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Overview (4)

Born in Potter Valley, California, USA
Died in Beverly Hills, California, USA
Birth NameCharles Galloway Clarke
Height 5' 11" (1.8 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Ace cinematographer Charles G. Clarke was born on March 19, 1899, in Potter Valley, California. He got into the film business in 1915 as an assistant cameraman at Universal Pictures. He served in the army overseas during World War One, and when he returned home got a job with the National Film Co. as an assistant cameraman. He was promoted to cinematographer on the serial The Son of Tarzan (1920). He worked steadily on virtually every type of film, from serials at the independents to big splashy musicals and epics at the major studios (he shot all of the China location footage and much of the studio work for MGM's The Good Earth (1937), although he didn't get screen credit for it). He did much work for Fox Films in the 1930s, then went over to MGM for a few years. In 1938 he went back to Fox--now 20th Century-Fox--and with few exceptions, stayed there for the rest of his career, working on everything from the studio's low-budget Mr. Moto and Charley Chan series pictures to action films (Guadalcanal Diary (1943)) to folksy outdoor pictures (Thunderhead - Son of Flicka (1945) and Smoky (1946)) to big CinemaScope musicals (Stars and Stripes Forever (1952)). He died at his home in Beverly Hills, CA, in 1983.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: frankfob2@yahoo.com

Spouse (1)

Marian Bowden (1930 - ?)

Trivia (5)

President American Society of Cinematographers (ASC) 1948-1950.
President American Society of Cinematographers (ASC) 1951-1953.
In 1922 Clarke was invited to a demonstration of a new three-dimensional projection process in which a theater was equipped with two special projectors. Each seat in the theater had a flexible shaft arrangement, at the end of which was a shutter contained between two plates of glass. The shutter was rotated by a tiny motor which was driven in synchronization with a special shutter in front of the two projectors. The viewer saw the performance through a little shutter located at each seat. The process turned out to be not very successful, and it soon faded away. But its name stuck--"television".
In 1928 Clarke and a crew were sent to Alaska to shoot some background footage for a film to be made about Eskimos. During their stay they became lost on the Arctic tundra and wandered with little food and water for ten days before they were finally spotted by a rescue plane. Clarke's party was unable to sleep during that period, because of snow blindness and the fear that if they went to sleep they would freeze to death, and in his autobiography he stated that the experience so unnerved him that for the rest of his life he was never able to get a good night's sleep.
There is an article about Charles G. Clarke filming "The Barbarian and the Geisha" in Japan in "American Cinematographer" Jan., 1958. "Hollywood's Globetrotting Cameraman" by Clifford Harrington. The working title for this film was "The Townsend Harris Story".

Personal Quotes (1)

[about Will Rogers, whom Clarke worked with on several pictures] He had no respect for the marks on the floor, which are placed there as guides to proper lighting and focusing. The cinematographer, when doing a scene with Rogers, just had to hope for the best, for we never knew where he would land. He never said the same lines or did the same bit of business from take to take to take. Some of the older stage actors might have felt this was lack of discipline, but Will Rogers had a gift that few others possess: he had an uncanny wit and a sense of what amused people. He never pretended to be an actor and perhaps this was his greatest asset.

Salary (4)

Java Head (1923) $20 /week
You Can't Fool Your Wife (1923) $20 /week
Flaming Barriers (1924) $75 /week
A Racing Romeo (1927) $275 /week

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