Walter Hill

The son of a ship's riveter, director/writer Walter Hill studied art in Mexico City, hoping to become a cartoonist; he later transferred to the journalism department at the University of Michigan. Following several years in various jobs, Hill wrote a few documentary films and gained work as an assistant director on such major productions as The Thomas Crown Affair (1968) and Bullitt (1968). Establishing himself in Hollywood as a screenwriter (The Getaway [1972], The Drowning Pool [1975] and others), Hill received his first directing opportunity with Hard Times (1975), a virile tale about bare-knuckles boxing starring Charles Bronson and James Coburn. Hill's reputation was both enhanced and tarnished by The Warriors (1979), a nightmarish, deliberately exaggerated story of gang violence that was banned from several theaters for allegedly inciting real-life gang wars. The director's biggest moneymaker of the early 1980s was 48 Hours (1982), which deftly shifted from grim violence to laugh-out-loud comedy and which made a star of Eddie Murphy. Streets of Fire (1984), which like The Warriors placed a ruggedly realistic story in a near-fantasy setting, didn't do as well as expected, and Hill found himself settling for lesser directing projects for the next few years. Recently, his Geronimo: An American Legend (1993) was somewhat lost amidst a sea of competing "revisionist" westerns. Though his R-rated style is not altogether suited for TV, Hill has nonetheless had his name on the credits of two series since 1989: since he owns the rights to several horror stories from the days of the classic E.C. comic books, Hill is listed as one of the producers of Tales from the Crypt (for which he directed several segments) and its cartoon spin-off Tales from the Cryptkeeper. ~ Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide.

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