GREAT CINEMATOGRAPHERS


#2: With Gregory Peck [right] - "Roman Holiday" [1952]

 

   


FRANZ PLANER

 

Born: 29 March 1894, Karlsbad [now Karlovy Vary, Czech Republic], Bohemia, as Franz F. Planer. Sometimes cred as Frank Planer.

Died: 10 January 1963, Hollywood, Calif., USA.

Education: In Vienna [Still ph].

Career: From the age of 16 he worked as a news cameraman in Vienna and Paris. Returned to Vienna in 1912. Became doph in 1920 with 'Der Ochsenkrieg', the first prod shot in the new Emelka [Münchner Lichtspielkunst AG] Studios [became Bavaria Studios in 1932], Geiselgasteig, Munich. Left Germany in 1933 for Austria, France & England. Went to the USA in 1937 [under contract with Columbia].

Was a member of the ASC.

Actress Jane Tilden [= Marianne Tuch (1910-2002)] was his niece.

Awards: 'Oscar' AA nom [1949; b&w] & Golden Globe Award [1950] for 'Champion'; Golden Globe Award [1951] for 'Cyrano de Bergerac'; 'Oscar' AA nom [1951; b&w] & Golden Globe Award [1952] for 'Death of a Salesman'; Golden Globe Award nom [1952] for 'Decision Before Dawn'; 'Oscar' AA nom [1953; b&w; shared] for 'Roman Holiday'; 'Oscar' AA nom [1959; color] for 'The Nun's Story'; 'Oscar' AA nom [1961; b&w] for 'The Children's Hour'.



GO TO FILMS

"Franz Planer has never achieved the critical stature of fellow European emigré cinematographers such as Karl Freund, in spite of the fact that no less a critic than Lotte Eisner placed him, along with Freund, Eugen Schüfftan, and Fritz Arno Wagner, among the greatest directors of photography in Weimar Germany. Planer's work in America is demonstrably significant and creative. Even his colleagues were unsure of what to make of the man who buried his origins under the anglicized credit title 'Photographed by Frank Planer' yet whose images had a frankly expressionistic tinge redolent of his experience in Germany. Certain of Planer's projects, such as 'Decision Before Dawn' and 'The 5000 Fingers of Dr. T.', were as genuinely experimental as anything in the commercial cinema of the postwar era, while others found such favor among industry insiders that he was nominated for five Academy Awards for cinematography. Yet even 'American Cinematographer' bemusedly referred to the enigmatic Planer as 'a conscientious little man' in April 1951. The answer to the mystery of Franz Planer is in fact easily solved by viewing his biography with an eye to the way he successfully fused German and American photographic traditions into a personal style.

After newsreel and still photography work, Planer became chief cameraman of the Emelka Company in Munich; it was from this base that he developed his reputation in the world of European commercial filmmaking. Yet in spite of almost constant activity, Planer worked on none of the great films of the German Expressionist canon, and this is undoubtedly a partial explanation for his critical obscurity. With the coming of the Nazis to power, Planer, like others, found his German career ending.

Planer's early career in Hollywood was a strange one. Like many other European cinematographers, he was enraptured by the scale and technical sophistication of Hollywood production. It is a myth that photographers such as Planer remained glum and homesick during their stays in Hollywood, longing for European artistry in the face of American commercial concerns. Yet, it is true that Planer and his compatriots missed the tradition of the 'Regiesitzung', or pre-production planning meeting, at which director, cinematographer, writers, designers, and even actors would debate the conceptualization of the upcoming film. Hollywood's hyper departmentalization defeated this slower, more democratic method, and throughout his career Planer sought other avenues for asserting pre-production input on his assignments, as well as ways of gaining greater-than-usual control over the shoot itself.

Hired by Columbia Pictures, Planer was called upon to shoot in all genres, budgets, and even structural formats. His first film in the U.S. was 'Holiday' [1938]. Yet even as early as 'Holiday', a Planer style is in evidence. Utilizing characteristic long or extremely long takes, Planer's camera moves easily through Stephen Goossons's glistening white settings of cavernous ballrooms and apartments with complex floor plans, becoming an intimate part of the drama. It follows crucial scenes up and down staircases, and comments on the action through exclusionary framing and staging of actors. Planer's camera, as much as Cukor's direction, is responsible for the transformation of 'Holiday' from its theatrical glibness to a sophisticated comedy of class interest.

