Sam Wood (Who’s Who at MGM, 1937) 🇺🇸

January 07, 2022

Sam Wood bought a “gold-brick” and surprised even himself when it proved to be made of money. He invested in some of the primitive one-reel pictures and discovered that he had to learn all about pictures to protect his investment.

The son of William and Katherine Wood, the director was born July 10, in Philadelphia, where he was educated. An all-around athlete, he was noted in football, baseball and rowing. In fact, Sam was offered scholarships in several colleges because of his prowess.

In Real Estate Game

Learning the real estate business, he decided to go West where land prices were rising. His first stop was at Central City, Colorado, where he helped to install the water system. Then he landed in Los Angeles, where he subdivided a number of realty tracts and became a prominent figure in the real estate game.

He made many friends among theatrical people and, when the movie industry started to flourish, several producers approached Wood with propositions to invest. He studied directing, from its dramatic as well as commercial aspect, and acted to learn different director’s methods. He worked with C. B. DeMille, who made him his assistant director and, as a result. Wood became a full-fledged director.

Directed Wallace Reid

His early fame came with the well-remembered racing pictures with Wallace Reid. For more than five years Wood directed Reid, Gloria Swanson and Rudolph Valentino. He saw possibilities in Red Grange and produced the picture, “One Minute to Play.” It was such a success that he was signed to take full charge of production at the F. B. O. Studios, but he later gave up the job to stay with directing.

He went to Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer under contract and has been associated with that company ever since. Among his most successful pictures are “Rookies,” “Let ‘Em Have It,” “Hold Your Man,” “The Late Christopher Bean,” “Prosperity,” “Paid,” “Get-Rich-Quick Wallingford,” “The Richest Man in the World,” “Huddle,” “A Night at the Opera,” “Whipsaw,” “The Unguarded Hour,” “A Day at the Races,” “Madame X” and “Navy Blue and Gold.”

Traveled With Marxes

In preparation for directing the Marx Brothers in both “A Night at the Opera” and “A Day at the Races,” Wood traveled with the trio of comedians from city to city, watching the audience reaction to the various comedy lines, songs and gags. He is a firm believer that this is the only practical method of screening a comedy.

Although he has been responsible for a few dramatic productions, Wood always has shown a definite preference for directing comedies. From the time he left DeMille he has concentrated on creating laughs for the screen.

He always has been a great believer in youthful talent and many of his pictures have resulted in the launching of new personalities who ultimately have achieved greatness in the cinema world.

It was this penchant for directing youngsters in his productions that resulted in his making so many college and football stories, most notable of which probably was “Navy Blue and Gold.”

Source: Who’s Who at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 1937