Stories About the Notables of Films — Rise of Victor Schertzinger as Director Covers Ten Years Unmarred by Failure (1927) 🇺🇸
He has directed sixty-eight feature pictures without having ever been idle a month — started with Ince at $300 a week under contract.
One of filmdom’s outstandingly successful directors is Victor Schertzinger. During his ten years as a director in the motion picture industry, he has directed sixty-eight feature pictures. Schertzinger as a director also has the novel distinction of never having wielded the megaphone for any production under five reels. He has other distinctions. Still another of these which stands out prominently in his brilliant record is the fact that during the long time he has directed he has never been idle a full month.
How Schertzinger got into the picture game is not only interesting but amusing. As is generally known the world over, he is almost as noted in the field of music and art as he is in filmdom. Schertzinger was known to the late Thomas H. Ince as an unusually gifted composer of ballads and semi-classics. This director recalls how Ince signed him to an ironclad contract during the life of which he was to receive $300.00 per week. His first work was to write incidental music for Ince Productions, and his compositions for Ince’s “Civilization” recorded, it is said, the first original music score ever written for a big feature.
Contract in Way
Shortly after he had signed the contract, Ince, to use Schertzinger’s language, “blew up” with the Triangle Company. That the $300.00 a week contract then turned out to be a decided encumbrance was obvious not only to himself but to many others, Schertzinger said.
It was at that time that Schertzinger was given his first opportunity to direct pictures. As soon as he picked up the megaphone for Ince, Schertzinger said his salary was cut down to $50.00 a week and at the end of the first week he was informed that his contract had been abrogated by the fact that he had accepted the director’s job.
Schertzinger now concedes that luck was with him at that time, because, when Ince saw some of the rushes on this director’s first picture, “The Pinch Hitter,” starring Charles Ray, he was allowed to continue as a director.
At that time Charley was getting $35.00 per week. Schertzinger now laughingly reminiscences, “I think we established the record in the film industry as the lowest paid star and director.” Schertzinger said that he made twenty-one pictures starring Charles Ray before his salary climbed to one century per week.
Schertzinger includes among his many contributions to filmdom’s constellation: Ramon Novarro, Renée Adorée and Rudolph Valentino. Schertzinger said that he saw Valentino for the first time in San Francisco while he was engaged in a vaudeville dancing skit with Eonnie Glass. This director, who said he had known Miss Glass some time prior to this incident, saw her after the show and inquired about Valentino. The following week, while Valentino and his partner were playing in Los Angeles, Schertzinger said that he interviewed Valentino at the Alexandria Hotel and gave him: his first screen test and a “bit” in “Other Men’s Wives,” starring Dorothy Dalton.
Schertzinger states that he discovered Novarro while the latter was appearing as a dancer in the Majestic Theatre in Los Angeles, and gave him his first film part in “The Concert,” which Schertzinger was directing for Sam Goldwyn.
He’s Now with Fox
Schertzinger is now rounding-out his second year at the Fox Studios, during which time he has made about eight big pictures for this corporation. He considers “The Return of Peter Grimm” as his finest directorial effort.
Others which he personally rates highly are “Thunder Mountain,” “Siberia” and “The Lily.”
Schertzinger’s next picture for Fox will probably be the super-special, “Balahoo,” with Victor McLaglen in the leading role. This picture he expects to be well in production early in the year.
Schertzinger also includes in his long chain of directorial accomplishments two Jackie Coogan features, “Long Live the King” and “Boy of Flanders.”
Collection: Moving Picture World, January 1927