But the opportunity to do 'Holiday' turned out to have been an aberration for Planer at the studio during this period, and his career reached a temporary nadir in 1944 with 'Leave It to Blondie', which restricted him to stock sets, low budgets, and series formula. Planer thus seized on one of his next assignments, 'The Chase' [1946], with its higher budget and flashback structure, to create the first of his film noir set pieces, a pursuit through a Latin American city during carnival time.

In the same period, Planer's work began to take on a poetic realist tone, influenced by the readiness of studios to permit increased location shooting. Beginning with 'Criss Cross', with its exteriors of the run-down Bunker Hill section of Los Angeles, and running through 'The Nun's Story', Planer used practical interiors and location shooting for a documentary feel, and eagerly sought out films without 'superstar' actors, specifically to avoid being typed as a 'glamour cinematographer'. For several of his films, he also took on the task of location scouting - a further way of guaranteeing a personalized look. 'Champion' and '711 Ocean Drive' were both influential arguments in their time for the aesthetics of location shooting.

This increasingly hard-edged realism, inflected with a growing use of visual irony, is an important component of Planer's work in the 1950s. However, Planer also had opportunities to reformulate an expressionist aesthetic around Hollywood conventions through his work in two fantasy films. Brought in early for the production of 'The 5000 Fingers of Dr. T.', Planer brought a unique imagination to this nightmarish fantasy of a nine-year-old boy tyrannized by his piano teacher. Entirely studio-shot, the film at one time utilized every soundstage on the Columbia lot for its mammoth sets. Planer devised radically new techniques, coloring his sets with light instead of paint, and utilizing experimental lighting instruments for his first film in Technicolor. His work on '20,000 Leagues Under the Sea' was less spectacular but better integrated into a more standard vision of the fantasy genre. Sacrificing spectacle, using as few of the characteristically awkward Disney mattes as possible, Planer's camera focuses on the interior of the Nautilus, the story's prototype submarine. The craft appears cramped and cloistered; spiny-looking cast-iron decks and bulkheads are in view, space is clearly contiguous, and dark colors and grotesque Victorian bric-a-brac give the ship a jarring, unsettling appearance.

Planer clearly felt comfortable in new formats; from 1954 onwards, most of his work was in color, widescreen, or both. He returned periodically to black-and-white films, and found in the Stanley Kramer unit a suitable and hospitable home for his talents, for the company prided itself on the realism of its subjects and a lofty, high-art approach to its stories. Of his work there, 'Not as a Stranger' [1954] is the clearest melding of these two aims. The film, a medical story, was shot in black and white, unusual for melodramas in this period. Kramer took realism to preposterous heights, forcing Planer to film an actual operation. This meant that standard, high wattage lamps could not be used as the heat generated would damage the tender flesh around open incisions. Planer was forced to rely on low-intensity lamps and bounced light off the reflective walls. Planer, unvanquished, used extremely fast Tri-X Pan stock to capture unusual, slow tracking movements in the operating room, making these sequences harrowing in their avoidance of traditional editing patterning in favor of suspenseful, fluid action.

Yet Planer's masterpiece is surely 'Decision Before Dawn' [1950]. Entirely location-shot, the film gave Planer his favorite ingredients in one mix: a 'no-name' cast of excellent performers, months of preparation, a director [Anatole Litvak] whose visual imagination was in synch with his own, and a film with a significant moral dimension to its story line. Its photography is so striking that nearly 40 years later Francis Ford Coppola had the film screened as an example for his cinematographer to follow during production of 'Rumble Fish'. Completely eschewing the use of stock, process, and miniature work, Planer painstakingly supervised the pushing of the exposed footage in processing to achieve a remarkable clarity of image. 'It was our aim to make a picture with all the blunt realism of a U.S. Army Signal Corps documentary,' said Planer at the time." [From article by Kevin Jack Hagopian on the filmreference.com website.]


