GREAT CINEMATOGRAPHERS


#1: Photo by Judd Gunderson

 

   


LEON SHAMROY

 

Born: 16 July 1901, New York, N.Y., USA, as Leonard Shamroy.

Died: 7 July 1974, Los Angeles, Calif., USA.

Education: Peter Cooper Institute, New York City [engineering]; Columbia University, New York.

Career: Was asst to Nicholas J. Shamroy, developer of the Lawrence motor. Entered the film industry in 1920 as technician ['hypo shooter'] in the laboratory of Fox Film Corporation. Became asst to doph Andy Miller. Became doph in 1924 working with actor-stuntman Charles 'Hurricane' Hutchison. Worked with dir Robert J. Flaherty on an unfinished doc [1928-29] and served for 2 years [1930-31] as ph for the Huntington Ethnological Expedition in Japan, Siam, Burma, India and Egypt. In 1939 he went under contract to 20th Century Fox and remained with the studio until progressive illness forced his retirement in 1969.

Ph a Technicolor screen-test (6m) with Marilyn Monroe in 1947. Ph 'The Robe', the first CinemaScope film to be released.

He was called 'the cameraman's cameraman'.

Joined the ASC in 1932 and was president [1947-48].

Was married [1953-74] to actress Mary Anderson [1918-2014].

Was immortalized in Hollywood's 'Sidewalk of the Stars'.

 

 

Awards: National Board of Review 'Honor Film of 1928' Award [1928] for 'The Last Moment'; 'Oscar' AA nom [1938] for 'The Young in Heart'; 'Oscar' AA nom [1940; color; shared] for 'Down Argentine Way'; 'Oscar' AA nom [1942; b&w] for 'The Gentlemen from West Point'; 'Oscar' AA [1942; color] for 'The Black Swan'; 'Oscar' AA [1944; color] for 'Wilson'; 'Oscar' AA [1945; color] for 'Leave Her to Heaven'; Look Magazine Award [1945] for his contribution to the art of color photography; 'Oscar' AA nom [1949; b&w] for 'Prince of Foxes'; Look Magazine Award [1949] for 'Twelve O'Clock High'; 'Oscar' AA nom [1951; color] for 'David and Bathsheba'; 'Oscar' AA nom [1952; color] for 'The Snows of Kilimanjaro'; 'Oscar' AA nom [1953; color] for 'The Robe'; 'Oscar' AA nom [1954; color] for 'The Egyptian'; 'Oscar' AA nom [1955; color] for 'Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing'; 'Oscar' AA nom [1956; color] for 'The King and I'; 'Oscar' AA nom [1958; color] for 'South Pacific'; 'Oscar' AA nom [1959; color] for 'Porgy and Bess'; 'Oscar' AA [1963; color] for 'Cleopatra'; 'Oscar' AA nom [1963; color] for 'The Cardinal'; 'Oscar' AA nom [1965; color] for 'The Agony and the Ecstasy'.



Leon Shamroy's films of the 1950s demonstrate a mastery of Technicolor. He is a colorist, and he only achieved his best work with the advent of color in the cinema. If another Hollywood cameraman, Lee Garmes, resembles Rembrandt, as many critics feel, then it can be said that Shamroy is the cinema's equivalent to Peter Paul Rubens.

Shamroy's black-and-white films still have some interest because of their strong independent strains. In the late 1920s he participated in the making of experimental films. 'The Last Moment', which he worked on with Paul Fejos, was the first silent film made without intertitles and filmed entirely with subjective, point-of-view shots. In 'Private Worlds' Shamroy was among the first to employ zoom lenses. At 20th Century-Fox, Shamroy's experimental spirit was allowed to blossom under the light and nourishing control of Darryl F. Zanuck.

In the 1940s Shamroy got his great chance to work in Technicolor. It was then too that he earned three Academy Awards. He continued to perfect his color techniques. He evocatively employed studio light to suggest the natural light of Africa in 'The Snows of Kilimanjaro' and 'The Egyptian' - two neglected pieces of cinematic virtuosity. In 'Justine', Shamroy used one major light, with two secondary bulbs, to suggest dawn light. Shamroy was very much at home in the studio.

