GREAT CINEMATOGRAPHERS


#3: "Sparrows" [1926]

 

   


CHARLES ROSHER

 

Born: 17 November 1885, London, UK, as Charles Gladdish Rosher.

Died: 15 January 1974, Lisbon, Portugal.

Career: Was slated to join the British diplomatic service, but was more interested in still ph. He apprenticed with portrait ph David Blount and chemist Howard Farmer. In 1908, he became assistant to Richard Speaight, official photographer for the British Crown. In 1908 he came to the USA under the sponsorship of Eastman Kodak to exhibit his work and lecture at the Eastman School of Photography. He bought a Williamson film camera and shot news events. He was friendly with fellow Englishman David Horsley, who started the Centaur Film Company in the backyard of his Ideal Billiard Parlor in Bayonne, New Jersey. In 1910, Horsley offered Rosher a job, and the cinematographer came West with the renamed Nestor Film Company, arriving in Hollywood in October 1911. [In the summer of 1911, David Horsley and Al Christie traveled to California and leased a property on the corner of Sunset Boulevard and Gower Street. It was a decrepit tavern once owned by Louis Blondeau, the only barber in Hollywood. The sign 'Nestor' was nailed on the wall and the building became Hollywood's first studio.] Rosher started ph Nestor's first Hollywood picture, 'The Best Man Wins', on October 27, 1911. 'I wasn't always the cameraman. Wallace Reid, then playing bit parts, could also crank the handle. Sometimes we traded places. When he shot film, I was made up with whiskers and a beard.' When Nestor was absorbed by Universal in 1912, Rosher went along. He left in 1913 to shoot footage of Pancho Villa in Mexico, and then returned to Universal briefly before joining the staff of the Jesse L. Lasky Feature Film Company [later Paramount]. Rosher became Mary Pickford's cinematographer and shot all of her films from 'How Could You, Jean?' [1918] through 'My Best Girl' [1927]. Pickford occasionally loaned him out to other producers. Rosher fell out with Pickford when he was unwilling to shoot 'Coquette' [1929] with cameras locked down in soundproof 'iceboxes'. Later he worked as a contract doph for MGM [from 1929] and United Artists.

Was one of the 15 charter members of the ASC in January 1919.

Was the first doph to work with a Mitchell camera [on Mary Pickford's 'The Love Light', 1920].

Retired in 1953.

His daughter Dorothy [1914-2000] was a film actress [as Joan Marsh]. His son Charles Jr. [1935-2015] was a doph.

Awards: 'Oscar' AA [1927/8; shared] for 'Sunrise'; 'Oscar' AA nom [1927/8] for 'My Best Girl' & 'The Tempest'; 'Oscar' AA nom [1934] for 'The Affairs of Cellini'; 'Oscar' AA nom [1944; color] for 'Kismet'; 'Oscar' AA [1946; color; shared] for 'The Yearling'; 'Oscar' AA nom [1950; color] for 'Annie Get Your Gun'; 'Oscar' AA nom [1951; color] for 'Show Boat'; Eastman Kodak Company 'George' Award [1955].



#1: [Right] with dir F.W. Murnau

 

Pioneering cinematographer who developed many of the 'tricks' of 'star' lighting, Charles Rosher began his career in London film laboratories, and as photographer to the Court of St. James, before moving to the US in 1908 and settling in Hollywood in 1911.

Rosher enjoyed two exceptionally creative periods during his 40-year career. In the silent era he was responsible for several important technical innovations, shot several Mary Pickford vehicles, and was co-photographer, with Karl Struss, of F.W. Murnau's visually haunting 'Sunrise', for which they shared the first Academy Award for cinematography. In the 1940s and 50s, he again asserted himself as one of the foremost artists in his field with the lush color compositions of features such as 'Ziegfeld Follies', 'Show Boat', and 'Kiss Me Kate'.

To say Rosher is a pioneer of filmmaking is an understatement. While films were first shot in Hollywood in 1908, Rosher arrived and began working in the town in 1911, two years before DeMille and Lasky shot the first feature film. Beginning in 1916 he was, for 12 years, personal DP for Mary Pickford, lighting her so the audience could not tell she was still playing the sweet young thing while far past the age of ingénue.

