GREAT CINEMATOGRAPHERS


#1: 1950

 

   


RUSSELL HARLAN

 

Born: 16 September 1903, Los Angeles, Calif., USA, as Russell B. Harlan.

Died: 28 February 1974, Newport Beach, Calif., USA.

Career: Started in the film industry in 1924 as a laboratory asst at Famous Players-Lasky. Moved to the camera dept in 1925. In 1928-29, he briefly abandoned cinematography and worked as an actor and stuntman/double [often for Gary Cooper]. By the early 1930s he was again working behind the camera as an assistant. His first work as a doph was in 1937, when he filmed 8 'Hopalong Cassidy' westerns for Harry Sherman Productions and Paramount/United Artists (see *). Between 1943-46, he photographed numerous Army training films.

Awards: 'Oscar' AA nom [1953; b&w] for 'The Big Sky'; 'Oscar' AA nom [1956; b&w] for 'Blackboard Jungle'; 'Oscar' AA nom [1963; b&w] for 'To Kill a Mockingbird'; 'Oscar' AA nom [1963; color] for 'Hatari!'; 'Oscar' AA nom [1966; color] for 'The Great Race'; 'Oscar' AA nom [1967; color] for 'Hawaii'



Six years hard labour on the Hopalong Cassidy series might well have been the finish of a lesser man. But despite the ultra-formulary nature of their scripts, Russell Harlan provided the 'Hoppys' with varied and vigorous visuals which evidently got him noticed in the right quarters, as indicated by the rather dramatic appearance of 'A Walk in the Sun' in his filmography. Subsequently, 'Red River' initiated a cycle of rugged location pictures for Hawks and others, and the low-budget resourcefulness which the Bar-20 epics must have nurtured found its aesthetic justification in 'Gun Crazy', most remarkably in the bank hold-up sequence, shot in one long, long take from the back seat of the getaway car. Harlan also showed himself adept at reproducing the pseudo-newsreel look ['Riot in Cell Block 11'], and in 'Run Silent Run Deep' he faced with apparent equanimity what must be every cameraman's number one headache, the submarine picture. [Bob Baker in 'Film Dope' #23, September 1981.]


Russell Harlan was a rarity in the early days of Hollywood; he was a hometown boy. The Los Angeles Harlan grew up in was nothing like the concrete jungle it is today. There were no studios then - production was done in the East, but that would soon change as companies headed West to escape Thomas Edison's Patents' Trust. Russell Harlan watched the town and the industry grow up in front of him and in 1924 he joined that industry, working as a laboratory assistant.

His first official credit was for the Hopalong Cassidy B-Western, 'North of the Rio Grande', where he was listed as 'Russel' Harlan.
Between 1937 and 1943, Harlan worked on the 'Hopalong Cassidy' serial, shooting over thirty films for director Lesley Selander. His work impressed the producer Harry Sherman enough to hire him when Sherman moved into higher-budgeted pictures. In 1944, he was picked by veteran director Lewis Milestone to shoot his war film 'A Walk in the Sun' and this film took Harlan out of the 'B''s forever.

Russell Harlan's most famous collaboration was with director Howard Hawks. Beginning in 1946, when production began on 'Red River', until 'Man's Favorite Sport?' [1962-63], they made seven films together. Harlan's style suited Hawks perfectly on 'Red River'. As John Baxter wrote in his entry on the cinematographer in International Dictionary of Films and Filmmakers, Hawks and Harlan 'created a bleak and unromantic picture of the west that had hardly been seen since the days of Thomas Ince and William S. Hart. Hawks was never a director of vistas and, in this, Harlan precisely echoed his vision. The dense, harsh lighting style for 'Red River' was carried forward into 'The Big Sky' [1951], a film that introduced a Hawksian intimacy into the spacious world of the pioneer fur trappers.'

In 1949, Harlan shot what is arguably, for students of cinematography and film noir, his technical masterpiece, 'Gun Crazy'. The film revolved around a gun-obsessed couple who commit robberies. A bank robbery scene, shot in real-time, is mentioned in several books on film noir. Harlan and his crew removed the back of a stretch Cadillac in order to fit a 35mm camera [much larger than today], and as the actors drove around Montrose, California, the camera filmed everything through the windshield, making it seem like a documentary. While 'Gun Crazy' was not a box-office hit, Harlan's work influenced many filmmakers, including Jean-Luc Godard, when he shot 'A bout de souffle/Breathless' [1959].
Harlan's experience on 'Land of the Pharaohs' [1954] proved to be both physically and mentally challenging. The Egyptian locations were difficult and there were fights among the extras, during which a man was killed. Seeing the crushing poverty of Egypt, and how it affected the children living there, sent him into a deep depression. By the time he was to go on to Rome to shoot the interiors, he was too exhausted and Lee Garmes had to replace him for some interiors.

