GREAT CINEMATOGRAPHERS


#1: "The Best of Everything" [1959]

#2: [Right] with dir George Stevens [center] - "The Diary of Anne Frank" [1958]

#3: With actress Debbie Reynolds - "Give a Girl a Break" [1953]

 

   


WILLIAM C. MELLOR

 

Born: 29 June 1903, Missouri, USA.

Died: 30 April 1963, Los Angeles, Calif., USA, during prod of 'The Greatest Story Ever Told'.

Career: Entered the film industry ca. 1925, joining the Paramount laboratory. Became c.op with Victor Milner's crew. Worked as doph on 'B' pictures while continuing to work as c.op on 'A' prod. Left Paramount in 1943 and joined the US Army Photographic Section. During 1944-45, he was part of George Stevens' 'special coverage unit', assigned to record the progress of the US Army in Europe. Most of the footage went into various doc's and newsreels. [Following the death of Stevens, about 5 hours of 16mm color film was discovered. This was edited into the tv-doc 'D-Day to Berlin' (1985).] After WWII under contract to MGM [1950-53] and 20th Century Fox [1957-62].

Was a member of the ASC.

Awards: 'Oscar' AA [1951; b&w] & Golden Globe nom [1952] for 'A Place in the Sun'; 'Oscar' AA nom [1957] for 'Peyton Place'; 'Oscar' AA [1959; b&w] for 'The Diary of Anne Frank'; 'Oscar' AA nom [1965; color; shared] for 'The Greatest Story Ever Told'.



WWII was the watershed for William C. Mellor. Before it, during his Paramount studio days, his credits were gradually becoming classier but the results were in no way distinct from the norm. Meeting George Stevens and working for him during 1944-45 changed it all. Possibly because of his war time experience, MGM started assigning Mellor to location work which was just then becoming fashionable. Which brings us to 1951 - Mellor's finest year, the year of 'A Place in the Sun' and 'Westward the Women'. Though both are visually perfect, it seems incredible that the same man could have shot both. 'A Place in the Sun', with its soft diffused lighting, lingering close-ups and romantic angles, the camera absolutely in love with Clift and Taylor, looks now [alongside 'Giant', another Mellor] like Stevens' greatest achievement. 'Westward the Women' on the other hand is all about harshness, nothing is lingered on, certainly not close-ups, people become part of the rugged landscape, angles are just practical and you almost feel the heat and sweat. When you add two other bravura location works from the 50s, 'The Naked Spur' and 'Bad Day at Black Rock', Mellor can be seen along with Paul Vogel and the creators of sundry musicals as the best antidote to the usual 'flat' look of MGM product. 'Bad Day at Black Rock' remains his most accomplished widescreen work; during his subsequent Fox contract Mellor did practically nothing but CinemaScope films; they were perfectly adequate but the spirit of 1951 never came again. [Markku Salmi in 'Film Dope', #42, October 1989.]


 

 FILMS

1934

Elmer and Elsie [Gilbert Pratt] b&w; 65m

1934

[Zane Grey's] Wagon Wheels/Caravans West [Charles Barton] b&w; 56m; a 9-minute excerpt was released in 1953 on 16mm for the home movie market

1934

Enter Madame! [Elliott Nugent] b&w; cph: Theodor Sparkuhl

1934

[Zane Grey's] Home on the Range [Arthur Jacobson] b&w; 54m

1934

Wings in the Dark [James Flood] b&w; aph: Dewey Wrigley

1935

Car 99 [Charles Barton] b&w; 67m

1935

Without Regret [Harold Young] b&w

1935

Collegiate/Charm School [Ralph Murphy] b&w

1935

Woman Trap [Harold Young] b&w; 63m

1935

Sky Parade [Otho Lovering] b&w; cph: Alfred Gilks

1936

Poppy [A. Edward Sutherland] b&w

1936

A Son Comes Home [E.A. Dupont] b&w

1936

College Holiday [Frank Tuttle] b&w; cph: Theodor Sparkuhl; spec pfx: Farciot Edouart