Rosher compiled a list of many classic films, but his mark as a DP rests not on his mastery of lighting, or being able to reveal the internal thoughts of the actors through shadows. Rather, his fame rests on the many innovations attributed to him. Rosher had a keen understanding of the star power of the Hollywood system, and was the first DP to use stand-ins for actors in order to insure 'star' lighting. He also developed reflectors to aid towards the same purpose. Rosher also was able to use dummies in action sequences and light and shoot them so the audience was none the wiser, releasing the actors from dangerous stunts. In the 1921 version of 'Little Lord Fauntleroy' starring Pickford, Rosher was able to develop the rudiments of the system which allowed Pickford to kiss herself on screen (through split screen). Some sources also credit Rosher as being the first DP to successfully use artificial light to boost the natural sources for outdoor sequences.

Rosher retired from filmmaking in 1953, departed Hollywood and moved to Jamaica, purchasing the Errol Flynn plantation. A co-founder of the American Society of Cinematographers, he oft appeared at film festivals and lectured at colleges and film schools. [From the TCM website.]


With actress Mary Pickford

 

Charles Rosher first worked as a photographer of portraits, then he began filming westerns. It is therefore no surprise that when in 1912 the notorious Pancho Villa signed a film contract with Mutual Film Corporation, Rosher was chosen to do the filming.

Great Hollywood directors often have one actress who seems to bring out the best in them; for Lee Garmes it was Dietrich; for William Daniels, Garbo; for Rosher, Mary Pickford. The 1921 version of 'Little Lord Fauntleroy', starring Pickford, called forth considerable inventive genius on Rosher's part to achieve some intricate moving-camera shots.

His collaboration with Karl Struss on the cinematography of 'Sunrise' led to a tour de force in photographing people against a landscape of lights. They photograph, in the country scenes, water reflecting light and, in the city scenes, glass. 'Sunrise' visually bears comparison with the great French Impressionists and Post-Impressionists, presenting a world which is realistic, and yet also inviting the viewer into the romantic world of the young lovers. This film's successful mixture of realism with romanticism is all the more miraculous when one considers that it was adapted from a novel of dismal and unrelieved naturalism. The film's superior qualities are in great part due to the cameramen. Except for Murnau's demands for a moving camera and his interest in reflected light, he allowed the cinematographers a free hand with the visuals. In order to achieve a shimmering effect, Rosher and Struss shot towards the sun. They sought twilight effects of light coming out of the doors of the village houses.

Rosher photographed the 1935 version of 'Little Lord Fauntleroy'. Later in his career, he filmed musicals in the Christmas-card Technicolor that predominated then. Rosher's real talent, however, was working in black and white, during the silent era. Although many of Rosher's contributions to cinematography were made before there were Academy Awards, he did win 'Oscars' for 'Sunrise' and 'The Yearling'. [From article by Rodney Farnsworth on the filmreference.com website.]


 

 FILMS [1 reel = c. 10m]

1911

The Best Man Wins [Tom Ricketts] b&w; 1 reel; prod Nestor Film Company

1912

The Indian Raiders [Tom Ricketts] b&w; 1 reel; prod Bison Motion Pictures (BMP)

1912

Early Days in the West [?] b&w; 2 reels; prod BMP

1912

The Life of General Villa/The Outlaw's Revenge [Christy Cabanne & (uncred) Raoul Walsh] b&w; dram doc/105m; cph: R. Walsh; prod Mutual Film

1913

With General Pancho Villa in Mexico [?] b&w; doc/25m; prod ?