'Vendetta' [1946-49]: French filmmaker Max Ophüls, making his American film debut, was announced as the picture's director in July 1946. Ophüls wanted James Mason and Madeleine Carroll as Faith Domergue's co-stars, but was vetoed by Howard Hughes, who disliked paying star salaries and feared that Domergue would be overshadowed by better-known actors.
Principal photography began in mid-August 1946. After a week of shooting, however, writer-producer Preston Sturges replaced Ophüls as director. Hughes demanded that Sturges fire Ophüls, objecting that he did not want any "foreigners" working for the company. Hughes also complained about Ophüls' slow shooting pace and his handling of Domergue. Eleven weeks later, in late October 1946, Sturges then quit the over-budget, over-schedule project, and dissolved his partnership with Hughes.
In early November 1946, Hughes hired Stuart Heisler to direct. Hughes also replaced most of the cast and production staff. Filming resumed on November 8, 1946. News items claim that very little of Ophüls' and Sturges' footage was retained for the reshoot; one source estimated the total at less than 200 feet.
In late November 1946, production on was stopped for approximately ten days while the script was being rewritten, and resumed filming on December 2, 1946. W. R. Burnett and Peter O'Crotty were hired in January 1947 to rewrite the script and expand Domergue's role. In late February 1947, Heisler became ill and was replaced for several days by editor Paul Weatherwax. On March 15, 1947, after 88 days of filming, Heisler's principal photography was completed. By early May 1947, however, Hughes announced he was shooting a new ending. Unable to agree on the content of the new ending, Hughes and Heisler parted ways in late May 1947, and in early June 1947, Hughes borrowed actor-director Mel Ferrer from David O. Selznick's company to complete the film. Wells Root was hired to write new material for Ferrer, and Alfred Gilks replaced Franz Planer as director of photography.
Although Ferrer's assignment was expected to last 30 days and cost $200,000, Hughes expanded his duties, instructing him to reshoot more scenes than originally scheduled. After almost seven weeks of filming at a cost of over $1,000,000, Ferrer completed his principal photography, actually finishing under budget and on time. Hughes announced in December 1947 that he was rushing the editing of the picture so that it could be previewed during the holiday season, but it is not known if the film was screened at that time. In late March 1948, however, Ferrer shot additional scenes, and in early 1949, Hughes directed pick-up shots. Although Hughes had agreed to give Heisler an onscreen directing credit with Ferrer, only Ferrer is listed on the film. It is not known how much of the Heisler-directed footage was retained in the completed film. In mid-November 1947, as Ferrer was completing his principal photography, sources estimated that as much as two-thirds of Heisler's footage would be retained. The final amount was probably less than that, however. After Hughes became studio head at RKO Radio Pictures in mid-1948, he purchased 'Vendetta' from United Artists for $600,000, and announced in March 1949 that he was releasing 'Vendetta' through RKO. [From the TCM website.]


 

 FILMS

1912

Der Todesritt am Riesenrad [?] b&w

1920

Der Ochsenkrieg [Franz Osten] b&w; prod Emelka

1920

Der Klosterjäger/The Monastery's Hunter [Franz Osten or Peter Ostermayr] b&w; prod Emelka

1920

Die Trommeln Asiens [Uwe Jens Krafft] b&w; cph: Otto Kanturek; prod Emelka

1920

Der Brunnen des Wahnsinns [Ottmar Ostermayr] b&w; Gustave Preiß; prod Emelka

1921

Die Nacht der Einbrecher/Spleen/Night of the Burglar [Uwe Jens Krafft] b&w; cph: Gustave Preiß; prod Emelka

1921

Die Trutze von Trutzberg [Ernst B. Hey] b&w; prod Emelka

1921

Das schwarze Gesicht [Franz Osten] b&w; prod Emelka

1922

Schattenkinder des Glücks/Der Arm Gottes [Franz Osten] b&w; cph: Franz Koch; prod Emelka

1922

Kauft Mariett-Aktien [Alexander von Antalffy] b&w

1922

Sodom und Gomorrha - Die Legende von Sünde und Strafe/Queen of Sin and the Spectacle of Sodom and Gomorrah [Mihály Kertész (= Michael Curtiz)] b&w; cph: Gustav Ucicky; in 2 parts: 'Die Sünde' & 'Die Strafe'; prod Sascha Film-Industrie

