Charles Lang

Active - 1926 - 1978  |   Born - Mar 27, 1902   |   Died - Apr 3, 1998   |   Genres - Drama, Romance, Comedy

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Biography by AllMovie

American cinematographer Charles B. Lang Jr. studied law at USC, but abandoned this when his father entreated him to take a film lab job at Realart Studios, a small movie firm of the '20s run by the senior Lang. Charles Jr. worked his way up to first cameraman on the films of Realart and other independent studios; when Realart was absorbed by Paramount, Lang secured a second-cameraman job at that studio. His first assignment was Ritzy (1927), a box-office fiasco which resulted in instant demotions for everyone involved, from star Betty Bronson to cameraman Lang. Regaining lost ground in the late '20s, Lang vowed never to make himself dispensable again; he accomplished this by developing his own cinematic style rather than imitating the work of others. In 1932, Lang won an Academy Award for the Paramount feature A Farewell to Arms; he would eventually rack up 18 Best Photography Oscar nominations, which still stands as a record for nominations in a single category. He remained at Paramount until 1952, then freelanced; though he was proficient in color, Lang preferred black and white, turning out dazzling work on such films as 1959's Some Like It Hot. In the early '60s, Lang became a favorite of screen star Audrey Hepburn, showing the actress off to best advantage in Charade (1963), How to Steal a Million (1967) and Wait Until Dark (1967). Retired by 1972, Charles Lang Jr. was honored with the American Society of Cinematographers' Lifetime Achievement Award in 1991. His credits are sometimes confused with actor Charles Lang, a Universal contractee of the '40s.

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