1914

The Oath of a Viking [J. Searle Dawley] b&w; 3 reels; prod Picture Playhouse Film Company

1914

The Next in Command [J. Searle Dawley] b&w; 4 reels; prod Pasquali American Company

1914

The Mystery of the Poison Pool [James Gordon] b&w; 5 reels; prod Pasquali American Company

1915

The Smuggler's Lass [Jack J. Clark] b&w; 2 reels; prod BMP

1915

The Mad Maid of the Forest [Jack J. Clark] b&w; 2 reels; prod BMP

1915

Gene of the Northland [Jack J. Clark] b&w; 2 reels; prod BMP

1915

The Voice in the Fog [J.P. McGowan] b&w; 5 reels; prod Jesse L. Lasky Feature Play Company (JLLFPC)

1915

Blackbirds [J.P. McGowan] b&w; 5 reels; prod JLLFPC

1916

The Blacklist [William C. de Mille] b&w; 5 reels; prod JLLFPC

1916

The Sowers [William C. de Mille] b&w; 5 reels; prod JLLFPC

1916

The Clown [William C. de Mille] b&w; 5 reels; prod JLLFPC

1916

Common Ground [William C. de Mille] b&w; 5 reels; prod JLLFPC

1916

Anton the Terrible/The Austrian Spy [William C. de Mille] b&w; 5 reels; prod JLLFPC

1916

The Heir to the Hoorah [William C. de Mille] b&w; 5 reels; prod JLLFPC

1916

The Plow Girl [Robert Z. Leonard] b&w; 5 reels; prod JLLFPC

1916

A Mormon Maid [Robert Z. Leonard] b&w; 5 reels (originally 8 reels); prod JLLFPC

1917

On Record [Robert Z. Leonard] b&w; 5 reels; prod JLLFPC

1917

The Primrose Ring [Robert Z. Leonard] b&w; 5 reels; prod JLLFPC

1917

At First Sight [Robert Z. Leonard] b&w; 5 reels; prod Famous Players Film Company

1917

Hashimura Togo [William C. de Mille] b&w; 5 reels; prod JLLFPC

1917

The Little Princess [Marshall Neilan] b&w; 5 reels; cph: Walter Stradling; prod Mary Pickford Company

1917

The Secret Game [William C. de Mille] b&w; 5 reels; prod JLLFPC

1917

The Widow's Might [William C. de Mille] b&w; 5 reels; prod JLLFPC

1918

One More American [William C. de Mille] b&w; 5 reels; prod Famous Players-Lasky Corporation (FPLC) & JLLFPC

1918

The Honor of His House [William C. de Mille] b&w; 5 reels; prod FPLC

1918

The White Man's Law [James Young] b&w; 5 reels; prod FPLC

1918

How Could You, Jean? [William Desmond Taylor] b&w; 5 reels; prod Mary Pickford Company (MPC)

1918

Johanna Enlists [William Desmond Taylor] b&w; 5 reels; prod Pickford Film

1918

Too Many Millions [James Cruze] b&w; 5 reels; prod FPLC

1918

The Dub [James Cruze] b&w; 5 reels; prod FPLC

1919

Captain Kidd, Jr. [William Desmond Taylor] b&w; 5 reels; prod Pickford Film

1919

Daddy-Long-Legs [Marshall Neilan] b&w; 7 reels; cph: Henry Cronjager; restored version (85m) released in 1998; prod MPC

1919

The Hoodlum/The Ragamuffin [Sidney A. Franklin] b&w; 7 reels; prod MPC

1919

Heart o' the Hills/Heart of the Hills [Sidney A. Franklin] b&w; 6 reels; prod MPC

1919

Pollyanna [Paul Powell] b&w; 6 reels; prod MPC

1920

Suds [Jack (John Francis) Dillon] b&w; 6 reels; cph: L.W. O'Connell; prod MPC

1920

The White Circle [Maurice Tourneur] b&w; 5 reels; cph: Alfred Ortlieb; prod Maurice Tourneur Productions

1920

Dinty [(Chinatown scenes) Marshall Neilan & (Irish scenes) John McDermott] b&w; 6-7 reels; cph: David Kesson & Foster Leonard; prod Marshall Neilan Productions

1920

The Love Light [Frances Marion] b&w; 8 reels; cph: Henry Cronjager; restored version (89m) with music released in 2000; prod MPC