1922

Der Favorit der Königin [Franz Seitz Sr.] b&w; cph: Karl Attenberger; prod Emelka

1922

Um Liebe und Thron [Franz Osten] b&w; cph: Franz Koch; prod Emelka

1922

Monna Vanna [Richard Eichberg] b&w; cph: Max Lutze, Paul Adler & Erich Grimmler; prod Emelka

1923

Die Finanzen des Großherzogs/Finances of the Grand Duke/The Grand Duke's Finances [F.W. Murnau] b&w; cph: Karl Freund; prod UFA

1924

Gehetzte Menschen [Erich Schönfelder] b&w; cph: Josef Blasi; prod Messter-Ostermayr-Film

1924

Schicksal [Felix Basch] b&w; cph: Josef Blasi; prod Lucy Doraine-Film

1925

Finale der Liebe [Felix Basch] b&w; prod Lucy Doraine-Film

1925

Der Mann seiner Frau [Felix Basch] b&w; prod Lucy Doraine-Film

1926

Fünf-Uhr-Tee in der Ackerstraße [Paul Ludwig Stein] b&w; prod Domo-Stauß-Film

1926

Schatz, mach' Kasse [Felix Basch] b&w; prod Ama-Film

1926

Bara en danserska/Nur eine Tänzerin/Only a Dancing Girl [Olof Molander] b&w; cph: Hugo Edlund; prod Isepa-Wengeroff-Film

1926

Der Sohn des Hannibal [Felix Basch] b&w; prod Maxim-Film Ges. Ebner & Co.

1927

Die Achtzehnjährigen [Manfred Noa] b&w; prod Noafilm

1927

Einbruch [Franz Osten] b&w; prod Ama-Film

1927

Wie heirate ich meinen Chef? [Erich Schönfelder] b&w; prod Ewe-Film

1927

Glanz und Elend der Kurtisanen [Manfred Noa] b&w; prod Noafilm

1927

Die Pflicht zu schweigen [Carl Wilhelm] b&w; prod Ama-Film

1927

Plüsch und Plümowski/Das Frauenhaus von Rio/Die Hölle von Rio. Mädchenschicksale [Hans Steinhoff] b&w; prod Georg-Jacoby-Film

1927

Der große Unbekannte/Der Unheimliche [Manfred Noa] b&w; prod Noafilm

1927

Die Ausgestoßenen (Heimkehr des Herzens) [Martin Berger] b&w; prod Martin Berger-Film

 

Dir Henrik Galeen [sitting/foreground] - art dir Walter Reimann [standing behind Galeen]

Franz Planer [sitting/right behind Galeen] - art dir Max Heilbronner [far right with cap]

"Alraune"

 

1927

Alraune/A Daughter of Destiny/Mandrake/Unholy Love [Henrik Galeen] b&w; prod Ama-Film

1928

Die Rothausgasse/Das Haus zur roten Laterne [Richard Oswald] b&w; prod Richard Oswald-Produktion

1928

Heut' spielt der Strauss (Der Walzerkönig)/Strauss, the Waltz King [Conrad Wiene] b&w; prod Felsom-Film

1928

Weib in Flammen [Max Reichmann] b&w; prod Tschechowa-Film

1928

Wolga-Wolga [Viktor Tourjansky] b&w; cph: Akos Farkas; prod Peter Ostermayr-Filmproduktion

1928

Die Flucht vor der Liebe [Hans Behrendt] b&w; prod UFA

1929

Die Liebe der Brüder Rott/Irrlichter [Erich Waschneck] b&w; prod Tschechowa-Film

1929

Der Narr seiner Liebe [Olga Tschechowa] b&w; prod Tschechowa-Film

1929

Frauen am Abgrund [Georg Jacoby] b&w; prod Ilma-Film

1929

stud. chem. Helene Willfüer [Fred Sauer] b&w; prod Ideal-Film

1929

Heute Nacht - eventuell [E.W. Emo] b&w

1930

Zapfenstreich am Rhein/Tattoo on the Rhine [Jaap Speyer] b&w; cph: Friedl Behn-Grund; silent & sound versions; prod Delog-Film

