Quirky, inventive and handsome US actor, Michael Keaton first achieved major fame with his door busting performance as fast talking, ideas man "Bill Blazejowski" alongside nerdish morgue attendant Henry Winkler in Night Shift.
Keaton was born Michael John Douglas on September 5, 1951 in Coraopolis, Pennsylvannia, to Leona Elizabeth (Loftus), a homemaker, and George A. Douglas, a civil engineer and surveyor. He is of Irish, as well as English, Scottish, and German, descent. Michael studied speech for two years at Kent State, before dropping out and moving to Pittsburgh. An unsuccessful attempt at stand-up comedy led Keaton to working as a TV cameraman in a cable station, and he came to realize he wanted to work in front of the cameras.
Keaton first appeared on TV in several episodes of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood. He left Pittsburgh and moved to Los Angeles to begin auditioning for TV. He began cropping up in popular TV shows including Maude and The Mary Tyler Moore Hour. Around this time, Keaton decided to use an alternative surname to remove confusion with better-known actor Michael Douglas. After reading an article on actress Diane Keaton, he decided that Michael Keaton sounded good. His next break was scoring a co-starring role alongside Jim Belushi in the short-lived comedy series Working Stiffs, which showcased his comedic talent and led to his co-starring role in Night Shift. Keaton next scored the lead in the comedy hits Mr. Mom, Johnny Dangerously , Gung Ho and the Tim Burton horror-comedy Beetlejuice.
Keaton's career was given another major boost when, in 1989, Tim Burton cast him as millionaire playboy / crime-fighter "Bruce Wayne" in the big budget Batman. To say there were howls of protest by fans of the caped crusader comic strip is an understatement! Warner Bros. was deluged with thousands of letters of complaint commenting that comedian Keaton was the wrong choice for the Caped Crusader. Their fears were proven wrong when Keaton turned in a sensational performance, and he held his own on screen with opponent Jack Nicholson playing the lunatic villain, "The Joker". Keen to diversify his work, Keaton next appeared as a psychotic tenant in Pacific Heights, as a hard-working cop in One Good Cop and then donned the black cape and cowl once more for Batman Returns. He remained in demand during the 1990s, appearing in a wide range of films including the star-studded Shakespearian Much Ado About Nothing, another Ron Howard comedy The Paper, with sexy Andie MacDowell in Multiplicity, as a dogged cop in Jackie Brown and the mediocre thriller Desperate Measures. In the 2000s, Keaton has appeared in several productions with mixed success, including Live from Baghdad, First Daughter and Herbie Fully Loaded. He returned to major film roles in the 2010s, co-starring in RoboCop and Need for Speed, and playing the lead in Best Picture Oscar winner Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance), for which he received an Oscar nomination for Best Actor, his first.
Anthony Quinn was born Antonio Rudolfo Oaxaca Quinn on April 21, 1915, in Chihuahua, Mexico, to Manuela (Oaxaca) and Francisco Quinn, who became an assistant cameraman at a Los Angeles (CA) film studio. His paternal grandfather was Irish, and the rest of his family was Mexican. After starting life in extremely modest circumstances in Mexico, his family moved to Los Angeles, where he grew up in the Boyle Heights and Echo Park neighborhoods. He attended Polytechnic High School and later Belmont High, but eventually dropped out. The young Quinn boxed (which stood him in good stead as a stage actor, when he played Stanley Kowalski in "A Streetcar Named Desire" to rave reviews in Chicago), then later studied architecture under Frank Lloyd Wright at the great architect's studio, Taliesin, in Arizona. Quinn was close to Wright, who encouraged him when he decided to give acting a try. After a brief apprenticeship on stage, Quinn hit Hollywood in 1936 and picked up a variety of small roles in several films at Paramount, including an Indian warrior in The Plainsman, which was directed by the man who later became his father-in-law, Cecil B. DeMille.
As a contract player at Paramount, Quinn mainly played villains and ethnic types, such as an Arab chieftain in the Bing Crosby-Bob Hope vehicle Road to Morocco. As a Mexican national (he did not become an American citizen until 1947), he was exempt from the draft. With many actors in the service fighting World War II, Quinn was able to move up into better supporting roles. He had married DeMille's daughter Katherine DeMille, which afforded him entrance to the top circles of Hollywood society.
He became disenchanted with his career and did not renew his Paramount contract despite the advice of others, including his father-in-law (whom Quinn felt never accepted him due to his Mexican roots). Instead, he returned to the stage to hone his craft. His portrayal of Stanley Kowalski in "A Streetcar Named Desire" in Chicago and on Broadway (where he replaced the legendary Marlon Brando, who is forever associated with the role) made his reputation and boosted his film career when he returned to the movies.
Brando and Elia Kazan, who directed "Streetcar" on Broadway and on film (A Streetcar Named Desire), were crucial to Quinn's future success. Kazan, knowing the two were potential rivals due to their acclaimed portrayals of Kowalski, cast Quinn as Brando's brother in his biographical film of Mexican revolutionary Emiliano Zapata, Viva Zapata!. Quinn won the Best Supporting Actor Academy Award for 1952, making him the first Mexican-American to win an Oscar. It was not to be his lone appearance in the winner's circle: he won his second Supporting Actor Oscar in 1957 for his portrayal of Paul Gauguin in Vincente Minnelli's biographical film of Vincent van Gogh, Lust for Life, opposite Kirk Douglas. Over the next decade Quinn lived in Italy and became a major figure in world cinema, as many studios shot films in Italy to take advantage of the lower costs ("runaway production" had battered the industry since its beginnings in the New York / New Jersey area in the 1910s). He appeared in several Italian films, giving one of his greatest performances as the circus strongman who brutalizes the sweet soul played by Giulietta Masina in her husband Federico Fellini's masterpiece La Strada. Alternating between Europe and Hollywood, Quinn built his reputation and entered the front rank of character actors and character leads. He received his third Oscar nomination (and first for Best Actor) for George Cukor's Wild Is the Wind. He played a Greek resistance fighter against the Nazi occupation in the monster hit The Guns of Navarone and received kudos for his portrayal of a once-great boxer on his way down in Rod Serling's Requiem for a Heavyweight. He went back to playing ethnic parts, such as an Arab warlord in David Lean's masterpiece Lawrence of Arabia, and he played the eponymous lead in the "sword-and-sandal" blockbuster Barabbas. Two years later he reached the zenith of his career, playing Zorba the Greek in the 1964 film of the same name (a.k.a. Zorba the Greek), which brought him his fourth, and last, Oscar nomination as Best Actor. The 1960s were kind to him: he played character leads in such major films as The Shoes of the Fisherman and The Secret of Santa Vittoria. However, his appearance in the title role in the film adaptation of John Fowles' novel, The Magus, did nothing to save the film, which was one of that decade's notorious turkeys.
In the 1960s Quinn told Life magazine that he would fight against typecasting. Unfortunately, the following decade saw him slip back into playing ethnic types again, in such critical bombs as The Greek Tycoon. He starred as the Hispanic mayor of a southwestern city in the short-lived 1971 TV series The Man and the City, but his career lost its momentum during the 1970s. Aside from playing a thinly disguised Aristotle Onassis in the cinematic roman-a-clef The Greek Tycoon, his other major roles of the decade were as Hamza in the controversial The Message (a.k.a. "Mohammad, Messenger of God"), as the Italian patriarch in The Inheritance, yet another Arab in Caravans and a Mexican patriarch in The Children of Sanchez. In 1983 he reprised his most famous role, Zorba the Greek, on Broadway in the revival of the musical "Zorba", for 362 performances. Though his film career slowed during the 1990s, he continued to work steadily in films and television.
Quinn lived out the latter years of his life in Bristol, Rhode Island, where he spent most of his time painting and sculpting. He died in a hospital in Boston from pneumonia and respiratory failure linked to his battle with lung cancer. He was 86 years old.
Edward Zwick is well-known for his heroic movies that include Glory, and the breathtaking works of art that include Legends of the Fall. Zwick has also been known for his thoughtfulness as a director, and for his record of working with television series and other films as a producer.
Born in 1952, in the city of Chicago. After graduating from the AFI Conservatory in Los Angeles, California, Zwick worked as a journalist with the magazine "Rolling Stone". He found work on television in 1976 as a producer, writer and director.
Zwick eventually moved on to higher grounds, though. He made three films released for television in two years: the fashion drama Paper Dolls, the more comedic-based Having It All and Special Bulletin which is about a reporter and his cameraman held hostage by terrorists. Zwick followed up with his first theatrical release; About Last Night... starring Rob Lowe and Demi Moore. The film concerns a man and a woman attempting to enter a love affair with each other, despite their differences and the opinions of others. It was based on a theatrical production and was a success for Zwick's rising star. He raised the bar for himself with his second film three years later: bringing back a story of great heroism, Glory was a Civil War film about the first black regiment raised for the Northern army. It starred Matthew Broderick as the idealistic abolitionist "Colonel Shaw, Cary Elwes as his friend and second-in-command, Denzel Washington as an angry ex-slave who questions the point of the war, and Morgan Freeman as the wise father figure towards the other soldiers in the regiment.
Glory was a massive success commercially and critically. At the Academy Awards, the film did not gain any nominations for Zwick, but it won three Oscars for Best Cinematography, Best Sound and Best Supporting Actor (Denzel Washington). Zwick pursued television again before coming back with a light-hearted drama Leaving Normal. The film was not the success that Glory had been, though, but Zwick bounced back immediately with Legends of the Fall. The film was about a family of a father and his three sons as they live in the wilderness of Montana. The film starred Brad Pitt as the wayward middle son who cannot settle down, Anthony Hopkins as the stern father and former soldier, Aidan Quinn as the oldest brother who tries to be good and do the right thing, and Julia Ormond as the beautiful woman that is engaged to the youngest brother, played by Henry Thomas. The movie (which had been filmed in Canada) won an Oscar for Cinematography, showing massive landscapes and beautiful skies. Zwick drew wonderful performances from all of the actors, particularly Quinn, Pitt and Hopkins.
Zwick produced the television show Relativity starring Kimberly Williams-Paisley the same year as he directed the Gulf War film Courage Under Fire starring Denzel Washington, Meg Ryan and Lou Diamond Phillips. The film was a success, and helped advance a then-unknown Matt Damon's career forward. Zwick produced a couple of movies in 1998, winning his first Oscar for the film Shakespeare in Love. He had produced this film and, while he did not direct it, he helmed the action thriller The Siege instead. The film once again starred Denzel Washington in the role of an FBI agent that must combat terrorists in New York City, who are taking hostages and threatening to set off bombs in the city. Also starring in this film is Bruce Willis who plays a military officer who takes extreme measures against the city. The film was not a major success for Zwick, and he would not direct another film for five years.
Instead, Zwick turned to producing again. He received his second (and thus far, last) Oscar nomination for producing the crime film Traffic which won an Oscar for Benicio Del Toro and director Steven Soderbergh. He also produced the emotional film I Am Sam starring Sean Penn and the thriller Abandon starring Katie Holmes. It was at this time that Zwick returned to the director's chair with the epic film The Last Samurai starring Tom Cruise and Ken Watanabe. The film (which was about a U.S. military officer training soldiers in Japan how to fight against the samurai) was a success critically and commercially, earning four Oscar nominations for Acting (Watanabe), Art Direction, Sound, and Costume.
Three years after this film, Zwick filmed what is now one of his most well-known pieces of work: the powerfully emotional drama Blood Diamond starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Djimon Hounsou. The film focuses on the war in Sierra Leone, and the issues of child soldiers, diamond mining, and smuggling are discussed while the story unfolds. DiCaprio plays a mercenary-like character that becomes interested in hearing of a man (Hounsou) that has found a very large diamond and hidden it. Hounsou's character is a father who has lost his son to the rebels, and is desperately seeking for his boy in the maelstrom that Sierra Leone has become. The two are thrown together reluctantly initially, but decide that they would be worse off without each other.
This was another success for Zwick, and it earned five Oscar nominations at the Academy Awards: two for the lead actors, two for sound and sound editing, and one for editing. Zwick once again did not receive any nominations for directing. In 2008, his latest film, Defiance finished filming and was set for a December release. It starred Daniel Craig, Jamie Bell, Liev Schreiber as three Jewish brothers outrunning Nazi forces occupying Poland and protecting hundreds of Jewish refugees. The film underperformed critically and commercially, but Zwick was already moving on to other things. He reunited with longtime collaborator Marshall Herskovitz to produce Herskovitz's TV made movie A Marriage.
Edward Zwick is an accomplished film maker in American cinema, but he is also a veteran of television series, and frequently juggles movies with series as he works.
Kevin Weisman is internationally known for his work as "Marshall Flinkman" on the ABC series 'Alias', which ran for five critically acclaimed seasons. TV Guide named Kevin one of television's "Top Ten Scene Stealers", and he appeared on Entertainment Weekly's "Must List" in 2006. Recently, Kevin appeared as series regular "Kives" on Stephen Merchant's two time Emmy nominated HBO comedy series, 'Hello Ladies' (TV.com named Kevin one of the ten best new characters in the fall, 2013 television season), as well as recurring characters "Dr. Jeffrey Maynard" on NBC's 'The Blacklist', "Ray Spiewack" on 'Scorpion' (CBS), and a memorable turn as "Stevie" in the critically acclaimed series, 'Better call Saul' on AMC. He will recur as "Ned Berring" in the upcoming first season of the David Kelly/Jonathan Shapiro drama, "Goliath", opposite academy award winners, Billy Bob Thornton and William Hurt, as well as Molly Parker, Nina Arianda and Maria Bello. "Goliath" premieres in the fall of 2016 on Amazon.
Kevin received a BA from Ucla's school of Theatre/Film/Television and studied at New York's Circle in the Square Theater. In the spring of 2014, Kevin appeared as the title character, Francios Villon, in Murray Mednick's world premiere play, 'Villon', at the Odyssey Theater in Los Angeles (Stage Raw nomination for 'Best leading male performance 2014')
Kevin has worked extensively in the theater, recently at the La Mirada Theater for Performing Arts, where he appeared as 'Gabe' in Donald Margulies' Pulitzer prize winning play, "Dinner with Friends", and as 'Uncle Louie' in Neil Simon's Pulitzer prize winning "Lost in Yonkers". A founding member of the award-winning and critically acclaimed Buffalo Nights Theatre Company, Kevin has served as an actor and producer on numerous productions. He starred as Griffith J. Griffith in the award- winning "Crazy Drunk" at the John Anson Ford Theatre. He also appeared in the title role in Arthur Schnitzler's "Anatol," Jean Giraudoux's "Apollo of Bellac," which received a Garland for Production of the Year and seven LA Weekly award nominations, Archibald McCleish's "J.B.," "Suburban Motel," Arthur Miller's "Incident at Vichy," Oscar Wilde's "Salome" and the West Coast premiere of Jonathon Marc Sherman's "Sophistry." Additional theatre credits include "Tis Pity She's a Whore," "The Greeks," which received the LA Weekly 2000 Production of the Year Award, and "The Goldoni Trilogy" at the Mark Taper.
Since finishing 'Alias', Weisman has worked with esteemed director Rob Reiner on 'Flipped', reunited with JJ Abrams and Jeff Pinkner on 'Fringe', and with Anthony Zuiker on all three installments of 'CSI', in addition to Zuiker's New York Times Best Selling dig novel, 'Level 26'. Recent television projects include the Emmy nominated 'Better Call Saul', recurring roles as Dr. Jeffrey Maynard on NBC's 'The Blacklist', Ray Spiewack in season 2 of 'Scorpion' on CBS, and simultaneously playing both the mysterious 'Mr. Blonde' and the straight shooting, intense 'Detective Hawkins' on NBC's critically acclaimed drama, "Awake". Other work includes, the duplicitous fight promoter on 'Kingdom' (Audience Network/Direct TV), the mad genius, Martin Gleason, on 'Human Target' (Fox), the villainous poisoner, Reardon Payne on 'Chuck' (NBC), Joseph Feller on 'Fringe' (FOX), Additional television credits include 'Felicity', 'Roswell', 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer' (as fan favorite 'Dreg', Glory's right-hand minion), 'The X-Files' (in a memorable season 7 episode entitled "Je Souhaite'), 'Frasier', 'E.R.' 'CSI', CSI: New York, CSI: Miami, 'The Forgotten' (ABC), 'Numbers' (CBS), 'Fairly Legal (USA), and 'October Road (ABC). Kevin also portrayed Steve Balfour, the 'sarcastic cameraman', on the cult hit, 'Moonlight' starring Alec O'Loughlin (CBS). '.
Kevin's recent film work includes 'Flipped', the Rob Reiner-directed feature adaptation of Wendelin Van Draanen's young adult novel, which revolves around the confusing romantic developments of 2 young neighbors as they age from 7 to 13. Aidan Quinn and Penelope Ann Miller play the girl's parents, and Weisman plays her mentally-challenged uncle. He also stars in the independent horror film, 'Undocumented' (playing a member of a documentary crew that is captured by a gang of sadistic radicals while accompanying a group of illegal immigrants crossing the border), as well as 'The Trust', starring Nicholas Cage and Elijah Wood. Previous film work includes Michael Bay's 'Gone in Sixty Seconds', 'Robbers', 'Buying the Cow', Disney's 'Space Buddies', B.O.H.I.C.A., (2008 Winner of Special Jury Award at the WorldFest-Houston Intl. Film Festival and Audience Award at the Newport Intl. Film Festival), 'Man of the Century', the 1998 Slamdance Audience Award winner, and 'Clerks 2', Kevin Smith's cult classic which featured Kevin as the very popular 'hobbit-lover'.
Weisman produced and acted in the feature film Illusion, which was released at theaters in 2006. Fellow Buffalo Nights founder & Emmy winner, Michael Goorjian directed, as well as starred in the film opposite screen legend Kirk Douglas. Illusion won the "Best Screenplay" award at the 12th Annual Hamptons International Film Festival, and it was an official selection of the 16th Annual Palm Springs Int. Film Festival. The film also competed at the 8th Annual Sonoma Valley Film Festival, the 1st Annual Inspiration Film Festival (Santa Monica), & the Maui Film Festival. Kevin has also become quite prolific in the world of voice-over. You've probably heard his soul soothing vocal timbre on radio and television ads for such companies as Apple (Ipad), Nike, Coke, ATT, and as one of the current voices of Honda. Kevin has also been busy in the burgeoning world of Internet content, recurring in Level 26: The Dark Chronicles, written and directed by CSI franchise creator, Anthony Zuiker. Kevin was an original member of 'Trainwreck', the L.A. based band featuring Kyle Gass of Tenacious D.
Weisman takes advantage of every opportunity to participate in celebrity golf, ski & poker tournaments (he is an avid player) that benefit organizations such as Tony LaRussa's Celebrities Fore! ARF (Animal Recue Foundation), The Special Olympics, The Urban Health Institute, The Melanoma Research Foundation, and The Clear View Treatment Center, which provides a residential treatment program for adolescent boys who have been neglected,, abused & abandoned. Most importantly, Kevin is the proud parent of Maya Rose (born on 3/31/06) and Eli Samuel (born on 2/11/08). Kevin is an avid supporters of numerous children's charities and Jewish organizations, including the L.A. Children's Hospital, The Children's Defense Fund, Wheels For Humanity, Bet Tzedek, a non-profit law-firm that provides free legal services to low-income, disabled & elderly residents of Los Angeles Country, and Koreh LA, a local Jewish organization that assists kids in advancing their reading skills. Particularly close to his heart is Kevin's involvement in the fight against Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, serving as a board member of the Dmd Fund.
Martin Campbell knows how to entertain an audience when he steps behind the camera. When he directed The Mask of Zorro, the movie earned Academy Award and Golden Globe nominations and launched the international careers of Antonio Banderas and Catherine Zeta-Jones. Next, when he helmed Vertical Limit, the film was well received by the critics and earned over $200 million in worldwide box-office sales. In addition, Campbell is credited with rejuvenating the James Bond franchise when he directed GoldenEye, Pierce Brosnan's first outing as the famed British spy, which went on to gross more than $350 million. He also directed Daniel Craig's debut Bond feature as well, Casino Royale.
Born in New Zealand, Campbell moved to London where he began his career as a cameraman. He went on to produce the controversial British feature Scum, as well as Black Joy, which was selected for competition at the Cannes Film Festival. Campbell made his directorial debut on the British police action series The Professionals and continued with the popular BBC series Shoestring and Thames TV's Minder
Considered one of the U.K.'s top directors by the mid-'80s, he directed the highly praised British telefilm, Reilly: Ace of Spies. For his work on Edge of Darkness, a five-hour BBC miniseries about nuclear contamination in England that depicted murder and high-ranking corruption, he won six BAFTA awards.
Campbell's first Hollywood movie was Criminal Law and he went on to direct Defenseless and No Escape. Some of his American credits include directing HBO's Cast a Deadly Spell and two episodes of NBC's Homicide: Life on the Street, among others. He also directed the epic romance Beyond Borders starring Angelina Jolie and Clive Owen.
A native-born Californian, Rhonda Fleming attended Beverly Hills public and private schools. Her mother, Effie Graham, was a famous model and actress in New York. She has a son (Kent Lane), two granddaughters (Kimberly and Kelly) and four great-grandchildren (Wagner, Page, Lane and Cole). She has appeared in over 40 films, including David O. Selznick's Spellbound, directed by Alfred Hitchcock; Jacques Tourneur's Out of the Past; and Robert Siodmak's The Spiral Staircase. She later got starring roles in such classics as A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court, Gunfight at the O.K. Corral, Home Before Dark, Pony Express, Slightly Scarlet, While the City Sleeps and The Big Circus. While she was always a competent actress, she was more renowned for her exquisite beauty, and the camera absolutely adored her. One time a cameraman on one of her films remarked on how he was so struck by her beauty that, as a gag, he intentionally tried to photograph her badly; he was astonished to discover that no matter how deliberately he botched it, she still came out looking ravishing.
Among her co-stars over the years were Gregory Peck, Robert Mitchum, Kirk Douglas, Charlton Heston, Glenn Ford, Burt Lancaster, Bob Hope, Bing Crosby, Rock Hudson and Ronald Reagan (with whom she made four films). In addition to motion pictures, Fleming made her Broadway debut in Clare Boothe Luce's "The Women", essayed the role of "Lalume" in "Kismet" at the Los Angeles Music Center and toured as "Madame Dubonnet" in "The Boyfriend". She made her stage musical debut in Las Vegas at the opening of the Tropicana Hotel's showroom. Later she appeared at the Hollywood Bowl in a one-woman concert of Cole Porter and Irving Berlin compositions. She also starred in a national ten-week concert tour with Skitch Henderson, featuring the music of George Gershwin. She has guest-starred on numerous television series, including Wagon Train, Police Woman, The Love Boat, Last Hours Before Morning and a two-hour special of McMillan & Wife. Waiting for the Wind reunited her with former co-star Robert Mitchum.
