GREAT CINEMATOGRAPHERS


#4: [Left] Pathé Studios [1913]

 

   


ARTHUR C. MILLER

 

Born: 8 July 1895, Roslyn, Long Island, N.Y., USA, as Arthur Charles Miller.

Died: 13 July 1970, Hollywood, Calif., USA.

Career: In 1908, after a brief career as a professional jockey, he was hired as a laboratory asst for Fred J. Balshofer's Crescent Film Company. When Balshofer went to Los Angeles, Miller stayed in New York and worked as c.asst and lab tech for the Reliance Motion Picture Company. In 1912 he joined Pathé Frères as a newsreel [for Pathé News Weekly] and studio cameraman. In 1915 he went to work for the Esperanto Film Company of Detroit and later the Astra Film Corporation [Louis J. Gasnier]. In 1916 he became a member of the New York Cinema Camera Club. [This club merged with the California Cinema Camera Club ('Static Club') in 1918 to form the American Society of Cinematographers (ASC) in January 1919]. In 1917 he came under a personal 8-year contract to dir George Fitzmaurice. In 1918 he accompanied Fitzmaurice to Hollywood and started working for Famous Players-Lasky Corporation. Went to London to help establish the Famous Players Studios at Islington. Worked under contract for directors William A. Seiter and Raoul Walsh and joined Fox Studios [later 20th Century-Fox] in 1931 [until 1950]. At Fox he ph 12 films with child star Shirley Temple. 'I had trouble with Fox when Zanuck went to Europe, mainly contract problems; they refused to pay for my six-week vacation a year. They claimed they'd wired Zanuck and he'd supported the refusal; but I thought it was a lie. I said, 'All right, we'll just part friends.' And we did. [...] I was supposed to do 'The African Queen', and I went to get the shots for various diseases. And through the examination the fellow found tuberculosis in my right lung. So I went home and went to bed for a year. The doctor said, 'Do you have to work?' I said 'No.' And he told me I'd live longer if I didn't work again.' He returned to limited participation in the film industry, but not as a working cinematographer.

Was a member and president [1954-56] of the ASC.

In 1966, he and Charles G. Clarke dir the doc 'Milestones of the Movies' for the ASC.

Miller and Fred J. Balshofer [1877-1969] wrote the book 'One Reel a Week' [1967; descriptions of early filmmaking in New Jersey].

His brother William 'Bill' J. Miller [1893-19??] was a doph and one of the founders of the International Photographers of the Motion Picture Industry [later Local 644] in New York in 1926

Awards: 'Oscar' AA nom [1939; b&w] for 'The Rains Came'; 'Oscar' AA nom [1940; color; shared] for 'The Blue Bird'; 'Oscar' AA [1941; b&w] for 'How Green Was My Valley'; 'Oscar' AA nom [1942; b&w] for 'This Above All'; 'Oscar' AA [1943; b&w] for 'The Song of Bernadette'; 'Oscar' AA nom [1945; b&w] for 'The Keys of the Kingdom'; 'Oscar' AA [1946; b&w] for 'Anna and the King of Siam'.



Arthur C. Miller: 'The basic principle I have had in making pictures was to make them look like real life, and then emphasize the visuals slightly. If we had a restaurant with white tiles in a scene I'd show it even more white and shining on the screen. I'd make everything as sharp and clear as possible. Of course, an audience's eyes can't adjust from dark scenes to bright ones immediately, so in order to consider the pupil of the eye I would always work a gradual change of light when you came into the restaurant. From daylight to a brilliant interior with soft shades of grey in between.

'I was never a soft-focus man. I like the focus very hard. I liked crisp, sharp, solid images. As deep as I could carry the focus, I'd carry it, well before 'Citizen Kane'. There were no secrets in our crew, at 20th, in the good days. When we used an effect everyone knew exactly what the diffusion was, the intensity of each arc. And we'd work right in with the electricians... I had the same gaffer for eighteen years and in the end we'd just have to look at each other and we knew what we were going to do. There was no need for words; we were like a lot of dummies all through shooting.' [From interview in 'Hollywood Cameramen' by Charles Higham, Thames and Hudson Ltd., 1970.]