1930

Der Sohn der weißen Berge/Das Geheimnis von Zermatt/The Son of the White Mountain [Mario Bonnard & Luis Trenker] b&w; cph: Kurt Neubert & Albert Benitz

1930

Les chevaliers de la montagne [Mario Bonnard] b&w; cph: Kurt Neubert & Albert Benitz; French-language version of 'Der Sohn der weißen Berge'

1930

Die Drei von der Tankstelle/Three Good Friends [Wilhelm Thiele] b&w

1930

Le chemin du paradis/The Road to Paradise [Max de Vaucorbeil & Wilhelm Thiele] b&w; French-language version of 'Die Drei von der Tankstelle'

1930

Hans in allen Gassen/Das große Abenteuer/Der Liebesreporter [Carl Froelich] b&w

1930

La folle aventure [André-Paul Antoine & Carl Froelich] b&w; French-language version of 'Hans in allen Gassen'

1931

Nie wieder Liebe/No More Love [Anatole Litvak] b&w; cph: Robert Baberske

1931

Calais-Douvres [Jean Boyer & Anatole Litvak] b&w; cph: Robert Baberske; French-language version of 'Nie wieder Liebe'

1931

Der Storch streikt. Siegfried, der Matrose [E.W. Emo] b&w; cph: Otto Schneider

1931

Der Herzog von Reichstadt [Viktor Tourjansky] b&w

1931

L'aiglon [Viktor Tourjansky] b&w; cph: Léonce-Henri Burel; French-language version of 'Der Herzog von Reichstadt'

1931

Sein Scheidungsgrund [Alfred Zeisler] b&w; cph: Bernhard Wentzel

1931

Der Herr Bürovorsteher/The Office Manager [Hans Behrendt] b&w

1931

Le chant du marin [Carmine Gallone] b&w

1931

Die Gräfin von Monte Christo/The Countess of Monte Cristo [Karl Hartl] b&w; filmed 1931-32

1932

Der Prinz von Arkadien [Karl Hartl] b&w; cph: Franz Koch

1932

Teilnehmer antwortet nicht [Mark Sorkin & Rudolf Katscher] b&w

1932

Der schwarze Husar/The Black Hussar [Gerhard Lamprecht] b&w

1932

Das erste Recht des Kindes/Aus dem Tagebuch einer Frauenärztin [Fritz Wendhausen] b&w

1932

Eine Stadt steht Kopf/A Town Stands On Its Head [Gustaf Gründgens] b&w

1932

Der Choral von Leuthen/Der Führer seines Volkes/The Anthem of Leuthen [Carl Froelich, Arzén von Cserépy & Walter Supper] b&w

 

 

1932

Liebelei/Flirtation/Light O'Love/Playing at Love [Max Ophüls] b&w

1933

La garnison amoureuse [Max de Vaucorbeil] b&w; cph: Gérard Perrin

1933

Schuberts unvollendete Symphonie/Leise flehen meine Lieder/Lover Divine [Willi Forst] b&w; cph: Albert Benitz

1933

The Unfinished Symphony/Lover Divine [Anthony Asquith (superv) & Willi Forst] b&w; English-language version of 'Schuberts unvollendete Symphonie'

1933

Ihre Durchlaucht, die Verkäuferin/Meine Schwester und ich [Karl Hartl] b&w

1933

Caprice de princesse [Henri-Georges Clouzot & Karl Hartl] b&w; French-language version of 'Ihre Durchlaucht, die Verkäuferin'

1934

Dactylo se marie/Die Privatsekretärin heiratet [Joe May & René Pujol] b&w

1934

Maskerade/Masquerade in Vienna [Willi Forst] b&w

1934

Les nuits moscovites/Les nuits de Moscou/Moscow Nights [Alexis Granowsky] b&w

1934

So endete eine Liebe [Karl Hartl] b&w

1935

Turn of the Tide [Norman Walker] b&w

1935

Casta diva [Carmine Gallone] b&w; cph: Massimo Terzano

1935

The Divine Spark [Carmine Gallone] b&w; English-language version of 'Casta Diva'

1935

The Dictator/For Love of a Queen/Loves of a Dictator/The Love Affair of the Dictator [Victor Saville] b&w