The peculiar balance of Shamroy's cinematography between actuality and artifice becomes clearest in 'South Pacific', where Shamroy had to use color-filter effects against his will. The shots containing these expressionistic effects, forced on him by the director Joshua Logan, are poorly integrated into the impressionistic reality of the film, done for the most part on location in the South Pacific. Shamroy was a painstaking craftsman when Hollywood was offering its strange studio blend of reality and artistry. He was much more in his element when filming the studio sets of 'The King and I', and this film is a rich and shimmering feast for the eye - one of the finest among the filmed musicals. [From article by Rodney Farnsworth on the Film Reference website.]


 

 FILMS [1 reel = c. 10m]

1926

Lightning Hutch [Charles Hutchison] b&w; 10-part serial/20 reels; prod Hurricane Film Corporation (HFC)

1926

Tongues of Scandal [Roy Clements] b&w; 6 reels; prod Sterling Pictures

1927

Pirates of the Sky [Charles Andrews] b&w; 5 reels; prod HFC

1927

The Trunk Mystery [Frank Hall Crane] b&w; 5 reels; prod Pathé Exchange, Inc.

1927

Catch-As-Catch-Can [Charles Hutchison] b&w; 5 reels; or ph James S. Brown Jr.; prod Gotham Prods

1927

Hidden Aces [Howard Mitchell] b&w; 5 reels; prod Lewis T. Rogers

1927

Land of the Lawless [Thomas Buckingham] b&w; 5 reels; prod Liberty Pictures Corporation

1928

The Telltale Heart [Leon Shamroy] b&w; short/24m; prod Klein & Shamroy

1928

The Last Moment [Paul Fejos] b&w; 6 reels

1928

Out with the Tide/Silent Evidence [Charles Hutchison] b&w; 6 reels; prod Peerless Pictures Corporation (PPC)

1928

Bitter Sweets [Charles Hutchison] b&w; 6 reels; prod PPC

1928

Acoma the Sky City [Robert Flaherty] unfinished; 2nd cam: Floyd Crosby

1930

Alma de Gaucho [Henry Otto] b&w; 59m

1931

Women Men Marry [Charles Hutchison] b&w; 60m

1932

Stowaway/Tricked [Phil Whitman] b&w; 54m

1932

Man's Paradise [Leon Shamroy] b&w; doc/3 reels; ethnographic film about Bali; prod by The (Grace Goodhue) Huntington Expedition; released in 1938

1932

A Strange Adventure/The Wayne Murder Case [Phil Whitman & (uncred) Hampton Del Ruth] b&w; 60m

1933

Jennie Gerhardt [Marion Gering] b&w

1933

Her Bodyguard [William Beaudine] b&w; uncred cph; ph: Harry Fischbeck

1933

Three-Cornered Moon [Elliott Nugent] b&w

1933

Ever in My Heart [Archie Mayo] b&w; 68m; uncred 1st cam; ph: Arthur Todd

1934

Good Dame/Good Girl [Marion Gering] b&w

1934

Are We Civilized? [Edwin Carewe] b&w; cph: Al M. Green

1934

Thirty Day Princess [Marion Gering] b&w

1934

Kiss and Make-Up [Harlan Thompson & (assoc) Jean Negulesco] b&w

1934

Ready for Love [Marion Gering] b&w; 65m

1934

Behold My Wife! [Mitchell Leisen] b&w

 

Charles Boyer - Claudette Colbert - Joan Bennett - Gregory La Cava [seated] - LS [right]

"Private Worlds"

 

