Wowed by Warren William

Though he may not be well remembered by your average Jill or Joe, for movie buffs, Warren William is an icon of talkies-era Hollywood—especially the pre-code years.

Though he played a few good guys, William’s typical character ranged from roué to to slimeball. He is, for fans of 1930s cinema, the man we love to hate. As Roger Fristoe wrote for, “William played his fast-talking, opportunistic characters with such style and dash that Depression-era audiences often found themselves rooting for him.”

William’s characters were not fellows you’d trust with your sister—or your wife. Or your girlfriend. Or your cousin. Or your mother. But he had a slimy sort of savoir-faire that makes him but irresistible to on the screen, silver or small.

We rarely pass up an opportunity to see a Warren William picture, and neither should you. He’s the featured star today—Thursday, August 30—during TCM’s August Under the Stars festival. If you’re familiar with Warren’s work, you’re bound to find a title or two you’ve not seen among the 16 pictures being shown during his 24 hours in the spotlight.

And if you’ve not yet been exposed to William, set that alarm clock or DVR to ensure you don’t miss a minute of the fun, which kicks off at 6 a.m. ET with 1934’s Bedside, a prime pre-code that will serve a fine introduction to William’s slithery charms.

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