1935

Tarass Boulba/Taras Bulba [Alexis Granowsky] b&w; cph: Jean Bachelet

1935

Ave Maria de Schubert [Max Ophüls] b&w; exp mus short/5m; a 'Cinéphonie' d'Émile Vuillermoz

1935

La valse brillante de Chopin [Max Ophüls] b&w; exp mus short/6m; a 'Cinéphonie' d'Émile Vuillermoz

1936

Opernring/Im Sonnenschein/Thank You, Madame [Carmine Gallone] b&w

1936

The Beloved Vagabond [Curtis Bernhardt] b&w

1936

Le vagabond bien-aimé [Curtis Bernhardt] b&w; French-language version of 'The Beloved Vagabond'

1936

Trois tableaux de Children's Corner (Le coin des enfants) [Marcel L'Herbier] b&w; exp mus short/9m; a 'Cinéphonie' d'Émile Vuillermoz

1936

Blumen aus Nizza/Flowers from Nice [Augusto Genina] b&w; cph: Hans Heinz Theyer

1936

Die Julika/Ernte/Harvest [Géza von Bolváry] b&w; cph: Hans Heinz Theyer & Walter Tuch

1936

Premiere [Géza von Bolváry] b&w

1937

Kapriolen/Capriolen [Gustaf Gründgens] b&w; cph: Kurt Neubert & Walter Tuch

1937

Die ganz großen Torheiten [Carl Froelich] b&w

1937

Zauber der Bohème/The Charm of La Bohème [Géza von Bolváry] b&w

1938

The Rebel Son/Taras Bulba/The Barbarian and the Lady/The Rebel Son of Taras Bulba [Alexis Granowsky, Adrian Brunel & Albert de Courville] b&w; cph: Bernard Browne; includes footage from 'Tarass Boulba' (1935)

1938

Holiday/Free to Live/Unconventional Linda [George Cukor] b&w

1938

Girls' School [John Brahm] b&w

1938

Adventure in Sahara/Son of the Sahara [D. Ross Lederman] b&w; 60m

1938

North of Shanghai [D. Ross Lederman] b&w; 59m

1940

Glamour for Sale [D. Ross Lederman] b&w; 60m

1940

Escape to Glory/Submarine Zone [John Brahm] b&w; 64m

1940

The Face Behind the Mask/Behind the Mask [Robert Florey] b&w

1940

Meet Boston Blackie [Robert Florey] b&w; 58m; 1st film in 13-part 'Boston Blackie'-series (1941-49)

1940

Penny Serenade [George Stevens] b&w; forced to withdraw after an illness; ph: Joseph Walker; filmed 1940-41

1941

They Dare Not Love [James Whale & (fill-in) Charles Vidor)] b&w

1941

Time Out for Rhythm [Sidney Salkow] b&w

1941

Sweetheart of the Campus/Broadway Ahead [Edward Dmytryk] b&w

1941

Our Wife [John M. Stahl] b&w

1941

Three Girls About Town [Leigh Jason] b&w

1941

Sing for Your Supper [Charles Barton] b&w; 66m

1941

Harvard, Here I Come!/Here I Come [Lew Landers] b&w; 64m

1941

Honolulu Lu [Charles Barton] b&w

1941

The Adventures of Martin Eden/High Seas [Sidney Salkow] b&w

1941

Canal Zone [Lew Landers] b&w

1942

The Wife Takes a Flyer/A Yank in Dutch [Richard Wallace] b&w

1942

Submarine Raider [Lew Landers & (uncred) Budd Boetticher] b&w; 65m

1942

Flight Lieutenant [Sidney Salkow] b&w

1942

Sabotage Squad [Lew Landers] b&w; 60m

1942

The Spirit of Stanford/Fighting Spirit [Charles Barton] b&w; cph: John Stumar

1942

The Daring Young Man/Brownie [Frank R. Strayer] b&w

1942

Something to Shout About [Gregory Ratoff] b&w

1942

Destroyer [William A. Seiter & (add scenes) Ray Enright] b&w; process ph: David Allen; montage efx: Aaron Nibley; filmed 1942-43

