Edward J. Cronjager

Active - 1925 - 1960  |   Genres - Comedy, Drama, Romance, Musical, Western

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Edward Cronjager was virtually born into the movie business, as the son of Henry Cronjager and the nephew of Jules Cronjager, both pioneering cinematographers from a time almost before there was a movie "business." Born in 1904, Edward entered the industry in his teens as an assistant cameraman, and at 20 became a director of photography. He went on to become a mainstay of Paramount and RKO in the 1920s and '30s, his credits including a string of successful sports-oriented features during the late silent era, the highly regarded (and eminently successful) Westerns The Virginian (1929) and Cimarron (1931, for which he received his first of seven Oscar nominations), as well as the thriller Seven Keys to Baldpate (1929). Edward Cronjager truly hit his stride at Fox in the 1940s, where his work included the pioneering film noir I Wake Up Screaming (1941), Fritz Lang's Technicolor Western Western Union, and the Glenn Miller musical comedy showcase Sun Valley Serenade (1941). Cronjager also enjoyed a string of Oscar nominations during this period, including those for his work on the wartime drama The Pied Piper (1942); Ernst Lubitsch's fantasy comedy Heaven Can Wait (1943); the morale booster To the Shores of Tripoli (1942); and the big-budget Technicolor wartime musical The Gang's All Here (1943). His photography on Beneath the 12-Mile Reef (1953) was also nominated, and broke ground on technical terms as the first use of Cinemascope photography in an underwater setting. During the later '50s, as the studios cut back on their production schedules and personnel, Cronjager moved into television work, on such ZIV TV-produced series as Men Into Space and Sea Hunt, the latter making use of his valuable experience in underwater shooting. Edward Cronjager died in 1960, at age 56, of natural causes several weeks after being injured while breaking up a fight between two stuntmen on a set.

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