1921

Through the Back Door [Alfred E. Green & Jack Pickford] b&w; 7 reels; prod MPC

1921

Little Lord Fauntleroy [Alfred E. Green & Jack Pickford] b&w; 10 reels; prod MPC

1921

Smilin' Through/Smiling Through [Sidney A. Franklin] b&w; 8 reels; cph: J. Roy Hunt; prod Norma Talmadge Film Corporation

1922

Tess of the Storm Country [John Robertson] b&w; 10 reels; trick ph: Paul Eagler; restored version (118m) with music released in 1998; prod MPC

1923

Sant'Ilario [Henry Kolker] b&w; 1992mtr; cph: Fernando Risi; prod Ultra (Francesco Stame & Ernest Shipman)

 

#1: [Right] with dir Ernst Lubitsch - "Rosita"

#2: Charles Rosher, Ernst Lubitsch & Mary Pickford - "Rosita"

 

1923

Rosita [Ernst Lubitsch & (uncred) Raoul Walsh] b&w; 9 reels; prod MPC

1923

Tiger Rose [Sidney A. Franklin] b&w; 8 reels; prod Warner Bros. Pictures

1923

Dorothy Vernon of Haddon Hall [Marshall Neilan] b&w; 10 reels; prod MPC

1924

Three Women [Ernst Lubitsch] b&w; 8 reels; cph: Charles Van Enger; prod Warner Bros. Pictures

1925

Little Annie Rooney [William Beaudine] b&w; 9 reels; 2nd cameraman: Hal Mohr; restored version (94m) with music released in 1976; prod MPC

1925

Sparrows/Human Sparrows [William Beaudine & (finished film) Tom McNamara] b&w; 9 reels; cph: Hal Mohr; 2nd cameraman: Karl Struss; restored tinted version with music released in 1976; prod Pickford Corporation

1925

Faust - Eine deutsche Volkssage [F.W. Murnau] b&w; 85m & 116m (restored version); ph cons; ph: Carl Hoffmann; filmed September 1925-May 1926; restored in 2003; Lillian Gish was originally cast as Gretchen. As Gish had wanted her cinematographer Charles Rosher to make the film and the German crew wanted Carl Hoffmann, Gish was replaced by the novice Camilla Horn; prod UFA

1926

Sunrise [: A Song of Two Humans] [F.W. Murnau] b&w; 9 reels; cph: Karl Struss; silent & sound (music + sound efx) versions; filmed 1926-27; original negative destroyed in a fire in 1937; prod Fox Film Corporation

1927

My Best Girl [Sam Taylor] b&w; 9 reels; 2nd cameraman: Dave Kesson; restored version (80m) with music released in 1998; prod MPC

 

 

1927

Tempest [Sam Taylor; (uncred) Lewis Milestone & Viktor Tourjansky] b&w; 10 reels (© 11 reels); filmed 1927-28; prod Joseph M. Schenck Productions

1928

Coquette [Sam Taylor] b&w; ph: Karl Struss (replaced C. Rosher who left prod due to creative differences) - 'Mary Pickford was always much involved in the pre-production elements of her movies. 'Coquette', her first sound film, presented new challenges because of the space requirements of the sound department. When Charles Rosher saw how his lighting space was going to be severely restricted, even compromised, he said he could not photograph Pickford as he needed to. She wouldn't accept this, terminated their long-standing alliance - and asked Karl Struss, who had been on 'Sparrows' [1925], to take over. This is what Rosher told Brownlow: "I expressed myself freely, and as a result my career with Pickford came to an end… I took no part in the production." He does not mention Karl Struss.' (John Bailey on the ASC website, 2009)

1928

Eternal Love [Ernst Lubitsch] b&w; 9 reels; uncred cph; ph: Oliver T. Marsh; silent & sound (music + sound efx) versions; prod Joseph M. Schenck Productions for Feature Productions

1929

The Vagabond Queen [Géza von Bolváry] b&w; 6 reels; silent & sound (music + sound efx) versions; prod British International Pictures