In private life she resides in Century City, California, and was married for 23 years to Ted Mann, a producer and chairman of Mann Theatres, until his death in January 2001. She is a member and supporter of Childhelp USA, ARCS (Achievement Rewards For College Scientists); a Life Associate of Pepperdine University; a Lifetime Member of the Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge; a Founding Member of the French Foundation For Alzheimer Research; a Benefactor of the Los Angeles Music Center: and a Member of the Center's Blue Ribbon Board of Directors. She is a Member of the Advisory Board of Olive Crest Treatment Centers for Abused Children and serves as a Board of Directors Trustee of World Opportunities International. Along with her husband she helped build the Jerusalem Film Institute in Israel. She also is a member of the Board of Trustees of The UCLA Foundation and a member of the Board of Advisors of the Revlon/UCLA Women's Health Research Program. In addition, she created at the City of Hope Hospital The Rhonda Fleming Mann Research Fellowship to further advance research and treatment associated with women's cancer.
In 1991, she and her husband established the Rhonda Fleming Mann Clinic for Women's Comprehensive Care at UCLA Medical Center. This clinic provides a full range of expert gynecologic and obstetric care to women. Since 1992, she has devoted her time to a second facility at UCLA - the Rhonda Fleming Mann Resource Center for Women with Cancer, which opened in early 1994. This Center is the fulfillment of her vision to create a safe, warm place where women cancer patients and their families might receive the highest quality psychosocial and emotional care as well as assistance with the complex practical problems that arise with cancer. In August 1997, the Center opened "Reflections", a unique retail store and consultation suite that carries wigs, head coverings, breast prostheses and other items to help men, women and children deal with the physical appearance changes brought on by cancer and its treatments. The staffs of the clinic, center and store are guided by her belief that caring, compassion, communication and commitment are essential components of the healing process.
Rugged-looking James Gammon first broke into the entertainment industry not as an actor but as a TV cameraman. From there, his weatherbeaten features, somewhat menacing attitude and a tough-as-nails voice--the kind that used to be described in detective novels as "whiskey-soaked"--reminiscent of '40s noir icon Charles McGraw got him work in front of the cameras in TV westerns (though he sounds as if he's from Texas or Oklahoma, he was actually born and raised in Illinois) and he made his film debut in 1967. Not the kind of guy you'd see in a tuxedo in a Noël Coward drawing-room comedy--unless he was one of a gang holding them up--Gammon could play lighter parts also, as evidenced by his work as the manager in the baseball comedy Major League and in his regular role as Don Johnson's rambunctious father in Johnson's Nash Bridges series.
Before becoming a filmmaker, Tobe Hooper, a native of Austin, Texas, spent the 1960s as a college professor and documentary cameraman. In 1974, he organized a small cast that was made up of college teachers and students, and then he and Kim Henkel made The Texas Chain Saw Massacre. This film changed the horror film industry. Hooper based it upon the real-life killings of Ed Gein, a cannibalistic killer responsible for the grisly murders of several people in the 1950s. Hooper's success with "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre" landed him in Hollywood and it remains a horror-film classic. Hooper rejoined the cast of "Texas" and with Kim Henkle again for Eaten Alive, a gory horror film with Mel Ferrer, Carolyn Jones, William Finley, and Marilyn Burns (who played the lead in "Chainsaw"). The film centered around a caretaker of a motel who feeds his guests to his pet alligator. Also in the film was Robert Englund, whom Hooper helped advance his career and worked with him again in the future. "Eaten Alive" also won many awards at Horror Film Festivals.
Hooper was assigned to the Film Ventures International production of The Dark, a science-fiction thriller. After only three day, he was fired from the film and replaced with John Cardos. Instead, Hooper had greater success with Stephen King's 1979 mini series Salem's Lot. In 1981, Hooper directed the teen-slasher film The Funhouse for Universal Pictures. Despite its success, "The Funhouse" was a minor disappointment. In 1982, Hooper found greater success when Steven Spielberg hired him to direct his production of Poltergeist for MGM. It quickly became a top-ranking major motion picture, despite some differences that were resolved by Spielberg himself taking over Hooper's directing duties.
"Poltergeist" was perhaps a greater success than "Texas Chainsaw Massacre," but it was three years until Hooper found work again. He signed a three-year contract with Menahem Golan and Yoram Globus's Cannon Group, and directed more films, including Lifeforce, the minor remake of Invaders from Mars, and the disappointing sequel The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2. Since then, Hooper's career has gone downhill. He also directed two more Robert Englund films, Night Terrors and The Mangler, in 1995 and he has also directed numerous horror television sitcoms. Recently, Hooper was asked to write a new script for Michael Bay's remake of Hooper's original Texas Chainsaw Massacre, which was released in 2003.
Russell Albion Meyer was born in San Leandro, California, to Lydia Lucinda (Hauck), a nurse, and William Arthur Meyer, a police officer, who divorced during his childhood. His parents were both of German descent. Meyer began winning prizes at 15 with his amateur films. He spent World War II in Europe as a combat cameraman. After the war, he became a professional photographer, shooting some of the earliest Playboy centerfolds. He made his film directorial debut with The Immoral Mr. Teas, the first nudie (softcore sex) film to make a profit over a million dollars, which led to a string of self-financed films that gradually became more bizarre, violent, and cartoonish. In the mid-1960s, he established his style with his Gothic period, a quartet of black-and-white films: Russ Meyer's Lorna, Mudhoney, Motorpsycho!, and Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! that many consider to be his best work. After the blockbusting Vixen!, he was hired by 20th-Century Fox to make studio pictures. The first of these, Beyond the Valley of the Dolls, was an enormous hit, but after the lukewarm reception of the uncharacteristically serious The Seven Minutes, Meyer returned to the sex-and-violence films that made his name, culminating in the delirious Beneath the Valley of the Ultra-Vixens. He spent the 1980s working on various autobiographies, both in film (Breast of Russ Meyer) and print ("A Clean Breast").
Born in New York and raised in Queens, John Frankenheimer wanted to become a professional tennis player. He loved movies and his favorite actor was Robert Mitchum. He decided he wanted to be an actor but then he applied for and was accepted in the Motion Picture Squadron of the Air Force where he realized his natural talent to handle a camera. After his military discharge he began a TV career in 1953 convincing CBS to hire him as an assistant director, which consisted mainly working as a cameraman at that time. He eventually started to direct the show he was working on as an assistant director. Frankenheimer still didn't want to direct films. He liked to direct live television, and he would have continued to do it if the profession itself hadn't cease to exist. He first turned to the big screen with The Young Stranger which he hated to do because he thought he didn't understand movies and wasn't used to work with only one camera. Disappointed his with first feature film experience he returned to his successful television career directing a total of 152 live television shows between 1954 and 1960. He took another chance to move to the cinema industry, working with Burt Lancaster in The Young Savages ending up becoming a successful filmmaker best known by expressing on films his views on important social and philosophical topics.
William Wyler was an American filmmaker who, at the time of his death in 1981, was considered by his peers as second only to John Ford as a master craftsman of cinema. The winner of three Best Director Academy Awards, second again only to Ford's four, Wyler's reputation has unfairly suffered as the lack of an obvious "signature" in his diverse body of work denies him the honorific "auteur" that has become a standard measure of greatness in the post-"Cahiers du Cinema" critical community. Estimable, but inferior, directors typically are praised more than is Wyler, due to an obviousness of style that makes it easy to encapsulate their work. However, no American director after D.W. Griffith and the early Cecil B. DeMille, not even the great Orson Welles, did as much to fully develop the basic canon of filmmaking technique than did Wyler -- once again, with the caveat of John Ford.
Wyler's directorial career spanned 45 years, from silent pictures to the cultural revolution of the 1970s. Nominated a record 12 times for an Academy Award as Best Director, he won three and in 1966, was honored with the Irving Thalberg Award, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences' ultimate accolade for a producer. So high was his reputation in his lifetime that he was the fourth recipient of the American Film Institute's Lifetime Achievement Award, after Ford, James Cagney and Welles. Along with Ford and Welles, Wyler ranks with the best and most influential American directors, including Griffith, DeMille, Frank Capra, Howard Hawks, Alfred Hitchcock, Stanley Kubrick and Steven Spielberg.
Born Willi Wyler on July 1, 1902, in Mulhouse in the province of Alsace, then a possession of Germany, to a Swiss father and a German mother, Wyler used his family connections to establish himself in the film industry. Upon being offered a job by his mother's first cousin, Universal Studios head Carl Laemmle, Wyler emigrated to the US in 1920 at the age of 18. After starting in Universal's New York offices as an errand boy, he moved his way up through the organization, ending up in the California operation in 1922.
Wyler was given the opportunity to direct in July 1925, with the two-reel western The Crook Buster. It was on this film that he was first credited as William Wyler, though he never officially changed his name and would be known as "Willi" all his life. For almost five years he performed his apprenticeship in Universal's "B" unit, turning out a score of low-budget silent westerns. In 1929 he made his first "A" picture, Hell's Heroes, Universal's first all-sound movie shot outside a studio. The western, the first version of the "Three Godfathers" story, was a commercial and critical success.
The initial years of the Great Depression brought hard times for the film industry, and Universal went into receivership in 1932, partially due to financial troubles brought about by rampant nepotism and the runaway production costs rung up by producer Carl Laemmle Jr., the son of the boss. There were 70 Laemmle family members on the Universal payroll at one point, including Wyler. In 1935 "Uncle" Carl was forced to sell the studio he had created in 1912 with the 1912 merger of his Independent Motion Picture Co. with several other production companies. Wyler continued to direct for Universal up until the end of the family regime, helming Counsellor at Law, the film version of Elmer Rice's play featuring one of John Barrymore's more restrained performances, and The Good Fairy, a comedy adapted from a Ferenc Molnár play by Preston Sturges and starring Margaret Sullavan, who was Wyler's wife for a short time. Both films were produced by his cousin, "Junior" Laemmle. Emancipated from the Laemmle family, Wyler subsequently established himself as a major director in the mid-1930s, when he began directing films for independent producer Samuel Goldwyn. Willi would soon find his freedom fettered by the man with the fabled "Goldwyn touch," which entailed bullying his directors to recast, rewrite and recut their films, and sometimes replacing them during shooting.
The first of the Wyler-Goldwyn works was These Three, based on Lillian Hellman's lesbian-themed play "The Children's Hour" (the Sapphic theme was jettisoned in favor of a more conventional heterosexual triangle due to censorship concerns, but it resurfaced intact when Wyler remade the film a quarter-century later). His first unqualified success for Goldwyn was Dodsworth, an adaptation of Sinclair Lewis' portrait of a disintegrating American marriage, a marvelous film that still resonates with audiences in the 21st century. He received his first Best Director Oscar nomination for this picture. The film was nominated for Best Picture, the first of seven straight years in which a Wyler-directed movie would earn that accolade, culminating with Oscars for both Willi and Mrs. Miniver in 1942.
Wyler's potential greatness can be seen as early as "Hell's Heroes," an early talkie that is not constrained by the restrictions of the new technology. The climax of the picture, with Charles Bickford's dying badman walking into town, is a long tracking shot that focuses not on the actor himself but the detritus that he shucks off to lighten his load as he brings a baby back to a cradle of civilization. The scene is a harbinger of the free-flowing style that would become a hallmark of his work. However, it was with "Dodsworth" that Wyler began to establish his critical reputation. The film features long takes and a probing camera, a style that Wyler would make his own.
Now established as Goldwyn's director of choice, Wyler made several films for him, including Dead End and Wuthering Heights. Essentially an employee of the producer, Wyler clashed with Goldwyn over aesthetic choices and longed for his freedom. Goldwyn had demanded that the ghetto set of "Dead End" be spruced up and that "clean garbage" be used in the water tank representing the East River, over Wyler's objections. Goldwyn prevailed, as he did later with the ending of "Wuthering Heights." After Wyler had finished principal photography on the film, Goldwyn demanded a new ending featuring the ghosts of Heathcliff and Cathy reunited and walking away towards what the audience would assume is heaven and an eternity of conjoined bliss. Wyler opposed the new ending and refused to shoot it. Goldwyn had his ending shot without Wyler and had it tacked onto the final cut. It was an artistic betrayal that rankled Willi.
Goldwyn loaned out Wyler to other studios, and he made Jezebel and The Letter for Warner Bros. Working with Bette Davis in the two masterpieces, as well as in Goldwyn's The Little Foxes, Wyler elicited three of the great diva's finest performances. In these films and his films of the mid-to-late 1930s, Wyler pioneered the use of deep-focus cinematography, most famously with lighting cameraman Gregg Toland. Toland shot seven of the eight films Wyler directed for Goldwyn: "These Three", Come and Get It, "Dead End," "Wuthering Heights" (for which Toland won his only Academy Award), The Westerner, "The Little Foxes" and The Best Years of Our Lives. Compositions in Wyler pictures frequently featured multiple horizontal planes with various characters arranged in diagonals at varying distances from the camera lens. Creating an illusion of depth, these deep-focus shots enhanced the naturalism of the picture while heightening the drama.
As the photography of Wyler's films was used to serve the story and create mood rather than call attention to itself, Toland was later mistakenly given credit for creating deep-focus cinematography along with another great director, Orson Welles, in Citizen Kane. In truth, Wyler's first use of deep-focus cinematography was in 1935, with "The Good Fairy," on which Norbert Brodine was the lighting cameraman. It was the first of his films featuring deep-focus shots and the diagonal compositions that became a Wyler leitmotif. The film also includes a receding mirror shot a half-decade before Toland and Welles created a similar one for "Citizen Kane."
Wyler won his first Oscar as Best Director with "Mrs. Miniver" for MGM, which also won the Oscar for Best Picture, the first of three Wyler films that would be so honored. Made as a propaganda piece for American audiences to prepare them for the sacrifices necessitated by World War II, the movie is set in wartime England and elucidates the hardships suffered by an ordinary, middle-class English family coping with the war. An enthusiastic President Franklin D. Roosevelt, after seeing the film at a White House screening, said, "This has to be shown right away." The film also won Oscars for star Greer Garson and co-star Theresa Wright, for cinematographer Joseph Ruttenberg and for Best Screenplay.
After "Miniver," Wyler went off to war as an officer in the U.S. Army Air Corps. One of his more memorable propaganda films of the period was a documentary about a B-17 bomber, The Memphis Belle: A Story of a Flying Fortress, He also directed the Navy documentary The Fighting Lady, an examination of life aboard an American aircraft carrier. Though the later film won an Oscar as Best Documentary, "The Memphis Belle" is considered a classic of its form. The making of the documentary was even the subject of a 1990 feature film of the same name. "The Memphis Belle" focuses on the eponymous B-17 bomber and its 25th, and last, air raid flown from a base in England. The documentary features aerial battle footage that Wyler and his crew shot over the skies of Germany. One of his photographic crew, flying in another plane, was killed during the filming of the air battles. Wyler himself lost the hearing in one ear and became partially deaf in the other due to the noise and concussion of the flak bursting around his aircraft.
Wyler's first picture upon returning from World War II would prove to be the last movie he made for Goldwyn. A returning veteran like those portrayed in "The Best Years of Our Lives" (1946), this film won Wyler his second Oscar. The movie, which featured a moving performance by real-life veteran and double amputee Harold Russell, struck a universal chord with Americans and was a major box office hit. It was the second Wyler-directed picture to be named Best Picture at the Academy Awards. The film also won Oscars for star Fredric March and co-star Russell (who was also given an honorary award "for bringing hope and courage to his fellow veterans"), film editor Daniel Mandell, composer Hugo Friedhofer and screenwriter Robert E. Sherwood, and was instrumental in garnering the Irving Thalberg Award for Samuel Goldwyn, who also took home the Best Picture Oscar that year as "Best Years" producer.
Though Wyler elicited some of the finest performances preserved on film, ironically he could not communicate what he wanted to an actor. A perfectionist, he became known as "40-Take Wyler", shooting a scene over and over again until the actors played it the way he wanted. With his use of long takes, actors were forced to act within each take as their performances would not be covered in the cutting room. His long takes and lack of cutting slowed down the pacing of his films, providing a greater feeling of continuity within each scene and intimately involving the audience in the development of the drama. The story in a Wyler film was allowed to unfold organically, with no tricky editing to cover up holes in the script or to compensate for an inadequate performance. Wyler typically rehearsed his actors for two weeks before the beginning of principal photography.
While more actors won Academy Awards in Wyler movies, 14 out of a total of 36 nominations (more than any other two directors combined), few actors worked more than once or twice with him. Bette Davis worked on three films with him and won Academy Award nominations for each performance and an Oscar for "Jezebel." On their last collaboration, "The Little Foxes" (1941), Davis walked off the production for two weeks after clashing with Wyler over how her character should be played.
He proved hard on other experienced actors, such as Laurence Olivier in "Wuthering Heights," who gave credit to Willi for turning him from a stage actor into a movie actor. "This isn't the Opera House in Manchester," Wyler told Olivier, his way of conveying that he should tone down his performance. A year earlier, Wyler had forced Henry Fonda through 40 takes on the set of "Jezebel," Wyler's only direction being "Again" after each repeated take. When Fonda demanded some input on what he was doing wrong, Wyler replied only: "It stinks. Do it again." According to Charlton Heston, Wyler approached him early in the shooting of Ben-Hur and told him that his performance was inadequate. When a dismayed Heston asked him what he should do, "Be better" is all that Wyler could supply. In his autobiography, Elia Kazan, a famed "actor's director", tells how he offered advice to an actor acquaintance of his who was making a Wyler picture as he knew that the great director was inarticulate about acting and would be unable to give advice.
Wyler believed that after many takes, actors got angry and began to shed their preconceived ideas about acting in general and the part in particular. Stripped of these notions, actors were able to play at a truer level. It is a process that Stanley Kubrick would subsequently use on his post-2001: A Space Odyssey films, though to different results, creating an otherworldly anti-realism rather than the more naturalistic truth of a Wyler movie performance. Wyler's method often meant that his films went over schedule and over budget, but he got results. The performances in Wyler films are part of this craftsman's consummate skill for injecting thoughtfulness into his movies while avoiding sentimentality and pandering to the audience. A Wyler film demands that his audience, like his actors, become intelligent collaborators of his.
William Wyler's reputation has suffered as he is not considered an "auteur," or "author" of his films. However, in his postwar career, he definitely was the auteur, or controlling consciousness, behind his films. Though he never took a screenwriting credit (other than for an early horse opera, Ridin' for Love), he selected his own stories and controlled the screenwriting, hiring his own writers in a development process that could take years.
Wyler films in his postwar period include The Heiress, a fine version of Henry James' novel "Washington Square," with an Oscar-winning performance by Olivia de Havilland; Detective Story, a police drama that takes place on a minimal, controlled set almost as restricted as that of Hitchcock's Rope; and Roman Holiday, which won Audrey Hepburn an Oscar in her first leading role. The other films of this period are Carrie, The Desperate Hours and Friendly Persuasion.
Wyler returned to the western genre one last time with The Big Country, a picture far removed in scope from his two-reeler origins, featuring Gregory Peck, Heston, and Wyler's old "Hell's Heroes" star Bickford. Burl Ives won a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his role as the patriarch of an outlaw clan in conflict with Bickford's family. Wyler was next enlisted by producer Sam Zimbalist to helm MGM's high-stakes "Ben-Hur" (1959), a remake of its 1925 classic. It was a high-budget ($15 million, approximately $90 million when factored for inflation), wide-screen (the aspect ratio of the film is 2.76 to 1 when properly shown in 70mm anamorphic prints, the highest ratio ever used for a film) epic that the studio had spent six years preparing. Principal photography required more than six months of shooting on location in Italy, with hundreds of crew members and thousands of extras. Wyler was the overlord of the largest crew and oversaw more extras than any other film had ever used. Despite its size, Wyler's "Ben-Hur," along with Kubrick's Spartacus, is arguably the most intelligent entry in the Biblical blockbuster genre. Grossing $74 million (approximately $600 million at today's ticket prices, ranking it #13 film in terms of all-time box office performance, when adjusted for inflation), the film was the fourth highest-grossing film of all-time when it was released, surpassed only by Gone with the Wind, DeMille's The Ten Commandments, and Walt Disney's Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. "Ben-Hur" went on to win 11 Oscars out of 12 nominations, including a third Best Director Academy Award for Willi. The 11 Oscars set a record since tied by Titanic and The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King.
In the last decade of his career, he remade "These Three" as The Children's Hour, a franker version of Hellman's play than his 1936 version. The Collector was his last artistic triumph, and he had his last hit with Funny Girl, for which Barbra Streisand repeated Audrey Hepburn's success of 15 years earlier, wining an Oscar in her first lead role. Wyler's last film was The Liberation of L.B. Jones, an estimable failure that tackled the theme of racial prejudice, but which came out in the revolutionary time of Easy Rider and other such films, and held little promise for such traditional warhorses as Wyler.
Though he dreamed of making more pictures, Wyler's failing health kept him from taking on another film. Instead, he and his wife Margaret Tallichet, the mother of his five children, contented themselves with travel. William Wyler died on July 27, 1981, in Beverly Hills, California, one of the most accomplished and honored filmmakers in history.
Director/Producer/Writer) Andrew Davis is a filmmaker with a reputation for directing intelligent thrillers, most notably the Academy Award-nominated box-office hit The Fugitive, starring Harrison Ford and 'Tommy Lee Jones' (Fqv). The film received seven Academy Award nominations including Best Picture and earned Jones a Best Supporting Actor award. Davis garnered a Golden Globe nomination for Best Director and a Directors Guild of America nomination for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Theatrical Direction. In reviewing "The Fugitive", film critic 'Roger Ebert' (Fqv) commended Davis, noting that he "transcends genre and shows an ability to marry action and artistry that deserves comparison with [Alfred Hitchcock], David Lean and Carol Reed. He paints with bold, visual strokes."
Davis is the son of parents who met in a repertory theater company in Chicago, where he was raised. His late father, Nathan Davis, worked on several of his films, including his role as Shia LaBeouf's grandfather in Holes. Andy received his degree in journalism from the University of Illinois and began his work in motion pictures as an assistant cameraman to renowned cinematographer and director Haskell Wexler on the 1969 classic Medium Cool. Wexler's ultra-realistic approach was to have a great influence on Davis, who then became a director of photography on numerous award-winning television commercials and documentaries, including 15 studio and independent features. In 1976, joined by many of his fellow cinematographers, Davis challenged the IATSE union's restrictive studio roster system in a landmark class-action suit that forced the industry to open its doors to young technicians in all crafts.
Davis made his directorial debut in 1978 with the critically acclaimed independent musical Stony Island, which he also co-wrote and produced. The thriller The Final Terror was Davis' sophomore project, for producer Joe Roth, which starred then- newcomers Darryl Hanah, Joe Pantoliano, Rachel Ward and Adrian Zmed. Davis then co-wrote the screenplay for Harry Belafonte's rap musical Beat Street before moving into the director's chair full-time for Mike Medavoy and Orion Pictures on the Chuck Norris classic Code of Silence. Davis directed, co-produced and co-wrote Steven Seagal's feature film debut, Above the Law, for Warner Brothers. The Package, (Orion) followed, directed by Davis and starring Gene Hackman and Tommy Lee Jones. Davis went on to direct 1992's top grossing picture, Under Siege, for Warner Brothers, a classic action film teaming Steven Seagal with Tommy Lee Jones.
