GREAT CINEMATOGRAPHERS


1959

 

   


SAM LEAVITT

 

Born: 6 February 1904, New York, N.Y., USA, as Samuel E. Leavitt.

Died: 21 March 1984, Motion Picture and Television Hospital, Woodland Hills, Calif., USA.

Career: Spent his early years in New Jersey and most of his work as a c.asst and later as a c.op was done in the East. At Paramount's Astoria [Long Island] Studio he worked for Jack MacKenzie, William Steiner and other leading New York cinematographers in 1932-33. In 1934 he became c.op to Joseph Ruttenberg on a number of pictures which were made at the historic Biograph Studios in the Bronx, New York City. As a director of photography he shot several features for Booth Dominion Ltd. in Toronto. Returning to New York late in 1935, he announced that he was going to get married, go to California on his honeymoon, and settle there permanently. He arrived during the Christmas season and remained as a resident of Hollywood and Beverly Hills until his death.

Was a member of the ASC since 1935.

Awards: Golden Globe nom [1953] for 'The Thief'; 'Oscar' AA [1958; b&w] for 'The Defiant Ones'; 'Oscar' AA nom [1959; b&w] for 'Anatomy of a Murder'; 'Oscar' AA nom [1960; color] for 'Exodus'; 'Emmy' Award nom [1973] for 'Banacek'.



On working with Don Siegel: 'I think 'Crime in the Streets' should have been an award winner, for both of us. We had our differences on that picture and other pictures, but they were constructive differences. That's the way you are supposed to make a picture, between cameraman and director. He'd tell me when we got on the set what he wanted and what mood the scene should have and how he thought it should be done. Then it would be up to me to use my judgment. He's easier and smoother than most directors and he knows what he's doing. The biggest tiff we ever had was while we were shooting 'Spanish Affair' in Spain. Richard Kiley and the girl, Carmen Sevilla, were walking down the street and I wanted to get a mood shot of them walking and he wanted to do it another way, in one long take. He got upset and we both had little to say to each other for quite a while. He had been upset and I had talked back because I don't care who it is, the biggest director or producer, if I have something to say, I talk back to them. That's why I don't get a great many pictures.' [From 'Don Siegel: Director' by Stuart M. Kaminsky, 1974.]


 

 FILMS

1932

Ljubav i strast/Born to Kiss/Love and Passion [Frank Melford] b&w; 61m; cph: William O. Steiner & Frank Zucker; the first release in the U.S. of a film in the Yugoslavian language with native-speaking actors; prod in the USA

 

 

1934

Undercover Men/Under Cover [Sam Newfield] b&w; 61m; as Sam Levitt; made in Canada

1935

Thoroughbred/The King's Plate [Sam Newfield] b&w; 64m; made in Canada

1951

Cripple Creek [Ray Nazarro] c; uncred 2uc; ph: William V. Skall

1952

The Thief [Russell Rouse] b&w

1953

Mission Over Korea/Eyes of the Skies [Fred F. Sears] b&w

1953

China Venture/China Bound [Don Siegel] b&w

1953

Goof on the Roof [Jules White] b&w; short/16m; with The Three Stooges

1953

Southwest Passage/Camels West [Ray Nazarro] 3-D/c

1953

A Star Is Born [George Cukor] cs/c; ph 'Born in a Trunk' number (dir by Richard Barstow): Harold Rosson; filmed 1953-54; an October 1953 Daily Variety news item reported that the producers planned to shoot the film in the then popular 3-D format, but by the start of filming, the crew was shooting in WarnerScope. Eight days into shooting the studio decided that 'the story is too intimate for WarnerScope' and arranged with Twentieth Century-Fox to use their new process, CinemaScope. Production halted while Twentieth Century's Milton Krasner conducted test shots of the production number 'The Man That Got Away'. A modern source states that footage already shot was then scrapped at a cost of $300,000. The change in format resulted in Sam Leavitt replacing Winton Hoch as director of photography. Hoch had earlier replaced Harry Stradling, when delays caused a scheduling conflict with another of Stradling's assignments (from the TCM website)

1953

The Star of Bethlehem [James Mason] b&w; short/26m; presented in two acts, with the first 10-minutes being a straightforward Bible recitation by Mason and his wife Pamela of the first two chapters of Luke; then Mason visits daughter Portland bedside and their discussion sets the stage for a re-enactment of the Nativity starring a cast of children

 

 

1954

Carmen Jones [Otto Preminger] cs/c

1954

An Annapolis Story/The Blue and the Gold [Don Siegel] c; pfx: Ray Mercer

1955

The Bold and the Brave [Lewis R. Foster] sus/b&w; optical efx: Alex Weldon

1955

The Court-Martial of Billy Mitchell/One Man Mutiny [Otto Preminger] cs/c

 

 