 

 FILMS [1 reel = c. 10m]

190?

A Skate on Skates & Troublesome Baby [Fred J. Balshofer] b&w; a split reel (two - x 350 ft - separate films on one reel)

1908

Young Heroes of the West [Fred J. Balshofer] b&w

190?

Fink's Holiday [Fred J. Balshofer] b&w

190?

It Won't Do to Hit a Lady [Fred J. Balshofer] b&w

1911

A Heroine of '76 [Edwin S. Porter, Phillips Smalley & Lois Weber] b&w; 1 reel; prod Rex Motion Picture Manufacturing Company (the company's first prod)

1913

The Adventures of Kathlyn [Francis J. Grandon] b&w; 13-part serial; other ph: Robert L. Carson; this was the first true motion picture serial (not series!); prod Selig Polyscope Company

1913

The Perils of Pauline [Louis J. Gasnier (superv) & Donald MacKenzie] b&w; 20-part serial; other ph: ?; A. Miller replaced the original ph, because Gasnier was impressed by his newsreel footage of Niagara Falls; released in Europe in 9 ep; prod Pathé/Wharton Inc.

1914

The Hazards of Helen [J.P. McGowan (#1-48) & James Davis (#49-119)] b&w; 119-part serial, 1914-16; other ph: ?; prod Kalem Company

1914

The Exploits of Elaine [Louis J. Gasnier, George B. Seitz & Leopold Wharton] b&w; 14-part serial; prod Wharton Inc.

1915

The New Exploits of Elaine [Louis J. Gasnier, Leopold & Theodore Wharton] b&w; 10-part serial; prod Wharton Inc.

1915

The Romance of Elaine [George B. Seitz, Leopold & Theodore Wharton] b&w; 12-part serial; other ph: Levi Bacon & Robin Townley; prod Wharton Inc.

1915

Doll House Baby [Cora Adams] b&w; prod Esperanto Film Company

1915

Toot, the Tailor [E. Mason Hopper] b&w; prod Astra Film Corporation

1915

At Bay [George Fitzmaurice] b&w; 5 reels; prod Pathé

Ph 34 serials between 1916-19

1916

New York [George Fitzmaurice] b&w; 5 reels; prod Pathé

1916

Big Jim Garrity [George Fitzmaurice] b&w; 5 reels; prod Pathé

1916

Arms and the Woman [George Fitzmaurice] b&w; 5 reels; prod Astra Film Corporation (all films until 1919)

1916

The Romantic Journey [George Fitzmaurice] b&w; 5 reels; cred by the AFI to doph Harold Louis Miller

1916

Kick In [George Fitzmaurice] b&w; 5 reels; cph: John W. Boyle; remade in 1922

1917

The Hunting of the Hawk [George Fitzmaurice] b&w; 5 reels

1917

The Recoil [George Fitzmaurice] b&w; 5 reels

1917

The Iron Heart [George Fitzmaurice] b&w; 5 reels

1917

Blind Man's Luck [George Fitzmaurice] b&w; 5 reels

1917

Sylvia of the Secret Service [George Fitzmaurice] b&w; 5 reels

1917

The On-the-Square-Girl/Fifth Avenue [George Fitzmaurice] b&w; 5 reels

1917

Stranded in Arcady [Frank Crane] b&w; 5 reels

1917

The Mark of Cain [George Fitzmaurice (other sources: Frank Crane)] b&w; 5 reels

1917

Vengeance Is Mine [Frank Crane] b&w; 5 reels; cred by the AFI to doph Harry Wood (= probably the 2nd cameraman)

1917

Convict 993 [William Parke] b&w; 5 reels

1918

The Naulahka [George Fitzmaurice] b&w; 6 reels

1918

The Hillcrest Mystery [George Fitzmaurice] b&w; 5 reels

1918

The House of Hate [George B. Seitz] b&w; 20-part serial; other ph: Harry Hardy

1918

A Japanese Nightingale [George Fitzmaurice] b&w; 5 reels; cph: Percy Hilburn

1918

The Narrow Path [George Fitzmaurice] b&w; 5 reels; cred by the AFI to doph Percy Hilburn