Davis' other directorial credits include (for Warner Bros.) Collateral Damage, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger; A Perfect Murder, starring Michael Douglas, Gwyneth Paltrow and Viggo Mortensen; Chain Reaction, (Fox) starring Keanu Reeves, 'Morgan Freeman' (q) and Rachel Weisz; and Steal Big Steal Little, starring Andy Garcia and Alan Arkin.
Davis next directed and produced "Holes", the feature film adaptation of Louis Sachar's beloved Newberry Medal and National Book Award-winning children's novel. Starring Shia Labeouf, Sigourney Weaver, Jon Voight and Patricia Arquette and released by the Walt Disney Company, "Holes" was named one of the 100 Best Family Films. It has been praised by audiences of all ages, furthering Davis' reputation as a director with a wide range. A.O. Scott's review in "The New York Times" called it "the best film released by an American studio so far this year".
In 200, Davis completed the Disney/Touchstone feature film The Guardian, which honors the true heroes of the ocean, the Rescue Swimmers of the U.S. Coast Guard. Kevin Costner and Ashton Kutcher portray heroic swimmers committed to the personal and physical sacrifices necessary to save the lives of those stranded helplessly in the sea. In an unforgettable instance of life imitating art, the film's New Orleans production was halted due to the ravages of Hurricane Katrina. The staff of U.S. Coast Guard advisors to the production left to help rescue 35,000 people in the wake of one of the worst natural disasters in American history.
Davis is developing several projects through his Santa Barbara-based production company, Chicago Pacific Entertainment, including: "Tom Quixote", adapted from a screenplay by two-time Academy Award-winning writer' Waldo Salt', a brilliantly spirited family film inspired by the classic novels "Don Quixote" and "Tom Jones"; "Our Future Matters", a multi-part documentary series outlining possibilities for America's energy future in collaboration with leading figures in renewable energy technology and environmental sciences; and "Treasure Island", a modern retelling of Robert Louis Stevenson's novel, set in the forgotten shadows of post-Katrina Louisiana, a thrilling action-adventure quest for the long-lost fortune of one of America's most infamous rascal heroes, the pirate Jean Lafitte.
Seymour Cassel, the veteran character actor who was nominated for a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his role as the hippie swinger Chet in John Cassavetes' Faces, studied acting at the American Theatre Wing and at the Actors Studio. He made his movie debut in Cassavetes' first film, Shadows, on which he also served as associate producer.
Cassel's early career was tied to Cassavetes, who himself had a flourishing career as an actor on television and in major Hollywood productions in addition to becoming, arguably, the first great independent movie director after the collapse of the studio system in the late 1950s/early 1960s. As for Cassel, after his uncredited role in "Shadows," he co-starred with Cassavetes in The Webster Boy and Too Late Blues before winding up in support of his friend in Don Siegel's The Killers, a movie shot for TV that had to be released theatrically due to its heightened violence (it was also Ronald Reagan's last movie). Cassel primarily made his living on TV in the 1960s, frequently typecast as beatniks and hippies. He had a supporting role in the Cassavetes-directed episode "A Pair of Boots" (1962) for The Lloyd Bridges Show as well as appearing on such popular programs as 12 O'Clock High, Combat! and The F.B.I. before scoring with his aging hippie in "Faces" at the end of that tumultuous decade.
Along with "Shadows," "Faces" remains his favorite Cassavettes film. In addition to acting, Cassel was also a crew member on the film, as the technical staff numbered all of seven. He helped shoot the film as a second cameraman, as well as adjusting the lighting. As the film was financed by Cassavettes himself, there were no union regulations to deal with, nor a studio schedule to keep.
Several of Cassavettes' films were shot in continuity, so the actors could develop a character in sequence--similar to stage acting--rather than the traditional method of film making, which is shot out of sequence. Cassel has stated that this technique enhanced the success of his works by eliminating the "fourth wall" between the audience and the actors. He believes that acting tells the film's story, not the images and that what is important is how the audience relates to the characters on screen.
As their careers matured, Cassel also co-starred with Cassavetes in two TV movies, Nightside and Nightside and appeared in supporting roles in three more Cassavetes-directed films: The Killing of a Chinese Bookie, Opening Night and Love Streams.
In addition to appearing in studio films, Cassel has remained prominent in the American independent film community since the death of his friend and collaborator. He contributed a cameo appearance in the directorial debut of Steve Buscemi (with whom he appeared as a co-star in the black comedy In the Soup), Trees Lounge, and has appeared in three films by Wes Anderson: Rushmore, The Royal Tenenbaums and The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou.
Cassel is prized by independent directors for two things: his positive nature, and his (perhaps) facetious declaration that he'd be in any independent film for the price of a plane ticket if he liked the script.
Louis Malle, the descendant of a French nobleman who made a fortune in beet sugar during the Napoleonic Wars, created films that explored life and its meaning. Malle's family discouraged his early interest in film but, in 1950, allowed him to enter the Institute of Advanced Cinematographic Studies in Paris. His résumé showed that he had worked as an assistant to film maker Robert Bresson when Malle was hired by underwater explorer Jacques-Yves Cousteau to be a camera operator on the Calypso. Cousteau soon promoted him to be co-director of The Silent World ("The Silent World"). Years later, Cousteau called Malle the best underwater cameraman he ever had. Malle's third film, The Lovers ("The Lovers"), starring Jeanne Moreau broke taboos against on screen eroticism. In 1968 the U.S. Supreme Court reversed the obscenity conviction of an Ohio theater that had exhibited "Les Amants." A director during the Nouvelle Vague, New Wave" of 1950s and 1960s (though technically not considered a Nouvelle Vague auteur), he also made films on the other side of the Atlantic, starting with Pretty Baby, the film that made Brooke Shields an international superstar. The actress who played a supporting role in that film was given a starring role in Malle's next American film, Atlantic City. That promising actress was Susan Sarandon.
In one of his later French films, Au Revoir Les Enfants, Malle was able to find catharsis for an experience that had haunted him since the German occupation of France in World War II. At age 12, he was sent to a Catholic boarding school near Paris that was a refuge for several Jewish students, one of them was Malle's rival for academic honors and his friend. A kitchen worker at the school with a grudge became an informant. The priest who was the principal was arrested and the Jewish students were sent off to concentration camps.
In his final film, Vanya on 42nd Street, Malle again penetrated the veil between life and art as theater people rehearse Anton Chekhov's "Uncle Vanya." In that film, Malle worked again with theater director Andre Gregory and actor-playwright Wallace Shawn, the conversationalists of My Dinner with Andre. Malle was married to Candice Bergen, and he succumbed to lymphoma in 1995.
Vittorio Storaro, the award-winning cinematographer who won Oscars for "Apocalypse Now", "Reds" and "The Last Emperor". He was born on June 24, 1940 in Rome, where his father was a projectionist at the Lux Film Studio. At the age of 11, he began studying photography at a technical school. He enrolled at C.I.A.C (Italian Cinemagraphic Training Centre) and subsequently continued his education at the state cinematography school Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia. When he enrolled at the school at the age of 18, he was one of its youngest students ever.
At the age of 20, he was employed as an assistant cameraman and was promoted to camera operator within a year. Storaro spent several years visiting galleries and studying the works of great painters, writers, musicians and other artists. In 1966, he went back to work as an assistant cameraman on Before the Revolution, one of the first films directed by Bernardo Bertolucci. Storaro earned his first credit as a cinematographer in 1968 for "Giovinezza, giovinezza". His third film was "The Spider's Stratagem" which began his long collaboration with Bertolucci. He also shot "The Conformist", "Last Tango in Paris", "Luna", "The Sheltering Sky (1990)_", "Little Buddha," for Bertolucci.
He won his first Oscar for the cinematography of "Apocalypse Now", for which director Francis Ford Coppola gave him free rein to design the visual look of the picture. Storaro originally had been reluctant to take the assignment as he considered Gordon Willis to be Coppola's cinematographer, but Coppola wanted him, possibly because of his having shot "Last Tango in Paris, which had starred Marlon Brando. Brando's performance in the film had been semi-improvised, and Coppola has planned on a similar tack for his scenes in the jungle with Brando's character Colonel Kurtz.
The results of their collaboration were masterful, and he later shot the 3-D short "Captain EO", the feature films "One from the Heart" and "Tucker: The Man and His Dream," and the "Life without Zoe" segment of "New York Stories" for Coppola. He won his second Oscar as the director of photography on Warren Beatty's "Reds" and subsequently shot "Dick Tracy" and "Bulworth" for Beatty He won his third Oscar as the director of photography on Bertolucci's Best Picture Academy Award-winner "The Last Emperor".
"All great films are a resolution of a conflict between darkness and light," Storaro says. "There is no single right way to express yourself. There are infinite possibilities for the use of light with shadows and colors. The decisions you make about composition, movement and the countless combinations of these and other variables is what makes it an art."
According to Storaro, "Some people will tell you that technology will make it easier for one person to make a movie alone but cinema is not an individual art." Storaro disagrees. "It takes many people to make a movie. You can call them collaborators or co-authors. There is a common intelligence. The cinema never has the reality of a painting or a photograph because you make decisions about what the audience should see, hear and how it is presented to them. You make choices which super-impose your own interpretations of reality."
Storaro believes that, "It is our obligation to defend the audiences' rights to see the images and to hear the sounds the way we have expressed ourselves as artists,".
During the 1970s, the metaphor of cinematography as 'painting with light' took hold. Storaro, however, adds motion to the mix. Cinematography, to the great D.P., is writing with light and motion, the literal translation of the word cinematography, which derives from Greek
"It describes the real meaning of what we are attempting to accomplish," Storaro says. "We are writing stories with light and darkness, motion and colors. It is a language with its own vocabulary and unlimited possibilities for expressing our inner thoughts and feelings."
As a cinematographer, he is highly innovative. He had Rosco International fabricate a series of custom color gels for his lighting, which he used to implement his theories about emotional response to color. The "Storaro Selection" of color gels is available for other cinematographers from Rosco.
He created the "Univision" film system, which is a 35mm format based on film stock with three perforation that provides an aspect ratio of 2:1, which Storaro feels is a good compromise between the 2.35:1 and 1.85:1 wide-screen ratios favored by most filmmakers. Storaro developed the new technology with the intention of 2:1 becoming the universal aspect ratio for both movies and television in the digital age. He first shot the television mini-series "Dune" with the Univision system.
Storaro is the youngest person to receive the American Society of Cinematographer's Lifetime Achievement Award, and only the second recipient after Sven Nykvist not to be a U.S. citizen.
Tall and athletic, and possessed of "movie star" good looks, John Hart acted on the stage of the renowned Pasadena Playhouse as a young man, before making his screen debut in a supporting role in director Cecil B. DeMille's big-budget The Buccaneer. With these physical assets and early acting credentials, the native Los Angeleno seemed bound for bigger and better things but military service slowed his momentum: Returning to Hollywood after World War II, he found himself back at the proverbial starting line. Hart soon fell into the low-budget Western and serial rut, but he served with distinction in many youth-oriented productions: He was the perfect embodiment of radio-comic strip hero Jack Armstrong in a 1947 serial, rode the Western plains in 52 episodes of TV's The Lone Ranger (playing the Masked Man) and brought life to James Fenimore Cooper's courageous frontiersman Hawkeye in TV's Hawkeye and the Last of the Mohicans. In more recent years, he worked behind-the-scenes (as a cameraman, post-production supervisor, dubbing supervisor, etc.).
Joe D'Amato was born Aristide Massaccesi on December 15, 1936, in Rome, Italy. At age 14 he began working for his father, a chief electrician and later the founder of the company A.C.M. By going to school in the daytime, Massaccesi worked afternoons part-time as a stagehand and stage cameraman around various film sets. After finishing grade school, from 1953 to 1957 Massaccesi worked for his father. Mole Richardson, another motion picture company, was looking for someone to work as an assistant cameraman and Massaccesi jumped at the opportunity. Starting in 1969 he worked as director of photography as well as assistant director for a number of films until 1974. His first directing work was in 1972's low-budget Go Away! Trinity Has Arrived in Eldorado, co-directed by Diego Spataro, under the pseudonym Dick Spitfire. The film was a commercial failure. Later that same year Massaccesi directed a western (under the name of Oskar Faradine). He then used his assistant's name, Romano Gastaldi, for his next film, Fra' Tazio da Velletri, as well as a few others.
Massaccesi was reluctant to use his real name early in his directing career, since he was still known mainly as a director of photography and he didn't want his directing jobs to jeopardize his cinematography career. He used his real name for screenplay and cinematography roles, but worked under many aliases (such as Michael Wotruba) to disguise the authorship of some films in order not to mix up the different genres of comedy, western, drama, thrillers and others. He used to many phony names that he may well have used more pseudonyms credited to him than any other director in the world.
Massaccesi entered the horror film genre with Death Smiles on a Murderer under his real name, which inspired him to make other gothic horror films. Under a new pseudonym, Joe D'Amato, he directed soft-core, erotic films starring Laura Gemser, such as Emanuelle e Françoise (Le sorelline), Emanuelle and the Last Cannibals, Emanuelle in America, Sexy Nights of the Living Dead and others. He also directed such action films as Tough to Kill.
Massaccesi, now referring to himself as Joe D'Amato, entered the "gore" genere films with Beyond the Darkness, which remains his most successful horror film, shot in four weeks on a low budget entirely at a villa near Bressanone and which had an excellent music soundtrack by the rock group Goblin. His next horror film, but less successful than the previous one, was Antropophagus, directed under the alias "Peter Newton". The film starred Tisa Farrow, sister of Mia Farrow and the star of Zombie, another gore genre flick.
During the 1980s and 1990s D'Amato directed over 100 hardcore porn sex films for the Italian video market, although under his many pseudonyms he continued to direct and produce other films. One of them was StageFright directed by Michele Soavi on which, under his real name, Massaccesi served as producer. He then directed two "Ator the Invincible" films. He directed the violent, hardcore The Emperor Caligula: The Untold Story, using the name "David Hills", a commercial exploitation (some might say "rip-off") of the successful film by Tinto Brass.
D'Amato's other films during the 1980s were Paradiso Blu and violent adventure films such as Deep Blood, which were filmed in Florida, and Ghosthouse. Some of D'Amato's greatest successes abroad were L'alcova and Pomeriggio caldo, as well as the horror-thriller Paura nel buio (aka "Hitcher in the Dark").
However, his long film career came to an abrupt end when, in January 1999, he suffered an unexpected and fatal heart attack at his home in Rome. He was 62. Joe D'Amato had made his mark on Italian cinema as a talented director, scriptwriter, producer and cinematographer with scores of films and more than a dozen aliases to his credit.
Victor Fleming entered the film business as a stuntman in 1910, mainly doing stunt driving - which came easy to him, as he had been a mechanic and professional race-car driver. He became interested in working on the other side of the camera, and eventually got a job as a cameraman on many of the films of Douglas Fairbanks. He soon began directing, and his first big hit was The Virginian. It was the movie that turned Gary Cooper into a star (a fact Cooper never forgot; he and Fleming remained friends for life). Fleming's star continued to rise during the '30s, and he was responsible for many of the films that would eventually be considered classics, such as Red Dust, Bombshell, Treasure Island, and the two films that were the high marks of his career: Gone with the Wind and The Wizard of Oz. Ironically Fleming was brought in on both pictures to replace other directors and smooth out the troubled productions, a feat he accomplished masterfully. His career took somewhat of a downturn in the '40s, and most of his films, with the exception of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, weren't particularly successful. He ended his career with the troubled production Joan of Arc, which turned out to be a major critical and financial failure.
Dean Cundey reigns supreme as one of the best, most prolific, and talented cinematographers to ever grace celluloid with his often striking and accomplished photography. Cundey was born on March 12th, 1946, in Alhambra, California. One of his hobbies during his elementary school days was building miniature sets. Moreover, Cundey was an avid reader of "American Cinematographer" magazine as a kid. He attended UCLA Film School and was taught by famous cameraman James Wong Howe. Following graduation in 1968, Cundey initially worked on various non-union low-budget pictures as a gaffer, editor, or production manager. Cundey built himself a handy super van complete with packaged equipment, camera and a crew in order to get work early in his burgeoning career. Cundey tackled make-up chores on Roger Corman's Gas! -Or- It Became Necessary to Destroy the World in Order to Save It..
Cundey's first assignment as a director of photography was the revenge outing No Mercy Man, The (1973)_. Other horror and exploitation movies Cundey shot during his salad days include _Witch Who Came from the Sea (1976)_, Bare Knuckles, Creature from Black Lake, Ilsa, Harem Keeper of the Oil Sheiks, Black Shampoo, Satan's Cheerleaders, Roller Boogie, Rock 'n' Roll High School, Galaxina, and Without Warning.
Cundey received a great deal of attention and accolades for his exemplary work on five films for John Carpenter: Halloween (Cundey's expert use of a fluid prowling camera, one of the first-ever uses of what became known as a Steadicam, became a key motif in a spate of slasher pictures made in this breakthrough independent smash's influential wake), The Fog, Escape from New York, The Thing, and Big Trouble in Little China. Cundey's collaborations with Robert Zemeckis are likewise fine and impressive: Romancing the Stone, all three "Back to the Future" features, Who Framed Roger Rabbit (Cundey was nominated for an Oscar for his outstanding contributions to this movie), and Death Becomes Her.
Other films Cundey has served as a director of photography on are Halloween II, Halloween III: Season of the Witch, Psycho II, Warning Sign, Road House, Hook, Jurassic Park, Apollo 13, and Garfield. Cundey made his debut as a director with the straight-to-video sequel Honey, We Shrunk Ourselves. He handled second-unit director chores on both Deep Rising and Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties. He is the father of visual-effects artist Christopher Cundey.
Peter Medak is an international Film Director. Born in Budapest, Hungary and fled to England at the age of 18 during the famous uprising against the communist regime. He immediately began his Film career with associated British Picture Corporation in Borehamwood. He studied and worked his way through by being an assistant editor, assistant cameraman and eventually a 3rd, 2nd and 1st assistant Director on some of the most remarkable British Films of the late 50's and early 6O's. He was fortunate enough to work with some of the most legendary British film Directors such as Sir Carol Reed, David Lean, Anthony Asquith, Fred Zimmerman and many others. He was signed in 1963 by Universal Studios in Hollywood where for the first six months he the chance to observe Alfred Hitchcock and many others. He started Directing television for the studio in Hollywood and in England. In 1967 He went under contract with Paramount Studios where he finally achieved his dream and directed his first feature film called:Negatives with Glenda Jackson in her first ever film. He then proceeded making two highly acclaimed black comedies:A day in the death of Joe Egg (starring Alan Bates and Janet Suzman) and The Ruling Class (Starring Peter O' Toole) for which he received An Academy Award Nomination. Since that time he has Directed a great number of Feature Films on both sides of The Atlantic starring Peter Sellers, Alan Bates, George C Scott, Richard Harris, Gary Oldman, Ted Danson and many more. In recent years he made The Krays which won him The Evening Standard Award for Best Director in England. Then he made: Let Him Have It, Romeo is Bleeding, The Men's Club etc etc. In addition, he has Directed a great number of Television plays, minis series, Films for Television, operas and stage productions over the past 50 years of his Directing career and continues today.
Film director Douglas Sirk, whose reputation blossomed in the generation after his 1959 retirement from Hollywood filmmaking, was born Hans Detlef Sierck on April 26, 1897, in Hamburg, Germany, to a journalist. Both of his parents were Danish, and the future director would make movies in German, Danish and English. His reputation, which was breathed to life by the French nouvelle vague critiques who developed the "auteur" (author) theory of film criticism, casts him as one of the cinema's great ironists. In his American and European films, his characters perceive their lives quite differently than does the movie audience viewing "them" in a theater. Dealing with love, death and societal constraints, his films often depend on melodrama, particularly the high-suds soap operas he lensed for producer Ross Hunter in the 1950s: Magnificent Obsession, All That Heaven Allows and his last American film, Imitation of Life (Sirk's favorite American film was the Western Taza, Son of Cochise, which was shot in 3-D).
Sirk's path to crafting what are now considered paradigmatic dissections of conformist 1950s American society began when he was 14 years old, in his native Germany, when he discovered the theater. He was very influenced by William Shakespeare's history plays. The young Sirk also liked the cinema, particularly films starring Danish actress Asta Nielsen. Sirk credited Nielsen's films with providing him an early exposure to "dramas of swollen emotions".
After World War One he studied law at Munich University beginning in 1919, then transferred to Hamburg University, where he read philosophy and the history of art. Following in the vein of his father, he wrote for the newspapers to earn money, and also began to work in the theater. It was in his native Hamburg that he made his professional debut as a theatrical director, with 'Hermann Bossdorf''s "Bahnmeister Tod" ("Stationmaster Death") in 1922. Until forced to leave Germany with the rise of the Nazi dictatorship, Sirk developed into one of the leading theatrical directors in the Weimar Republic. He began directing shorts at UFA Studios in 1934, and made his first feature film, April, April!, shooting it first in Dutch and then in German).
His cinema technique was influenced by his interest in painting, particularly the works of Daumier and Delacroix, which he later claimed left "their imprint on the visual style of my melodramas". He made eight films in all for UFA through 1937, and the German Minister of Propaganda who oversaw the film industry, Dr. Joseph Goebbels, was an admirer. However, he left Germany in 1937 after his second wife, stage actress 'Hilde Jary', had fled to Rome to escape persecution as a Jew. Sirk's first wife and the mother of his only child, Lydia Brinken, a follower of Adolf Hitler, had denounced Sirk and his relationship with Jary, necessitating their departure. Sirk never saw his son again, who died during World War Two.
Sirk and Jary eventually made it to the US by 1941, and he joined the community of émigré/refugee film people working in Hollywood. His first directorial stint in America was Hitler's Madman, but it is for his work at Universal International in the 1950s for which he is primarily known. For producer Ross Hunter he made nine films, many of which involved the collaboration of Rock Hudson, cinematographer Russell Metty, screenwriter George Zuckerman and art director Alexander Golitzen.
"I was, and to a large extent still am, too much of a loner," he said in his retirement, and his partnership with Universal, Hollywood and American society at large was a love-hate relationship. He and his wife did not approve of the excesses of the Hollywood life style, such as nude women splashing around in producer Albert Zugsmith's pool during a party (he shot two films for Zugsmith). Even though he had his biggest success with the remake of "Imitation of Life" (winner of the Laurel Award given out by movie exhibitors for the most successful picture of 1959), he and his wife left the US for Switzerland after the movie wrapped. The move was partly due to poor health, but by 1959 he had had enough of America, which he never felt at home in. The couple lived in Lugano, Switzerland until his death in 1987.
