Thursday, September 15, 2005

A cinema giant passes on...

Robert Wise was a giant in the film world, and we’ll seldom, if ever, see his like again. In a long and brilliant career, Mr. Wise directed some of the most popular musicals ever (Sound of Music, West Side Story), some of the greatest sci-fi movies of all time (The Day the Earth Stood Still, The Andromeda Strain) and arguably the finest horror movie ever (The Haunting). Needless to say, he had a few clunkers in his roster of 40 films as a helmer, but any of the above titles would represent the crown jewel in nearly any other filmmaker’s career.

Mr. Wise started as a sound engineer before becoming an editor, in the latter capacity working on such classics as the 1939 Hunchback of Notre Dame, My Favorite Wife, The Devil and Daniel Webster, The Magnificent Ambersons and most famously Citizen Kane. The amazing thing is that Mr. Wise would prove as great a director was he was an editor. In the latter capacity, he early on directed Curse of the Cat People and The Body Snatcher, with Karloff and Lugosi, for producer Val Lewton. Mr. Lewton’s legendary style of favoring the power of the imagination over the crude showing of horror on the screen would serve Mr. Wise well when he directed The Haunting decades later.

Mr. Wise was 91 years-old.

2 Comments:

At 10:36 PM, Blogger Cullen M. M. Waters said...

And to think I didn't recognize the name...

 
At 9:47 AM, Anonymous twitterpate said...

Yes, it's strange how some directors are stars, nay, GODS in the cinematic celestial sphere - and yet other directors who have done fantastic work are unknown names to all but obsessive fans.

I didn't recognize the name either. But oh, what a body of work.

 

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