Harlan worked occasionally in television, but unlike many of his contemporaries, his talent kept him in demand for 'A' pictures until his retirement, following Blake Edwards' 'Darling Lili' [1968]. [From article by Lorraine LoBianco on the TCM website.]


 

 FILMS

1927

Wings [William A. Wellman & (uncred) Harry D'Arrast] b&w; uncred co-addph; ph: Harry Perry

 

 

1937

North of the Rio Grande [Nate Watt] b&w; 65m; 11th film in 41-part 'Hopalong Cassidy'-series (Paramount, 1935-41) *

1937

Rustler's Valley [Nate Watt] b&w; 60m *

1937

Hopalong Rides Again [Lesley Selander] b&w; 65m *

1937

Texas Trail [David Selman] b&w; 58m *

1937

Partners of the Plains [Lesley Selander] b&w; 70m *

1937

Cassidy of Bar 20 [Lesley Selander] b&w; 56m *

1937

Heart of Arizona/Gunsmoke [Lesley Selander] b&w; 68m *

1937

Bar 20 Justice [Lesley Selander] b&w; 70m *

1938

Pride of the West [Lesley Selander] b&w; 56m *

1938

In Old Mexico [Edward Venturini] b&w; 62m *

1938

The Mysterious Rider/Mark of the Avenger [Lesley Selander] b&w; based on characters by Zane Grey

1938

Sunset Trail/Silver Trail Patrol [Lesley Selander] b&w; 60m *

1938

The Frontiersmen/The Frontiersman [Lesley Selander] b&w; 74m *

1938

Silver on the Sage [Lesley Selander] b&w; 66m *

1938

Heritage of the Desert/Heritage of the Plains [Lesley Selander] b&w; based on novel by Zane Grey

1939

Renegade Trail [Lesley Selander] b&w; 61m *

1939

Range War [Lesley Selander] b&w; 64m *

1939

The Llano Kid [Edward Venturini] b&w; 70m

1939

Law of the Pampas [Nate Watt] b&w; 72m *

1939

Santa Fe Marshal [Lesley Selander] b&w; 65m *

1939

Knights of the Range/Bad Men of Nevada [Lesley Selander] b&w; 70m; based on story by Zane Grey

1939

The Showdown [Howard Bretherton] b&w; 65m *

1939

The Light of Western Stars/Border Renegade [Lesley Selander] b&w; 64m; based on novel by Zane Grey

1939

Hidden Gold [Lesley Selander] b&w; 61m *

1939

Stagecoach War [Lesley Selander] b&w; 63m *

1940

South of Pago Pago [Alfred E. Green (replaced Alfred Werker)] b&w; background ph; ph: John Mescall

1940

Three Men from Texas [Lesley Selander] b&w; 70m *

1940

Cherokee Strip/The Indian Nation/Fighting Marshal [Lesley Selander] b&w

1940

The Roundup/The Round Up [Lesley Selander] b&w

1940

Doomed Caravan [Lesley Selander] b&w; 62m; filming started in April, but was interrupted; finished in September/October *

1940

In Old Colorado [Howard Bretherton] b&w; 66m *

1940

Border Vigilantes [Derwin Abrahams] b&w; 62m *

1940

Pirates on Horseback [Lesley Selander] b&w; 69m; filmed 1940-41 *

1941

Wide Open Town [Lesley Selander] b&w; 78m *

1941

Riders of the Timberline/Riders of the Timberlane [Lesley Selander] b&w; 59m *

1941

The Parson of Panamint [William McGann] b&w

1941

Secret of the Wastelands [Derwin Abrahams] b&w; 66m *

1941

Outlaws of the Desert [Howard Bretherton] b&w; 66m *

1941

Stick to Your Guns [Lesley Selander] b&w; 63m *

1941

Twilight on the Trail [Howard Bretherton] b&w; 58m; 41st film in 41-part 'Hopalong Cassidy'-series (Paramount, 1935-41) *

1941

Tombstone: The Town Too Tough to Die/Bad Men of Arizona [William McGann (replaced Lesley Selander)] b&w

1941

American Empire/My Son Alone [William McGann] b&w

1942

Undercover Man [Lesley Selander] b&w; 68m; 1st film in 25-part 'Hopalong Cassidy'-series (UA, 1942-48) *