When he retired from American filmmaking (he was to make only one more feature length film, in German, in 1963), his reputation was that of a second- or third-tier director who turned out glossy Hollywood soap operas, a sort of second-rate Vincente Minnelli without the saving grace of Minelli's undeniable genius for musicals. In the nearly half-century since, Sirk has become one of the most revered of Hollywood's auteurs.
Jean-Luc Godard got the ball rolling in the April 1959 issue of "Cahiers du cinéma", in which he wrote a love letter to Sirk about his adaptation of the 'Erich Maria Remarque' novel A Time to Love and a Time to Die. But the true genesis of the Sirk cult was another "Cahiers" article, "L'aveugle et le Miroir ou l'impossible cinema de Douglas Sirk" ("The Blind Man and the Mirror or The Impossible Cinema of Douglas Sirk"), which was in the April 1967 issue. That issue of "Cahiers" also featured an extended interview with Sirk and a "biofilmographie". More converts came to the Sirk cult via Andrew Sarris, who popularized the "auteur" concept in his seminal 1968 work, " The American Cinema," Yb Gucci Gae ranked Sirk on "The Far Side of Paradise". Sarris faintly praised Sirk's handling of the soap elements of his Universal oeuvre by his not shirking from going for broke and stirring all the improbable elements of melodrama into a heady witches' brew; he also complemented his distinctive visual style. However, the major work that transformed Sirk's reputation was rooted in the intelligence and thoughtfulness of the man himself: Jon Halliday's 1971 book-long interview, "Conversations with Sirk", which made his critical reputation in the English-speaking world. The Sirk of Halliday's book is an intellectual with a thorough grasp of filmmaking. The book is must-reading for any student or practitioner of the cinema. The 1972 Edinburgh Film Festival featured a 20-film retrospective of Sirk, and in 1974, the University of Connecticut Film Society put on a complete retrospective of Sirk's American films. The rise of 'Rainer Werner Fassbinder' as the best and the brightest of the post-war German directors also burnished Sirk's reputation, as Fassbinder was an unabashed fan of his films. Fassbinder's films clearly were indebted to Sirk's melodrama, his mise-en-scene, and his irony (Fassbinder visited Sirk at his Swiss home, and the two became friends. Sirk later, with Fassbinder's encouragement, taught at the Munich film school).
Society is an omnipresent character in Sirk's films, as important as the characters played by his actors, such as Jane Wyman and Rock Hudson. Sirk's characters are buffeted by forces beyond their control, as their lives are delineated by cultural mores that constrain their behavior and their moral choices. In addition to this fatalism, Sirk's characters must contend with repression. It is the latter trope that recruits the most converts to the Sirk cult, as the forces of repression are "signalled" through the imagery of a Sirk film, which typically was crafted in collaboration with the Oscar-winning lighting cameraman Russell Metty when Sirk worked for Hunter at Universal. The plots of the movies that are at the core of the Sirk cult are rooted in problems that would be insurmountable but for the miracles provided by the deus ex machina known as the Hollywood Happy Ending.
While Sirk was glad that his reputation had waxed since his retirement and that he was now respected, he was uncomfortable with some of the criticisms of his work. He particularly was irritated by cineastes' labeling him an unequivocal critic of the American Way and of the social conformity of 1950s America. Many critics seemed to see Sirk as American cinema's equivalent to Bertolt Brecht, that is, a fierce critic of the bourgeoisie. Sirk, like many of his generation in Germany, had been influenced by Brecht (he had directed a production of Brecht/Kurt Weill's Three Penny Opera in Germany), but he did not feel that he was a brother-in-arms of the unabashed communist Brecht, as many of his critics would have it. Like one of his own characters, Sirk was now subjected to societal forced outside his control, quite unlike the worlds he had controlled as a director in Germany and the United States.
Ironically for the great ironist, when Douglas Sirk died on January 14, 1987, his reputation was not yet in full flower. He continues to exert his influence on a new generation of filmmakers all over the world.
Excellent and engaging Texas-born character actor Lou Perryman never became a household name, but he still nonetheless proved to be a substantial and delightful asset to the handful of movies he appeared in throughout the years. Perryman first became involved in the film business back in 1961 while on leave from the US Army. After getting out of the Army, Lou in 1968 worked as a production manager at the Texas Pavilion at the World's Fair in San Antonio and worked as a cinematographer, sound man and production manager at the Filmhouse in Austin from 1969 to 1971. In addition, Perryman worked as a sports cinematographer for both NCAA and ABC TV from 1969 to 1977. Lou was outstanding as Claude in the wonderful seriocomic indie sleeper gem "Last Night at the Alamo" (1984). Alternately funny and pitiable, Perryman as the despondent and excitable Claude spends a sizable amount of his screen time angrily (and profanely) berating his estranged wife on the phone while making game, albeit futile attempts at reconciling with her. Perryman brought a lovely, touching pathos and rueful, rumpled dignity to the role of Claude that's a true joy to behold. Lou was likewise memorable and personable as affable radio station engineer L.G. McPeters in "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre Part 2" (1986). (Perryman worked behind the scenes on the classic '74 original as an assistant cameraman.) Moreover, Perryman had nice small parts as a hostile redneck bar patron in "The Blues Brothers" (1980), a construction worker in "Poltergeist" (1982), and the sheriff Hilary Swank relates in flashback what happened to her to in the acclaimed award-winning indie hit "Boys Don't Cry" (1999). Among the plays Lou appeared in are "The Time of Your Life," "Fool for Love," "The Night Hank Williams Died," and the especially well-received "In the West" (Perryman also co-wrote this latter play). He also acted under the alternate names of Lou Perry and Louis Perryman. Lou was tragically murdered in his home in South Austin, Texas on April 1, 2009. Lou Perryman was 67 years old. He's survived by his daughter Jennifer.
|Don E. FauntLeRoy
Don E. FauntLeRoy was accepted into the American Society of Cinematographers, with only 7 years experience as a Director of Photography. His rise has been swift, and his reputation as one of the most talented young cinematographers, rapid. Don's major break came in 1994, when he was given the opportunity of shooting David L. Wolper' epic mini-series, Heaven & Hell: North & South, Book III, which culminated with the ASC honoring him with a nomination. His most recent films have been Today You Die, Mercenary for Justice, Stan Lee's Lightspeed and Once Upon a Time in the Hood for Sony Pictures", all of them directed and photographed by Don. Don's technical knowledge is formidable and his experience virtually unsurpassed. Starting as an assistant cameraman in 1972, he has worked with some of the finest directors and cinematographers in the business: Harry Stradling Sr., Peter Hyams, Michael Chapman, Martin Scorsese, Robert Surtees, Herbert Ross, Haskell Wexler, James Cameron, Adam Greenberg, Richard Donner, Sam Peckinpah, Billy Wilder, Steven Spielberg and Blake Edwards, to name a few. His style, speed, and exuberance reflect this intense professional background. He has since gone on to direct and photograph some of the screen's most interesting talents: Sam Shepard, Dean Stockwell, Diane Keaton, Stockard Channing, Diane Lane, Mimi Rogers, Elizabeth Pena, Rutger Hauer, Jacqueline Bisset, Linda Hamilton and, of course, his gorgeous wife, Lesley-Anne Down. Don's grandfather was a still cameraman and his father was an optical cameraman, from them came Don's interest, then passion for this wonderful industry, his grandfather's collection of antique cameras and photographic equipment was handed down to Don, and he has continued to build upon that collection, now possessing a large, rare, and virtually irreplaceable array of film cameras and paraphernalia, which will be inherited by his eldest daughter, Season FauntLeRoy, who already is an accomplished young assistant camera-person, herself. When Don works, he insists on two things. Panavision equipment, both film and digital, along with Eastman Kodak stock, "they are the best", he says, and coming from one of the best, you know he is right.
Lasco Atkins was born in Hong Kong in 1980. At an early age he already knew he loved films, mainly action movies starring Arnie, Sly, JCVD, etc. Once at film school he learned a new appreciation for classics, black & whites, 70s, etc. He re-watched old films such as Blade Runner and no longer thought of them as boring but as visual masterpieces. He started making videos of skits with friends and skateboarding videos. At Art College (Surrey Institute in Farnham) he tried video editing for the first time, where he mainly made OTT videos. At Film School he shot on film stock for the first time and edited on Steen-beck also. He developed a wider understanding and appreciation for how films were/are made. Going in only wanting to be a director, he came out of LFS (London Film School) as a cameraman. Once he left film school, he began focus pulling/camera assistant. Eventually he caught the lighting bug. This is extremely helpful for young DP's since they must have a good knowledge of lights and camera. Occasionally directing, he also acts on bigger budget films. He is happy anywhere on a film set, either in front, behind or anywhere as long as the project is valuable and an experience. Lately he has even tried his hands at rapping, appearing in two of his own music videos this year already (2013) known as Lasco Tobasco.
George Stevens, a filmmaker known as a meticulous craftsman with a brilliant eye for composition and a sensitive touch with actors, is one of the great American filmmakers, ranking with John Ford, William Wyler and Howard Hawks as a creator of classic Hollywood cinema, bringing to the screen mytho-poetic worlds that were also mass entertainment. One of the most honored and respected directors in Hollywood history, Stevens enjoyed a great degree of independence from studios, producing most of his own films after coming into his own as a director in the late 1930s. Though his work ranged across all genres, including comedies, musicals and dramas, whatever he did carried the hallmark of his personal vision, which is predicated upon humanism.
Although the cinema is an industrial process that makes attributions of "authorship" difficult if not downright ridiculous (despite the contractual guarantees in Directors Guild of America-negotiated contracts), there is no doubt that George Stevens is in control of a George Stevens picture. Though he was unjustly derided by critics of the 1960s for not being an "auteur," an auteur he truly is, for a Stevens picture features meticulous attention to detail, the thorough exploitation of a scene's visual possibilities and ingenious and innovative editing that creates many layers of meanings. A Stevens picture contains compelling performances from actors whose interactions have a depth and intimacy rare in motion pictures. A Stevens picture typically is fully engaged with American society and is a chronicled photoplay of the pursuit of The American Dream.
George Stevens was nominated five times for an Academy Award as Best Director, winning twice, and six of the movies he produced and directed were nominated for Best Picture Oscars. In 1953 he was the recipient of the Irving Thalberg Memorial Award for maintaining a consistent level of high-quality production. He served as president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences from 1958 to 1959. Stevens won the Directors Guild of America Best Director Award three times as well as the D.W. Griffith Lifetime Achievement Award. He made five indisputable classics: Swing Time, a Fred Astaire-Ginger Rogers musical; Gunga Din, a rousing adventure film; Woman of the Year, a battle-of-the-sexes comedy; A Place in the Sun, a drama that broke new ground in the use of close-ups and editing; and Shane, a distillation of every Western cliché that managed to both sum up and transcend the genre. His Penny Serenade, The Talk of the Town, The More the Merrier, I Remember Mama and Giant all live on in the front rank of motion pictures.
George Cooper Stevens was born on December 18, 1904, in Oakland, California, to actor Landers Stevens and his wife, actress Georgie Cooper, who ran their own theatrical company in Oakland, Ye Liberty Playhouse. Cooper herself was the daughter of an actress, Georgia Woodthorpe (both ladies' Christian names offstage were Georgia, though their stage names were Georgie). Georgie Cooper appeared as Little Lord Fauntleroy as a child along with her mother at Los Angeles' Burbank Theater. George's parents' company performed in the San Francisco Bay area, and as individual performers they also toured the West Coast as vaudevillians on the Opheum circuit. Their theatrical repertoire included the classics, giving the young George the chance to forge an understanding of dramatic structure and what works with an audience. In 1922 Stevens' parents abandoned live theater and moved their family, which consisted of George and his older brother John Landers Stevens (later to be known as Jack Stevens), south to Glendale, California, to find work in the movie industry.
Both of Stevens' parents gained steady employment as movie actors. Landers appeared in Little Caesar, The Public Enemy and Citizen Kane in small parts. His brother was Chicago Herald-American drama critic Ashton Stevens (1872-1951), who was hired by William Randolph Hearst for his San Francisco Examiner after Ashton had taught him how to play the banjo. An interviewer of movie stars and a notable man-about-town, Ashton mentored the young Orson Welles, who based the Jedediah Leland character in Citizen Kane on him. Georgie Cooper's sister Olive Cooper became a screenwriter after a short stint as an actress. Jack became a movie cameraman, as did their second son.
Stevens' movie adaptation of "I Remember Mama," the chronicle of a Norwegian immigrant family trying to assimilate in San Francisco circa 1910, could be a mirror on the Stevens family's own move to Los Angeles circa 1922. In "Mama", the members of the Hanson family feel like outsiders, a theme that resonates throughout Stevens' work. Acting was considered an insalubrious profession before the rise of Ronald Reagan's generation of actors into the halls of power, and being a member of an acting family necessarily marked one as an outsider in the first half of the 20th century. Young George had to drop out of high school to drive his father to his acting auditions, which would have further enhanced his sense of being an outsider. To compensate for his lack of formal education, Stevens closely studied theater, literature and the emerging medium of the motion picture.
Soon after arriving in Hollywood, the 17-year-old Stevens got a job at the Hal Roach Studios as an assistant cameraman; it was a matter of being in the right place at the right time. Of that period, when the cinema was young, Stevens reminisced, "There were no unions, so it was possible to become an assistant cameraman if you happened to find out just when they were starting a picture. There was no organization; if a cameraman didn't have an assistant, he didn't know where to find one."
As part of Hal Roach's company, Stevens learned the art of visual storytelling while the form was still being developed. Part of his visual education entailed the shooting of low-budget westerns, some of which featured Rex the Wonder Horse. Within two years Stevens became a director of photography and a writer of gags for Roach on the comedies of Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy.
His first credited work as a cameraman at the Roach Studios was for the Laurel & Hardy short Roughest Africa. Stevens was a terrific cameraman, most notably in Laurel & Hardy's comedies (both silent and talkies), and it was as a cameraman that his aesthetic began to develop. The cinema of George Stevens was rooted in humanism, and he focused on telling details and behavior that elucidated character and relationships. This aesthetic started developing on the Laurel & Hardy comedies, where he learned about the interplay of relationships between "the one who is looked at" and "the one doing the looking." Verisimilitude, always a hallmark of a Stevens picture, also was part of the Laurel and Hardy curricula; Oliver Hardy once said, "We did a lot of crazy things in our pictures, but we were always real."
From a lighting cameraman, Stevens advanced to a director of short subjects for Roach at Universal. Within a year of moving to RKO in 1933, he began directing comedy features. His break came in 1935 at RKO, when house diva Katharine Hepburn chose Stevens as the director of Alice Adams. Based on a Booth Tarkington novel about a young woman from the lower-middle class who dares to dream big, the movie injected the theme of class aspiration and the frustrations of the pursuit of happiness while dreaming the American dream into Stevens' oeuvre. Before there was cinema of "outsiders" recognized in the late 1970s, there were Stevens' outsiders, fighting against their atomization and alienation through their not-always-successful interactions with other people.
Stevens created his first classic in 1936, when RKO assigned him to helm the sixth Astaire-Rogers musical, Swing Time. Stevens' past as a lighting cameraman prepared him for the innovative visuals of this musical comedy. Through his control of the camera's field of vision, Stevens as a director creates an atmosphere that engenders emotional effects in his audience. In one scene Astaire opens a mirrored door that the scene's reflection in actuality is being shot on, and being keyed into the illusion emotionally introduces the audience into the picture, in sly counterpoint to Buster Keaton's walk into the screen in his _Sherlock, Jr. (1924)_ . Stevens' use of light in "Swing Time" is audacious. He freely introduces light into scenes, with the effect that it enlivens them and gives them a "light" touch, such as the final scene where "sunlight" breaks out over the painted backdrop. The film never drags and is a brilliant showcase for the dancing team. Rogers claimed it was her favorite of all her pictures with Astaire.
Stevens' next classic was the rip-roaring adventure yarn Gunga Din, based on the Rudyard Kipling poem. Though no longer politically correct in the 21st century, the picture still works in terms of action and star power, as three British sergeants--Cary Grant, Victor McLaglen and Douglas Fairbanks Jr.--try to put down a rampage by a notorious death cult in 19th-century colonial India.
Having learned his craft in the improvisational milieu of silent pictures, Stevens would often wing it, shooting from an underdeveloped screenplay that was ever in flux, finding the film as he shot it and later edited it. With filmmaking becoming more and more expensive in the 1930s due to the studios' penchant for making movies on a vaster scale than they had previously, Stevens methods led to anxiety for the bean-counters in RKO's headquarters. His improvisatory crafting of "Gunga Din" resulted in the film's shooting schedule almost doubling from 64 to 124 days, with its cost reaching a then-incredible $2 million (few sound films had grossed more than $5 million up to that point, and a picture needed to gross from two to 2-1/2 times its negative cost to break even).
Studio executives were driven to distraction by Stevens' methods, such as his taking nearly a year to edit the footage he shot for "Shane." His films typically were successful, though, and in the late 1930s he became his own producer, earning him greater latitude than that enjoyed by virtually any other filmmaker with the obvious exceptions of Cecil B. DeMille and Frank Capra. He made three significant comedies in the early 1940s: Woman of the Year, the darker-in-tone The Talk of the Town (a film that touches on the subject of civil rights and the miscarriage of justice) and The More the Merrier before going off to war.
Joining the Army Signal Corps, Stevens headed up a combat motion picture unit from 1944 to 1946. In addition to filming the Normandy landings, his unit shot both the liberation of Paris and the liberation of the Nazi extermination camp Dachau, and his unit's footage was used both as evidence in the Nuremberg trials and in the de-Nazification program after the war. Stevens was awarded the Legion of Merit for his services. Many critics claim that the somber, deeply personal tone of the movies he made when he returned from World War II were the result of the horrors he saw during the war. Stevens' first wife, Yvonne, recalled that he "was a very sensitive man. He just never dreamed, I'm sure, what he was getting into when he enlisted." Stevens wrote a letter to Yvonne in 1945, telling her that "if it hadn't been for your letters . . . there would have been nothing to think cheerfully about, because you know that I find much [of] this difficult to believe in fundamentally."
The images of war and Dachau continued to haunt Stevens, but it also engendered in him the belief that motion pictures had to be socially meaningful to be of value. Along with fellow Signal Corps veterans Frank Capra and William Wyler, Stevens founded Liberty Films to produce his vision of the human condition. The major carryover from his prewar oeuvre to his postwar films is the affection the director has for his central characters, emblematic of his humanism.
Stevens' second postwar film, A Place in the Sun, was his adaptation of Theodore Dreiser's "An American Tragedy," updated to contemporary America. Released three years after his family film I Remember Mama, it features an outsider, George Eastman, trapped in the net of the American Dream, the pursuit of which dooms him. Sergei M. Eisenstein had written an adaptation for Paramount of "An American Tragedy" (the title a sly reversal of "The American Dream"), but Eisenstein's participation in the project was jettisoned when the studio came under attack by right-wing politicians and organizations for hiring a "Communist", and the U.S. government deported Eisenstein shortly afterward. His script was unceremoniously dumped, and Josef von Sternberg eventually made the picture, but his vision was so far from Dreiser's that the old literary lion sued the studio. The film was recut and proved to be both a critical and box-office failure.
Alfred Hitchcock maintained that it was far easier to make a good picture from a mediocre or bad drama or book than it was from a good work or a masterpiece. It remained for George Stevens to turn a literary masterpiece into a cinematic one--a unique trick in Hollywood. What was revolutionary about "A Place in the Sun," in terms of technique, is Stevens' use of close-ups. Charlton Heston has pointed out that no one had ever used close-ups the way Stevens had in the picture. He used them more frequently than was the norm circa 1950, and he used extreme close-ups that, when combined with his innovative, slow-dissolve editing, created its own atmosphere, its own world that brought the audience into George Eastman's world, even into his embrace with the girl of his dreams, and also into the rowboat on that fateful day that would forever change his life. The editing technique of slow-lapping dissolves slowed down time and elongated the tempo of a scene in a way never before seen on screen.
Stevens' mastery over the art of the motion picture was recognized with his first Academy Award for direction, beating out Elia Kazan for that director's own masterpiece, A Streetcar Named Desire and Stanley Donen and Gene Kelly for THEIR masterpiece, An American in Paris, for the Best Picture Oscar winner that year (most observers had expected "Sun" or "Streetcar" to win, but they had split the vote and allowed "American" to nose them out at the finish line. MGM's publicity department acknowledged as much when it ran a post-Oscar ad featuring Leo the Lion with copy that began, "I was standing in the Sun waiting for a Streetcar when . . . ").
Stevens' theme of the outsider continued with his next classic, Shane. The eponymous gunman is an outsider, but so is the Starrett family he has decided to defend, as are the "sodbusters", and even the range baron who is now outside his time, outside his community and outside human decency. Giant, Stevens' sprawling three-hour epic based on Edna Ferber's novel about Texas, also features outsiders: sister Luz Benedict, hired-hand transformed into millionaire oilman Jett Rink, transplanted Tidewater belle Leslie Benedict, her two rebellious children and eventually her husband Bick Benedict, a near-stereotypical Texan who finally steps outside of his parochialism and is transformed into an outsider when he decides to fight, physically, against discrimination against Latinos as a point of honor. The Otto Frank family and their compatriots in hiding in The Diary of Anne Frank, American cinema's first movie to deal with the Holocaust, are outsiders, while Christ in his The Greatest Story Ever Told--subtle, complex and unknowable--is the ultimate outsider. The Only Game in Town--Stevens' last film with Elizabeth Taylor, his female lead in "A Place in the Sun" and "Giant"--was about two outsiders, an aging chorus girl and a petty gambler.
Stevens' reputation suffered after the 1950s, and he didn't make another film until halfway into the 1960s. The film he did produce after that long hiatus was misunderstood and underappreciated when it was released. The Greatest Story Ever Told, a picture about the ministry and passion of Christ, was one of the last epic films. It was maligned by critics and failed at the box office. It was on this picture that Stevens' improvisatory method began to take a toll on him. It took six years from the release of "Anne Frank," which had garnered Oscar nominations for Best Picture and Best Director, until the release of "Greatest Story." There had been a long gestation period for the film, and it was renowned as a difficult shoot, so much so that David Lean helped out a man he considered a master by shooting some ancillary scenes for the picture. The film has a look of vastness that many critics misunderstood as emptiness rather than as a visual correlative of the soul. Stevens' script is inspired by the three Synoptic Gospels, particular the Gospel According to St. John. John stresses the interior relation between the self and things beyond its knowledge. Though misunderstood by critics at the time of its release, the film has become more appreciated some 40 years later. Stevens is a master of the cinema, and is fully in command of the dissolves and emotive use of sound he used so effectively in "A Place in the Sun."