1929

Atlantic [E.A. Dupont] b&w; 90m

1929

Atlantik [E.A. Dupont] b&w; German-language version of 'Atlantic' (114m)

1929

Atlantis [E.A. Dupont & Jean Kemm] b&w; French-language version of 'Atlantic'

1929

La route est belle/The Road Is Fine [Robert Florey] b&w

1929

Knowing Men [Elinor Glyn] b&w (filmed in the 2-color process Talkicolor, but released in b&w)

1930

Two Worlds [E.A. Dupont] b&w; 95m; cph: Mutz Greenbaum

1930

Zwei Welten [E.A. Dupont] b&w; 119m; cph: Mutz Greenbaum; German-language version of 'Two Worlds'

1930

Les deux mondes [E.A. Dupont] b&w; 118m; cph: Mutz Greenbaum; French-language version of 'Two Worlds'

1930

The  Price of Things [Elinor Glyn] b&w

1930

War Nurse [Edgar Selwyn] b&w

1930

Paid/Within the Law [Sam Wood] b&w

1930

Dance, Fools, Dance [Harry Beaumont] b&w

1931

Laughing Sinners/Complete Surrender [Harry Beaumont] b&w; cph: George Nogle; partly reshot with Clark Gable as co-star

1931

This Modern Age [Nicholas Grindé] b&w; 68m

1931

Silence [Louis Gasnier & Max Marcin] b&w; 60m

1931

Beloved Bachelor [Lloyd Corrigan] b&w

1931

Husband's Holiday [Robert Milton] b&w

1932

What Price Hollywood? [George Cukor] b&w; sfx: Lloyd Knechtel & Slavko Vorkapich

1932

Two Against the World/The Higher-Ups [Archie Mayo] b&w; 70m

1932

Rockabye [George Cukor (replaced George Fitzmaurice, who started the film in July)] b&w; 68m

1932

The Past of Mary Holmes [Harlan Thompson] b&w; 70m

1932

Our Betters [George Cukor] b&w; filmed 1932-33

1933

The Silver Cord [John Cromwell] b&w; background ph: Vernon Walker & J.O. Taylor

1933

Bed of Roses [Gregory La Cava] b&w; 67m

1933

Flaming Gold [Ralph Ince] b&w; 53m

1933

After Tonight/Sealed Lips [George Archainbaud] b&w; 71m

1933

Moulin Rouge [Sidney Lanfield] b&w; 70m

1934

The Affairs of Cellini/The Firebrand [Gregory La Cava] b&w

1934

Outcast Lady/A Woman of the World [Robert Z. Leonard] b&w

1934

What Every Woman Knows [Gregory La Cava] b&w; sfx: John Hoffman

1934

After Office Hours [Robert Z. Leonard] b&w

1934

The Call of the Wild [William Wellman] b&w; process ph: Ray Binger; filmed 1934-35

 

 

1935

Broadway Melody of 1936 [Roy Del Ruth & (add scenes) W.S. Van Dyke] b&w

1935

Little Lord Fauntleroy [John Cromwell] b&w; sfx: Jack Cosgrove, Virgil Miller & Jack Wagner

1935

Small Town Girl/One Horse Town [William A. Wellman & (fill-in while Wellman was ill) Robert Z. Leonard] b&w; cph: Oliver T. Marsh; filmed 1935-36

1936

Men Are Not Gods [Walter Reisch] b&w; sfx: Ned Mann

1936

The Woman I Love/The Woman Between [Anatole Litvak] b&w; sfx: Vernon L. Walker; filmed 1936-37

1937

The Perfect Specimen [Michael Curtiz] b&w; uncred cph: Jack A. Marta; uncred sfx: Byron Haskin, Edwin DuPar & Rex Wimpy

