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Canadian Film Encyclopedia

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Frank C. Badgley

Frank Badgley was the director of the Canadian Government Motion Picture Bureau from 1927 until its absorption into the National Film Board in June, 1941. He made some efforts to realign the Bureau from its direction under Ray Peck, but ultimately had little impact on the Bureau’s gradual drift into ineffectiveness – though his administrative inexperience, the introduction of sound and the effects of the Depression were also contributing factors.

Originally a journalist, Badgley served in World War I and later began acting in vaudeville shows. After landing a small role in D.W. Griffith’s Way Down East (1920), he worked briefly as a bit player in Hollywood before returning to Canada. He joined the Bureau in 1921 as a writer and director and made many of the Bureau’s films in the twenties, though he also continued acting on occasion and appeared as a tough fur trader in Henry MacRae’s The Man from Glengarry (1922).

Badgley directed, wrote and edited (with W.W. Murray) what is perhaps the Bureau’s most notable film, Lest We Forget (1935), a feature compilation of Canada’s role in the First World War. He also produced Salute to Valour (1937) and the feature-length The Royal Visit (1939). During the transition period in which the Bureau was amalgamated into the NFB, Badgley produced such notable films as Stuart Legg’s The Case of Charlie Gordon (1939) and Youth Is Tomorrow (1939). Once the Bureau was dissolved in 1941, he went on to produce and direct films for the Department of Trade and Commerce in Ottawa.