|Born||in San Francisco, California, USA|
|Died||in Santa Monica, California, USA (undisclosed)|
|Birth Name||Harold Leon Mohr|
|Height||6' 2" (1.88 m)|
Mini Bio (1)
Distinguished pioneering cinematographer who had a career in motion pictures lasting six-decades. As a teenager, Hal built his own camera while still at school and took photos of local interest which he then developed and printed. He sent a number of these pictures to the New York Herald-Tribune and they were deemed good enough to invite interest from Hollywood. After doing some free-lance work he was hired to shoot newsreels for Sol Lesser's company, General Films. In 1915, he began working in Hollywood, first as a film cutter at Universal, eventually graduating to assistant director. During the latter stages of the First World War he worked for the photographic unit of the U.S.Army, and, afterwards, shot documentaries before turning his attention to motion pictures.
In 1921, Hal became a fully-fledged director of photography. Many of his early efforts were low budget productions although he compensated for the lack of expensive sets by embracing elements of the German expressionist movement: symbolism, stylised images, sombre lighting - all designed to create mood and evoke a more profound understanding and emotive reaction to the subject. Having spent almost a year in Paris post-war, Hal had studied European film-making techniques. During the 1920's, he worked closely with noted exponents of expressionism, including the directors Paul Leni and Michael Curtiz. He was an innovator in the use of boom and dolly shots, producing exciting new visual effects.
Significantly, he was director of photography on the first ever all-talking picture, The Jazz Singer (1927). Over the years, Hal Mohr acquired a deserved reputation for best serving each director's needs by creating the exact look and mood required for each film. In the 1930's, he was one of the first to employ deep-focus photography in films like Bullets or Ballots (1936) and The Green Pastures (1936). For the Errol Flynn swashbuckler Captain Blood (1935), Hal seamlessly integrated live action shots with 18 foot-long model ships and location footage with back-lot shots. He won the first of two Academy Awards (uncontested, through a 'write-in campaign') for A Midsummer Night's Dream (1935). His second Academy Award, he shared with W. Howard Greene for his colour photography of Universal's Phantom of the Opera (1943).
In 1957, Hal also won the George Eastman Award for Distinguished Contribution to the Art of Film. Among other representative examples of Hal Mohr's best work in Hollywood one has to include Another Part of the Forest (1948) and The Wild One (1953). He also shot two classic films with Marlene Dietrich: Destry Rides Again (1939) and Rancho Notorious (1952). He was very impressed with the actress, commenting: "She just knows from the heat of the light on her when she is right for the camera" (New York Times,May 12 1974). Hal Mohr served several times as President of the American Society of Cinematographers, 1930-31, 1963-65, 1969-70. He was married to the actress Evelyn Venable for almost forty years. A star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame bears his name.
- IMDb Mini Biography By: I.S.Mowis
Evelyn Venable (7 December 1934 -
10 May 1974) (his death)
Claire Delmar (1926 - 1929)