1942

Silver Queen [Lloyd Bacon] b&w

1942

Border Patrol [Lesley Selander] b&w; 64m *

1942

Leather Burners [Joseph Henabery] b&w; 58m *

1942

Buckskin Frontier/The Iron Road [Lesley Selander] b&w

1942

Lost Canyon [Lesley Selander] b&w; 61m; remake of 'Rustler's Valley' (1937) *

1942

Colt Comrades [Lesley Selander] b&w; 67m *

1942

Bar 20 [Lesey Selander] b&w; 54m *

1942

Hoppy Serves a Writ [George Archainbaud] b&w; 67m *

1942

The Kansan/Wagon Wheels [George Archainbaud] b&w

1943

Disposal of Unusable Ammunition and Explosives [Lesley Selander] b&w; series of 3 doc's (#1: 10m; #2: 26m; #3: 23m) for the US Army

1943

False Colors [George Archainbaud] b&w; 65m *

1943

Riders of the Deadline [Lesley Selander] b&w; 68m *

1943

Tarzan's Desert Mystery/Tarzan and the Sheik [William Thiele] b&w; cph: Harry Wild; new ending filmed in August

1943

The Woman of the Town [George Archainbaud] b&w

1943

Texas Masquerade [George Archainbaud] b&w; 59m *

1943

Mystery Man [George Archainbaud] b&w; 58m *

1943

Lumberjack [Lesley Selander] b&w; 65m *

1943

Forty Thieves [Lesley Selander] b&w; 60m; spec pfx: Mario Castegnaro *

1944

A Walk in the Sun [Lewis Milestone] b&w; filmed 1944-45

1946

Ramrod [André De Toth] b&w

 

 

1946

Red River [Howard Hawks & (co-dir) Arthur Rosson] b&w; uncred 2uc: Ray Binger; spec pfx: Allan Thompson

1947

Four Faces West/They Passed This Way [Alfred E. Green] b&w; spec pfx: Robert Moreland

1948

Badmen of Tombstone [Kurt Neumann] b&w

1948

I Was a Male War Bride/You Can't Sleep Here [Howard Hawks] b&w; uncred cph European scenes; ph: Norbert Brodine (Hollywood) & O. Borradaile (on location in Germany and in London at Shepperton Studios); spec pfx: Fred Sersen; filmed in Germany and the UK; prod was shut down in February 1949 and resumed in May in the USA

1949

Gun Crazy/Deadly Is the Female [Joseph H. Lewis] b&w

1949

Guilty Bystander [Joseph Lerner] b&w; cph: Gerald Hirschfeld; pfx: Hugo Casolaro & Milton Gottlieb

1949

Tarzan and the Slave Girl/Tarzan and the Jungle Queen [Lee Sholem] b&w

1950

The Kangaroo Kid [Lesley Selander] b&w

1950

The Man Who Cheated Himself [Felix E. Feist] b&w

1950

Southside 1-1000/Union 1-1000/Forgery [Boris Ingster] b&w

1950

The Thing/The Thing from Another World [Christian Nyby] b&w; background plates ph: Archie Stout; flying saucer fire & explosion ph: Harold Wellman; process ph: Harold Stine; spec pfx: Linwood Dunn; filmed 1950-51

1951

The Big Sky [Howard Hawks] b&w; uncred 2uc: Robert Pittack & Harold Stine

 

 

1952

The Ring [Kurt Neumann] b&w

1952

Ruby Gentry [King Vidor] b&w

 

 

1953

Riot in Cell Block 11 [Don Siegel] b&w; uncred cph: George Clemens

1954

Land of the Pharaohs [Howard Hawks] cs/c; cph: Lee Garmes (replaced Harlan on some interiors filmed in Rome)

1954

Blackboard Jungle [Richard Brooks] b&w

1955

The Brave One [Irving Rapper] cs/c; uncred 2uc; ph: Jack Cardiff

1955

The Last Hunt [Richard Brooks] cs/c

1955

Lust for Life [Vincente Minnelli & (uncred) George Cukor] cs/c ; ph US-based studio scenes; loc ph (Europe): F.A. Young

1956

The Teahouse of the August Moon [Daniel Mann] cs/c; uncred ph Japan (April-June; stormy weather forced prod to return to Hollywood); ph (June-July): John Alton

1956

Something of Value/Africa Ablaze [Richard Brooks] b&w

1956

This Could Be the Night [Robert Wise] cs/b&w; sfx: Lee LeBlanc

1957

Witness for the Prosecution [Billy Wilder] b&w

1957

Run Silent Run Deep [Robert Wise] b&w; uncred 2uc: Thomas Tutwiler; spec pfx: Howard Lydecker, Clifford Stine & Arnold Gillespie