1936

Champagne Waltz [A. Edward Sutherland] b&w; spec pfx: Gordon Jennings & Art Smith

1937

Make Way for Tomorrow [Leo McCarey] b&w; spec pfx: Gordon Jennings

1937

Exclusive [Alexander Hall] b&w

1937

Thrill of a Lifetime [George Archainbaud] b&w

1937

Romance in the Dark [H.C. Potter] b&w

1937

Bulldog Drummond Comes Back [Louis King] b&w; 64m; ep 8-part 'Bulldog Drummond'-series (Paramount, 1937-39)

1937

Stolen Heaven [Andrew L. Stone] b&w

1938

Bulldog Drummond in Africa [Louis King] b&w; 58m; ep 8-part 'Bulldog Drummond'-series (Paramount, 1937-39)

1938

Ride a Crooked Mile/Escape from Yesterday [Alfred E. Green] b&w; process ph: Farciot Edouart

1938

Ambush [Kurt Neumann] b&w; 60m; uncred cph (?): Harry Fischbeck

1938

Hotel Imperial [Robert Florey] b&w; 67m; prod was started in 1936 with dir Henry Hathaway, but was shut down

1938

Undercover Doctor [Louis King] b&w; 67m

1939

The Magnificent Fraud [Robert Florey] b&w

1939

Disputed Passage [Frank Borzage] b&w

1939

$1,000 a Touchdown [James Hogan] b&w

1939

Typhoon/The Big Haircut [Louis King] c; assoc ph: Allen M. Davey; spec pfx: Gordon Jennings; optical ph: Paul K. Lerpae

1939

Road to Singapore [Victor Schertzinger] b&w; process ph: Farciot Edouart

1939

The Great McGinty/Down Went McGinty [Preston Sturges] b&w; filmed December 1939-January 1940 & April 1940

1940

Comin' Round the Mountain [George Archainbaud] b&w; 63m

 

Dir Louis King [right/sitting], William Mellor [above King/white shirt] and Dorothy Lamour [left]

"Moon Over Burma"

 

1940

Moon Over Burma [Louis King] b&w

1940

Reaching for the Sun [William A. Wellman] b&w; 2uc: Dewey Wrigley; process ph: Farciot Edouart

1940

Las Vegas Nights [: The Last Frontier Town]/The Gay City [Ralph Murphy] b&w

1941

The Great Man's Lady [William A. Wellman] b&w; spec pfx: Gordon Jennings

1941

Birth of the Blues [Victor Schertzinger] b&w

1941

Beyond the Blue Horizon [Alfred Santell & (uncred add scenes) William Clemens] c; cph: Charles P. Boyle

 

 

1941

The Fleet's In [Victor Schertzinger & (uncred fill-in after V. Schertzinger died) Ralph Murphy] b&w

1941

My Favorite Blonde [Sidney Lanfield] b&w; process ph: Farciot Edouart

1942

Road to Morocco [David Butler] b&w; spec pfx: Gordon Jennings; process ph: Farciot Edouart

1942

Wake Island [John Farrow] b&w; cph: Theodor Sparkuhl; 2uc: Harry Hallenberger; aph: Elmer Dyer & Wallace Kelley; spec pfx: Gordon Jennings; process ph: Farciot Edouart

1942

Commandos Strike at Dawn [John Farrow] b&w

1942

Dixie [A. Edward Sutherland] c; 2uc: Loyal Griggs; process ph: Farciot Edouart

1946

Double Rhythm [George B. Templeton] c; mus short/19m; ep of series 'Musical Parade'

1946

Abie's Irish Rose [A. Edward Sutherland] b&w; spec pfx: Roy Seawright

1946

Blaze of Noon [John Farrow] b&w; aph: Tom Tutwiler; spec pfx: Devereaux Jennings & Gordon Jennings; process ph: Farciot Edouart

1947

The Senator Was Indiscreet/Mr. Ashton Was Indiscreet [George S. Kaufman] b&w; spph: David S. Horsley