His last film, The Only Game in Town, also was not a critical or box-office success, as Elizabeth Taylor's star had gone into steep decline as the 1970s dawned. Frank Sinatra had originally been slated to be her co-star, but Ol' Blue Eyes, notorious for preferring one-take directors, likely had second thoughts about being in a film directed by Stevens, who had a (well-deserved) reputation for multiple takes. His filmmaking method entailed shooting take after take of a scene during principal photography from every conceivable angle and from multiple focal points, so he'd have a plethora of choices in the editing room, which is where he made his films (unlike John Ford, famous for his lack of coverage, who had a reputation of "editing" in the camera, shooting only what he thought necessary for a film). Warren Beatty, typically underwhelming in films in which he wasn't in control, proved a poor substitute for Sinatra, and the film tanked big-time when it was released, further tarnishing Stevens' reputation.
In a money-dominated culture in which the ethos "What Have You Done For Me Lately?" is prominent, George Stevens was relegated to has-been status, and the fact that he had established himself as one of the greats of American cinema was ignored, then forgotten altogether in popular culture. Donald Richie's 1984 biography "George Stevens: An American Romantic" tags Stevens with the "R" word, but it is too simplistic a generalization for such a complicated artist. Stevens' films demand that the audience remain in the moment and absorb all the details on offer in order to fully understand the morality play he is telling. James Agee had been a great admirer of Stevens the director, but Agee died in the 1950s and the 1960s was a new age, an iconoclastic age, and George Stevens and the classical Hollywood cinema he was a master of were considered icons to be smashed. Film critic Andrew Sarris, who introduced the "auteur" theory to America, disrespected Stevens in his 1968 book "The American Cinema." Stevens was not an auteur, Sarris wrote, and his latter films were big and empty. He became the symbol of what the new, auteurist cinema was against.
The Cahiers du Cinema critics attacked Stevens by elevating Douglas Sirk. Sirk's Magnificent Obsession, so the argument went, was a much better and more cogent exegesis of America than "Giant," which was "big and empty" as was the country they attacked (though they loved its films). The point of iconoclasm is to smash idols, no matter what the reason--and Stevens, the master craftsman, was an idol. However, to say "Giant" was empty is absurd. To imply that George Stevens did not understand America is equally absurd. "Giant" contains what is arguably the premier moment in America cinema of the immediate postwar years, and it is an "American" moment--the confrontation between patrician rancher Bick Benedict and diner owner Sarge (Robert J. Wilke). Many critics and cinema historians have commented on the scene, favorably, but many miss the full import of it.
The film has been built up to this climax. Benedict has shared the prejudices of his class and his race. All his life he has exploited the Mexicans whom he has lived with in a symbiotic relationship on HIS ranch, giving little thought to the injustice his class of overlords has wrought on Latinos, on poor whites, or on his own family. His wife, an Easterner, is appalled by the poverty and state of peonage of the Mexicans who work on the ranch and tries to do something about it. Her idealism is echoed in her son, who becomes a doctor, rejects his father's rancher heritage, and marries a Mexican-American woman, giving his father an Anglo/Mexican-American grandson.
While out on a ride with his wife, daughter, daughter-in-law and her child, they stop at a roadside diner. Sarge, the proprietor, initially balks at serving them because of the Latinos in their party. He backs down, but when more Latinos come into his diner, he moves to throw them out. Benedict decides to intervene in a display of noblesse oblige, and also out of family duty. Sarge is unimpressed by Benedict's pedigree, and a fight breaks out between the hardened veteran--recently returned from the war, we are meant to understand--and the now aged Benedict. Bick first holds his own and Sarge crashes into the jukebox, setting off the song "The Yellow Rose of Texas" while he recovers and then sets out to systematically demolish Mr. Bick Benedict, the overlord. As the song plays on in ironic counterpoint, shots of his distraught daughter and other family members are undercut with the cinematic crucifixion of Bick Benedict, the overlord, by the former Centurion. After Sarge has finished thrashing Benedict, he takes a sign off of the wall and throws it on Benedict's prostrate body: "The management reserves the right to refuse service to anyone". This is not only America of the 1950s, but America of the 21st century. For just as Sarge is defending racism, he is also defending his once-constitutional right to free association, as well as exerting his belief in Jeffersonian-Jacksonian democracy in thrashing a plutocrat. This is a type of yahooism that Bruce Catton, in his Pulitzer Prize-winning history of the Civil War, attributed to the rebellion. There had always been a very well developed strain of reckless, individualistic violence in America, frequently encouraged, ritualized and sanctified by the state. The diner scene in "Giant" could only have been created by a man with a thorough knowledge of what America and Americans were (and continue to be). Sarge will try to accommodate Benedict, who has stepped out of his role as racist plutocrat into that of paternalistic pater familias, just as the sons of the robber barons of the 19th century--who justified their economic depravities with the doctrine of social Darwinism--did in the 20th century, endowing foundations that tried to right many wrongs, including racism, but Sarge will only go so far. When he is stretched beyond his limit, when his giving in is then "pushed too far," he reacts, and reacts violently.
This scene sums up American democracy and the human condition in America perhaps better than any other. America is a violent society, a gladiator society, in which progress is measured in, if not gained by, violence. Yes, Sarge is standing up for racism and segregation (a huge topic after the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court ruling outlawing segregation), but he is also standing up for himself, and his beliefs, something he has recently fought for in World War II. The ironies are rich, just as the irony of American democracy, which excluded African-Americans and women and the native American tribes from the very first days of the U.S. Constitution, is rich. This is America, the scene in Sarge's diner says, and it is a critique only an American with a thorough knowledge of and sympathy for America could create. It is much more effective and philosophically true than the petty neo-Nazi caricatures of Lars von Trier's Dogville, who are cowards. Characters in a George Stevens film may be reluctant, they may be hesitant, they may be conflicted, but they aren't cowardly.
Another ironic scene in "Giant" features Mexican children singing the National Anthem during the funeral of Angel, who in counterpoint to Bick's son, his contemporary in age, is of the land, to the manor born, so to speak, but lacking those rights because of the color of his skin. Angel had gone off to war, and he returns to the Texas in which he was born on a caisson, in a coffin, starkly silhouetted against the Texas sky as the Benedict mansion had been earlier in the film when Leslie had first come to this benighted land. Angel, who had experienced racial bigotry due to his birth into poverty on the Benedict ranch, had fought Adolf Hitler. He is the only hero in "Giant," and his death would be empty and meaningless without Bick Benedict's reluctant conversion to integration through fisticuffs.
The great turning points in American cinema typically have involved race. The biggest, most significant movies of the first 50 years of the American cinema death with race: Uncle Tom's Cabin, Edwin S. Porter's major movie before his The Great Train Robbery and the first film to feature inter-titles; The Birth of a Nation, D.W. Griffith's racist masterpiece--which was a filming of a notorious pro-Ku Klux Klan book called "The Clansman"--in which a non-sectarian America is formed in the linking of Southern and Northern whites to fight the African-American freedman; The Jazz Singer, in which a Jewish cantor's son achieves assimilation by donning blackface and disenfranchising black folk by purloining their music, which he deracinates, while turning his back on his Jewish identity by marrying a Gentile; and Gone with the Wind, the greatest Hollywood movie of all time--in which the Klan is never shown and the "N" word is never used, although the entire movie takes place in the immediate post-Civil War South--a sweeping, romantic masterpiece in which a reactionary, ultra-racist plutocracy is made out to be the flower of American chivalry and romance.
Stevens' "Giant" was a major film of its time, and remains a motion picture of the first rank, but it was not the cultural blockbuster these movies were. Yet it more than any other Hollywood film of its time, aside from Elia Kazan's rather whitebread Gentleman's Agreement and Pinky, directly addresses the great American dilemma, race, and its implications, and not from the familiar racist, white supremacist point of view that had been part of American movies since the very beginning. Those attitudes had been rooted in the American psyche even before the days of The Perils of Pauline serials (simultaneously serialized in the white supremacist Hearst newspapers), in which many a sweet young thing was threatened with death or--even worse, the loss of her maidenhead--by a sinister person of color (always played by a Caucasian in yellow or brown face).
A 1934 "Fortune Magazine" story about the rosy financial prospects of the Technicolor Corp.'s new three-strip process contained a startling metaphor for a 21st-century reader: "Then - like the cowboy bursting into the cabin just as the heroine has thrown the last flowerpot at the Mexican - came the three-color process to the rescue." It was this endemic, accepted racism that Stevens challenged in "Giant," which is at the root of America's expansionist philosophy of manifest destiny, and which was at the root of much of the southern and western economies. Those who died in World War II had to have died for something, not just the continuation of the status quo. It was a direct and knowing challenge to the system by someone who thoroughly knew and thoroughly cared about America and Americans.
George Stevens died of a heart attack on March 8, 1975, in Lancaster, California. He would have been 100 years old in 2004, and in that year he was celebrated with screenings by The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, London's British Film Institute, and the Museum of Modern Art in New York. His legacy lives on in the directorial work of fellow two-time Oscar-winning Best Director Clint Eastwood, particularly in Pale Rider, which suffers from being too-close a "Shane" clone, and most memorably in his masterpiece, Unforgiven.
Marcy Walker had been married and divorced 3 times, all by the time she was 30 years old. Her first marriage was to actor Stephen Ferris, whom she was married to in the early 80s briefly. The blond actress then married actor Billy Warlock, former Days of Our Lives star, in 1987. After that marriage crumbled, she found herself in the arms of cameraman Stephan Collins. They had a child together in 1989 and then married a year later. Sadly, however, that marriage even failed, and she was once again single. "I think everybody loves to be in love. But now I've come to the point where I say if I don't know what marriage is, I shouldn't be married," she says in response to her marital record.
Judi is a multi-award winning International actress with dual nationality and is fluent in English,French and Italian. She is a talented singer-songwriter who writes and performs in three languages. A NY theatrically trained actress, Judi's first professional acting job in America was with Woody Allen in "Coop Italia", a string of TV commercials for the Italian market. She's modeled in France, Italy and New York, has sung in the south of France, next to the Gypsy Kings and appeared in Cologne and Barcelona as a chanteuse. She has performed in more than eleven Off-Broadway original theater productions, starred in numerous SAG independent films. She's had recurring roles on the "Bold and the Beautiful" & "As the World Turns." has co-guest starred on "Law and Order," "Jag," "The Shield" and "Once and Again", starred in dozens of commercials and had a recurring roles in the anime TV series "Digimon". Judi is well known for her work in the highly acclaimed video game for Sony, "Heavy Rain" where she created the popular lead character "Madison Paige" (voice over and motion capture).
Nominated Best Supporting Actress at the Saint Tropez International Film Festival, for her work in the feature film "The Warrior and The Savior" and winner of the "Best Actress" award, for her work as nerdy Samantha, in the Romantic Comedy "Only in Paris" at the NY Independent Film Festival, in both New York and Los Angeles. This film, which she also produced, also received Best Romantic Comedy and Best Short Film Awards. Judi's talents were also show-cased when she starred in a short film at the Cannes Film Festival- "Perfect Pitch" which won best film amid tough competition.
Judi is a leading lady that is able to transform herself into women of many different cultures and situations, starring in "Tango Shalom" (Lainie Kazan, Renee Taylor, Joe Bologna and Karina Smirnoff) directed by Gabe Bologna, produced by Joel Zwick, Judi plays the role of Raquel the Hassdic wife of Moshe Yehuda, a rabbi that get's a calling to dance the Tango, a psychopathic Mother in "A Cry from Within", a French neighbor in "Larchmont", a Detective with a proclivity for bondage, opposite "Pruitt Taylor Vince" in "Cameraman", a mother who buys children on the black market, in "The Warrior and the Savior" and a trophy wife, stranded in the dessert ,in "Four Weeks, Four Hours".
On the other side of the camera, Judi most recently put her creativity and quirkiness on the line as she directed and produced "The Can Cannes", "The Gourmet Dinner" which screened at the "No Dance Film Festival" at Sundance, As a result of trying to find the "right" sound track for the film, "Only in Paris", Judi became a singer/song-writer, composing and performing all the music in the film.
Her New York training includes acting masters as Uta Hagen, Bill Hickey, Bobby Lewis, Elaine Strich, (Master class), Stella Adler Conservatory and Kathryn Gately: 2yr Meisner program. In Los Angeles, she has studied with Larry Moss and Gordon Hunt.
Today she works between New York, Los Angeles and Paris
Jeremy John Wade, a native of rural Suffolk, England, UK where he grew up on the banks of the Suffolk Stour, currently resides in the countryside near Bath, Somerset, UK when he's not traveling to some far off land to catch "monster" fish and film the TV Series, River Monsters, a production of Icon Films for Animal Planet. He has a degree in Zoology from Bristol University and a postgraduate teaching certificate in biological sciences from the University of Kent. Besides his latest occupation as host of River Monsters, Jeremy Wade has worked as a secondary school biology teacher, tour leader, motorcycle dispatch rider, supply teacher, art tutor, translator (Portuguese-English), public relations consultant, dishwasher, senior copywriter (at an advertising agency) and newspaper reporter.
He is a self-taught writer, with several published articles on poaching, fair trade, travel, natural history, and of course fishing. Besides his newspaper and magazine articles for The Times, Guardian, Sunday Telegraph, The Field and BBC Wildlife magazine, to name a few, he has also co-written a book in 1992 with Paul Arthur Boote called, "Somewhere Down the Crazy River." Described by many as an unusual, quirky, and strange tale of the perils faced by the two anglers, it is considered an angling classic. He has completed a new book, "River Monsters: True Stories of the Ones That Didn't Get Away," that will cover his fishing adventures worldwide which is scheduled for release in April 2011.
At age 16, he was the youngest member of the British Carp Study Group (The B.C.S.G. is a national single species organization for experienced and successful carp anglers). His first overseas trip was to the mountain rivers of India in 1982 where his desire for tracking down large and little-known fresh-water fish became unquenchable and possibly border-lined on obsessive. Although he has mostly fished in the Congo and the Amazon rainforests of Brazil, his travels have taken him to many lands where he has had the misfortune of catching Malaria, been jailed overnight as a suspected spy, almost drowned, survived a plane crash, had an Alaskan bear steal his fish, and found himself facing the wrong end of a gun. Who knows what perils he may face in the future.
During his career he has achieved a number of notable 'firsts'. These include filming a large mystery creature in an Amazon lake (dubbed 'the Amazon Nessie' by BBC Wildlife magazine) which turned out to be a malformed pink river dolphin, and getting the first underwater footage (with cameraman Rick Rosenthal) of the 'Giant Devil Catfish' in India.
His tenacity is to be admired as he studied Portuguese for three hours a day for three months to prepare for a trip to Brazil. He has since worked as a Portuguese-English translator and speaks a half dozen languages well enough to get around although, in an episode, he admits that German is not one of them.
He became a TV personality beginning in 2002 hosting his first TV series, "Jungle Hooks," filmed for Discovery Europe which was highly popular and followed by "River Monsters" in 2009 which has achieved the highest-ever audience figures in the history of Animal Planet.
When not fishing, he enjoys scuba diving (mostly cold, low-visibility water around the U.K. coast) along with free diving and rock climbing when the weather allows.
Larry was just eleven years old when he delved into show business after seeing a magician perform at a Cub Scout function. By the time he was fourteen he was performing magic professionally, and over the next six years developed a reputation as one of the hottest young entertainers in Minneapolis and St. Paul.
Along the way, Larry discovered another art form that would have a marked influence on his career - sales. Fascinated by carnival pitchmen, he developed a sales pitch around a trick deck of cards and began working a circuit of fairs hawking his cards for two bucks a deck. At the Minnesota State Fair he was spotted by a career pitchman who recognized his talents and introduced him to the world of Ginsu knives, Roll-A-Matic kitchen mops, the Miracle Slicer and a host of other products he would sell off and on over the next twenty years.
Before moving to California, Larry attended two years at the University of Minnesota majoring in theatre arts, and then Brown Institute where he studied television production and worked as a cameraman at the ABC and PBS affiliates in the Twin Cities. But, fame and fortune beckoned so Larry headed west.
He quickly landed a job with nationally known magician and president of an emerging entertainment company, Mark Wilson. Among his many assignments was serving as the technical advisor for film and television projects incorporating magic as part of their theme. As consultant and teacher to Bill Bixby on the NBC series The Magician, Larry appeared in many of the episodes, opening his eyes to a whole new career.
With his new goal of becoming an actor, Larry immersed himself in acting classes, movies, and plays to learn everything he could about the craft. He studied dramatic acting from such notable teachers as Stella Adler, Robert Lewis and Jose Quintero. But it was in a comedy improvisation workshop where Larry experienced the most growth as a performer. Out of this workshop grew Tap City, an improv troupe he directed and performed in each week at Hollywood's famous Comedy Store. Years later, Larry would form and teach his own comedy workshop at the Chamber Theatre in Los Angeles.
As a struggling actor, Larry kept the bills paid working the occasional fair or trade show as a pitchman. His big break came when he landed one of the lead roles in his first TV series -- an NBC sitcom called Brothers and Sisters. The show lasted only one season but opened the door to numerous guest-star appearances on shows like, Charlie's Angels, Happy Days, Knight Rider, Mork and Mindy, The A-Team, Matlock, Night Court, Beverly Hills 90210, Boston Public, The O.C., Raising The Bar, Desperate Housewives, Mad Men, Everybody Loves Chris and many more.
Not content working in just one aspect of the industry, Larry began expanding his interests into film production - taking courses in cinematography, screenwriting, lighting, editing and directing. Putting his new skills to work, he directed two critically acclaimed plays in Los Angeles and wrote, produced, and directed numerous film and video shorts. He also wrote several screenplays and served as Associate Producer on one of them, Hot Moves, which was released theatrically in 1985.
After an acting stint on a TV sitcom for Turner Broadcasting, Larry was given the opportunity to direct an episode, which earned him his membership in the Directors Guild of America. His debut effort was so well received he was hired to direct a second episode some weeks later.
Then came another big break. Larry auditioned for and was chosen by Aaron Spelling and Lucille Ball to play her son-in-law on the ABC sitcom Life with Lucy. This too lasted only one season, but afforded Larry a fateful guest appearance on the Tonight Show. Watching at home that night was Ralph Edwards who - based on Larry's "magical" eight minutes with Johnny Carson - hired him as host of the new Truth or Consequences.
Since then, Larry hosted a weekly water-sports series for the Travel Channel called Get Wet and other game shows including the California Lottery's Big Spin, and Trivia Track for the Game Show Network. On the big screen, Larry appeared (though hardly recognizable) as an enemy alien in the Paramount film Star Trek: Insurrection.
In recent years, Larry has hosted or been the "product expert" on numerous successful infomercial campaigns. Among these are George Foreman's Party Grill and Rotisserie Oven shows, Wagner's Wall-Magic Home Decorating System, Time-Life Music's Rock & Roll Era, AM Gold, and Classic Love Songs of The 60's shows, and the I-DAPZ Active Eyewear System. Larry's favorite Infomercial is one he wrote, produced, and stars in entitled JawDroppers - a set of how-to videotapes teaching anyone to perform jaw-dropping magic tricks with everyday items.
With his professional endeavors coming full-circle back to magic, Larry can't wait to see what lies around the next career corner.
Marymount High School, Tarrytown, New York Graduated Adelphi College, NY Married another Adelphi graduate, Lee Philips (actor, director). Divorced amicably. Studied with Sanford Meisner. Married F.X. Toole (writer: Million Dollar Baby Pseudonym for Jerry Boyd, in Mexico City where daughter Erin was born. Divorced amicably. Did the play, Teach Me How To Cry, writer: Patricia Joudry. She was spotted by agent, Doovid Barskin, who signed her. In 1960 she met the perfect man, Phil Toorvald, a Stanford University senior studying electrical engineering. Having raised one daughter, Jean knew where her heart really was--as a mother. She had two children with Phil in quick succession, Sven and Tina, raised another girl (adopted), and then raised that girl's two daughters. She was happy in her mothering role for many years and never returned to acting. Jean's first feature part had been in 1952 in the film Edge of Fury where she met first-time cameraman Jack Couffer. Fifty years later, after each had survived the loss of long time spouses they now share their lives together in retirement.
|James Wong Howe
Master cinematographer James Wong Howe, whose career stretched from silent pictures through the mid-'70s, was born Wong Tung Jim in Canton (now Guangzhou), China, on August 28, 1899, the son of Wong How. His father emigrated to America the year James was born, settling in Pasco, Washington, where he worked for the Northern Pacific Railroad. Wong How eventually went into business for himself in Pasco, opening a general store, which he made a success, despite the bigotry of the locals.
When he was five years old, Wong Tung Jim joined his father in the US. His childhood was unhappy due to the discrimination he faced, which manifested itself in racist taunting by the neighborhood children. To get the kids to play with him, Jimmie often resorted to bribing them with candy from his father's store. When Jimmie, as he was known to his friends and later to his co-workers in the movie industry, was about 12 years old he bought a Kodak Brownie camera from a drugstore. Though his father was an old-fashioned Chinese, suspicious about having his picture taken and opposed to his new hobby, Jimmie went ahead and photographed his brothers and sisters. Unfortunately, when the photos were developed, the heads of his siblings had been cut off, as the Brownie lacked a viewfinder.
His childhood dream was to be a prizefighter, and as a teenager he moved to Oregon to fight. However, his interest soon waned, and he moved to Los Angeles, where he got a job as an assistant to a commercial photographer. His duties included making deliveries, but he was fired when he developed some passport photos for a friend in the firm's darkroom. Reduced to making a living as a busboy at the Beverly Hills Hotel, he journeyed down to Chinatown on Sundays to watch movies being shot there.
Jimmie Howe made the acquaintance of a cameraman on one of the location shoots, who suggested he give the movies a try. He got hired by the Jesse Lasky Studios' photography department at the princely sum of $10 per week, but the man in charge thought he was too little to lug equipment around, so he assigned Jimmie custodial work. Thus the future Academy Award-wining cinematographer James Wong Howe's first job in Hollywood was picking up scraps of nitrate stock from the cutting-room floor (more important than it sounds, as nitrate fires in editing rooms were not uncommon). The job allowed him to familiarize himself with movie cameras, lighting equipment and the movie film-development process.
His was a genuine Horatio Alger "Up From His Bootstraps" narrative, as by 1917 he had graduated from editing room assistant to working as a slate boy on Cecil B. DeMille's pictures. The promotion came when DeMille needed all his camera assistants to man multiple cameras on a film. This left no one to hold the chalkboard identifying each scene as a header as the take is shot on film, so Jimmie was drafted and given the title "fourth assistant cameraman. He endeared himself to DeMille when the director and his production crew were unable to get a canary to sing for a close-up. The fourth assistant cameraman lodged a piece of chewing gum in the bird's beak, and as it moved its beak to try to dislodge the gum, it looked like the canary was singing. DeMille promptly gave Jimmie a 50% raise.