1919

Common Clay [George Fitzmaurice] b&w; as Charles Miller

1919

The Cry of the Weak [George Fitzmaurice] b&w; 5 reels

1919

The Profiteers [George Fitzmaurice] b&w; 5 reels

1919

Our Better Selves [George Fitzmaurice] b&w; 5 reels; A. Miller's last film for the Astra Film Corporation

1919

The Avalanche [George Fitzmaurice] b&w; 5 reels; prod Famous Players-Lasky Corporation (all films until 1923)

1919

The Witness for the Defense [George Fitzmaurice] b&w; 5 reels; cred by the AFI to doph Hal Young

1919

A Society Exile [George Fitzmaurice] b&w; 6 reels

1919

Counterfeit [George Fitzmaurice] b&w; 5 reels

1919

On with the Dance [George Fitzmaurice] b&w; cph: Georges Benoît

1919

His House in Order [Hugh Ford] b&w; 5 reels

1920

Lady Rose's Daughter [Hugh Ford] b&w; 5 reels

1920

The Right to Love [George Fitzmaurice] b&w

 

[Right/glasses] with dir George Fitzmaurice [next to him] - "Idols of Clay"

 

1920

Idols of Clay [George Fitzmaurice] b&w

1920

Paying the Piper/Money Mad [George Fitzmaurice] b&w; 6 reels

1921

Experience [George Fitzmaurice] b&w

1921

Forever/Peter Ibbetson/The Great Romance [George Fitzmaurice] b&w

1921

Three Live Ghosts [George Fitzmaurice] b&w; 6 reels

 

With dir George Fitzmaurice [left] - "To Have and to Hold"

 

1922

To Have and to Hold [George Fitzmaurice] b&w

1922

Kick In [George Fitzmaurice] b&w; remake of film (see 1916)

1923

Bella Donna [George Fitzmaurice] b&w

1923

The Cheat [George Fitzmaurice] b&w

1923

The Eternal City [George Fitzmaurice] b&w; prod Madison Prods (Samuel Goldwyn)

1924

Cytherea/The Forbidden Way [George Fitzmaurice] b&w + c seq (Cuban seq); prod Madison Prods (Samuel Goldwyn)

1924

Tarnish [George Fitzmaurice] b&w; cph: William Tuers; prod Samuel Goldwyn

1924

In Hollywood with Potash and Perlmutter/So This Is Hollywood [Alfred E. Green] b&w; cph: Harry Hallenberger; prod Samuel Goldwyn

1924

A Thief in Paradise [George Fitzmaurice] b&w; prod George Fitzmaurice Prods presented by Samuel Goldwyn

1925

His Supreme Moment [George Fitzmaurice] b&w + c seq (Moorish harem); prod George Fitzmaurice Prods presented by Samuel Goldwyn

1925

The Coming of Amos [Paul Sloane] b&w; 6 reels; prod Cinema Corporation of America (CCA)

1925

Made for Love [Paul Sloane] b&w; prod CCA

1926

The Volga Boatman [Cecil B. DeMille] b&w; cph: Peverell Marley & Fred Westerberg; prod DeMille Pictures Corporation (all films until 1928)

1926

Eve's Leaves [Paul Sloane] b&w

1926

The Clinging Vine [Paul Sloane] b&w

1926

For Alimony Only [William C. de Mille] b&w

1926

Nobody's Widow [Donald Crisp] b&w

1927

Vanity [Donald Crisp] b&w; 6 reels

1927

The Fighting Eagle/Brigadier Gerard [Donald Crisp] b&w

1927

The Angel of Broadway [Lois Weber] b&w

1927

The Blue Danube/Honour Above All [Paul Sloane] b&w

1928

Hold 'Em Yale/At Yale [Edward H. Griffith] b&w

1928

The Cop [Donald Crisp] b&w

1928

Annapolis/Branded a Coward [Christy Cabanne] b&w; silent & sound (efx + music) version; prod Pathé