1947

Man-Eater of Kumaon [Byron Haskin] b&w

1948

Texas, Brooklyn and Heaven/The Girl from Texas [William Castle] b&w

1948

Love Happy/Kleptomaniacs [David Miller & (uncred) Leo McCarey] b&w

1948

Too Late for Tears/Killer Bait [Byron Haskin] b&w

1949

A Place in the Sun [George Stevens] b&w; uncred retakes ph (2 weeks): John F. Seitz; spec pfx: Gordon Jennings; process ph: Farciot Edouart & Loyal Griggs

 

[Left/standing] with [seated] William Wellman, James Whitmore

and Nancy Davis - "The Next Voice You Hear..."

 

1950

The Next Voice You Hear... [William A. Wellman] b&w; 2uc: Harold Lipstein

1950

It's a Big Country [: An American Anthology] [Clarence Brown, Don Hartman, John Sturges, Richard Thorpe, Charles Vidor, Don Weis & William A. Wellman] b&w; 8 seg (but seg #3 was cut from the film); other ph: John Alton, Ray June & Joseph Ruttenberg

1950

Across the Wide Missouri [William A. Wellman] c; 2uc: Harold Lipstein

1950

Soldiers Three [Tay Garnett] b&w

1951

The Unknown Man/The Bradley Mason Story [Richard Thorpe & (fill-in) Gerald Mayer] b&w

1951

Westward the Women [William A. Wellman] b&w

1951

Skirts Ahoy! [Sidney Lanfield] c

1951

Carbine Williams [Richard Thorpe] b&w

1952

My Man and I [William A. Wellman] b&w

1952

The Naked Spur [Anthony Mann] c

1952

Give a Girl a Break [Stanley Donen] c

1953

The Affairs of Dobie Gillis [Don Weis] b&w

1953

Big Leaguer [Robert Aldrich] b&w; uncred cph: Harold Lipstein

1953

Alaska Seas [Jerry Hopper] b&w; spec pfx: John P. Fulton; process ph: Farciot Edouart & W. Wallace Kelley

1954

Bad Day at Black Rock [John Sturges] cs/c

1954

Oklahoma! [Fred Zinnemann] tao70 & cs/c; uncred cph (stood in while R. Surtees was ill); ph: Robert Surtees

1955

The Last Frontier/Savage Wilderness [Anthony Mann] cs/c

 

 

1955

Giant [George Stevens] c; 2uc: Edwin DuPar; uncred addph 2u: Ted McCord; 'Lenser William C. Mellor deserves some sort of award for his work. He has achieved stunning effects and the film benefits immeasurably from his realism. His camera has captured here some of the most impressive vistas seen on the screen to date.' (Variety, 1956)

1955

Johnny Concho [Don McGuire] b&w

1956

The Miracle of Todd-AO [Juan C. Hutchison] tao (65mm/5perf/30fps-to-70mm)/c; doc/11m; cph: Haskell Boggs, Ray Fernstrom & Gayne Rescher

1956

Back from Eternity [John Farrow] RKO-Scope/b&w

1956

Love in the Afternoon [Billy Wilder] b&w

1957

Peyton Place [Mark Robson] cs/c; spec pfx: L.B. Abbott

1957

Sing Boy Sing [Henry Ephron] cs/b&w; spec pfx: L.B. Abbott

1958

The Diary of Anne Frank [George Stevens] cs/b&w; ph loc scenes (dir by George Stevens Jr.): Jack Cardiff; spec pfx: L.B. Abbott

1958

Compulsion [Richard Fleischer] cs/b&w

1959

Woman Obsessed [Henry Hathaway] cs/c

 

With Joan Crawford - "The Best of Everything"

 

1959

The Best of Everything [Jean Negulesco] cs/c

1959

Crack in the Mirror [Richard Fleischer] cs/b&w

1959

Let's Make Love [George Cukor] cs/c; uncred cph (stood in while D.L. Fapp was ill); ph: Daniel L. Fapp

1960

One Foot in Hell/The Last Man [James B. Clark] cs/c

1960

The Big Gamble [Richard Fleischer] cs/c; ph African action seq (dir by Elmo Williams): Henri Persin

1960

Wild in the Country [Philip Dunne] cs/c

1961

State Fair [José Ferrer] cs/c; spec pfx: L.B. Abbott & Emil Kosa Jr.