1935

Private Worlds [Gregory La Cava] b&w; spec pfx: George J. Teague

1935

Accent on Youth [Wesley Ruggles] b&w

1935

She Married Her Boss [Gregory La Cava] b&w

1935

She Couldn't Take It/Woman Tamer [Tay Garnett] b&w

1935

Mary Burns, Fugitive [William K. Howard] b&w

1935

Soak the Rich [Ben Hecht & Charles MacArthur] b&w

1936

Fatal Lady [Edward Ludwig] b&w

1936

Spendthrift [Raoul Walsh] b&w

1936

Wedding Present [Richard Wallace] b&w

 

With dir Fritz Lang [right] - "You Only Live Once"

 

1936

You Only Live Once [Fritz Lang] b&w

1937

Her Husband Lies [Edward Ludwig] b&w

1937

The Great Gambini [Charles Vidor] b&w

1937

She Asked for It [Erle C. Kenton] b&w; 68m

1937

Blossoms on Broadway [Richard Wallace] b&w

1938

The Young in Heart [Richard Wallace] b&w

1938

Made for Each Other [John Cromwell] b&w

1939

The Story of Alexander Graham Bell/The Modern Miracle [Irving Cummings] b&w

1939

Second Fiddle [Sidney Lanfield (replaced William A. Seiter)] b&w; uncred fill-in ph (while L. Shamroy was hospitalized): George Barnes; uncred ph add scenes: Bert Glennon

 

[Right] with actors Basil Rathbone, Ida Lupino & Nigel Bruce

"The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes"

 

1939

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes/Sherlock Holmes [Alfred L. Werker] b&w

1939

Little Old New York [Henry King] b&w; New York backgrounds ph: Edward Snyder

1939

I Was an Adventuress [Gregory Ratoff] b&w; cph: Edward Cronjager

1940

Lillian Russell [Irving Cummings] b&w

1940

Four Sons [Archie Mayo] b&w

1940

Down Argentine Way [Irving Cummings] c; cph: Ray Rennahan; uncred 2uc: Bert Glennon

1940

Tin Pan Alley [Walter Lang] b&w

 

 

1940

that night in Rio [Irving Cummings] c; cph: Ray Rennahan

1941

The Great American Broadcast [Archie Mayo] b&w; cph: J. Peverell Marley

1941

Moon Over Miami [Walter Lang] c; cph: J. Peverell Marley & Allen M. Davey

1941

A Yank in the R.A.F. [Henry King] b&w; there were 2 consecutive English crews filming Spitfires in the air and on the ground: 1st crew: Ronald Neame, Jack Hildyard & Guy Green - 2nd crew: Otto Kanturek (died during filming in June 1941) & Jack Parry

1941

Confirm or Deny [Archie Mayo (replaced Fritz Lang after 6 days)] b&w

1941

Roxie Hart [William A. Wellman] b&w

1942

Ten Gentlemen from West Point [Henry Hathaway] b&w

1942

[Rafael Sabatini's] The Black Swan [Henry King] c; uncred loc ph (dir by Robert Webb): John Hamilton, Ray Rennahan, Irving Rosenberg, Al Thayer & Paul Uhl; spec pfx: Fred Sersen

1942

Crash Dive [Archie Mayo & (uncred fill-in) Edward Ludwig] c; spec pfx: Fred Sersen

1943

Stormy Weather [Andrew L. Stone] b&w

1943

Claudia [Edmund Goulding] b&w; spec pfx: Fred Sersen

1943

Buffalo Bill [William A. Wellman] c; spec pfx: Fred Sersen

1943

Greenwich Village [Walter Lang] c; left prod to ph 'Wilson'; cph: Harry Jackson; uncred fill-in ph: Charles G. Clarke; spec pfx: Fred Sersen

1944

Wilson [Henry King] b&w-c; replaced Ernest Palmer, who fell ill

1944

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn [Elia Kazan] b&w

1944

Where Do We Go from Here? [Gregory Ratoff & (uncred retakes/add scenes) George Seaton] c; spec pfx: Fred Sersen

