Ernest Haller Poster


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Overview (5)

Born in Los Angeles, California, USA
Died in Marina del Rey, California, USA  (road accident)
Birth NameErnest Jacob Haller
Nickname Ernie
Height 5' 9" (1.75 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Distinguished American cinematographer Ernest Haller started in the industry in 1914 as an actor with Biograph after leaving his first job as a bank clerk. Within one year he discovered his true calling: being on the other side of the camera. By 1920, he had become a full director of photography and would go on to handle prestige pictures , such as the Samuel Goldwyn-produced Stella Dallas (1925). In 1926, Haller signed with First National and was still there when the studio was absorbed by Warner Brothers in 1930. Despite prolific output, it took him several years to create a reputation, but his breakthrough eventually came with the lavishly produced period drama Jezebel (1938), starring Bette Davis.For this, he received the first of five Academy Award nominations.

It was his work on 'Jezebel' which ultimately prompted David O. Selznick to replace Lee Garmes (with whom he had creative disagreements) with Haller as principal cinematographer for his Technicolour masterpiece, Gone with the Wind (1939). Haller also shot Vivien Leigh's famous first screen test for the role of Scarlett O'Hara. Though his previous work had been almost exclusively in black-and-white, the gamble paid off handsomely, with Haller winning an Academy Award (alongside Ray Rennahan) for Best Colour Cinematography.

Following 'GWTW' , Haller shot some of the best films made at Warner Brothers during the 1940's, his work perfectly suited to the gritty studio look of its product. He was particularly effective with the strong female stars of the company, Joan Crawford and Bette Davis (shooting 14 of her pictures), meticulously balancing make-up and lighting to bringing out their best features. He created an almost expressionistic mood for films like Mildred Pierce (1945) (for which he received another Oscar nomination) and Humoresque (1946). For the remainder of his career, Haller remained at Warners. Even after his contract expired in 1951, he was recalled for special assignments such as Rebel Without a Cause (1955), shot in CinemaScope, and the psychological drama What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? (1962), reuniting him once more with Davis and Crawford, albeit this time concerned with photographing them in a decidedly unglamorous fashion. He freelanced during the remainder of the 1960's and was semi-retired when asked by James Goldstone to step in as director of photography for the second pilot of Star Trek (1966), "Where No Man Has Gone Before". Ernest Haller was killed in a car crash in October 1970, aged 74.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: I.S.Mowis

Spouse (2)

Ruby Evelyn Oates (3 October 1917 - ?)
Mary Jane (? - ?)

Trivia (1)

Cinematographer for Oscar Best Picture winner Gone with the Wind (1939), and seven other Best Picture nominees: Captain Blood (1935), Jezebel (1938), Four Daughters (1938), Dark Victory (1939), All This, and Heaven Too (1940), Mildred Pierce (1945) and Lilies of the Field (1963).

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