1928

The Spieler/The Spellbinder [Tay Garnett] b&w; silent with sound seq; prod Ralph Block Prods

1928

Bellamy Trial [Monta Bell] b&w; silent & sound (several seq) version; prod MGM

1929

Strange Cargo [Arthur Gregor (silent version) & Benjamin Glazer (sound version)] b&w; silent & sound version; prod Pathé

1929

The Flying Fool [Tay Garnett] b&w; silent & sound version; prod Pathé

1929

Sailor's Holiday [Fred Newmeyer] b&w; 6 reels; silent & sound version; prod Pathé

1929

Big News [Gregory La Cava] b&w; silent & sound version; prod Pathé

1929

Oh, Yeah!/No Brakes [Tay Garnett] b&w; silent & sound version; prod Pathé

1929

His First Command [Gregory La Cava] b&w + c seq; cph: John J. Mescall; silent & sound version; prod Pathé

1929

Officer O'Brien [Tay Garnett] b&w; silent & sound version; prod Pathé

1930

The Lady of Scandal/The High Road [Sidney Franklin] b&w; cph: Oliver T. Marsh

1930

The Truth About Youth [William A. Seiter] b&w; 69m

1930

See America Thirst [William J. Craft] b&w; cph: C. Allen Jones; silent & sound version; prod Universal

1931

Father's Son/Boy of Mine [William Beaudine] b&w

1931

Bad Company [Tay Garnett] b&w

1931

The Big Shot/The Optimist [Ralph Murphy] b&w; 66m

1931

Panama Flo [Ralph Murphy] b&w

1931

A Woman Commands/Maria Draga [Paul L. Stein; (add scenes) Harry Joe Brown, Horace Jackson & Val Paul] b&w; uncred ph add scenes (filmed sporadically October-December); ph: Hal Mohr

1932

Young Bride/Veneer/Love Starved [William A. Seiter] b&w

1932

Okay, America!/The Penalty of Fame [Tay Garnett] b&w

1932

Breach of Promise [Paul L. Stein] b&w; 64m

1932

Me and My Gal/Pier 13 [Raoul Walsh] b&w

1933

Sailor's Luck [Raoul Walsh] b&w; 64m

1933

Hello, Sister!/Clipped Wings [Erich von Stroheim; (Coney Island seq) Raoul Walsh; (retakes) Edwin Burke & Alfred Werker] b&w; 62m; ph retakes (filmed February-March); ph: James Wong Howe (filmed August-October 1932 as 'Walking Down Broadway')

1933

Hold Me Tight [David Butler] b&w

1933

The Man Who Dared [: An Imaginative Biography] [Hamilton MacFadden] b&w

1933

The Last Trail [James Tinling] b&w; 60m

1933

My Weakness [David Butler] b&w

1933

The Mad Game [Irving Cummings] b&w

1933

Ever Since Eve [George Marshall] b&w

1933

Bottoms Up [ David Butler] b&w

1934

Handy Andy [David Butler] b&w

1934

Love Time [James Tinling] b&w

1934

The White Parade [Irving Cummings] b&w

1934

Bright Eyes [David Butler] b&w

1934

The Little Colonel [David Butler] b&w-c; color seq ph: William V. Skall

1935 

It's a Small World [Irving Cummings] b&w

1935

Black Sheep [Allan Dwan] b&w

1935

Welcome Home [James Tinling] b&w

1935

Paddy O'Day [Lewis Seiler] b&w

1936

White Fang [David Butler] b&w

1936

36 Hours to Kill/Thirty-six Hours to Live [Eugene Forde] b&w; 65m

1936

Pigskin Parade/Harmony Parade [David Butler] b&w

1936

Stowaway [William A. Seiter] b&w

1937

Wee Willie Winkie [John Ford] b&w

1937

Heidi [Allan Dwan] b&w

1937

Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm [Allan Dwan] b&w

1937

The Baroness and the Butler [Walter Lang] b&w; uncred cph: Robert Planck

1938

Little Miss Broadway [Irving Cummings] b&w

1938

Just Around the Corner [Irving Cummings] b&w

1938

Submarine Patrol [John Ford] b&w

1938

The Little Princess [Walter Lang & (uncred) William A. Seiter] c; cph: William V. Skall

