's headquarters are located at 245 North Beverly Drive in Beverly Hills, California.

From 1929 to 1931, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer produced a series of nine short comedy films called All Barkie Dogville Comedies, sometimes known as the "barkies". The actors in these films were trained dogs, dressed up to parody the performers in contemporary films. The dogs' dialogue in these early sound films was dubbed by actors and voice artists including Pete Smith.

Buster Keaton American actor and filmmaker

Joseph Francis Keaton, known professionally as Buster Keaton, was an American actor, comedian, film director, producer, screenwriter, and stunt performer. He was best known for his silent films, in which his trademark was physical comedy with a consistently stoic, deadpan expression that earned him the nickname "The Great Stone Face". Critic Roger Ebert wrote of Keaton's "extraordinary period from 1920 to 1929" when he "worked without interruption" on a series of films that make him "the greatest actor-director in the history of the movies". His career declined afterward with a loss of artistic independence when he signed with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, his wife divorced him, and he descended into alcoholism. He recovered in the 1940s, remarried, and revived his career as an honored comic performer for the rest of his life, earning an Honorary Academy Award in 1960.

Columbia Pictures

In 1933, Jules White was appointed head of Columbia Pictures' short-subject division, which became the most prolific comedy factory in Hollywood. In a time when theaters were playing more double-feature programs, fewer short comedies were being made; by the mid-1930s the three major comedy producers — Hal Roach, Educational Pictures and Universal Pictures — scaled back their operations. In contrast, by 1938 Columbia's two-reel-comedy department was busier than ever, and White split it into two units. White produced for the first unit and Hugh McCollum (former executive secretary for Columbia head Harry Cohn) for the second. The Columbia comedy stars alternated between the White and McCollum units.

Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc. is an American film studio and production company that is a member of the Sony Pictures Motion Picture Group, a division of Sony Entertainment's Sony Pictures subsidiary of the Japanese multinational conglomerate Sony Corporation.

Hal Roach Film producer

Harold Eugene Roach Sr. was an American film and television producer, director, and actor who was active from the 1910s to the 1990s. He is best known today for producing the Laurel and Hardy and Our Gang film comedy series.

Educational Pictures was an American film distribution company founded in 1916 by Earle Hammons (1882–1962). Educational primarily distributed short subjects, and today is probably best known for its series of 1930s comedies starring Buster Keaton, as well as for a series of one-reel comedies featuring the earliest screen appearances of Shirley Temple. The studio also distributed short comedies starring Lloyd Hamilton, who employed the blacklisted "Fatty" Arbuckle as a writer-director under the pseudonym William Goodrich.

With McCollum shouldering some of the administrative burden, White was free to pursue his first love: directing. He began directing the Columbia shorts in 1938 and would become the department's most prolific director. He directed his sound films as though they were silent comedies: he paced the visual action very fast, and he coached his actors to gesture broadly and react painfully, even demonstrating the movements and grimaces he wanted. This emphasis on cartoonish slapstick worked well in the right context, but could become blunt and shocking when stretched too far. White was generally under pressure to finish his productions within a few days, so very often White the producer did not tone down White the director, and the outlandishly violent gags stayed in. Still, moviegoers loved these slam-bang short comedies, and Columbia produced more than 500 of them over a quarter-century.

Directorial style

Physical comedy was the norm for White's short features. Some of his personal favorite gags were used repeatedly over the years: a comedian being arrested protests, "I demand a cheap lawyer!" (later "I'm gonna get myself a cheap lawyer!"). Or the star comedian accidentally collides with the villain and apologizes, "Sorry, mister, there was a man chasing me... you're the man!" White's most familiar gag is probably the one where an actor is stuck in the posterior by a sharp object, and then yells, "Help, help! I'm losing my mind!"

White's style is most evident in his string of two-reelers starring comics Wally Vernon and Eddie Quillan. Vernon and Quillan were old pros whose dancing skills made them especially agile comedians. White capitalized on this by staging the kind of rough-and-tumble slapstick not seen since silent-movie days, with the stars and supporting players doing pratfalls, crossing their eyes, getting hit with messy projectiles, having barehanded fistfights and being knocked "cuckoo" in film after film. These comedies were pet projects for White: he kept making Vernon and Quillan shorts long after most of his other series had ended.

Wally Vernon American film actor

Wally Vernon was an American comic and character actor and dancer.

Eddie Quillan actor

Edward Quillan was an American film actor and singer whose career began as a child on the vaudeville stages and silent film and continued through the age of television in the 1980s.

Later films

By the 1950s, White was working so quickly and economically that he could film a new short comedy in a single day. His standard procedure was to borrow footage from older films and shoot a few new scenes, often using the same actors, sets, and costumes. A "new" 15-minute comedy could contain clips from as many as three vintage comedies. Though most of White's comedies of the 1950s are almost identical to his comedies of the 1940s, he still made a few films from scratch, including three 3-D comedies, Spooks! and Pardon My Backfire (1953), both starring The Three Stooges, and Down the Hatch, starring dialect comic Harry Mimmo.

<i>Spooks</i> (1953 film) 1953 film by Jules White

Spooks! is a 1953 short film directed by Jules White and starring American slapstick comedy team The Three Stooges. It is the 148th short film released by Columbia Pictures starring the comedians, who released 190 short films for the studio between 1934 and 1959.

<i>Pardon My Backfire</i> 1953 film by Jules White

Pardon My Backfire is the 149th short film released by Columbia Pictures in 1953 starring American slapstick comedy team The Three Stooges. The comedians released 190 short films for the studio between 1934 and 1959.

The Three Stooges American comedy team

The Three Stooges were an American vaudeville and comedy team active from 1922 until 1970, best known for their 190 short subject films by Columbia Pictures that have been regularly airing on television since 1958. Their hallmark was physical farce and slapstick. Six stooges appeared over the act's run : Moe Howard and Larry Fine were mainstays throughout the ensemble's nearly fifty-year run and the pivotal "third Stooge" was played by Shemp Howard, Curly Howard, Shemp Howard again, Joe Besser, and Curly Joe DeRita.

In 1956, after other studios had abandoned short-subject production, Jules White had the field to himself and experimented with new ideas. Many of his Stooge comedies now consisted of all-new material, featuring science-fiction or musical themes, and often including topical references to rock and roll and then-current feature films. White even launched a new series, "Girlie Whirls," as musical-comedy vehicles for plump comedian Muriel Landers; only one film was made before White reassigned her to one of the Stooge comedies.

Retirement and death

Columbia closed its comedy-shorts department at the end of 1957. White dabbled in television at Columbia's Screen Gems subsidiary in the early 1960s, creating the 1962 situation comedy Oh! Those Bells with the Wiere Brothers, and co-producing its pilot episode with his brother Sam White, but soon retired, saying, "Who needs such a rat race?" [2]

Almost 40% of White's output stars The Three Stooges; the other films feature such screen favorites as Buster Keaton, Andy Clyde, Harry Langdon, Hugh Herbert, Vera Vague and El Brendel. To date, only the Stooges, Charley Chase, and Keaton series have been released to DVD in their entirety; other comedies (Andy Clyde, The Glove Slingers) have been included as bonus features on DVDs.

White died of Alzheimer's disease on April 30, 1985. His interment was at Hollywood Forever Cemetery.

Filmography

YearTitleRoleNotes
1914 The Spoilers Minor RoleUncredited
1915 The Birth of a Nation Confederate SoldierUncredited

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References

Notes
  1. 1 2 "Jack White - Hollywood Star Walk". The Los Angeles Times .
  2. Jules White
Further reading