Sunday, January 31, 2021

WILSON (1944), Darryl F. Zanuck's Forgotten Campaign for World Peace

It was August 1944 and World War II was advancing toward its cataclysmic end when 20th Century Fox launched a heavily promoted biographical spectacular, Darryl F. Zanuck’s production of Wilson. A tribute to Woodrow Wilson, 28th president of the United States, and his vision for world peace, Wilson was the most lavishly mounted film since David O. Selznick’s Gone with the Wind (1939) and would go on to be nominated for 10 Oscars, including Best Picture. The film debuted with great fanfare and was received with acclaim and enthusiasm. The Washington Post raved, citing Wilson as “one of the most distinguished films in the whole history of cinema.” Yet Wilson would also earn a reputation as “Zanuck’s folly” and disappear into the dustbin of movie history.