1958

King Creole [Michael Curtiz] b&w; spec pfx: John P. Fulton; process ph: Farciot Edouart

 

[Left] with Patrick and John Wayne - "Rio Bravo"

 

1958

Rio Bravo [Howard Hawks] c

1958

Day of the Outlaw [André De Toth] b&w

1959

Operation Petticoat [Blake Edwards] c; spph: Clifford Stine

1959

Pollyanna [David Swift] c; sfx: Ub Iwerks; matte artist: Peter Ellenshaw; also re-edited as a 3-part tvm (1963)

 

[Left/sitting] with dir Vincent Donehue and actors Ann Shoemaker & Ralph Bellamy

"Sunrise at Campobello"

 

1960

Sunrise at Campobello [Vincent J. Donehue] c

1960

Hatari! [Howard Hawks] c; assoc ph: Joseph Brun; spec pfx: John P. Fulton; filmed 1960-61

1961

The Spiral Road [Robert Mulligan] c

 

 

1962

To Kill a Mockingbird [Robert Mulligan] b&w

1962

A Gathering of Eagles [Delbert Mann] c; 2uc: Raymond Fernstrom

1962

Man's Favorite Sport? [Howard Hawks] c; filmed 1962-63

1963

Dear Heart/The Out-of-Towners [Delbert Mann] b&w

 

[Right] with dir Delbert Mann [left] - "Quick, Before It Melts"

 

1964

Quick, Before It Melts [Delbert Mann] p/c

1964

The Great Race [Blake Edwards] p (+ 70bu)/c; 2uc: Harold Wellman; pfx: Linwood Dunn & James Gordon

1965

Hawaii [George Roy Hill] p (+ 70bu)/c; 2uc: Harold Wellman; spec pfx: Linwood Dunn & James Gordon

1966

Tobruk [Arthur Hiller] ts/c; aph: Nelson Tyler; matte superv: Albert Whitlock

1966

Thoroughly Modern Millie [George Roy Hill] 35mm (+ 70bu)/c; fill-in ph (while R. Metty was ill); ph: Russell Metty

1968

Darling Lili [Blake Edwards] p (+ 70bu)/c; 2uc: Harold Wellman; aph: Guy Tabary; spec pfx: Linwood Dunn & Rex Wimpy

 

 TELEVISION

 

 

1952

Schlitz Playhouse of Stars [37 ep dir by various] 339-part anthology series/b&w, 1951-58 (CBS-tv; 1st season was live and 60m); 2nd season, 1952-53 (52 ep); followed by Schlitz Playhouse, 1958-59 (20 ep)

1953

Schlitz Playhouse of Stars [26 ep dir by various] 3rd season, 1953-54 (53 ep); see 1952

1956

General Electric Theater/G.E. Theater/Your Star Showcase/Command Performance [ep #5.01 'The Great Lady' dir by Roy Kellino] 303-part anthology series/b&w, 1953-62 (CBS-tv); 5th season, 1956-57 (35 ep)

1957

Richard Diamond, Private Detective/Call Mr. 'D' [ep #15 'The Payoff' dir by Tom Gries (TG) & #16 'Double Jeopardy' dir by TG] 77-part detective series/b&w, 1957-60 (CBS-tv: season 1-3; NBC-tv: season 4); 2nd season, 1958 (21 ep)

1963

Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color [ep #64-66 'Pollyanna' dir by David Swift] 229-part (incl reruns) anthology series, 1961-69 (NBC-tv); 3rd season, 1963-64 (29 ep)

 

 MISCELLANEOUS

1925

The Coast of Folly [Allan Dwan] uncred c.asst; ph: George Webber

1927

Nevada [John Waters] uncred c.asst + double (for Gary Cooper); ph: Charles Schoenbaum

1930

Fighting Caravans/Blazing Arrows [Otto Brower & David Burton] uncred co-c.asst; ph: Lee Garmes & Henry Gerrard

1931

The Vice Squad [John Cromwell] uncred co-c.asst; ph: Charles Lang

1933

Galloping Romeo [Robert Bradbury] uncred c.asst; ph: Archie Stout

1934

Manhattan Love Song [Leonard Fields] uncred c.asst; ph: Robert Planck

1934

Monte Carlo Nights [William Nigh] uncred c.asst; ph: Archie Stout

1934

King Kelly of the U.S.A./Irish and Proud of It [Leonard Fields] uncred c.asst; ph: Robert Planck

1934

Secret of the Chateau/Rendezvous at Midnight [Richard Thorpe] uncred c.asst; ph: Robert Planck

1935

The Crusades [Cecil B. DeMille] uncred co-c.asst; ph: Victor Milner