1939

Susannah of the Mounties [William A. Seiter (replaced Walter Lang, who fell ill)] b&w

1939

Young Mr. Lincoln [John Ford] b&w; uncred cph; ph: Bert Glennon

 

 

1939

The Rains Came [Clarence Brown] b&w; uncred cph: Bert Glennon (started film, but was replaced by A. Miller); sfx scenes staged by: Fred Sersen; Clarence Brown was from Metro on loan to Fox and he didn't want the cameraman they had given him. He wasn't 'brilliant' enough. Bert Glennon was his name. Zanuck said to me, 'Tomorrow at noon, walk in to the set with your own gaffer, your own regular crew.' They had been shooting the great scene of the Maharani's dinner-party; Brown wanted the whole thing to shine. And Glennon had made it shadowy and soft. So I walked in at noon, and Brown said to me, 'The trouble is we aren't getting enough light, enough brilliant sharpness, and I hope you and I can get along.' And we did, and Glennon walked off.' *

1939

Here I Am a Stranger [Roy Del Ruth & (first week) William A. Seiter] b&w; uncred cph (with W.A. Seiter): George Barnes

1939

The Blue Bird [Walter Lang] b&w-c; assoc ph: Ray Rennahan

1939

Johnny Apollo [Henry Hathaway] b&w

1940

On Their Own [Otto Brower] b&w; 65m

1940

Young People [Allan Dwan] b&w; uncred cph; ph: Edward Cronjager

1940

Brigham Young [: Frontiersman] [Henry Hathaway] b&w

1940

The Mark of Zorro [Rouben Mamoulian] b&w; 'I liked Mamoulian, he let me alone and didn't bother me; you can't go wrong with a man like that. A great deal of the 'locations' in old Spanish California were in fact studio; I used powerful sun arcs to simulate sunlight, and once again the shadows cast were very hard.' *

1940

Tobacco Road [John Ford] b&w; 'And now you're talking about the director I liked working with better than anybody in the industry. You'd only talk, I think you might say, fifty words to him in a day; you had a communication with him so great you could sense what he wanted. He knew nothing of lighting; he never once looked in the camera when we worked together.' *

1941

Man Hunt [Fritz Lang] b&w

1941

The Men in Her Life [Gregory Ratoff] b&w; cph: Harry Stradling (took over from A. Miller, who was recalled to Fox to film 'How Green Was My Valley') & (uncred) Philip Tannura

 

[Right] with dir John Ford [leaning top/left], c.asst Paul Lockwood & c.op

Joseph LaShelle [white hat] - "How Green Was My Valley"

 

1941

How Green Was My Valley [John Ford (replaced William Wyler)] b&w; spec pfx: Fred Sersen; filmed June-August; 'I knew he was going to need some [close-ups] so I mentioned it to [John Ford]. 'If you think we need some, then we'll take a few,' he replied. He called over Maureen O'Hara and I decided to make a few on the village set. When I placed a reflector on her face for fill, she squinted her eyes and said it was 'too bright'. So I placed a net over it with the same results. I next tried some lights. She said they were too bright. 'Why don't you take them in the studio against a process screen like Mr. August does at RKO.' Ford was seated nearby watching. 'August is a mechanic. This man is an artist. We don't need any close-ups of her,' he said. I know that he didn't mean what he said because Joe August had made many pictures with him and was a fine cinematographer. It was his way of putting her down. The next day I noticed she was lying out in the sun and opening her eyes toward the sky. Finally I said to [Ford], 'Hasn't this gone on long enough?' Ford replied, 'Go ahead and make some but just like you planned before.' So I made the close-ups of Maureen O'Hara without any trouble.' [From article by George J. Mitchell in 'American Cinematographer', September 1991.]

