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Joseph LaShelle Poster

Biography

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Overview (4)

Born in Los Angeles, California, USA
Died in La Jolla, California, USA
Birth NameJoseph Wellington LaShelle
Nickname Joe

Mini Bio (1)

Trained as an electrical engineer, Joseph LaShelle entered the film industry as a lab assistant with Paramount in 1920 in order to finance entry to Stanford University. Having worked his way up to superintendent of the Paramount printing room after three years, he decided to stay on. By 1925, he was being mentored by the veteran cinematographer Charles G. Clarke under whose auspices he gained valuable experience behind the camera. Subsequently, LaShelle worked as camera operator for Metropolitan Studios, Pathe and Fox in the 1930's, often in collaboration with Arthur C. Miller. In the wake of a decade-long apprenticeship, he was promoted to full director of photography in 1943, from there on gaining a reputation as one of Hollywood's foremost stylists. His chief talent lay in his ability to employ lighting, decor, close-ups and clever camera angles to convey a grainy realistic, natural look, especially vital to the ambience of films noirs.

Another aspect of LaShelle's artistry lay in suggesting a bigger budget than was sometimes in play. This was notably the case with Laura (1944), for which he won his only Oscar. Virtually every scene takes place indoors, without significant exterior footage beyond a few basic studio shots. In the absence of streets and traffic, LaShelle nonetheless succeeded in creating a believable Park Avenue jet-set, replete with elegant apartments and swank restaurants. He did much of his best work under contract at 20th Century Fox (1943-1954) and for expert directors like Martin Ritt (The Long, Hot Summer (1958)), Otto Preminger ("Laura", Where the Sidewalk Ends (1950) and Billy Wilder (The Apartment (1960), The Fortune Cookie (1966)). He retired in 1969 and died of natural causes twenty years later, aged 89.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: I.S.Mowis

Trivia (1)

Member of the American Society of Cinematographers (ASC).

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