In 1919 he was being prepared for his future profession of cameraman. "I held the slate on Male and Female", he told George C. Pratt in an interview published 60 years later, "and when Mr. DeMille rehearsed a scene, I had to crank a little counter . . . and I would have to grind 16 frames per second. And when he stopped, I would have to give him the footage. He wanted to know how long the scene ran. So besides writing the slate numbers down and keeping a report, I had to turn this crank. That was the beginning of learning how to turn 16 frames".
Because of the problem with early orthochromatic film registering blue eyes on screen, Howe was soon promoted to operating cameraman at Paramount (the new name for the Lasky Studio), where his talents were noted. A long-time photography buff, Jimmie Howe enjoyed taking still pictures and made extra money photographing the stars. One of his clients was professional "sweet young thing" Mary Miles Minter, of the William Desmond Taylor shooting scandal, who praised Jimmie's photographs because they made her pale blue eyes, which did not register well on film, look dark. When she asked him if he could replicate the effect on motion picture film, he told her he could, and she offered him a job as her cameraman.
Howe did not know how he'd made Minter's eyes look dark, but he soon realized that the reflection of a piece of black velvet at the studio that had been tacked up near his still camera had cast a shadow in her eyes, causing them to register darkly. Promoted to Minter's cameraman, he fashioned a frame of black velvet through which the camera's lens could protrude; filming Minter's close-ups with the device darkened her eyes, just as she desired. The studio was abuzz with the news that Minter had acquired a mysterious Chinese cameraman who made her blue eyes register on film. Since other blue-eyed actors had the same problem, they began to demand that Jimmie shoot them, and a cinematography star was born.
Jimmie Howe was soon advanced beyond operating cameraman to lighting cameraman (called "director of photography" in Hollywood) on Minter's Drums of Fate, and he served as director of photography on The Trail of the Lonesome Pine the next year. As a lighting cameraman he was much in demand, and started to freelance. Notable silent pictures on which he served as the director of photography include Paramount's Mantrap, starring "It Girl" Clara Bow, and MGM's Laugh, Clown, Laugh, starring silent superstar John Gilbert opposite Joan Crawford.
The cinematography on "Mantrap" was his breakthrough as a star lighting cameraman, in which his lighting added enormously to bringing out Clara Bow's sex appeal. He bathed Bow in a soft glow, surrounding the flapper with shimmering natural light, transforming her into a seemingly three-dimensional sex goddess. Even at this early a stage in his career, Howe had developed a solid aesthetic approach to film, based on inventive, expressive lighting. The film solidified his reputation as a master in the careful handling of female subjects, a rep that would get him his last job a half-century later, on ;Barbra Streisand''s Funny Lady.
Jimmie Howe journeyed back to China at the end of the decade to shoot location backgrounds for a movie about China he planned to make as a director. Though the movie was never made, the footage was later used in Josef von Sternberg's Shanghai Express. When he returned to the US, Hollywood was in the midst of a technological upheaval as sound pictures were finishing off the silent movie, which had matured into a medium of expression now being hailed as "The Seventh Art." The silent film, in a generation, had matured into a set art form with its own techniques of craftsmanship, and pictures like 7th Heaven and The Bridge of San Luis Rey generally were thought to be examples of the "photoplay" reaching perfection as a medium. This mature medium now was violently overthrown by the revolutionary upstart, Sound. The talkies had arrived.
The Hollywood Howe returned to was in a panic. All the wisdom about making motion pictures had been jettisoned by nervous studio heads, and the new Hollywood dogma held that only cameramen with experience in sound cinematography could shoot the new talking pictures, thus freezing out many cameramen who had recently been seen as master craftsmen in the silent cinema. Director William K. Howard, who was in pre-production with his film Transatlantic, wanted Jimmie Howe's expertise. Having just acquired some new lenses with $700 of his own money, Howe shot some tests for the film, which impressed the studio enough to gave Howard permission to hire Jimmie to shoot it.
Once again, his career thrived and he was much in demand. He earned the sobriquet "Low-Key Howe" for his low-contrast lighting of interiors, exerting aesthetic control over the dark spots of a frame in the way that a great musician "played" the silences between notes. In 1933 he gave up freelancing and started working in-house at MGM, where he won a reputation for efficiency. He shot The Thin Man in 18 days and Manhattan Melodrama in 28 days. It was at MGM that he became credited as "James Wong Howe". Howe's original screen credit was "James Howe" or "Jimmie Howe", but during his early years at MGM "Wong" was added to his name by the front office, "for exotic flair", and his salary reached $500 a week. After shooting 15 pictures for MGM, he moved over to Warner Bros. for Algiers, garnering him his first Academy Award nomination. Studio boss Jack L. Warner was so thrilled by Howe's work with Hedy Lamarr that he signed Jimmie to a seven-year contract. James Wong Howe shot 26 movies at Warners through 1947, and four others on loanout to other studios.
A master at the use of shadow, Howe was one of the first DPs to use deep-focus cinematography, photography in which both foreground and distant planes remain in focus. His camerawork typically was unobtrusive, but could be quite spectacular when the narrative called for it. In the context of the studio-bound production of the time, Wong Howe's lighting sense is impressive given his use of location shooting. Citic James Agee called him one of "the few men who use this country for background as it ought to be used in films." Wong Howe used backgrounds to elucidate the psychology of the film's characters and their psychology, such as in Pursued, where the austere desert landscape serves to highlight the tortured psyche of Robert Mitchum's character.
Wong Howe was famed for his innovations, including putting a cameraman with a hand-held camera on roller skates inside a boxing ring for Body and Soul to draw the audience into the ring. He strapped cameras to the actors' waists in The Brave Bulls to give a closer and tighter perspective on bullfighting, a sport in which fractions of an inch can mean the difference between life and death. He was hailed for his revolutionary work with tracking and distortion in Seconds, in which he used a 9mm "fish-eye" lens to suggest mental instability.
James Wong Howe became the most famous cameraman in the world in the 1930s, and he bought a Duesenberg, one of the most prestigious and expensive automobiles in the world. His driving his "Doozy" around Hollywood made for an incongruous sight, as Chinese typically were gardeners and houseboys in prewar America, a deeply racist time. During World War II anti-Asian bigotry intensified, despite the fact that China was an ally of the United States in its war with Japan. Mistaken for a Japanese (despite their having been relocated to concentration camps away from the Pacific Coast), he wore a button that declared "I am Chinese." His close friend James Cagney also wore the same button, out of solidarity with his friend.
Wong Howe was involved in a long-term relationship with the writer Sanora Babb, who was a Caucasian. Anti-miscegenation laws on the books in California until 1948 forbade Caucasians from marrying Chinese, and the couple could not legally marry until 1949, after the laws had been repealed. In September of 1949 they finally tied the knot, and Sanora Babb Wong Howe later told a family member that they had to hunt for three days for a sympathetic judge who would marry them.
Wong Howe eventually bought a Chinese restaurant located near the Ventura Freeway, which he managed with Sanora. When a photographer from a San Fernando Valley newspaper came to take a picture of the eatery, Howe counseled that he should put a wide-angle lens on his camera so he wouldn't have to stand so close to the freeway to get the shot. "I'll take the picture," the photographer unknowingly snapped at one of the master cinematographers of the world, "you just mind your goddamned noodles!"
Perhaps due to the sting of racism, the hypocrisy of a country fighting the Nazis and their eugenics policies that itself allowed the proscription of racial intermarriage, which kept him from legally marrying the woman he loved, or perhaps because of the Red-baiting that consumed Hollywood after the War, James Wong Howe's professional reputation began to decline in the late 1940s. Losing his reputation for efficiency, he was branded "difficult to work with," and producers began to fear his on-set temper tantrums. Though Wong Howe was never blacklisted, he came under the scrutiny of the House Un-American Activities Committee for his propensity for working with "Reds", "Pinks" and "fellow-travelers" such as John Garfield. Though he was never hauled in front of HUAC, Wong Howe's good friend Cagney had been a noted liberal in the 1930s. James Wong Howe felt the chill cast over the industry by McCarthyism.
In 1953 Wong Howe was given the opportunity to direct a feature film for the first time, being hired to helm a biography of Harlem Globetrotters founder Abe Saperstein, Go Man Go. The film, which was brought in at 21 days on a $130,000 budget, did nothing to enhance his reputation. Howe managed to pull out of his career doldrums, and after McCarthyism crested in 1954 he won his first Oscar for the B+W cinematography of The Rose Tattoo, in which the shadows created by Howe's cinematography reveal the protagonist Serafina's emotional turmoil as much as the words of Tennessee Williams. He directed one more picture, the undistinguished The Invisible Avenger, a B-movie in which The Shadow, Lamont Cranston, investigated the murder of a New Orleans bandleader, before returning to his true vocation, the motion picture camera.
By the mid-'50s Howe had made it back to the top of the profession. In 1957 he did some of his most brilliant work on Sweet Smell of Success, a textbook primer on the richness of B+W cinematography. Ironically, he was not Oscar-nominated for his work on the film, but was nominated the following year for his color work on The Old Man and the Sea and won his second Oscar for the B+W photography of Hud. Once again Wong Howe used a landscape, the barren and lonely West Texas plains, to highlight the psychological state of the film's protagonist, the amoral and go-it-alone title character played by Paul Newman.
One of Wong Howe's favorite assignments in his career was the five-month shoot under the once-blacklisted Martin Ritt on The Molly Maguires, a tale of labor strife, which was shot on location in the Pennsylvania coal fields. His health started to fail after the shoot, and he was forced into retirement, requiring frequent hospitalization in the final years of his life. Reportedly he had to turn down the offer to shoot The Godfather, as he was not healthy enough to undertake the assignment. Gordon Willis got the job instead.
When Funny Lady producer Ray Stark fired Vilmos Zsigmond as the director of photography of his Funny Girl sequel, he hired Howe due to his faith that the great lighting cameraman who had done wonders with Mary Miles Minter, Clara Bow, and Heddy Lamar could glamorize his star, Barbra Streisand. Howe took over the shoot, but his health gave out after a short time and he collapsed on the set. Oscar-winner Ernest Laszlo, then-president of the American Society of Cinematographers, filled in until Howe returned from the hospital and finished the shoot. He received his last Oscar nomination for his work on the film. It marked the end of a remarkable career in motion pictures that spanned almost 60 years.
By the time of his retirement, he had long been acknowledged as a master of his art, one of the greatest lighting cameramen of all time, credited with shooting over 130 pictures in Hollywood and England. He worked with many of the greatest and most important directors in cinema history, from Allan Dwan in the silent era to Sidney Lumet in the 1960s. He created three production companies during his professional career, an untopped career in which he racked up ten Academy Award nominations in both B+W white and color (including notoriously difficult Technicolor), in formats ranging from the Academy ratio to CinemaScope, all of which he mastered. An even greater honor than his two Oscar wins came his way. In 1949, when he was chosen to shoot test footage for the proposed comeback of the great Greta Garbo in the proposed movie "La Duchesse de Langeais," such was his reputation.
Sanora Babb Wong Howe wrote after his death, "My husband loved his work. He spent all his adult life from age 17 to 75, a year before his death, in the motion picture industry. When he died at 77, courageous in illness as in health, he was still thinking of new ways to make pictures. He was critical of poor quality in any area of film, but quick to see and appreciate the good. His mature style was realistic, never naturalistic. If the story demanded, his work could be harsh and have a documentary quality, but that quality was strictly Wong Howe. If the story allowed, his style was poetic realism, for he was a poet of the camera. This was a part of his nature, his impulse toward the beautiful, but it did not prevent his flexibility in dealing with all aspects of reality."
His greatest asset to film may have been his adaptability, the many ways in which he could vary his aesthetic in service of a story. Howe initially fought the notoriously gimmicky John Frankenheimer over his desire to use a fish-eye lens for "Seconds." Subsequently, Howe used the lens masterfully to convey the psychological torment of the protagonist, locked in a beyond-Kafkaesque nightmare that simply relying on sets and lighting couldn't bring across. He had made it work by adapting his aesthetic to the needs of the story and its characters, in service to his director.
Howe's work recently was given retrospectives at the 2002 Seattle International Film Festival, and in San Francisco in 2004, a rare honor for a cinematographer. It is testimony to his continuing reputation, more than a quarter century after his death, as one of the greatest and most innovative lighting cameramen the world of cinema has ever known.
Perhaps the greatest honor that can be bestowed on James Wong Howe is that this master craftsman, a genius of lighting, refutes the auteur theory, which holds that the director solely is "author" of a film. No one could reasonably make that claim on any picture on which Howe was the director of photography.
One of the highest appraised contemporary cinematographers. He was born in Spain but moved to Cuba by age 18 to join his exiled anti-Franco father. In Havana, he founded a cineclub and wrote film reviews. Then, he went on to study in Rome at the Centro Sperimentale. He directed six shorts in Cuba and two in New York. After the 1959 Cuban revolution, he returned and made several documentaries for the Castro-regime. But after two of his shorts (Gente en la playa and La Tumba Francesca) had been banned, he moved to Paris. There he became the favourite cameraman of Éric Rohmer and François Truffaut. In 1978, he started his impressive Hollywood-career. In his later years, he co-directed two documentaries about the human rights situation in Cuba: Improper Conduct (about the persecution of gay people) and Nadie escuchaba. He shot several prestigious commercials for Giorgio Armani and Calvin Klein. Nestor Almendros died of cancer.
Born in Milan, Italy in 1957, Michele Soavi's parents separated when he was little and he lived with his mother who remarried a painter. Interested in his stepfather's interest in painting, Soavi began an interest in creative arts in his school. During his teenage years, he decided that the cinema was his true calling after attending several movie screenings and developing a taste for acting. After graduating from high school, Soavi took acting lessons at Fersen Studios in Milan. His first acting role was an extra in the movie Bambulè which was directed by Marco Modugno. During production, Modungo, impressed by Soavi's interest in the movies, offered him a job as an assistant director which Soavi accepted and learned more about a director's film making technique. After acting in small roles in Il giorno del Cobra (1980) and City of the Living Dead (1980), Soavi was given another chance as an assistant director by director Aristide Massaccesi (aka: Joe D'Amato). In their first film, Soavi acted in an uncredited part, and was the assistant director. Over four more films with Massaccesi, Soavi served as a bit part actor, screenwriter and personal assistant. Soavi first met writer/director Dario Argento in 1979 where the director took Soavi under his wing after learning of their same tastes with film making. Argento made Soavi the second assistant director for the movie Tenebre with Lamberto Bava as the first assistant director.
Pleased with his work, Bava hired Soavi as his assistant director for the mystery-thriller A Blade in the Dark (1983) with Soavi in a supporting role. Afterwards, Argento brought back Soavi to work as his assistant director in Phenomena with Soavi acting in a small role.
Argento rewarded Soavi by giving him his first assignment as director of a music video "The Valley" featuring music by Bill Wyman for the movie Phenomena, plus as director for a documentary on Argento's films. Soavi worked again for Lamberto Bava as assistant director in Demons (1985) in which Soavi also appeared. Soavi, wanting to get on his own, turned to his former mentor Aristide Massaccesi to show off his work where the director offered Soavi a chance to direct his first movie, StageFright (1987). Altough a box-office flop in Italy, it was a success abroad. Despite the low budget (equalivant to under $1 million U.S. dollars), low-production values, poor editing involving the soundtrack, Soavi began to look elsewhere for work where he was hired as an assistant director and cameraman for British actor/director Terry Gilliam with The Adventures of Baron Munchausen. With new skills, Soavi returned to Argento as a supervisor for special effects in Opera where Argento offered him to direct another film, a horror flick called The Church. With his first big film project, a budget three to four times the budget of Stagefright, with Argento as the producer and filmed on location in Budapest. The international success of The Church inspired Soavi to direct another film, The Devil's Daughter.
Soavi worked on a number of screenplays, and directed the horror-comedy Cemetery Man which was a huge hit in the USA. Afterwards, Soavi took a break from working to spend time with his wife and family. Recently, he returned to directing with two made-for-Italian-TV dramas. Despite his absence from the entertainment world in recent years, Michele Soavi is remembered to this day as one of the many masters of Italian Horror cinema as a director, screenwriter, actor, and assistant director.
|Steven R. Monroe
Steven R. Monroe is a true child of film. His entire immediate family was, or is, part of the entertainment industry. Monroe started very early in life making movies with his Super 8 camera when he was 8 years old and receiving his first paycheck in at the age of 12 in the film business. At 20 he began his freelance career spending over 10 years in the camera department as an assistant cameraman and operator, before fulfilling his dream as a director for the first time at the age of 30.
Since then Monroe has directed music videos, commercials, documentary, then feature films, Series and Television movies, doing all formats and all genres from Horror to Family, Thriller to Rom Com. To date he has directed well over a dozen Television movies for such networks as SyFy, Lifetime, and Hallmark. He has also directed over a dozen Feature films including the acclaimed House of 9 starring Dennis Hopper. Two films for legendary producer Stephen J. Cannell, and the controversial and critically acclaimed re make of the 1978 classic I Spit on Your Grave in 2010, and in 2012 the sequel I Spit On Your Grave 2. He has written, produced and directed two of his own films, the ensemble drama Complacent and the action thriller MoniKa. Recently he directed another horror sequel for 20th Century Fox The Exorcism Of Molly Hartley. In 2015 he directed the final four episodes of the UP TV original dramatic series Ties That Bind. Monroe has an impeccable reputation as a director that brings style to each project, good performances, is fast, efficient and respected by both crew and cast.
Labeled the eternal romantic and with one of the best musical senses in the business, Yash Chopra is arguably India's most successful director of romantic films. Although he made action-oriented films like the ever-popular Deewaar, it is in tackling love and its various aspects that he has been at his best. One of the few remaining commercial Indian directors who started their careers in the 1950s, he has successfully moved with the times from the socially significant Dhool Ka Phool to the young and cool Dil To Pagal Hai.
Yash Chopra was born in Lahore in 1932, to an accountant in the PWD division of the British Punjab administration, the youngest of eight children. He began as an assistant director to I.S. Johar before working with his elder brother, the legendary B.R. Chopra; while another brother, Dharam Chopra, worked as his cameraman. He was given his first directorial opportunity with Dhool Ka Phool, a melodrama about illegitimacy; it became a hit and even now remains popular today. Encouraged by this success, the Chopra brothers made a few more movies together, the most notable being Waqt, India's first multi-starrer; and Ittefaq, a thriller. On the personal front, Chopra married Pamela Chopra (née Singh) in 1970, and they had two children, Aditya Chopra and Uday Chopra, both working in the film industry today.
In 1973, the Chopra brothers separated, with Yash Chopra founded his studio, Yash Raj Films, and launched it with Daag: A Poem of Love, a successful melodrama about a polygamous man. He then entered one of his best phases with two Amitabh Bachchan classics: Deewaar and Kabhie Kabhie. These movies set the standard for the 1970s and 1980s, establishing Bachchan as the greatest and most beloved Indian film star of all time. His respective roles--a bitter criminal and a sensitive, brooding poet--are considered to be his greatest performances, although complete opposites of each other.
In the 1980s, Chopra went through a rough time. Two of his melodramas, Silsila and Faasle; and two action-oriented films, Mashaal and Vijay, flopped at the box office, although the latter became a critically acclaimed classic years later. However, he made a comeback with his musical love triangle Chandni. The film was a huge success, with great performances by established heroine Sridevi and action hero Vinod Khanna. Then came what critics and Chopra himself considered his best film, Lamhe, a beautiful film about cross-generational love. It couldn't survive the box office, however, due to its incestuous nature.
Parampara, done for an outside producer, was a misfire, but then came the box-office hit and trend setter Darr. Starring the then-débutant Shah Rukh Khan, it showed a sympathetic look at obsessive love and an emotion often overlooked in love--fear--and its success catapulted Khan to super-stardom. In 1995, Chopra turned to production and Aditya Chopra made his directorial debut with Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge, which had the longest-running initial release in cinema history. He directed one more film, Dil To Pagal Hai, a love story set against the theater, which became a huge success and a cult hit, before he retired from directing. However, in 2004, he made a grand comeback with Veer-Zaara, a touching cross-border love story, which he said would be his last directorial effort.
The ages of the director and playback singer Lata Mangeshkar, his muse, proved you need to be young, as well as crazy, at heart, to be a true romantic....
Lamberto Bava was born in Rome, Italy, and was the first of a third generation of Italian filmmakers. His grandfather, Eugenio Bava (1886-1966), was a cameraman and optics effects artist during the early days of Italian silent cinema. His father, Mario Bava (1914-1980), was a legendary cinematographer, special effects designer and director. Lamberto entered the cinema as his father's personal assistant, starting with Planet of the Vampires. Bit by bit he gained experience from his father, who made him the assistant director for most of the rest of his films. He even co-wrote the screenplay for Beyond the Door II ("Shock"), Mario's last theatrical film where. In poor health during the shoot, Mario often feigned illness so Lamberto could direct a few scenes, uncredited, to gain further experience.
Both Lamberto and Mario directed the made-for-TV drama La Venere d'Ille. Both worked on the Dario Argento horror flick Inferno, for which Mario designed some of the color set pieces, including the underwater ballroom, and created all the visual special effects, while Lamberto worked as Argento's assistant director. Late in 1979 Lamberto made his solo directorial debut with Macabre, a tense drama-horror flick loosely based on a 1977 incident in New Orleans about a woman who keeps her lover's severed head in her freezer. According to Lamberto, the project started by chance when producer Pupi Avati approached him to direct as well as write the screenplay, which took just six weeks to write and direct. "Macabro" was released in Italy in February 1980 to mixed reviews, but won him recognition by his father Mario. Just two months later Mario Bava died, and an era in Italian film making came to a close.
'Macabro" was not the box-office hit and, as a result, Lamberto went back to assistant directing. He worked with Dario Argento again in 1982 with Tenebre. In 1983 Lamberto was offered to direct another film, titled A Blade in the Dark, which was a violent mystery thriller shot in only three weeks on a tight budget and filmed almost entirely in a producer friend's house. Next he directed the action-flick Blastfighter, which was filmed in the state of Georgia, and immediately afterwards directed the Jaws-like thriller Devil Fish, which was shot in Florida. On both films Lamberto was purely a director for hire and had nothing to do with the script or production end. He used the pseudonym of "John Old Jr." for this film, which was a tribute to his father Mario, who often used the pseudonym "John M. Old".
He enjoyed his best commercial success to date with Demons ("Demons"), produced by Dario Argento, co-written by Dardano Sacchetti and filmed in West Berlin, Germany. This films international success allowed him to co-write, produce and direct a sequel, Demons 2. Lamberto returned to "giallo" thrillers with Delirium.
In the late 1980s the Italian cinema turned moribund. Lamberto, like most of his colleagues, turned to making films for Italian television. He also directed a remake of his father's Black Sunday, which was titled La maschera del demonio.
Nowadays Lamberto Bava continues to divide his time between TV work and a few movies, acknowledging his inspiration from his late father, Mario.