1945

State Fair/It Happened One Summer [Walter Lang] c; spec pfx: Fred Sersen

1945

Leave Her to Heaven [John M. Stahl] c; spec pfx: Fred Sersen

1945

The Shocking Miss Pilgrim [George Seaton & (uncred; replaced G. Seaton) Edmund Goulding] c; spec pfx: Fred Sersen

1946

Forever Amber [Otto Preminger (replaced John M. Stahl)] c; spec pfx: Fred Sersen

1947

Daisy Kenyon [Otto Preminger] b&w

1947

That Lady in Ermine [Ernst Lubitsch & (uncred; took over from E. Lubitsch, who died early in prod) Otto Preminger] c; spec pfx: Fred Sersen

1948

Prince of Foxes [Henry King] b&w; spec pfx: Fred Sersen

1949

Twelve O'Clock High [Henry King] b&w; spec pfx: Fred Sersen

1949

Cheaper by the Dozen [Walter Lang] c; spec pfx: Fred Sersen

1950

Two Flags West [Robert Wise] b&w; spec pfx: Fred Sersen

1950

On the Riviera [Walter Lang] c; uncred French Riviera loc ph: Charles G. Clarke; spec pfx: Fred Sersen

1950

David and Bathsheba [Henry King] c; spec pfx: Fred Sersen

1951

Down Among the Sheltering Palms/Friendly Island [Edmund Goulding] c; spec pfx: Fred Sersen; add filming in April & October

1951

With a Song in My Heart [Walter Lang] c; spec pfx: Ray Kellogg & Fred Sersen

1951

Wait 'Til the Sun Shines, Nellie [Henry King] c

1951

The Girl Next Door [Richard Sale] c; spec pfx: Ray Kellogg; add filming February, August-September & October 1952

1952

The Snows of Kilimanjaro [Henry King] c; uncred 2uc (French Riviera, Cairo & Kenya loc): Charles G. Clarke; spec pfx: Ray Kellogg

1952

Tonight We Sing [Mitchell Leisen] c; spec pfx: Ray Kellogg

1952

Call Me Madam [Walter Lang] c; spec pfx: Ray Kellogg

1952

White Witch Doctor [Henry Hathaway & (loc dir) Roy Baker] c; fill-in ph (while L. Shamroy was ill): Joe MacDonald; uncred loc ph: Charles G. Clarke & Harry Jackson; spec pfx: Ray Kellogg

 

 

1953

The Robe [Henry Koster] cs (2.55:1) (+ 1.37:1 & 70bu)/c; spec pfx: Ray Kellogg; second film in CinemaScope, but the first to be released

1953

King of the Khyber Rifles [Henry King] cs/c; spec pfx: Ray Kellogg

1954

The Egyptian [Michael Curtiz] cs/c; uncred 2uc: Leo Tover; spec pfx: Ray Kellogg

1954

There's No Business Like Show Business [Walter Lang] cs/c; spec pfx: Ray Kellogg

1954

Daddy Long Legs [Jean Negulesco] cs/c; fill-in ph (for 2 days): Milton Krasner; spec pfx: Ray Kellogg; filmed 1954-55

1955

The Virgin Queen [Henry Koster] cs/c; uncred fill-in ph (started film waiting for C.G. Clarke to return from another assignment); ph: Charles G. Clarke

 

 

1955

Love is a Many-Splendored Thing [Henry King] cs/c; uncred 2uc (Hong Kong loc): Charles G. Clarke; spec pfx: Ray Kellogg

1955

Good Morning, Miss Dove [Henry Koster] cs/c; spec pfx: Ray Kellogg

1955

The Bottom of the Bottle/Beyond the River [Henry Hathaway] cs/c; ph flood scene; ph: Lee Garmes

1955

The King and I [Walter Lang] cs55/c; spec pfx: Ray Kellogg

1956

The Best Things in Life Are Free [Michael Curtiz] cs/c

1956

Three Brave Men [Philip Dunne] cs/b&w; uncred cph (?); ph: Charles G. Clarke

1956

The Girl Can't Help It [Frank Tashlin] cs/c

1957

Desk Set/His Other Woman [Walter Lang] cs/c

1957

South Pacific [Joshua Logan] tao70 & cs/c; uncred 2uc: Stanley Cortez; spec pfx: L.B. Abbott