1955

The Man with the Golden Arm [Otto Preminger] b&w

1955

Crime in the Streets [Don Siegel] b&w

1956

Sierra Stranger [Lee Sholem] b&w

1956

The Wild Party [Harry Horner] b&w; spec pfx: Louis DeWitt & Jack Rabin

1956

Hot Rod Girl [Leslie H. Martinson] b&w

1956

Spanish Affair [Don Siegel] vv/c; 2uc: Theodore Pahle; spec pfx: John P. Fulton; process ph: Farciot Edouart

1957

The Careless Years [Arthur Hiller] b&w

1957

Time Limit [Karl Malden] b&w

1957

Eighteen and Anxious [Joe Parker] b&w

1957

Hell Ship Mutiny [Lee Sholem & Elmo Williams] b&w; 66m; uwph: Robert Cummings & Bill Judd

1958

The Fearmakers [Jacques Tourneur] b&w

1958

The Defiant Ones [Stanley Kramer] b&w

1958

The Indian [Gene Fowler] abandoned after one week of shooting

1958

Pork Chop Hill [Lewis Milestone] b&w

1959

The Crimson Kimono [Samuel Fuller] b&w

 

[Left] with Otto Preminger - "Anatomy of a Murder"

 

1959

Anatomy of a Murder [Otto Preminger] b&w

1959

Five Gates to Hell [James Clavell] cs/b&w

1959

Seven Thieves [Henry Hathaway] cs/b&w

1959

From the Terrace [Mark Robson] cs/c; uncred New York ph; ph: Leo Tover

1960

Exodus [Otto Preminger] sp70/c

1960

The Right Approach [David Butler] cs/b&w

 

 

1961

Cape Fear [J. Lee Thompson] b&w

1962

Advise & Consent [Otto Preminger] p/b&w

1962

Diamond Head [Guy Green] p/c

1963

El camino real/Fray Junípero Serra [Jaime Prades] scope/c; doc/21m

1963

Johnny Cool [William Asher] b&w

1964

Shock Treatment [Denis Sanders] cs/b&w; spec pfx: L.B. Abbott & Emil Kosa Jr.

1964

Two on a Guillotine [William Conrad] p/b&w

1964

Major Dundee [Sam Peckinpah] p/c

1964

My Blood Runs Cold [William Conrad] p/b&w

1965

Brainstorm [William Conrad] p/b&w

1965

Dr. Goldfoot and the Bikini Machine/Dr. G and the Bikini Machine [Norman Taurog] p/c

 

[White hat] - Eleanor Parker - Stuart Whitman

dir Robert Gist [center/kneeling] - "An American Dream"

 

1966

An American Dream/See You in Hell, Darling [Robert Gist] c

1966

I Deal In Danger [Walter Grauman] c; cph: Kurt Grigoleit; re-edited first 4 ep ('The Last Man', 'Target, David March', 'The Fortress Below' & 'The Weapon Within') of tv-series 'Blue Light'; see Television (1965)

1966

Murderers' Row [Henry Levin] c; 2uc: Mark H. Davis

1967

Guess Who's Coming to Dinner [Stanley Kramer] c; process ph: Larry Butler

1967

Where Angels Go... Trouble Follows [James Neilson] c

1968

The Wrecking Crew [Phil Karlson] c

1968

The Desperados [Henry Levin] c; 2uc: John Cabrera

1969

The Grasshopper/The Passing of Evil/Passions [Jerry Paris] c

1971

Star Spangled Girl [Jerry Paris] c

1974

The Man in the Glass Booth [Arthur Hiller] c

1977

Good Guys Wear Black [Ted Post] c; co-addph; ph: Robert Steadman

 

 TELEVISION

1953

Where's Raymond?/The Ray Bolger Show (1954-55) [Marc Daniels, a.o.] 58-part sitcom series/b&w, 1953-54 (ABC-tv)

1955

The Count of Monte Cristo [ep #1 'The Affair of the Three Napoleons/The Plot' dir by Budd (as Bud) Boetticher] 39-part swashbuckling adventure series for children/b&w, 1956; filmed at the Hal Roach studios, USA (ep #1-12) & Elstree Studios, UK (ep #13-39)

1965

Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea [ep #55 'The Monster's Web/Web of Destruction' dir by Justus Addiss] 110-part science fiction series, 1964-68 (ABC-tv); 2nd season, 1965-66; cph: Winton Hoch; other ph: Robert Bronner, Carl Guthrie & Winton Hoch

1965

Blue Light [pilot 'The Last Man' dir by Walter Grauman] 17-part spy drama series, 1966 (ABC-tv); see Films (1966)

 

 

1965

Batman [ep #1 'Hi Diddle Riddle' dir by Robert Butler (RB) & #2 'Smack in the Middle' dir by RB] 120-part fantasy adventure series, 1966-68 (ABC-tv); 1st season, 1966; as Sam Levitt; other ph: Jack Marta, Ralph Woolsey & Howard Schwartz

