his home studio, Warner Bros.
He was born in 1906 in one of only two Jewish families in tiny Vienna, Georgia. Having to toughen up and defend himself likely later put him on equal ground with his tyrant boss. After graduating from Ogelthorpe University, he high-tailed it to New York. He wanted to be an actor but managed some writing and got his first taste of directing via some productions at summer camps in upstate New York.
The first was Nora Prentiss, a nightclub singer who becomes a patient of a quiet, family-man doctor and they begin an affair that spins wildly out of control. I thought Kent Smith was an odd choice for the doctor but Sheridan was so good as the naughty girl. The second film, The Unfaithful, a loose remake of another Davis film, The Letter, had Sheridan caught between Lew Ayres and Zachary Scott in an engrossing murder mystery.
|Crawford with Cochran, Egan and Brian|
Their first film, 1950s The Damned Don't Cry, is my favorite of the bunch... and that says a lot. With Crawford as an ordinary person who aspires to be a gangster's moll, it is mind-bogglingly silly at times. I hear a line and I can just imagine Crawford saying at a script conference... I want to say that line more butch. She had sexual romps with two of her three costars, Steve Cochran and David Brian. Richard Egan may have made it unanimous but no one ever told me. How could Sherman have not known? Ah, Hollywood.
|With Rita Hayworth on the set of Affair in Trinidad|
His films from here on out were not as valued as his earlier work. He went to MGM to put Clark Gable and Ava Gardner through their paces in the occasionally enjoyable Lone Star (1951). Then he headed over to Columbia. Rita Hayworth had ditched her life as a princess and was returning to Hollywood. Her first film in several years would be Affair in Trinidad (1952), a ripoff of her former Gilda, but it held my interest throughout. The actress and the director took to one another and had a lovely, leisurely affair. He thought the world of her.
In 1959 Sherman helmed an early Paul Newman flick, the soap opera, The Young Philadelphians... all about the trials and tribulations of an ambitious, sometimes brash young attorney. Ice Palace (1960) was also ambitious... maybe a little too much so. Edna Ferber gave her usual multi-generational touch, this time to the cannery business in WWI Alaska. Two growling heavyweights, Richard Burton and Robert Ryan, play partners who segue into enmity while having children who marry one another.
A Fever in the Blood (1961) took the director back to Warner Bros, surprisingly to film a story about the murder of a socialite. I liked it but I think its run was a short one. Efrem Zimbalist, Angie Dickinson and Don Ameche headed the cast. That same year Sherman was back at MGM for one of those inane comedies that Debbie Reynolds made around that time. In The Second Time Around she was a young widow who left New York for the west and becomes a sheriff. Uh-huh, see what I mean?
He continued to work, mainly directing series television. He directed multiple episodes of such shows as The Waltons, Medical Center, The Long Hot Summer and Baretta.
Little was heard of him after 1983 until he died in 2006 at the Woodland Hills (California) Motion Picture Country Hospital of old age. He was one month shy of his 100th birthday.
He and I certainly had one thing in common... a love of actresses. He got some very fine work out of a number of the top ladies of the day and I've enjoyed most everything he did.