1941

Son of Fury [: The Story of Benjamin Blake] [John Cromwell] b&w

1941

This Above All [Anatole Litvak] b&w

1942

Tales of Manhattan [Julien Duvivier] b&w; uncred cph (worked 1 day only); ph: Joseph Walker

1942

Iceland/Katina/Love on Ice [H. Bruce Humberstone] b&w; backgrounds ph: Bowie Kennedy

 

 

1942

The Ox-Bow Incident/Strange Incident [William A. Wellman] b&w

1942

Immortal Sergeant [John M. Stahl] b&w; uncred cph: Clyde De Vinna

1942

The Moon Is Down [Irving Pichel] b&w; spec pfx: Fred Sersen

1943

The Song of Bernadette [Henry King] b&w; spec pfx: Fred Sersen

1943

Lifeboat [Alfred Hitchcock] b&w; uncred cph (became ill after first 2 weeks of filming; replaced by G. MacWilliams); ph: Glen MacWilliams; loc ph: Harry Jackson; spec pfx: Fred Sersen

1943

The Purple Heart [Lewis Milestone] b&w

1944

The Keys of the Kingdom [John M. Stahl] b&w; spec pfx: Fred Sersen

 

With Anne Baxter [left] and Tallulah Bankhead - "A Royal Scandal"

 

1944

A Royal Scandal/Czarina [Otto Preminger (replaced Ernst Lubitsch, who stayed on as prod and superv of actors' rehearsals)] b&w; spec pfx: Fred Sersen

1945

Dragonwyck [Joseph L. Mankiewicz (replaced Ernst Lubitsch)] b&w; spec pfx: Fred Sersen

1945

Anna and the King of Siam [John Cromwell] b&w; spec pfx: Fred Sersen

1946

The Razor's Edge [Edmund Goulding] b&w; spec pfx: Fred Sersen; 'Goulding's idea of directing was to rehearse all morning and then shoot an entire scene in one take. Zanuck likes to cut. And to edit it all himself. After the first day's work, Zanuck said to me, 'Where are the close-ups?' And I said, 'The close-up is when the fellow turns around and looks up into the camera', and he said, 'Bullshit.' So I told Zanuck to straighten it out. It wasn't too pleasant, and the fact is that Goulding really didn't know who looks left or who looks right in a cutting angle. If he did it all in one go he couldn't be wrong, he thought.' *

1947

Gentleman's Agreement [Elia Kazan] b&w; spec pfx: Fred Sersen

1947

The Walls of Jericho [John M. Stahl] b&w

1948

A Letter to Three Wives [Joseph L. Mankiewicz] b&w; spec pfx: Fred Sersen

1949

Whirlpool [Otto Preminger] b&w; spec pfx: Fred Sersen

1949

The Gunfighter [Henry King] b&w; title backgrounds ph: Charles G. Clarke; spec pfx: Fred Sersen

1950

The Prowler [Joseph Losey] b&w

1951

The African Queen [John Huston] scheduled as doph, but diagnosed with tuberculosis and forced to retire; film ph by Jack Cardiff

* Arthur Miller in 'Hollywood Cameramen' by Charles Higham (1970).

 

 FILMS AS CAMERA ASSISTANT

1908

What Poverty Leads To [Fred J. Balshofer] ph: ?

1908

Chancey Proves a Good Detective [Fred J. Balshofer; 1 reel] ph: ?; prod Crescent Film Company

1908

A Desperate Character [Fred J. Balshofer] ph: ?

1909

A Fishermaid's Romance/Romance of a Fishermaid [Fred J. Balshofer; 1 reel] ph: F.J. Balshofer; prod New York Motion Picture Company (NYMPC) ('Bison' Life Motion Pictures)

1909

'Davy' Crockett in Hearts United [Fred J. Balshofer; 1 reel] ph: F.J. Balshofer; prod NYMPC ('Bison')

1909

The Squaw's Revenge [Fred J. Balshofer; 1 reel] ph: F.J. Balshofer; prod NYMPC ('Bison')

1909

A True Indian's Heart/The True Heart of an Indian [Fred J. Balshofer; 1 reel] ph: F.J. Balshofer; prod NYMPC ('Bison')

1910

Russia, the Land of Oppression [Edwin S. Porter; 1 reel] ph: ?; prod Defender Film Company (the company's first release)