In his own way one of the most neglected directors of all time, mention William Wyler to most people and they'll stare at you blankly. They might start to pay attention if you go on to mention Ben-Hur. Or Roman Holiday. Or Mrs. Miniver. Or Wuthering Heights. Or The Best Years of Our Lives. Or Funny Girl. You get the picture.

Wyler was a slick studio man whose versatility allowed him to move effortlessly from westerns to romantic comedies to period dramas to thrillers to musicals to serious character studies to war movies to sword-and-sandal epics. Along the way he established Bette Davis as a star, taught Laurence Olivier how to be a film actor, introduced the world to Audrey Hepburn; won three Oscars, out of a total of twelve nominations (more than any other director by a margin of four), directed a record three Best Picture winners, and directed a record thirty-six Oscar-nominated performances, out of which a record fourteen won. Sadly, this versatility is also why he is so neglected-it's easy to see the mark left on a film by someone like John Ford or Alfred Hitchcock, but not so easy to see the influence of someone like Wyler.

In short: William Wyler! Tell your friends.

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