1937

Hollywood Hotel [Busby Berkeley] b&w; ph mus numbers: George Barnes

1938

White Banners [Edmund Goulding] b&w

1938

Hard to Get [Ray Enright] b&w

1938

Off the Record/Unfit to Print [James Flood] b&w

1938

Yes, My Darling Daughter [William Keighley] b&w

1939

Hell's Kitchen [Lewis Seiler & E.A. Dupont] b&w

1939

A Child Is Born [Lloyd Bacon] b&w

1939

Espionage Agent [Lloyd Bacon] b&w

1939

Brother Rat and a Baby/Baby Be Good [Ray Enright] b&w; sfx: Byron Haskin & Willard Van Enger

1939

Three Cheers for the Irish [Lloyd Bacon] b&w

1940

My Love Came Back [Kurt (Curtis) Bernhardt] b&w; uncred cph: James Wong Howe; remake of German-language film 'Episode' (1935, Walter Reisch; ph: Harry Stradling, Sr.)

1940

Four Mothers [William Keighley] b&w

1941

Million Dollar Baby [Curtis Bernhardt] b&w

1941

One Foot in Heaven [Irving Rapper] b&w; montages: Don Siegel

1941

Mokey [Wells Root] b&w; filmed 1941-42

1942

Pierre of the Plains [George B. Seitz] b&w; 57m; ext ph: Jack Smith

1942

Stand by for Action/Cargo of Innocents [Robert Z. Leonard] b&w; sfx: A. Arnold Gillespie & Don Jahraus

1942

Assignment in Brittany [Jack Conway] b&w; sfx: A. Arnold Gillespie

1942

I Dood It/By Hook or by Crook [Vincente Minnelli] b&w; cph: Ray June; filmed 1942-43

1943

Swing Fever/Right About Face [Tim Whelan] b&w

1943

Kismet/Oriental Dream [William Dieterle] c; sfx: Warren Newcombe, Mark Davis (ph) & A. Arnold Gillespie (miniatures, spec pfx & transparencies); filmed 1943-44

1944

Ziegfeld Follies [of 1944 (preview, 1944)] [of 1946 (road show premiere, 1945)] [Vincente Minnelli (replaced George Sidney); (uncred) Roy Del Ruth, George Sidney & Norman Taurog (add scenes & retakes, 1944-45)] c; ph finale 'There's Beauty Everywhere'; ph: George Folsey, Ray June & Sidney Wagner; puppet seq ph: William Ferrari; sfx: Warren Newcombe (matte paintings), Mark Davis (matte ph) & A. Arnold Gillespie; filmed March-August 1944, December 1944 & January-February 1945

1945

Yolanda and the Thief [Vincente Minnelli] c; sfx: A. Arnold Gillespie, Warren Newcombe & Mark Davis (matte ph)

 

 

1945

The Yearling [Clarence Brown] c; cph: Leonard Smith & Arthur Arling; sfx: Warren Newcombe; prod started in April 1941 with dir Victor Fleming and ph Harold Rosson, but was halted in June; pre-prod started again in March 1942 with screen tests ph by Paul C. Vogel; prod started again in May 1945 with ph Leonard Smith & Arthur Arling; Rosher shot the final version from September 1945-January 1946

1945

Fiesta [Richard Thorpe] c; cph: Sidney Wagner, Wilfred M. Cline & (uncred) Leonard Smith; filmed 1945-46

1946

Summer Holiday [Rouben Mamoulian] c; uncred; ph: Charles Schoenbaum (replaced Rosher after 2 weeks)

1946

Dark Delusion/Cynthia's Secret [Willis Goldbeck] b&w; 15th film in 15-part 'Dr. Kildare/Dr. Gillespie'-series (MGM, 1938-47)

1947

Song of the Thin Man [Edward Buzzell] b&w; 6th film in 6-part 'The Thin Man'-series (MGM, 1934-47)

1947

On an Island with You [Richard Thorpe] c; sfx: A. Arnold Gillespie

1948

Words and Music [Norman Taurog (dram scenes) & Robert Alton (mus numbers)] c; cph: Harry Stradling Sr.; sfx: Warren Newcombe

1948

Neptune's Daughter [Edward Buzzell] c; filmed 1948-49

1949

The Red Danube [George Sidney] b&w; sfx: Warren Newcombe; background footage was shot (ph: ?) in Europe in October 1947