1958

The Bravados [Henry King] cs/c

1958

Rally 'Round the Flag, Boys! [Leo McCarey] cs/c; spec pfx: L.B. Abbott

1958

Porgy and Bess [Otto Preminger (replaced Rouben Mamoulian)] tao70/c

1959

The Blue Angel [Edward Dmytryk] cs/c; 2uc: Arthur Ibbetson; spec pfx: L.B. Abbott & James B. Gordon

1959

Beloved Infidel [Henry King] cs/c

1959

Wake Me When It's Over [Mervyn LeRoy] cs/c; spec pfx: L.B. Abbott

1960

North to Alaska [Henry Hathaway] cs/c; spec pfx: L.B. Abbott & Emil Kosa Jr.

1960

Snow White and the Three Stooges/Snow White and the Three Clowns [Walter Lang & (uncred) Frank Tashlin] cs/c; spec pfx: L.B. Abbott & Emil Kosa Jr.

1961

Tender Is the Night [Henry King] cs/c; spec pfx: L.B. Abbott & Emil Kosa Jr.

1962

Cleopatra [Joseph L. Mankiewicz, Rouben Mamoulian (uncred; replaced by J.L. Mankiewicz) & Darryl F. Zanuck] tao70/c; cph: Jack Hildyard (uncred; started prod with dir R. Mamoulian in 1960; prod abandoned; some footage used in final version); 2uc: Piero Portalupi & Claude Renoir; spec pfx: L.B. Abbott & Emil Kosa Jr.

1963

The Cardinal [Otto Preminger] p (+ 70bu)/c; 2uc: Piero Portalupi

1964

What a Way to Go! [J. Lee Thompson] cs/b&w-c; spec pfx: L.B. Abbott & Emil Kosa Jr.

1964

Fate Is the Hunter [Ralph Nelson] cs/b&w; addph; ph: Milton Krasner

1964

John Goldfarb, Please Come Home [J. Lee Thompson] cs/c; spec pfx: L.B. Abbott & Emil Kosa Jr.

1965

[Irving Stone's] The Agony and the Ecstasy [Carol Reed] tao/c; 2uc: Piero Portalupi; spec pfx: L.B. Abbott, Art Cruickshank & Emil Kosa Jr.

1965

Do Not Disturb [Ralph Levy] cs/c; spec pfx: L.B. Abbott & Emil Kosa Jr.

1966

The Glass Bottom Boat/The Spy in Lace Panties [Frank Tashlin] p/c; uncred cph + 2uc (Catalina seq): Charles G. Clarke; spec vfx: J. McMillan Johnson & Carroll L. Shepphird

1967

Caprice [Frank Tashlin] cs/c; aph: Nelson Tyler; spec pfx: L.B. Abbott & Emil Kosa Jr.; + small part

 

With Roddy McDowall - "Planet of the Apes"

 

1967

Planet of the Apes/Monkey Planet [Franklin J. Schaffner] p/c; uncred ph opening scenes: Charles G. Clarke; spec pfx: L.B. Abbott, Art Cruickshank & Emil Kosa Jr.

1968

The Secret Life of an American Wife [George Axelrod] c; spec pfx: L.B. Abbott & Art Cruickshank

1968

Skidoo [Otto Preminger] p/c

1968

Justine [George Cukor (replaced Joseph Strick)] p/c; uncred cph: Charles G. Clarke; spec pfx: L.B. Abbott & Art Cruickshank

 

 TELEVISION

1970

Prudence and the Chief [Marc Daniels] unsold pilot; for ABC-tv

 

 FILMS AS DIRECTOR

1928

The Telltale Heart [+ ph; short] see Films

1932

Man's Paradise [+ ph; doc] see Films