Almost universally considered one of the greatest cinematographers of all time, Jack Cardiff was also a notable director. He described his childhood as very happy and his parents as quite loving. They performed in music hall as comedians, so he grew up with the fun that came with their theatrical life in pantomime and vaudeville. His father once worked with Charles Chaplin. His parents did occasional film appearances, and young Jack appeared in some of their films, such as My Son, My Son, at the age of four. He had the lead in Billy's Rose with his parents playing his character's parents in the film. Jack was a production runner, or what he would call a "general gopher", for The Informer in which his father appeared. For one scene he was asked by the first assistant cameraman to "follow focus", which he said was his first real brush with photography of any kind, but he claimed that it was the lure of travel that led to him joining a camera department making films in a studio. He had, however, become impressed with the use of light and color in paintings by the age of seven or eight, and described how he watched art directors in theaters painting backdrops setting lights. His friend Ted Moore was also a camera assistant in this period when both worked in a camera department run by Freddie Young, who would also become a legendary cinematographer. He worked for Alfred Hitchcock during the filming of The Skin Game.
By 1936 Cardiff had risen to being a camera operator at Denham Studios when the Technicolor Company hired him on the basis of what he told them in interview about the use of light by master painters. This led to his operating camera for the first Technicolor film shot in Britain, Wings of the Morning. He finally was offered the full position of director of photography by Michael Powell for Stairway to Heaven, ironically working in B&W for the first time in some sequences. His next assignment was on Black Narcissus, where he acknowledged the influence of painters Vermeer and Caravaggio and their use of shadow. He won the Academy Award for best color cinematography for this film. Jack certainly got to travel when it was decided to shoot The African Queen on location in the Congo. Errol Flynn offered Jack the chance to direct The Story of William Tell that would star Flynn. It would have been the second film made in CinemaScope had it been completed, but the production ran out of money part way through filming in Switzerland.
It has been said that Marilyn Monroe requested that Jack photograph The Prince and the Showgirl. Although he had already directed some small productions, he had a critical breakthrough with Sons and Lovers. He continued directing other films through the 1960s, including the commercial hit Dark of the Sun, but for the most part returned to working for other directors as a very sought-after cinematographer in the 1970s and beyond. He continued to work into the new century, almost until his death. He was made an OBE in 2000 and received a lifetime achievement award at the 73rd Academy Awards.
Sven Nykvist was considered by many in the industry to be one of the world's greatest cinematographers. During his long career that spanned almost half a century, Nyvist perfected the art of cinematography to its most simple attributes, and he helped give the films he had worked on the simplest and most natural look imaginable. Indeed, Mr. Nykvist prideed himself on the simplicity and naturalness of his lighting schemes. Nykvist used light to create mood and, more significantly, to bring out the natural flesh tones in the human face so that the emotion of the scene could be played out on the face without the light becoming intrusive.
Nykvist entered the Swedish film industry when he was 19 and worked his way up to becoming a director of photography. He first worked with the legendary Swedish director Ingmar Bergman on the film Sawdust and Tinsel, but his collaboration with Bergman began in earnest with The Virgin Spring. From that point on, Nykvist replaced the great Gunnar Fischer as Bergman's cameraman, and the two men started a collaboration that would last for a quarter of a century. The switch from Fischer to Nykvist created a marked difference in the look of Bergman's films. In many respects, it was like the difference between Caravaggio and Rembrandt. Fischer's lighting was a study in light and darkness, while Nykvist preferred a more naturalistic, more subtle approach that in many ways relied on the northern light compositions of the many great Scandinavian painters.
Nykvist's work with Bergman is one of the most glorious collaborations in movie history. Nykvist created a markedly different look for each installment of Bergman's Faith Trilogy. Through a Glass Darkly had an almost suffocating quality to it, and The Silence hearkened back to the days of German Expressionism. Winter Light, the middle part of the trilogy, may very well be the most perfect work of Nykvist's repertoire. Having studied the light in a real provincial church carefully, he then recreated the subtle changes in the light as the day went on on a Stockholm sound stage. Indeed, it's hard to believe that the film was shot on a stage and not in a real church in Northern Sweden. For Persona, Nykvist relied heavily on Sweden's famous Midnight Sun. In The Passion of Anna, Nykvist was able to capture the chilly, soggy, and melancholy look of Faro, one of Nykvist's first color films Both Nykvist and Bergman were both very reluctant to film in color. He created a fascinating study of white and red in Cries & Whispers, for which Nykvist won an Oscar. He won an Oscar again for the last feature-length theatrical film that Bergman made, Fanny and Alexander.
During the late 1970s, Nykvist began making films elsewhere in Europe and in the United States, working for directors such as Louis Malle (Pretty Baby), Philip Kaufman (The Unbearable Lightness of Being), Bob Fosse (Star 80), Nora Ephron (Sleepless in Seattle), Woody Allen (Another Woman, Crimes and Misdemeanors), Richard Attenborough (Chaplin), and fellow Swede Lasse Hallström (What's Eating Gilbert Grape). The documentary Ljuset håller mig sällskap paid homage to Nykvist, although it does not grant us any real secrets about his working methods. Nykvist died in 2006.
Setsuko Hara became one of Japan's best-loved stars over her 30-year film career. Her signature character type, variations on a daughter devoted to her parents and home, inspired the nickname that stayed with her until retirement: the Eternal Virgin. To some extent, reality mirrored her roles in these films. In a society that considers marriage and parenting almost obligatory, she remained single and childless, something of a controversy in Japan in the 1950s. Fortunately she was popular enough to avoid criticism, but the 1950s were still a hard decade. She was plagued by ill health, missing out on several top roles as a result, and she witnessed the death of her camera-man brother in a freak train accident on set.
In 1963, shortly after the death of her mentor, director Yasujirô Ozu, she suddenly walked away from the film industry. At age 43, and at the height of her popularity, she bluntly refused to perform again, angering her fans, the industry, and the press. She implied acting had never been a pleasure and that she had only pursued a career in order to provide for her large family; this explanation is seen as the cause of her popularity backlash. She moved to a small house in picturesque Kamakura where she remained, living alone (though apparently sociable with friends), and refusing all roles offered.
She is undoubtedly known mostly for her work with Yasujiro Ozu, making six films with the great director, including the so-called Noriko trilogy, of which Tokyo Story is probably the best-known. She also worked with Akira Kurosawa, Mikio Naruse, Hiroshi Inagaki, and many others.
London-born Douglas Slocombe has long been regarded as one of the film industry's premiere cinematographers, but he began his career as a photojournalist for Life magazine and the Paris-Match newspaper before World War II. During the war he became a newsreel cameraman, and at war's end he went to work for Ealing Studios as a camera operator, making his debut as a full-fledged cinematographer on Ealing's Dead of Night. Slocombe is credited with giving Ealing's films the unique, realistic look it was famous for. He left Ealing and went freelance, not wanting to be tied down to a single studio, and divided his time between England and America. He won the BAFTA--the British equivalent of the Oscar--three times, for The Servant, The Great Gatsby and Julia. A favorite of director Steven Spielberg, he was noted for never having used a light meter while shooting Raiders of the Lost Ark, an almost indispensable tool for most cinematographers.
John Alcott, the Oscar-winning cinematographer best known for his collaboration with director Stanley Kubrick, was born in 1931, in Isleworth, England, the son of movie executive Arthur Alcott, who would become the production controller at Gainsborough Studios during the 1940s.
Alcott began his film career as a clapper boy, the lowest member of a camera crew. By the early 1960s he had worked his way up to focus puller, the #3 position on a camera crew after the lighting cameraman and camera operator. As a focus puller Alcott was responsible for measuring the distances between the camera and the subject being shot, which is critical during traveling shots, and more vitally, he was tasked with adjusting the lens when the camera is following a subject.
By the mid-'60s Alcott was a member of the camera team of master cinematographer Geoffrey Unsworth, working on Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey. When Unsworth had to leave the project during its two-year-long shoot to meet other commitments, Alcott was elevated to lighting cameraman by Kubrick. Thus began a collaboration that would reach its zenith a decade later with Barry Lyndon. His association with Kubrick propelled him to the top of his craft, in terms of both style and in pushing the technical aspects of the discipline.
Alcott preferred lighting that appeared natural and did not draw attention to itself. His ideas meshed perfectly with those of Kubrick, and the two developed their ideas about "natural" lighting in two landmark films, A Clockwork Orange and "Barry Lyndon", which incorporated scenes shot entirely by candlelight. The idea of using candlelight solely for illumination was discussed by Alcott and Kubrick after the wrap of "2001" for Kubrick's planned film about the life of Napoleon, but there wasn't a fast-enough lens in existence then.
After a search, Kubrick located three unique 50mm f/0.7 still-camera camera lenses designed by the Zeiss Corporation for use by NASA in its Apollo moon-landing program in order to shoot still pictures in the low light levels of outer space. The lens was 2 f stops faster than the fastest movie camera lens made at the time.
Kubrick tasked Cinema Products Corp. to adapt a standard 35mm non-reflexed Mitchell BNC movie camera so that the camera could accept the lens. The camera was outfitted with a side viewfinder from one of the old Technicolor three-strip cameras that used mirrors rather than prisms (like a modern camera) to show what it "sees", the mirrors providing a much brighter image than did a prism-based single-lens reflex system, which could not obtain enough light to register an image. There was no real problem with parallax, as the viewfinder was mounted close to the lens.
Cinema Products also created two special lenses by mating a 70mm projection lens with the remaining 0.7 Zeiss 50mm lenses. This battery of three lenses allowed Kubrick and Alcott to shoot the indoor scenes using nothing but candlelight. It was a formidable task, as the lenses could not be focused by eye. Metal shields also had to be installed above the sets, which were filmed in actual castles and manor houses in Ireland and England, to keep the heat and smoke from the candles from damaging the ceilings. Fortitously, the shields also reflected the candlelight back into the scene (this approach was later used successfully by lighting cameraman Alwin H. Küchler on the western The Claim, which shot its saloon interiors in very low light). The candles had to be constantly replaced to keep continuity during the scenes, and shooting was hampered by the fact that many of the manor houses were open to the public and the crew had to wait until the intervals between tours to film a scene.
Alcott told "American Cinematographer" in a December 1975 interview that the ultra-fast lens had no depth of field at all. This necessitated the scaling of the lens by doing hand tests. Alcott's focus puller, Douglas Milsome (who would succeed him as Kubrick's cinematographer), used a closed-circuit video camera at a 90-degree angle to the film camera to keep track of the distances to maintain focus. A grid was placed over the TV screen and, by taping the various actors' positions in the set, the distances could be transferred to the TV grid to allow the actors a limited scope of movement during the scene, while keeping in focus.
Alcott won an Academy Award for his work on "Barry Lyndon", which is considered one of the most visually beautiful movies ever made. (Three of Alcott's movies were ranked in the top 20 of "Best Shot" movies in the period after 1950-97 by the American Society of Cinematographers: "2001" at #3, "Barry Lyndon" at #16, and "A Clockwork Orange", for which he won the British Academy Award, at #19.) Alcott realized Kubrick's vision by evoking the paintings of Corot, Gainsborough, and Watteau, creating gorgeous tableaux. It was the aesthetic opposite of the cubism evoked by "A Clockwork Orange",
While shooting what would turn out to be his last film for Kubrick, The Shining, Alcott lit the hotel sets with "practicals" (sources of lighting that are visible on screen as part of the set, such as lighting fixtures). As on "Barry Lyndon", Alcott supplemented the lighting with illumination coming into the set from outside the windows, though the "windows" on "The Shining" were part of a set. The high temperatures (110 degrees Fahrenheit) caused by the 700,000 watts of illumination outside the set's "windows" Alcott used to create the high white effect favored by Kubrick caused the set to burn down.
Alcott, who shot films and TV commercials for other directors in the UK, moved to the US in 1981 in order to obtain more steady work than was possible in the ailing British film industry. His non-Kubrick projects as a cinematographer included three films with director Stuart Cooper and two with Roger Spottiswoode. Alcott could not shoot Kubrick's Full Metal Jacket, which commenced shooting in 1985 and -- like any Kubrick shoot -- would involved a substantial commitment of time, as Alcott was committed to other projects (Kubrick hired Douglas Milsome, who had been Alcott's focus puller on "Barry Lyndon" and "The Shining", to shoot "Jacket"). His non-Kubrick oeuvre was eccentric, and included the Canadian slasher film My Bloody Valentine, but he was able to bring his outstanding visual quality to such movies as Fort Apache the Bronx, The Beastmaster, Under Fire and Hugh Hudson's Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes.
Alcott suffered a massive heart attack and died on July 28, 1986, in Cannes, France. At the time of his death he was considered one of the film industry's great artist-technicians, someone who through his ability to push back the boundaries of what was technically possible, linked technology to aesthetic needs and contributed to the development of cinema as an art form. His last film, No Way Out, was dedicated to his memory. The British Society of Cinematographers named one of its awards the "BSC John Alcott ARRI Award" in his honor to commemorate his role as a lighting cameraman in the development of film as an art form.
Mary Philbin's life should be a lesson to domineering parents. Mary was born on July 16, 1903, in Chicago, Illinois, to John Philbin and his first wife and namesake, Mary. The child was regarded as a little beauty from an early age and her mother was exceedingly proud of her and loved to show her off. Howevr, unlike her gregarious mother (who many regarded as controlling and domineering, to the point of imprinting her strict religious beliefs on the child), Mary took after her shy, quiet and reserved father, whom she adored. Many of her contemporaries remarked how she didn't seem to belong to the current age; her personality was a throwback to the 19th century with her mannerisms and religious, quiet and very gentle nature. Being an only child, Mary grew up quite spoiled by her mother. Her father would take her often to see the plays at local theaters and even, on rare occasion, to see an opera at the Chicago Opera House. She fell in love with the stage immediately and, once home, would re-enact what she saw to her dolls--performing the leading heroine roles. She decided at an early age that she wanted a career in the theater. She took up classical dancing (ballet and waltz) and was quite adept at playing the pipe organ and piano (in her later years she kept her family's pipe organ close at hand), although much to her chagrin, she could not sing. However, she did not train in an acting school and this would ultimately impact on her later career.
Mary's early life was relatively uneventful; her mother's strong nature created friction between her parents and she became even more reserved and quite shy in public when meeting new people. The only real friend she had at that age (who would be her lifelong friend and even colleague in The Phantom of the Opera) was Carla Laemmle (aka Rebecca Laemmle), the daughter of Joseph Laemmle, brother of Universal Studios mogul Carl Laemmle. Through her friend's uncle Mary became interested in films and put her stage career on hold. Upon seeing her first "Nickelodeon", she was bitten by the film bug and eagerly awaited any new ones that came out. She was particularly fond of the films of Erich von Stroheim, so much so that at the age of 16, when she heard that the director was making his new film Blind Husbands and a contest was set up to search for talent for the film, Mary tried to sign up. At first she could not find the right photograph worthy of submission, but her mother had taken a picture and submitted it and was allowed to join the contest. The contest was held in Chicago at the Elks Club and was sponsored by her church, with Von Stroheim himself as the judge. The Teutonic director was smitten with her beauty and her eagerness to behave and speak well, and gave her the leading role in one of his films. When finding out she was to move to Los Angeles to make the film, Mary at first had reservations and (as always) consulted her parents. Her parents refused until they found out their old family friends, the Laemmles, were moving out to Los Angeles as well, and they gave consent for Mary to go but only with her parents as her chaperones (due to their fear that the "sheiks" of Los Angeles would corrupt Mary's moral character).
Once in Los Angeles, Mary was under watch all the time by her parents (in particular her mother) and, when working, by her new boss, Carl Laemmle. When arriving at the studio, she found out that she had been replaced in the leading role in "Blind Husbands". Mary was deeply hurt at the time and felt cheated, and was considering going home had it not been for her friend Rebecca (whom was now known as Carla) who recommended her to her uncle, the owner of Universal City, Carl Laemmle, and the man in charge of production, Irving Thalberg. Although Carl Laemmle had met Mary some time earlier and always regarded her as an "angelic, sweet, quiet" young lady, he was none too impressed with her at the time to consider her for a contract, owing mostly to her moralistic and reserved disposition. Thalberg held the same reservations about her. However, after being persuaded by Mary's family and Carla, Carl caved and gave 17-year-old Mary her first big part: "Talitby Millicuddy", the leading lady, in the melodrama The Blazing Trail, directed by Robert Thornby. Mary caught on in films very quickly and was considered by the public, initially at least, in the same league as her bigger contemporaries - Mary Pickford, Florence Lawrence, Mae Marsh and Lillian Gish, one of those "child-woman" actresses particularly noted for her subtle but extraordinary ethereal Irish beauty.
After the moderate success of "The Blazing Trail" she was cast in Danger Ahead in the role of Tressie Harlow; the one-reel comedy Twelve Hours to Live; the western Red Courage as Eliza Fay, and Sure Fire in an extra part (her earliest known surviving film); and False Kisses as Mary. In all, she made six films in 1921. After seeing her work in "False Kisses" and in particular "Danger Ahead"; Erich von Stroheim cast Mary for his next film, which would become the most expensive (to that date) production ever for Univeral City (the costs rising up to a million dollars) - the part of the crippled girl (an extra part) in Foolish Wives. Mary can be seen in the film as the little girl on crutches with her back turned, and you only quickly get a darkened glimpse of her face through her curly ringlets. Although her role in the film was just a bit part, Mary relished being under Von Stroheim's tutelage and it was from him, as she always said, she learned about "true" acting in comparison to stage acting. It has always been said of Mary Philbin that when the director was really good (such as von Stroheim, Paul Leni, William Beaudine), people noticed she could be equally as good an actress as her colleagues. However, in the hands less talented directors (such as Rupert Julian', - who would partly direct her later in Merry-Go-Round and "The Phantom of the Opera"--her lack of acting training became a real handicap for her (this is clearly evident in some of her later films).
Mary began to get more notice from Carl Laemmle and Irving Thalberg, after Erich von Stroheim's high recommendation of her (and of course the public's approval), and after a minor film, _The Trooper (1922)_ (v), she was given the role of "Ruth" in Human Hearts. Mary began to get even further recognition and it was around this time that her face always was featured on movie magazines as the 'Cover' Girl. But Mary's personal life was darkened by her father's divorce and remarriage to Alice Mead. Mary was shattered by the event, and as a result became even closer to her mother (her biggest mistake), but nevertheless was very loving to her new stepmother and continued to adore her father.
Mary made two more films before she received her first big break as the heroine "Agnes Urban", in von Stroheim's "The Merry-Go-Round" in 1923. The casting for this film was impeccable and many of its stars would later repeat many films with Mary afterward - in particular her leading man, Norman Kerry. He always had a crush on Mary and flirted with her many times on the set, although von Stroheim, Mary's mother and father (who always were on the set with her; her stepmother stayed at home) and even Mary herself kept him from getting too carried away. Mary said in her later years how deep down she always had a great crush on Norman Kerry and considered him "a very handsome, dashing man". Everything was going well in the production until it came to a standstill for the most unusual and even hilarious reason. Erich von Stroheim was known to be a perfectionist in his work, so much so that in the plot of this film (set in the Austro-Hungarian Empire of the time of 'Emperor Franz Josef') he insisted that some of the actors wear underwear embroidered with the Imperial Austrian Royal Family insignia - infuriating Carl Laemmle. After an intense argument with Laemmle the wildly extravagant director was dropped from the picture. The cast was stunned and the two most affected were Wallace Beery (who was originally cast as Agnes' father) and Mary Philbin. Wallace, infuriated with Carl Laemmle's decision walked out, as did many others--even Mary considered it. To clean up the mess quickly, Carl hired Universal actor Rupert Julian to direct (who previously had directed and starred in The Kaiser, the Beast of Berlin with Lon Chaney). Mary, at first, refused until Carl insisted that Julian would be just as good a director as von Stroheim. Not having met or worked with Julian before, she decided to stay and Cesare Gravina (a favorite actor of von Stroheim) was re-cast in Beery's role. However, it became clearly evident that Julian was a novice compared to von Stroheim, although he reportedly considered himself equal to, if not better than, von Stroheim in directorial skills. Much of the original footage was cut or re-filmed upon its release, "The Merry-Go-Round" launched Mary as an "official" Hollywood star.
Although not as popular as her contemporaries, Mary graced many more magazine covers and was the feature girl for various products - even the Victrola Recording Company. During this time, Mary met the love of her life, Universal Studio executive/producer Paul Kohner - through the Laemmles. Paul Kohner was only a year older than Mary and born in Teplitz-Schoenau, Austria-Hungary (now Teplice, Czech Republic). They were immediately smitten with each other - but due to Mary's parents' religion (Roman Catholicism) and the fact that Paul was a Jew - they kept their relationship, in the early years, secret as much as possible. They exchanged love letters to each other (which both of them kept till their deaths).
Mary's film career took off with "Where Is This West?"; "The Age of Desire"; "The Temple of Venus"; "The Thrill Chaser"; among others with Paul Kohner sometimes as the producer (affording her more time to be with him, under the protection from her parents observance). But it wasn't until 1924, after she made good in the role of Marianne in The Rose of Paris that Mary was to be cast in her next, most famous and best- remembered film role of her entire career.
In 1924, Carl Laemmle was searching among the elite list of Hollywood starlets (among those listed were Lillian Gish, Madge Bellamy, Betty Bronson, Patsy Ruth Miller, Mildred Davis) for the role of the young Swedish soprano Christine Daaé in the film adaption of Gaston Leroux's novella "Le Fantôme de l'Opéra" (The Phantom of the Opera) starring in the leading role of Erik (the Opera Ghost/Phantom of the Opera) was one of Hollywood's best actors - Lon Chaney, fresh from his success in The Hunchback of Notre Dame and, much to the concern of the cast and crew, the director hired for the picture was the temper-mental Rupert Julian. Julian remembered Mary from "The Merry-Go-Round" (he also remembered Norman Kerry and hired him for role of Viscount Raoul de Chagny). Mary was cast in the key role of Christine, the chance of a lifetime. But the production was one of the most difficult for the cast to endure. Although Mary was working alongside of many of her former colleagues and friends (Norman Kerry, Cesare Gravina, John St. Polis, and Carla Laemmle), she had never met Lon Chaney personally before and, in keeping with her nature, was initially very shy and nervous around him.