1949

East Side, West Side [Mervyn LeRoy] b&w; sfx: A. Arnold Gillespie

1949

Annie Get Your Gun [George Sidney] c; sfx: A. Arnold Gillespie & Warren Newcombe; montages: Peter Ballbusch; retakes shot in 1950

1950

Pagan Love Song [Robert Alton] c; sfx: A. Arnold Gillespie & Warren Newcombe

 

[Right] with George Sidney & actress Agnes Moorehead - "Show Boat"

 

1950

Show Boat [George Sidney] c; sfx: Warren Newcombe; montage seq: Peter Ballbusch; filmed 1950-51

1951

Scaramouche [George Sidney] c; fill-in ph (for 2 weeks): Robert Surtees; sfx: A. Arnold Gillespie, Warren Newcombe & Irving Ries; montage seq: Peter Ballbusch

1952

The Story of Three Loves/Three Stories of Love [seg 'The Jealous Lover' dir by Gottfried Reinhardt] c; 3 seg; other ph (seg 'Mademoiselle' dir by Vincente Minnelli): Harold Rosson; filmed February-March

1952

The Story of Three Loves/Three Stories of Love [seg 'Equilibrium' dir by Gottfried Reinhardt] c; 3 seg; filmed June-July; see above

1952

Young Bess [George Sidney] c; sfx: A. Arnold Gillespie & Warren Newcombe

 

[Left] with dir George Sidney & actor Howard Keel

 

1953

Kiss Me Kate [George Sidney] 3-D & 2-D/c; 'Kiss Me Kate' was MGM's second venture, following 'Arena', into stereoscopic, or 3-D, filmmaking. In his autobiography, Dore Schary, MGM's head of production, recalled that he had concluded after watching 'Arena' that 3-D was "a freak entertainment... marked for extinction." Schary wrote that he bowed to pressure from studio executives to make the film in 3-D. To protect the studio in the event of poor audience response to the 3-D version, however, 'Kiss Me Kate' would also be released in the standard two-dimensional, or 'flat', format. In an interview, director Sidney stated, "My cameraman, Charlie Rosher, and I had to compose every shot three different ways at the same time," Sidney recalled. "What would be good for one width would not be good for another. It was tricky, but we got around it by building more tops on sets, more floor and more sets in forced perspective to enhance the depth."

MGM test-marketed the 3-D version of 'Kiss Me Kate' in October 1953 by previewing each version of the film in three cities and comparing the grosses. Three cities received the 3-D version, and three received the standard 2-D version with stereophonic sound. After the first week of this experiment, the 3-D version was doing approximately 40% better than the flat version. On November 4, 1953, Hollywood Reporter's 'Trade Views' column proclaimed, "This almost two-for-one business in favor of goggle-wearing ticket buyers indicates that 3-D is not dead, not dying, nor is it even sick."

Both versions were released, and exhibitors were allowed to choose which format they would present. The 3-D version was initially more popular. According to a October 21, 1953 news item in Variety, the management of New York's Radio City Music Hall wrestled with their decision, weighing issues of "practicality" - the narrower viewing angle for 3-D films meant that approximately 300 seats on the sides of the theater could not be used - and the "psychology" of public opinion. Radio City ultimately decided to show the 2-D version.

The 3-D version continued to lead in grosses, by a much smaller margin, but by January 1954 the public's infatuation with the new technology had begun to wane. Under the headline "3-D Casualties on Increase," a January 8, 1954 Hollywood Reporter news item reported that 'Kiss Me Kate' had reverted to the standard 2-D version, adding that the Loew's State theater in downtown Los Angeles had pulled the 3-D version after one week and reversed its promotional strategy by running ads exhorting viewers to "see it without special glasses." 'Kiss Me Kate' was MGM's last 3-D film. [From the TCM website.]

1954

Jupiter's Darling [George Sidney] c; cph: Paul C. Vogel (replaced Rosher who withdrew from the film, but both men are credited); sfx: A. Arnold Gillespie & Warren Newcombe