Issue: Summer 2022

A New Direction

In Hollywood the hills and surrounding neighborhoods are filled with the stories of those who came to Los Angeles following the footsteps of Lasky and DeMille in the dawn of the entertainment industry.

Not so much the “wild west,” Los Angeles was beginning to grow into the metropolis it would become. Still, the new industry was expanding at a phenomenal rate and it needed actors and workers. It wasn’t long before unknowns were household names as movies became the most popular form of entertainment throughout the country.

This is the story of one of the giants who created Hollywood, acting in 63 silent films, directing 135 from the teens until 1955, writing 42, and producing 31. That’s what you call a “body of work.”

Born in Glasgow, Scotland, in the early 1900s, Frank Lloyd started out as a stage actor and singer in London. He emigrated to Canada as a carpenter. He joined a traveling theatrical troupe, met and married his first wife, Alma, an actress, and headed to Hollywood garnering a Universal contract in 1913. He acted in 63 films, but the silent film genre wasn’t kind to Lloyd and following poor critical notices, he turned his skills to writing and directing. A fortuitous decision which led to his place in filmdom history.

Frank Lloyd’s star was rising and between 1917-1919, he directed 15 films for Fox—the majority were Zane Grey westerns and adaptations of classic literature (A Tale of Two Cities and Les Misérables).  After a spell with Samuel Goldwyn, Lloyd joined First National/Warner Brothers and became the resident specialist in period drama and swashbuckling adventure. Among his most famous films were Oliver Twist (1922), with Jackie Coogan in the title role .and Lon Chaney as Fagin; and The Sea Hawk (1924).

In 1928, Frank Lloyd joined Douglas Fairbanks, Sr., Mary Pickford, Irving Thalberg, Louis B. Mayer and the Warner brothers and 32 other prominent filmmakers to form the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. In 1929, Lloyd became the second director to receive a coveted Academy Award, for The Divine Lady (1928).

With his career well-established and, like many of the era, Lloyd and Alma bought a home in the Los Feliz area in the east Hollywood Hills.

Much of Lloyd's acclaim is based on his work during the 1930's working at all the major studios. At Fox, in 1933 he directed Noël Coward's Cavalcade and the historical fantasy Berkeley Square, both with meticulous attention to geographic and period detail. Cavalcade won Lloyd his second Oscar. Lloyd's brief stint at MGM in 1935 culminated in the greatest success of his career. Mutiny on the Bounty won the Best Picture Oscar and Oscar nominations for Clark Gable, Charles Laughton and Franchot Tone. Lloyd continued in the same vein with the rollicking Foreign Legion adventure Under Two Flags (1936) and the sweeping big budget western epic Wells Fargo (1937). Also at Paramount, and, he filmed the romantic story If I Were King (1938) with Ronald Colman and Basil Rathbone.

In 1936, Frank Lloyd was among the small group of the best-known directors who joined together to protect the economic and creative rights of directors in motion pictures, The Directors Guild of America.

After completing a two-year contract at Columbia (1940-41), Lloyd served in World War II in command of the 13th Air Force Combat Camera Unit, turning out short documentaries. He rose to the rank of major and was decorated with the Legion of Merit. After the war, he temporarily retired to life on his Carmel Valley ranch, but made a brief comeback after the death of his wife Alma. His swan song for Republic Studio in 1955 was the story of the Battle of the Alamo, The Last Command, a suitably-titled finale to the career of one of the great action directors of the period. Lloyd has a star on the Walk of Fame on Hollywood Boulevard. DH

This property at 2310 N. Catalina Street, recently offered at $7,995,000, is being represented by Timothy Di Prizito & Joyce Rey of Coldwell Banker Realty, Global Luxury in Beverly Hills (310) 266-2777.

Contiguous with this home, and also just listed for sale by Di Prizito/Rey, is another prime Los Feliz home, a renovated 1936 Hollywood Regency, 4818 Bonvue Ave., listed at $5,195,000. It features a huge sports court and is a unique opportunity to create an incredible compound estate by combining both properties. and