ERNESTO CAPARRÓS

Born: 22 April 1907, Camajuaní, Provincia de Las Villas, Cuba, as Ernesto Caparrós Oliver, son of Alejandro Caparrós, a film projectionist, and Concepción Oliver.

Died: 13 February 1992, New York City, N.Y., USA.

Education: Academia de San Alejandro [Painting].

Career: His uncles owned a film theater and a film distribution company. Became set painter, newsreel ph and poster and marquee designer. In 1926, he became asst working for Richard Harlan's Pan America Pictures Corporation. In 1934, he founded Royal Advertising News with Laureano Rodriguez Gavaldá & Luis Ricardo Molina. They started prod newsreels. Went to the United States in November 1942 and worked as optical efx tech, designer of title cards at Du Art laboratory and as editor of newsreels in Spanish. Later, he opened his own studio in New York where countless commercials and shorts for tv were produced.

Ph commercials for Polaroid featuring James Garner and Mariette Hartley.

Became member of IATSE Local 644 in 1956 and member of the ASC in 1964. Retired in 1986.

Awards: IATSE Local 644 'Billy Bitzer Commendation Award' [1979].


'He was 'Ernie' for his American friends, 'Ernest' for the most important ones, 'Caparros' for those who found his name 'exotic'. But for us, the Cubans of a certain generation, Ernesto Caparros was the first Cuban 'filmmaker' in the true sense of the word. He was also the first Cuban filmmaker in 'exile'. He left Cuba in 1940 and never went back. Ernesto Caparros was a pioneer and a founder of the cinema in Cuba. He fought for the movie industry in our country when making films on an underdeveloped island was more the art of a pirate than of a corsair.' [Orlando Jiménez-Leal in 'American Cinematographer', April 1992.]


 

 FILMS & TELEVISION

1932

Maracas y bongó [Max Tosquella] b&w; mus short/15m; 2nd cam: Ricardo Delgado; + prod des; first Cuban sound film

1937

La serpiente roja [Ernesto Caparrós] b&w; 41m & 80m; cph: Laureano Rodriguez Gavaldá & Ricardo Delgado; + set decorator/co-sound efx; first Cuban feature length sound film

1946

Como tú ninguna [Roberto Ratti] b&w; filmed during a holiday on Cuba with his new wife

1953

Pulse of the City [various] drama anthology tv-series/b&w, 1953-54; other ph: Carl Marquard; for DuMont-tv

1960

Route 66 [pilot 'Black November' dir by Philip Leacock] 116-part tv-series/b&w, 1960-64; 1st season, 1960-61

1960

Naked City [ep #40 'A Death of Princes' dir by John Brahm (JB), #41 'The Pedigree Sheet' dir by JB, #42 'A Succession of Heartbeats' dir by Paul Wendkos (PW), #43 'Down the Long Night' dir by PW, #44 'To Walk in Silence' dir by Roger Kay, #45 'Killer with a Kiss' dir by Lamont Johnson, #46 'Debt of Honor' dir by Tay Garnett (TG) & # 55 'Button in the Haystack' dir by TG] 138-part tv-series/b&w, 1958-63; 2nd season, 1960-61; other ph: Jack Priestley & Irving Lippman

1961

Naked City [ep #94 'The One Marked Hot Gives Cold' dir by David Lowell Rich & #103 'Memory of a Red Trolley Car' dir by Lawrence Doheny] 3rd season, 1961-62; see 1960

1962

Naked City [ep #136 'One, Two, Three, Rita Rakahowski' dir by Robert Ellis Miller] 4th season, 1962-63; see 1960

 

 

1962

The Miracle Worker [Arthur Penn] b&w

1963

Inside Danny Baker [Arthur Hiller] tv-pilot/b&w/30m; for ABC-tv

1963

The Farmer's Daughter [pilot 'The Speechmaker: Part 1' dir by Ralph Nelson] 101-part tv-series/b&w, 1963-66; 1st season, 1963-64; or ph Frederick Gately

1964

Andy [Richard C. Sarafian] b&w

1967

What's So Bad About Feeling Good? [George Seaton] ts/c

1968

Witness to Yesterday [pilot 'Joan of Arc' + ep 'Billy the Kid', 'George Gershwin', 'Queen Victoria', 'Sitting Bull' & 'The Duke of Wellington' dir by Arthur Voronka] 34-part docudrama tv-series, 1974-76

 

 FILMS AS DIRECTOR

1932

El frutero/The Fruit Bowl [mus short with music by Ernesto Lecuona] ph: ?

1936

Como el arrullo de palmas [mus short with music by Ernesto Lecuona] ph: ?

1937

Tam-Tam o El origen de la rumba [short mus doc/22m; + scrpl] ph: Laureano Rodriguez Gavaldá, Luis R. Molina & Ricardo Delgado

1937

La serpiente roja [feature; + cph/set decorator/co-sound efx] see Films & Television

 

 

1939

Prófugos/Fugitive [feature] ph: Robert Cline

1940

Mis cinco hijos [mus short/8m] ph: ?

1940

Yo soy el héroe/I Am the Hero [feature] ph: Ricardo Delgado

1941

Romance musical [feature] ph: Ricardo Delgado

1941

Luna sin miel [short] ph: ?

1942

Ritmos de Cuba [mus short] ph: ?

1943

Fantasmas del Caribe/Ghosts of the Caribbean [feature] ph: Ricardo Delgado

 

 MISCELLANEOUS

1926

La chica del gato [Richard Harlan] prod asst; ph: ?

1926

El cobarde valerosa [Ramón Peón] prod asst; ph: Abelardo Domingo Sr.

1929

El veneno de un beso [Ramón Peón] prod des (+ asst dir/c.asst); ph: Ricardo Delgado

1930

La virgen de la caridad/The Virgin of Charity [Ramón Peón] prod des; ph: Ricardo Delgado

1937

La tragedia de Cali [prod: Royal News; doc/28m] sound; ph: ?

1938

El romance del palmar [Ramón Peón] asst dir; ph: Tom Hogan

1938

Mi tía de América [Jaime Salvador] asst dir; ph: Tom Hogan

1938

Ahora seremos felices/Now We Shall Be Happy [William Nolte (& Fred Bain)] b&w; mus feature; as dirección artistica/artistic director; ph: Robert E. Cline

1939

Estampas habaneras [Jaime Salvador] asst dir; ph: ?

1939

Una aventura peligrosa/A Dangerous Adventure [Ramón Peón] sound; ph: ?