1943

Appointment in Berlin [Alfred E. Green] b&w

1943

My Kingdom for a Cook [Richard Wallace] b&w

1943

The Heat's On/Tropicana [Gregory Ratoff] b&w

1943

Once Upon a Time [Alexander Hall] b&w

1944

Secret Command [A. Edward Sutherland] b&w; process ph: David Allen & Ray Cory; spec pfx: Robert Wright

1944

Carolina Blues [Leigh Jason] b&w

1944

Strange Affair [Alfred E. Green] b&w

1944

Leave It to Blondie [Abby Berlin] b&w; 15th film in 28-part 'Blondie'-series (1938-50)

1945

I Love a Bandleader/Memory for Two [Del Lord] b&w

1945

Snafu/Welcome Home [Jack Moss] b&w

1945

Her Sister's Secret [Edgar G. Ulmer] b&w

1946

The Chase [Arthur Ripley] b&w; spec pfx: Ray Binger

1946

Vendetta [Mel Ferrer (new ending & add seq); (uncred) Stuart Heisler (principal scenes), Max Ophüls (first version; fired), Preston Sturges (first version; quit), Paul Weatherwax (fill-in while S. Heisler was ill) & Howard Hughes (pick-ups)] b&w; worked with Ophüls, Sturges, Heisler and Weatherwax (August 1946-March 1947); cph: Alfred Gilks (with dir Mel Ferrer, 1947-48); see above

1947

The Exile [Max Ophüls] b&w; uncred cph: George Robinson (1 day) & Hal Mohr (1 week); spec optical efx: David S. Horsley

1947

Letter from an Unknown Woman [Max Ophüls] b&w; matte ph: Glenn Adams

1948

One Touch of Venus [William A. Seiter & (uncred) Gregory La Cava] b&w; replaced scheduled doph Maury Gertsman; spec efx: David S. Horsley

 

 

1948

Criss Cross [Robert Siodmak] b&w; 2uc: Paul Ivano; spph: David S. Horsley; 'Equally important to the film's look and influence is the rich cinematography of Franz Planer [billed as 'Frank' in the credits]. Planer beautifully captured the texture of such memorable settings as Los Angeles' Union Station in the blazing summer heat; a bar that is crowded and lively by night and dingy and depressing by day; the shabby decay of the city's Victorian Bunker Hill section; and the stark contrast of light and shadow that was a hallmark of the German artists who did so much to shape the look and style of American film noir.' [From article by Rob Nixon on the TCM website.]

 

Mark Robson - prod Stanley Kramer - FP - writer Carl Foreman - "Champion"

 

1948

Champion [Mark Robson] b&w

1949

Take One False Step [Chester Erskine] b&w; spph: David S. Horsley

1949

Once More, My Darling [Robert Montgomery (replaced Michael Gordon after 1 week)] b&w; spph: David S. Horsley

1949

711 Ocean Drive [Joseph M. Newman] b&w

1950

Three Husbands/Letter to Three Husbands [Irving Reis] b&w

1950

The Scarf/The Dungeon [E.A. Dupont] b&w

 

 

1950

Cyrano de Bergerac [Michael Gordon] b&w; The Garutso Balanced Lens was a camera lens effectively simulating a faux 3-D (deep-focus from 40 inches to infinity) effect by keeping the foreground and background in focus at the same time. It was invented by a White Russian expatriate named Stephen E. Garutso (1895-1964)

1950

Decision Before Dawn [Anatole Litvak] b&w

1951

Androcles and the Lion [H.C. Potter] filming started in February, but was halted after 3 days; restarted in September with dir Chester Erskine & doph Harry Stradling Sr.