1967

The Flying Nun [various] 82-part sitcom series, 1967-70 (ABC-tv); other ph: Emil Oster

1970

The Partridge Family [ep #1 'What? And Get Out of Show Business?' dir by Jerry Paris] 96-part sitcom series, 1970-74 (ABC-tv); 1st season, 1970-71; other ph: Fred Jackman Jr. & Irving Lippman

1971

The Screaming Woman [Jack Smight] tvm

1971

Evil Roy Slade [Jerry Paris] tvm

1971

Detour to Nowhere/Banacek [Jack Smight] tvm; served as pilot for the series 'Banacek' (1972-74); see 1972

1972

The Longest Night [Jack Smight] tvm

1972

Banacek [ep #1 'Let's Hear It for a Living Legend' dir by Jack Smight, #2 'Project Phoenix' dir by Richard T. Heffron (RTH), #3 'No Sign of the Cross' dir by Daryl Duke, #4 'A Million the Hard Way' dir by Bernard L. Kowalski, #5 'To Steal a King' dir by Lou Antonio, #6 'Ten Thousand Dollars a Page' dir by RTH, #7 'The Greatest Collection of Them All' dir by George McCowan & #8 'The Two Million Clams of Cap'n Jack' dir by RTH] pilot (see 1971) + 16-part detective drama series, 1972-74 (NBC-tv); 1st season (8 ep), 1972-73

1973

Banacek [ep #9 'No Stone Unturned' dir by Richard T. Heffron, #10 'If Max Is So Smart, Why Doesn't He Tell Us Where He Is?' dir by Bernard L. Kowalski (BLK), #11 'The Three Million Dollar Piracy' dir by Andrew V. McLaglen (AVM), #12 'The Vanishing Chalice' dir by BLK, #13 'Horse of a Slightly Different Color' dir by Herschel Daugherty, #14 'Rocket to Oblivion' dir by AVM, #15 'Fly Me- If You Can Find Me' dir by BLK & #16 'Now You See Me, Now You Don't' dir by Bernard McEveety] 2nd season, 1973-74 (8 ep); see 1972

1976

The Fantastic Journey [pilot 'Vortex' dir by Andrew V. McLaglen] 10-part science fiction series, 1977(NBC-tv); other ph: Irving Lippman

 

 FILMS AS CAMERA OPERATOR

1934

No More West [Nick Grinde; short/19m] ph: ?

1934

Frankie and Johnnie [Chester Erskine & (uncred) John H. Auer] ph: Joseph Ruttenberg

1934

Woman in the Dark/Woman in the Shadows [Phil Rosen] ph: Joseph Ruttenberg

1934

Gigolette/Night Club/Mistaken Heiress [Charles Lamont] ph: Joseph Ruttenberg

1934

Gambling [Rowland V. Lee] prod staff; ph: Jack MacKenzie

1935

The People's Enemy/Racketeers/The Blind Road [Crane Wilbur] ph: Joseph Ruttenberg

1937

Love on Toast [E.A. Dupont] 2nd cam; ph: Charles Schoenbaum

1937

Every Day's a Holiday [A. Edward Sutherland] ph: Karl Struss

1943

Bathing Beauty [George Sidney] ph: Harry Stradling (Sr.)

1944

The Picture of Dorian Gray [Albert Lewin] ph: Harry Stradling (Sr.)

1944

Anchors Aweigh [George Sidney] ph: Robert Planck & Charles P. Boyle

1944

Thrill of a Romance [Richard Thorpe] ph: Harry Stradling (Sr.)

1944

Her Highness and the Bellboy [Richard Thorpe] 2nd cam; ph: Harry Stradling (Sr.)

1945

Easy to Wed [Edward Buzzell; (uncred) Buster Keaton & Edward Sedgwick)] ph: Harry Stradling (Sr.)

1945

Holiday in Mexico [George Sidney] 2nd cam; ph: Harry Stradling (Sr.)

1946

The Romance of Rosy Ridge [Roy Rowland] ph: Sidney Wagner

1947

The Pirate [Vincente Minnelli] ph: Harry Stradling (Sr.)

1947

Easter Parade [Charles Walters] ph: Harry Stradling (Sr.)

1948

The Barkleys of Broadway/The Gay Barkleys [Charles Walters] ph: Harry Stradling (Sr.)

1948

In the Good Old Summertime [Robert Z. Leonard & (uncred) Buster Keaton] ph: Harry Stradling (Sr.)

1949

Tension [John Berry] ph: Harry Stradling (Sr.)

1951

Rancho Notorious [Fritz Lang] ph: Hal Mohr

1951

I Love Lucy [various; tv-series] ph: Robert De Grasse, Karl Freund, Sidney Hickox, a.o.