Men Behind the Stars — Frank Lloyd (1938) 🇺🇸

Frank Lloyd |

January 15, 2022

As the only three-time winner of the Motion Picture Academy awards, Frank Lloyd, Paramount producer, today stands at the head of the film industry as a creator of both spectacle and romance.

Director of “Wells Fargo”

Long identified in Hollywood for the scope and sweep of his pictures, Lloyd won the directorial award for Divine Lady in 1928-29, and again for Cavalcade in 1932-33, while Mutiny on the Bounty, which he also directed, was chosen the best production of 1935.

These achievements are based on a solid knowledge of both stage and screen, Lloyd having become identified with the English theatre when only 15 years old. He has been in Hollywood for 25 years.

Lloyd was born in Glasgow, Scotland, in February, 1889, and was educated in the public schools of England. The theatre was an attraction for him from childhood, and except for a brief period spent in Canada, the dramatic world has been Lloyd’s whole life. The future director of spectacles interrupted his theatrical work for a time to become a wire man for the Canadian government telephone company, but he soon tired of this, and in 1913 he came to Hollywood.

At this time Hollywood was little more than a sagebrush-covered subdivision on the outskirts of Los Angeles, and the film industry was in its swaddling clothes. Cecil B. DeMille had just made “The Squaw Man” in Hollywood, but most of the cinema companies were still centered in the east.

Lloyd entered screen production by writing and directing one-reel pictures for Universal, and as his talents became known he graduated to the direction of features for Morosco-Pallas, Fox, Goldwyn, Joseph M. Schenck, Sol Lesser and First National.

Concentrating on his preference for dramatic stories, Lloyd directed many of Hollywood’s most famous early-day successes. Wider recognition came to him in 1922 when “Oliver Twist,” which he directed, was named as one of the year’s 10 best pictures. Lloyd won this distinction again in 1924 with The Sea Hawk, in 1933 with Cavalcade, in 1934 with “Berkeley Square,” and, of course, with Mutiny on the Bounty in 1935.

The son of a mechanical engineer, Lloyd is nearly six feet tall and bears little resemblance to the movie director of fiction. He is slow-spoken and never becomes riled, but few directors can equal him in extracting the maximum dramatic value from a scene.

Lloyd, his wife and their daughter, Alma, who recently began a career as an actress, live in Beverly Hills and they have a ranch home near Whittier, a suburb of Los Angeles. The 45-acre ranch is Lloyd’s hobby. He confesses that there is no money to be made in the venture, but that it’s lots of fun. Lloyd also raises blooded Irish terriers. Lloyd reads detective stories and books on philosophy, and is superstitious about whistling. He has a distinct aversion to the song Home Sweet Home, although he doesn’t know why.

His early ambition was to become a sailor, much as other boys have wanted to become railroad engineers, but the theatre soon superseded this desire.

Always an active participant in affairs of the Motion Picture Academy of Arts and Sciences, Lloyd was at one time its treasurer and he is now a member of the board of directors.

Having made The Maid of Salem for Paramount, Lloyd has just completed Wells Fargo for the same organization, to which he is under contract. He went to San Francisco to make notes for the picture and he tells this anecdote of a pleasant little experience.

He was in the curio-room of the Wells Fargo Bank when an austere, well-dressed lady entered. She looked at the stage-coach, at the nuggets, the early mining tools, old prints, messengers’ shotguns and other relics. Then she pored over a photograph album open under a glass case. A daguerreotype fascinated her. “Why, that’s Grandfather!” she exclaimed. “I could tell his picture anywhere!”

She chatted animatedly with the guard, announced she was going to bring in her children to have a look at their ancestor. The guard told Lloyd he wished she wouldn’t. “That album is the kind Wells Fargo supplied to every driver, to warn them of the most terrible road-agents on the Hangtown route. And ‘Grandfather,’ you might say, was the worst of the lot.”

The central characters of the Frank Lloyd picture, Wells Fargo, were enacted by Joel McCrea-Frances Dee

Collection: Motion Picture Magazine, June 1938