Op twee dagen tijd heb ik naar twee films van Joshua Logan gekeken (foto IMDb). Het betrof telkens een musical. Eerst was er “South Pacific” en gisteren “Paint your wagon”.

Joshua Lockwood Logan III was born in Texarkana, Texas. When he was three years old, his father committed suicide. Logan, his mother, and younger sister, Mary Lee, then moved to his maternal grandparents’ home in Mansfield, Louisiana, which Logan used forty years later as the setting for his play The Wisteria Trees. Logan’s mother remarried six years after his father’s death and he then attended Culver Military Academy in Culver, Indiana, where his stepfather served on the staff as a teacher. At school, he experienced his first drama class and felt at home. After his high school graduation he attended Princeton University. At Princeton, he was involved with the intercollegiate summer stock company, known as the University Players, with fellow student James Stewart and also non-student Henry Fonda. Before his graduation, he won a scholarship to travel to Moscow to observe the rehearsals of Konstantin Stanislavski, and Logan left school without a diploma.

Logan began his Broadway career as an actor in Carry Nation in 1932. He was also in I Was Waiting for You (1933). He then spent time in London, where he staged two productions and directed a touring revival of Camille. He also worked as an assistant stage manager. Back on Broadway he staged It’s You I Want (1935) and To See Ourselves (1935) and was stage manager for Most of the Game (1935). He staged Hell Freezes Over (1935–36) and returned to acting with A Room in Red and White (1936).

He went to Hollywood where he did some dialogue directing on The Garden of Allah (1936), History Is Made at Night (1937), and Suez (1938). Logan was given the chance to co-direct a feature film, I Met My Love Again (1938) for Walter Wanger.

Logan returned to Broadway where he had his first major success as a director with Paul Osborn’s On Borrowed Time (1938) which ran for 321 performances. He followed it with the musical I Married an Angel (1938–39) which ran for 331 performances. He directed Knickerbocker Holiday (1938), Stars in Your Eyes (1939), Osborn’s Morning’s at Seven (1939–40), Two For the Show (1940), and Higher and Higher (1940, 84 performances). None of these was a break-out success but his revival of Charley’s Aunt (1940–41) went for 233 performances, and the Hart-Rodgers musical By Jupiter (1942–43) with Ray Bolger went for 427 performances.

In 1942, Logan was drafted by the U.S. Army. During his service in World War II, he acted as a public-relations and intelligence officer. Logan was selected to become an assistant director of Irving Berlin‘s This Is the Army and when in Europe organised “jeep shows” of entertainers serving as soldiers doing their shows near the front lines.

When the war concluded he was discharged with the rank of Captain, and returned to Broadway. He married his second wife, actress Nedda Harrigan, in 1945; Logan’s previous marriage, to actress Barbara O’Neil, a colleague of his at the University Players in the 1930s, had ended in divorce.

Logan’s directing career resumed with the musical Annie Get Your Gun (1946–49) which ran for 1,147 performances. He followed it with Anita Loos‘ Happy Birthday (1948, 563 performances), and Norman Krasna‘s John Loves Mary (1948–49, 423 performances). Logan’s golden run continued with Mister Roberts (1948–51) which he co-wrote as well as directed; it ran for 1157 performances and earned him a Tony Award.

Then he directed and co-wrote South Pacific (1949–54) which went for 1,925 performances. Logan shared the 1950 Pulitzer Prize for Drama with Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II for co-writing South Pacific. The show also earned him a Tony Award for Best Director.

Logan wrote, produced and directed The Wisteria Tree (1950), an adaptation of The Cherry Orchard which was a minor success. Logan cowrote, coproduced, and directed the 1952 musical Wish You Were Here. After the show was not initially successful, Logan quickly wrote 54 new pages of material, and by the ninth performance the show looked new. In its fourth week of release, the show sold out, and continued to offer sell-out performances for the next two years.

He had another success with Picnic (1953–54), the play by William Inge, which went for 477 performances. Krasna’s Kind Sir (1953–54) lasted 166 performances, but Fanny (1953–54) which Logan co-wrote, co-produced and directed, ran 888 performances.

When director John Ford became sick, Logan reluctantly returned to Hollywood to complete the filming of Mister Roberts (1955). It was a success commercially and critically. Logan directed the film adaptation of his own Picnic (1955), for which Logan received an Oscar nomination. His next movie, Bus Stop (1956) with Marilyn Monroe, was another hit.

He visited Japan to direct Marlon Brando in Sayonara (1957), which earned him a second Oscar nomination for Best Director. Then he did the big screen version of South Pacific (1958). In Tall Story (1960) he introduced Jane Fonda to cinema audiences. In 2019, Jane Fonda claimed both she and Logan were in love with lead actor Anthony Perkins at the time of filming, causing tension during an already difficult shoot.

In 1961, he was a member of the jury at the 2nd Moscow International Film Festival. Logan continued to alternate Broadway and Hollywood for the rest of the 60s. After Ready When You Are, C.B.! (1964–65, 80 performances), he did the films of Lerner and Loewe‘s Camelot (1967), and Paint Your Wagon (1969). This movie version however, bears little resemblance to the Broadway musical on which it was based. The original plot, about an inter-ethnic love story, was discarded as being too dated. The only elements retained from the original included the title, the gold rush setting and about half of the songs. In the play, Elizabeth (in the movie Jean Seberg) has a minor role, Pardner (Clint Eastwood) does not even appear, and Ben Rumson (Lee Marvin) dies at the end.

Director Joshua Logan decided to shoot on-location. He commissioned a huge mining town in the middle of Oregon’s Blue Mountains, which was painstakingly constructed over seven months. This caused this movie to run wildly overbudget before filming even began. The location caused logistical nightmares: cast and crew slept in tents on-location, constantly running low on filming supplies, food, and other amenities. The stars were taken to and from the location by helicopter. The shoot attracted local vagrants and hippies (waaronder The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band), who stole food and supplies from the set. Logan cast them as extras, though they refused his instructions to cut their hair or wear period clothing. Eventually the extras organized a makeshift union, demanding twenty-five dollar a day payments and commissary bags full of food for fellow hippies. Director Joshua Logan, aggravated by an overlong shoot and lacking replacements, gave in to their demands. Filming climaxed with Joshua Logan dynamiting the set, a fitting end to a long arduous shoot. Clint Eastwood claimed to have seen three different versions of this movie: the director’s cut, the producers’ cut (being Alan Jay Lerner), and the studio’s cut. He said that the version prepared by director Joshua Logan, whom he greatly admired, was easily the best, “but that wasn’t the one that was released”. In any event, Logan saw this movie through to the end, but he never made any more movies.

Logan’s 1976 autobiography Josh: My Up-and-Down, In-and-Out Life gives a frank account of his bipolar disorder. He appeared with his wife in the 1977 nightclub revue Musical Moments, featuring Logan’s most popular Broadway numbers. He published Movie Stars, Real People, and Me in 1978.

From 1983–1986, he taught theater at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, Florida. Logan was married briefly (1939–1940) to actress Barbara O’Neil. After the couple divorced, he was married to Nedda Harrigan from 1945 until his death from progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP) in New York City in 1988. [Wikipedia]

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