During the filming Chaney and Julian exchanged heated arguments. Charles Van Enger, the main cameraman for the film, commented on how they "just hated each other" and how Julian was obsessed with Mary; adjusting her clothes, wigs, even the padding on her legs and chest. Mary put up with it - because of not only was her mother on the set most of the time, but Julian's wife Elisie Wilson was an old friend of Mary's. Upon seeing Julian's conduct- Elisie took over Mary's wardrobe and makeup for the film. On the Phantom set Mary seldom worked with Chaney alone, most of the time it was under Julian's supervision - but due to Chaney and his arguments - Chaney would direct his own scenes including several scenes with Mary. Her big test with Chaney came for the climactic unmasking scene - there was a shot of Mary on the floor (Chaney not in view) screaming after her character "Christine" unmasks the Phantom and is supposed to cry. Julian had gone through several takes of the scene with Mary; although this was not to Mary's fault - as Mary could cry at will and did not need the use of glycerin or onions (which was used for making "cold crying" in films at that time, or causing one to cry on cue), but all takes failed to satisfy Julian. This angered the cast and crew and Julian called it a day and they shut down early. But Lon Chaney remained behind and asked Mary and the crew to stay and reshoot the scene themselves. Given Chaney's clout, they all agreed. Mary set herself up for the scene - with Charles van Enger rolling the film (ordered not to stop no matter what happens or get involved - by Chaney) and Chaney just off-camera preparing for the scene. What Mary did not expect was Lon Chaney turning on her and the barrage of insults he launched at her. Mary was deeply hurt, but too proud to cry and was on the verge of leaving to report him to Carl Laemmle. Then Chaney rose his hand to strike her and Mary fell back screaming, remembering "the wild rage in his eyes", her hand to her face and then the tears flowed. Once it was caught on film - Chaney stopped and then began to comfort Mary and told her what he was really up to and he really meant none of those terrible things. It was then that Mary respected Chaney and grew to even adore him as much as she did Erich Von Stroheim, so much so, Chaney would always be on the set when Julian was directing Mary in future scenes, even if he was not in it. The Phantom of the Opera was a box-office hit and the studio's biggest money maker of the decade, launching not only Chaney to stardom but Mary as well. Mary attended the premiere with her father and he stated he was so proud of his daughter. After that producers/directors clamored for Mary to be in their films. Her next big role was the dual part of Stella Marris/Unity Blake in a remake of Mary Pickford's "Stella Marris". The film was received with moderate success with Mary being complimented on her ability to change from the beautiful Stella into the hideous outcast Unity Blake so well that many didn't recognize her. During this time, Mary and Paul were still seeing each other and their relationship became so serious Paul proposed marriage to Mary in May, 1926. Ecstatic, Mary accepted but they still had to keep their engagement secret for a while - till she felt it was safe to tell her family. During the time, Mary was filming "The Man who Laughs" in the role of the blind girl, Dea. Behind the scenes was Paul, acting as production supervisor/interpreter for Conrad Veidt (who was cast in the leading role of Gwynplaine) to the crew, since at the time he spoke no English. On opening night, the film was hailed as a box-office success and Mary was praised for her the role as Dea. It was then that Mary announced her engagement to Paul. But her family was outraged at the news and called a meeting to meet Paul - foreshadowing what was to come, and the worst personal tragedy of Mary's life. At the meeting, Mary's parents and her step-mother asked Paul many questions and everything was going reasonably well - until Mary's father came to the subject of religion and Paul admitted then he was a staunch Jew. Although Mary's step-mother approved of Paul and her father liked him (Paul was a quiet but respectable man), Mary's mother would have none of it and convinced her ex-husband that he would only convince Mary to convert to Judaism and soon a heated fight started up between Mary's parents and Paul. Mary was in tears during this and insisted that, although she wanted to marry Paul, she would never abandon her faith and Paul understood that and had no intention of even converting her. But the pleas were futile; Mary was given an ultimatum: Marry Paul and she would be disowned. Mary was always close to her family, no matter what the trouble was, but this was one time where Mary seriously considered defying her family. But in the end, she gave Paul back the ring and told him she could not marry him, but that she still loved him. Paul was devastated and Mary so much so that she would never marry. At the dawn of talkies, Mary's film career nose-dived along with her personal life. Because of the inadequacy of early recording equipment - Mary's "lovely, girlie voice" recorded as high pitched and squeaky. She did re-film her most famous role in "The Phantom of the Opera" with Norman Kerry (intercut with footage of the 1924/5 version with Chaney, as Chaney was working on "Thunder" at the time and was now working for MGM). In retrospect, all of her post-Phantom films were mediocre. She received good notices in D.W. Griffith's otherwise pathetic Drums of Love. Her final film (a talkie) was After the Fog in the role of Faith Barker. Mary decided to abandon her film career and took up a life of self-enforced celibacy, becoming a virtual recluse in her father's home. Mary virtually vanished off the face of the earth and Hollywood forgot her. But it wasn't until the 1960s, that it was discovered that Mary was still alive, living at the time in the very same home she had in the 1920's (her parents and step-mother had deceased). It was remarked at how youthful and beautiful she still looked even though she was in her 60's and how her voice still had that youthful girlish quality. She had been a faithful member of her parents' church and only went out to visit friends and family, shop, and go to church. During that time, she admitted that she refused interviews and photo shoots, although she gladly replied to her fans and even sent them autographs. But around the late 1970s - Mary began experiencing the first symptoms of Alzheimer's Disease. In 1988, Mary made her first public appearance since 1931 at a memorial service for Rudolph Valentino. Another huge blow came when it was announced Paul Kohner passed away. When Mary was told Paul had kept the letters she had sent him, tucked away in the top drawer of his desk locked away from his family - Mary began to cry and then revealed the letters Paul had sent to her and even a few recent ones after the "family incident". After that Mary's memory lapses grew worse, and her old friend Carla Laemmle came to help her. At her insistence - Mary made two more public appearances - the first at the opening night of Andrew Lloyd Webber's stage extravaganza "The Phantom of the Opera" in downtown Los Angeles at the Ahamasohn Theatre, starring Michael Crawford. And the second to help promote Philip Riley's "The Phantom of the Opera." After that - Mary was never seen in public again. On May 7, 1993 it was announced that Mary had died of complications from pneumonia. The original Christine Daae was dead at age 91.
George Marshall was a versatile American director who came to Hollywood to visit his mother and "have a bit of fun". Expelled from Chicago University in 1912, he was an unsettled young man, drifting from job to job, variously employed as a mechanic, newspaper reporter and lumberjack with a logging outfit in Washington state. Trying his luck in the emerging film industry, he got his start at Universal and was put to work as an extra. His powerful, six-foot frame served him well for doing stunt work in westerns, earning him a dollar every time he fell off a horse.
He was first glimpsed on-screen in a bit as a laundry delivery man in Roscoe 'Fatty' Arbuckle's The Waiters' Ball. The acting gig wasn't to his taste, though, and, within a year he moved on to writing and directing. The majority of his early assignments were two-reel westerns and adventure serials, starring the popular Ruth Roland. A jack-of-all-trades, he was later prone to remark that in those days he often needed to double as cameraman and editor, too, often cutting his film with a pair of scissors and splicing it with cement. In the 1920's, Marshall worked with cowboy star Tom Mix and then became a comedy specialist for Mack Sennett, turning out as many as 60 one- or two-reelers per year. At Fox, he served as supervising director on all of the studio's comedic output between 1925 and 1930.
At the beginning of the sound era Marshall joined Hal Roach and directed comedies with Thelma Todd (Strictly Unreliable) and two of Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy's best shorts: Their First Mistake and Towed in a Hole). Always adept at visual comedy, Marshall directed (and also turned up to good effect in a cameo as a hard-boiled army cop in) Pack Up Your Troubles. Economic conditions forced a downsizing at Roach, and Marshall returned to Fox in 1934, staying there for four years, then worked at Universal (1939-40) and Paramount (1942-50, and 1952-54). One of his biggest critical and financial successes was the classic western Destry Rides Again, which re-invigorated the career of Marlene Dietrich and became Universal's top box-office hit for the year. He controlled the antics of W.C. Fields in You Can't Cheat an Honest Man; helped Betty Hutton on her way to stardom with the biopics Incendiary Blonde and The Perils of Pauline; and directed Alan Ladd in the film noir classic The Blue Dahlia. There was also a fruitful association with Bob Hope, beginning with The Ghost Breakers.
Freelancing over the next two decades, Marshall turned out three superior vehicles for Glenn Ford: a western (The Sheepman) and two comedies (The Gazebo and Advance to the Rear). He was one of three directors (the other two were John Ford and Henry Hathaway) assigned individual segments of the blockbuster How the West Was Won. Towards the end of his long career he helmed several episodes of the Daniel Boone and Here's Lucy TV series.
With at least 185 directing credits to his name (there may have been as many as 400, given his prolific output of shorts during the 1910's), George Marshall retired from making films in 1972 and died three years later at the age of 83. He has a star on the Walk of Fame on Hollywood Boulevard.
Shaan is a Pakistani actor, writer and director. Upon making his debut in Javed Fazil's Bulandi alongside Reema Khan, Shaan has acted in numerous commercially successful films and has established himself as one of the critically acclaimed leading actors of Pakistan.
Armaghan Shahid was born in Lahore to the well-known director Riaz Shahid and television, theater and film actress Neelo. His father was a Muslim whereas his mother was Christian. He himself is a practicing Muslim. His paternal uncle Fiaz Shahid was a cameraman and producer for PTV in Islamabad. He started out his early education at the prestigious Aitchison College. His first acting venture came out at a boy scouts bonfire. He won the best actor's award in a play called Alif Noon, playing a comedy character but never took acting seriously as a career. After leaving Aitchison, he left for New York, United States and joined Newtown High School. Dreaming of becoming a lawyer due to his extraordinary talent of convincing people, he always thought he had a talent to become a lawyer. He stayed in New York for 7 years and then returned to Pakistan for vacation where he took up the family business, Riaz Shahid Films. At the age of 17, he did his first film as a debutante in "Bulandi" which was released in 1990 & was a huge success.
Shaan made his acting debut in Javed Fazil's Bulandi (1990), in which he starred opposite Reema Khan. The film received generally positive reviews, making it a commercial success and caused Shaan to be flooded with offers by directors at the time. Bulandi was followed up by Nagina, another hit in which he starred opposite Madiha Shah. However, due to inexperience and signing of too many films, it resulted in many back to back flops. He took a break from the cinema industry in 1994 and went abroad. In 1996, he returned and starred in Syed Noor's Ghoonghat, which was his first villain role. The film went on to become a success. He then appeared in the same director's Sangam, yet another commercial success across Pakistan. In 2000, he appeared in Mujhe Chand Chahiye, which also starred Atiqa Odho and Javed Sheikh. The film turned out to be a major hit at the box office and established Shaan's credentials as an actor. In 2007, he starred in Shoaib Mansoor's commercially successful Khuda Kay Liye, for which he won the "Best Actor" award at the Lux Style Awards. In 2009, he appeared in Zill-e-Shah and Nach Ke Yaar Manana. As of 2010, Shaan has acted in more than 200 films, most of which became commercial successes in Pakistan. He is filming his own directional venture, Chup, alongside Juggan Kazim. Shaan opted out of Reema Khan's Love Mein Gum due to scripting problems. Shaan has revealed that he had been offered small roles in films by Aamir Khan's Ghajini and Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra's Delhi-6 which he declined as the roles portrayed Pakistanis as villains and were thus unacceptable for him.
Keen on making a difference to filmmaking in Pakistan, Shaan launched himself as a director. He directed his ambitious project Guns and Roses - Ik Junoon, which was released in 1999. The film was produced by the art entrepreneur Tanvir Fatima Rehman. In the film, he co-starred with Faisal Rehman, Meera and Resham. The music was scored by M. Arshad while the cinematographer was done by Azhar Burki and the film was written by Pervaiz Kaleem. He then directed Moosa Khan (2001), which starred himself, Saima, Abid Ali, Jan Rambo and Noor. The film received genuinely positive reviews from critics. Shaan is working on Chup alongside Juggan Kazim. The film is written by Mashal Peerzada and distributed/produced by Lux productions. The film will feature Pakistani actress Resham in an "item number". The shooting of her song was shown on ARY Digital show Happenings in July 2010. According to Shaan, the music soundtrack is composed by Zeb and Haniya with several newcomers. In a interview with Instep Magazine, Shaan confirmed to be working on three more projects with will feature Juggan Kazim whilst talks are on with models Natasha. The film is a commercial drama film set in Pakistan winter time and unfolds a dramatic but thoughtful film. Later, he confirmed that he will be directing, producing and writing the other pojects by himself. His second project working with the title Masakali is written by himself and scripted by Sarmad Sultan Khoosat. The film features Juggan Kazim and newcomers. The filming will begin in mid-2011.
Shaan is a successful writer and has written short stories and works during his career. Recently, he scripted Reema Khan's Love Mein Gum and was contracted to star in the film but opted out, as Reema was unable to direct the script in the way he planned. Shaan joined with Mashal Peerzada, an director, scriptwriter and produced to work on his film Chup. He wrote the story whilst Peerzada wrote the script for the film. He is writing the story for his three upcoming projects.
Shaan has joined Geo TV Network and he will host a morning show on Geo News. His show's name is Geo Shaan Say, which will be aired on Geo News from the 23rd of April, 2012 at 8:30 in the morning.
Shaan, with his extensive education and grooming and the ability to project class and elegance through his stature and expressions has been a hot attraction for many brands and campaigns, several of which have had the pleasure of hosting him. Unilever Pakistan: On 17 February 2009, Unilever Pakistan launched their latest offering, the LUX Limited Edition soap, at the Pearl Continental Hotel in Lahore, Pakistan. Pepsi: Shaan also endorsed another mega brand, Pepsi where he along with the singing sensation Ali Zafar helped strengthen the brand in Pakistan. Mobilink: Pakistan's telecom giant Mobilink also hosted Shaan as a spokesperson for Mobilink Indigo, with the launch of the new face of Mobilink's premium post paid brand Indigo in 2004. It was projected as the brand for the elite executive and families. His character was a man who's demanding lifestyle has him juggling between work and family and Indigo helps him breeze through this life successfully. One Pack = One Vaccine: Shaan was also the Goodwill Ambassador for One Pack = One Vaccine, a campaign launched by UNICEF, Procter & Gamble and the Ministry of Health in a bid to eradicate tetanus from Pakistan. Shaan has committed himself to the cause and has been visiting different areas and cities across the country including malls and stores in Karachi and Lahore, to bring awareness amongst parents, especially mothers, about this deadly disease and how one can fight to eliminate it.
Writer, director and producer Richard Franklin was born on July 15, 1948 in Melbourne, Australia. Infatuated with cinema at an early age, Franklin first began making 8mm films at age 10. Franklin saw Alfred Hitchcock's "Psycho" two years later and was hooked on movies for life. Richard enrolled at Monash University in Melbourne and worked as an assistant cameraman at a television advertising company. Franklin eventually went to America and attended the University of Southern California in 1967. While studying at USC Franklin got Hitchcock to do a Q&A session for a screening of "Rope." Hitchcock in turn invited Franklin to watch him work on the set of "Topaz." Franklin returned to Australia following graduation in 1969 and got a job as an assistant director for the popular TV series "Homicide." Franklin went on to direct several episodes. He also made several short movies and documentaries around this time. Franklin made his feature film debut with the raunchy sex comedy "The True Story of Eskimo Nell." He followed this picture with the equally bawdy "Fantasm." His third movie "Patrick" was a nifty horror feature that proved to be a big international success; it won the Grand Prize at the Avoriaz Fantastic Film Festival, was nominated for an AFI Award for Best Film, and won the Best Director Award at the Sitges-Catalonian International Film Festival. "Roadgames" was a tense and witty "danger on the road" thriller knockout which was the most expensive Australian film made in the early 80s. Franklin then did the surprisingly solid and satisfying belated sequel "Psycho II." His other movies include the delightful "Cloak and Dagger," the silly "Link," and the hugely enjoyable "F/X 2." However, Franklin became weary of Hollywood studio politics and returned to his native Australia. He made the acclaimed play adaptations "Hotel Sorrento" and "Brilliant Lies." "Hotel Sorrento" won an AFI Award for Best Adapted Screenplay and was nominated for both Best Film and Best Director. Franklin also did a made-for-TV adaptation of Arthur Conan Doyle's classic fantasy adventure novel "The Lost World." His final feature was the horror thriller "Visitors." In addition to his film work, Franklin also directed episodes of the TV shows "Flatland," "A Fine Romance," and "Beauty and the Beast." He was a drummer in the Melbourne band The Pink Finks and was a lecturer at the Swinburne School of Film and Television in Australia. Richard Franklin died from prostate cancer at age 58 on July 11, 2007.
Dane Cross was born in San Francisco, California. He's half Greek and half German. A former film student, Cross once worked as a news cameraman. Dane and his girlfriend at the time answered an on-line ad at an adult website. Cook started out performing in the alt-porn niche at age 24 in 2007 and soon began working for such major hardcore companies as Vivid, Wicked, Adam & Eve, Penthouse, and New Sensations. His X-rated movie pseudonym is a cross between Dane Cook and David Cross. Dane is perhaps best known as Bud in the popular porno parody series "Not Married With Children XXX." Cross won several notable adult cinema awards in 2010: The AVN Award for Best New Male Newcomer, the XRCO Award for Best New Stud, and the XBIZ Award for New Male Performer of the Year. He had been engaged to porn starlet and frequent co-star Faye Reagan but as of late 2010 they are no longer together.
|Ian Paul Cassidy
Ian Paul Cassidy was born in Harrogate, England. Born to a Royal Marine and an aspiring world-class equestrian, Ian lived in more than 11 countries by the time he was nine. When his father retired from the army, he moved Ian and his family to Perth, Australia.
After graduating high school in Rockingham, Ian attended and graduated London's prestigious Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and went on to spend several seasons performing repertory theater around Yorkshire. After returning to Australia, Ian trod the boards with the Sydney Opera House Repertory Theater Company where he performed in productions of "Richard III" and "The Taming Of The Shrew."
It wasn't long before Ian caught the attention of TV producers who were looking for a fresh face to star in a National Saturday morning children's variety show called; "Kids Company". After 2 seasons Hollywood beckoned. Ian moved to Los Angeles in 1990 and started studying with acting coach John Sarno, where he landed several national commercials and guest star roles. His big break came In 1996, when he landed the role of Irish street hustler, "Paddy" on the CBS drama; EZ Streets, written & directed by Oscar winner, Paul Haggis
His outstanding performance as "Paddy" caught the attention of Los Angeles casting director John Aiello, who brought him in to meet with producers for the NBC hit drama; The Pretender. His audition was so brilliant, producers were actually afraid that he would upstage lead actor Michael T. Weiss. He was cast in the role of "Zed" and became the shows most popular character, it was to be a major turning point in Ian's career.
His performance as "Zed", a character described as having "no redeemable qualities" caught the attention of producers Peter Davis, William Panzer and director Doug Aarniokoski, who were in the process of casting Highlander: Endgame. Aarniokoski states "he was completely immersed in the character of "Zed" and that's what we needed for Cracker Bob". Ian was then immediately cast in the role of "Cracker Bob" in Dimension Film's; Highlander: Endgame.
In 2000, Ian took on the role of politically incorrect Aussie cameraman "Ryan Brown", on the critically acclaimed ABC/Touchstone/Imagine, television drama; "The Beast". This cutting-edge drama had a superb cast including; Frank Langella, Harriet Hanson-Harris, Naveen Andrews and Elizabeth Mitchell, and was the brainchild of producer/director Ron Howard (The DaVinci Code, Cinderella Man, A Beautiful Mind) and executive producer/director Mimi Leder (Pay it Forward, Deep Impact, The Peacemaker & ER)
In 2006, Marc Cherry, the creator and executive producer of the ABC monster hit; Desperate Housewives, praised Ian's "natural comedic instincts" by casting him as "Durkin", opposite Eva Longoria on the hit ABC comedy. Ian has guest starred on more than 2 dozen series, including; Drake & Josh, 24, Monk, Numb3rs and The Pacific.
For the past several years, Ian has been performing motion capture in video game hits such as Army of Two & Wolfenstein: The New Order. He has also been performing on stage as "Hamlet" and "Cassius" in Theatre productions of Shakespeare's classic plays.
Born in Illinois in 1904, the only child of Jennie and Frank Toland, Gregg and his mother moved to California several years after his parents divorced in 1910. Through Jennie's work as a housekeeper for several people in the movie business, Gregg may had gotten a $12-a-week job at age 15 as an office boy at William Fox Studios. Soon he was making $18 a week as an assistant cameraman. When sound came to movies in 1927, the audible whir of movie cameras became a problem, requiring the cumbersome use of soundproof booths. Toland helped devise a tool which silenced the camera's noise and which allowed the camera to move about more freely. In 1931, Toland received his first solo credit for the Eddie Cantor comedy, "Palmy Days." In 1939 he earned his first Oscar for his work on William Wyler's "Wuthering Heights." In the following year he sought out Orson Welles who then hired him to photograph "Citizen Kane." (Toland was said to have protected the inexperienced Welles from potential embarrassment by conferring with him in private about technical matters rather than bringing these up in front of the assembled cast and crew.) For "Kane" Toland used a method which became known as "deep focus" because it showed background objects as clearly as foreground objects. (Film theorist Andre Bazin said that Toland brought democracy to film-making by allowing viewers to discover what was interesting to them in a scene rather than having this choice dictated by the director.) Toland quickly became the highest paid cinematographer in the business, earning as much as $200,000 over a three year period. He also became perhaps the first cinematographer to receive prominent billing in the opening credits, rather than being relegated to a card containing seven or more other names. Tragically, Toland's career was cut short in 1948 by his untimely death at age 44. Toland had a daughter, Lothian, by his second wife and two sons, Gregg jr. and Timothy, by his third. Lothian became the wife of comic Red Skelton.
|Victor Nelli Jr.
One of the few people in the film industry that was born and raised in Los Angeles, this local boy had Hollywood in his backyard growing up. So, it was no surprise when he made up his mind at an early age to pursue a job in the film industry. While working as a manager at a wine shop during college at Los Angeles City College. Victor's luck arrived. Selling a great bottle of wine to a repeat customer turned out to be his ticket in. The customer, of course, turned out to be a television producer, who in turn hired him the next week after seeing his reel and resume. That first job as a production assistant proved to be an invaluable experience and went on to be an Assistant Coordinator, Transportation Captain, Gaffer, Key Grip, Video Engineer, Sound Mixer, and Camera Assistant. At the same time, he was polishing his skills as both a Director and Cameraman. Victor's vast credits as a director/cameraman are a tribute to his genuine enthusiasm and love of the industry. He has worked on feature films, commercials, music videos, network television, as well as public service announcements. Victor spent many years at MTV in the late 80's and early 90's on shows like House of Style, Head Bangers Ball, MTV News, Rockumentary, MTV Movie Awards and MTV Sports. He was all so a lighting designer on five Real World houses, Mr. Show, James Brown, Gong Show, Big Brother, Fear Factor, Bug Juice, Stripmall, SurReal Life and a hundreds of other shows. Victor was the Director of Photography for the "BERNIE MAC SHOW", which he got his big break as a director. Since then he has directed TV shows like SCRUBS, THE OFFICE, MY NAME IS EARL, GILMORE GIRLS, MY BOYS, BIG DAY, HELP ME HELP YOU, EVERYBODY HATES CHRIS, and numerous pilots. For 3 years he has been Executive Producer / Director on UGLY BETTY. This year he was Executive Producer / Director on NBC "OUTSOURCED" and directed 3 episodes of FX "WILFRED"