1951

The Blue Veil [Curtis Bernhardt] b&w; 2uc: Robert De Grasse

1951

Death of a Salesman [Laslo Benedek] b&w

1952

The 5000 Fingers of Dr. T/Dr. Seuss's The 5000 Fingers of Dr. T./Crazy Music [Roy Rowland] c

1952

Roman Holiday [William Wyler] b&w; cph: Henri Alekan (when Planer fell ill, H. Alekan replaced him)

1953

99 River Street/Crosstown [Phil Karlson] b&w

1953

Bad for Each Other [Irving Rapper] b&w

 

Cinematographer Franz Planer, ASC brought out the big guns to shoot the taut thriller "The Caine Mutiny", based on the Pulitzer Prize winning novel by Herman Wouk and directed by Edward Dmytryk. Note the three-strip Technicolor unit positioned between the twin Bofors anti-aircraft cannons of the destroyer/minesweeper U.S.S. Thompson. The U.S. Navy initially refused to aid in the production of the film, but relented after certain changes were made to the script and that the film include the statement in the opening titles that there has never been a mutiny on a U.S. Navy vessel. [Courtesy of the American Society of Cinematographers]

 

L>R: Dir Edward Dmytryk, Franz Planer, actor José Ferrer, actor Van Johnson & asst dir Carter De Haven Jr. - "The Caine Mutiny" - [Courtesy of the American Society of Cinematographers]

 

1953

The Caine Mutiny [Edward Dmytryk] c; 2uc: Ray Cory; as Frank Planer

1953

The Long Wait [Victor Saville] b&w

1953

A Bullet Is Waiting [John Farrow] c; filmed 1953-54

 

An ambitious live-action project for animation specialist Walt Disney, the Jules Verne adaptation "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea" almost sank the studio due to Caribbean location production issues, complex special effects and reshoots, but director Richard Fleischer and cinematographer Franz Planer, ASC delivered a monster box-office hit in the end. Here, Planer's crew sets a shot on [from left] co-stars Kirk Douglas, Peter Lorre and James Mason as they stand aboard the film's Nautilus submersible. That's the cinematographer seated on a stool behind the camera. [Courtesy of the American Society of Cinematographers]

 

1954

[Jules Verne's] 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea [Richard Fleischer] cs/c; 2uc: Charles P. Boyle & Edward Colman; uwph: Till Gabbani; efx ph: Ralph Hammeras; vfx ph: Charles Bovel; Disney's first feature in CinemaScope and one of the first productions outside of 20th Century-Fox to sign up for CinemaScope. The CinemaScope lens had to be leased from Fox. At the time, Bausch & Lomb had not been able to manufacture enough anamorphic lenses to meet demand. Only one CinemaScope lens was available to Disney. This prevented multiple units from shooting at the same time which contributed to the lengthy production schedule (11 January-19 June)

1954

Not as a Stranger [Stanley Kramer] b&w

 

[Left] with Edward Dmytryk and Humphrey Bogart

"The Left Hand of God"

 

1955

The Left Hand of God [Edward Dmytryk] cs/c; spec pfx: Ray Kellogg

1955

The Mountain [Edward Dmytryk] vv/c; spec pfx: John P. Fulton; process ph: Farciot Edouart

1956

The Pride and the Passion [Stanley Kramer] vv/c; assoc camera: Manuel Berenguer; filmed April-September 1956 (Spain) & January-February 1957 (add scenes, Hollywood)

1957

Stage Struck [Sidney Lumet] c; cph: Maurice Hartzband

1957

The Big Country [William Wyler] tr/c; 2uc: Wallace Chewning

1958

The Nun's Story [Fred Zinnemann] c

1959

The Unforgiven [John Huston] p/c

 

 

1960

King of Kings [Nicholas Ray] str70/c; cph: Milton Krasner & Manuel Berenguer; spec pfx: Lee LeBlanc

1960

Breakfast at Tiffany's [Blake Edwards] c; uncred cph: Philip Lathrop; spec pfx: John P. Fulton; process ph: Farciot Edouart

1961

The Children's Hour/The Loudest Whisper [William Wyler] b&w

 

[Right] with dir George Cukor & actress Marilyn Monroe

"Something's Got to Give"

 

1962

Something's Got to Give [George Cukor] cs/c; unfinished; cph: William Daniels, Charles Lang Jr. & Leo Tover; 37m were released in 2001 as part of the tv-doc 'Marilyn Monroe: The Final Days'

 

 TELEVISION

1954

General Electric Theater/G.E. Theatre/Star Showcase (syndication title) [ep #34 (30m) 'The High Green Wall' dir by Nicholas Ray] 200-part dramatic anthology series/b&w, 1953-62 (CBS-tv); 3rd season, 1954-55