 

Maureen O'Hara - WM - Henry Koster

"Mr. Hobbs Takes a Vacation"

 

1961

Mr. Hobbs Takes a Vacation [Henry Koster] cs/c; spec pfx: L.B. Abbott

1962

The Greatest Story Ever Told [George Stevens; (uncred) David Lean & Jean Negulesco] up70/c; 141m, 199m & 225m; cph: Loyal Griggs; spec pfx: A. Arnold Gillespie, Robert R. Hoag, J. McMillan Johnson & Clarence Slifer; started as a 3-strip Cinerama prod; filmed 1962-64

 

 TELEVISION

1952

The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet [8 ep dir by Ozzie Nelson] 435-part sitcom series, 1952-66 (ABC-tv); 1st season/b&w, 1952-53

1953

The Bing Crosby Show [Fred De Cordova] B. Crosby's first variety special/60m (incl commercials)/b&w; for CBS-tv (3 January 1954)

1953

The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet [20 ep dir by Ozzie Nelson] 2nd season/b&w, 1953-54; see 1952

1954

The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet [15 ep dir by Ozzie Nelson] 3rd season/b&w, 1954-55; see 1952

1963

Vacation Playhouse [ep #1 'A Love Affair Just for Three' dir by Norman Z. McLeod] 50-part series (of comedy, adventure and mystery pilots for proposed series that had not been sold)/b&w-c, 1963-67; 1st season, 1963 (10 ep); for CBS-tv

1985

D-Day to Berlin [prod: Paul Woolwich; written/presented by Robert Harris] doc/c/60m; a Newsnight Special for BBC1-tv; made from footage shot by W. Mellor, George Stevens, a.o. under dir George Stevens during 1944-45; the footage was also used in the doc (46m) 'George Stevens: D-Day to Berlin' (1994, George Stevens Jr.; ph 1994 seg: Erich Roland) and other doc's

 

 FILMS AS CAMERA OPERATOR [uncredited]

1929

The Love Parade [Ernst Lubitsch] co-c.op; ph: Victor Milner

1929

The Marriage Playground [Lothar Mendes] c.asst; ph: Victor Milner

1931

Tarnished Lady [George Cukor] co-c.op; ph: Larry Williams

1931

I Take This Woman [Marion Gering] ph: Victor Milner

1931

Broken Lullaby [Ernst Lubitsch] co-2nd cam; ph: Victor Milner

1931

One Hour with You [Ernst Lubitsch & (dialogue dir) George Cukor] co-c.op; ph: Victor Milner; also French language version 'Une heure près de toi'

1932

This Is the Night [Frank Tuttle] co-c.op; ph: Victor Milner

1932

Love Me Tonight [Rouben Mamoulian] ph: Victor Milner

1932

Under-Cover Man [James Flood] ph: Victor Milner

1932

Luxury Liner [Lothar Mendes] ph: Victor Milner

1933

The Song of Songs [Rouben Mamoulian] ph: Victor Milner

1933

This Day and Age [Cecil B. DeMille] co-c.op; ph: J. Peverell Marley

1933

One Sunday Afternoon [Stephen Roberts] co-c.op; ph: Victor Milner & (uncred) Karl Struss

1933

Design for Living [Ernst Lubitsch] ph: Victor Milner

1933

Bolero [Wesley Ruggles] co-c.op; ph: Leo Tover

1934

Wharf Angel [William Cameron Menzies & George Somnes] ph: Victor Milner

1934

Cleopatra [Cecil B. DeMille] co-c.op; ph: Victor Milner

1935

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