Van Heflin

A Life in Film


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About the Book

A versatile craftsman, actor Van Heflin was never concerned with popularity or comfortable with stardom. Lauded by his peers, Heflin won over moviegoers with his portrayal of resolute homesteader Joe Starrett in George Stevens’ classic Shane (1953). He impressed in all genres, convincingly portraying every type of character from heel to hero.

Van Heflin first garnered attention as the sensitive, alcoholic friend of gangster Johnny Eager (1941), for which he won an Academy Award, and later gave notable performances in a string of noirs, dramas and westerns. He was memorable as the psychotic cop in Joseph Losey’s masterpiece The Prowler (1951) but equally impressive as the doubtful executive in Jean Negulesco’s smart satire Woman’s World (1954). This first full-length biography of Heflin covers his early life as a sailor and his career on stage and screen, providing detailed commentary on all his films.

About the Author(s)

Derek Sculthorpe, an archives assistant and researcher, has written plays, short stories and articles. He lives in Leeds, Yorkshire.

Bibliographic Details

Derek Sculthorpe

Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 240
Bibliographic Info: 37 photos, appendix, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2016
pISBN: 978-0-7864-9686-0
eISBN: 978-1-4766-2303-0
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix
Preface 1
One. The Call of the Sea (1908–32) 5
Two. The Lure of the Stage (1931–41) 15
Three. Hollywood Awaits (1936–41) 25
Four. “Watch Out for Heflin”: Eager and After (1941–45) 42
Five. Radio Days (1934–60) 58
Six. Dissatisfaction at MGM (1945–49) 65
Seven. Possessed by Noir (1946–51) 87
Eight. Freelancer (1950–55) 104
Nine. Shane and After (1953–59) 122
Ten. Return to the Stage (1952–65) 140
Eleven. European Sojourn (1958–68) 148
Twelve. Reluctantly to Television (1950–71) 163
Thirteen. The Final Years (1963–71) 168
Epilogue 186
Appendix: Film, Stage, Radio and Television Credits 191
Chapter Notes 201
Bibliography 217
Index 221

Book Reviews & Awards

“Sculthorpe is an excellent writer. The author really went the extra mile to watch (and listen) to the actor’s performances, and this one factor alone puts this bio head and shoulders above a lot of similar books. I highly recommend this terrific, well-written volume…you will not be disappointed,”—Classic Images

“A deep and thorough analysis of Heflin’s career…this book gives us a greater appreciation of his work as well as insights into his life…very highly recommended…an exceptional job”—Examiner