Harry J. Wild

Active - 1936 - 1956  |   Born - Jan 1, 1900   |   Died - Feb 24, 1961   |   Genres - Western, Drama, Action, Crime, Comedy

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Employed at RKO studios from 1931 through the 1950s, this distinguished and hard-working cinematographer was involved in 91 major film projects and two extended television series. In 1931, he was hired as second cameraman and operator on nine projects. In 1936, Wild shot his first feature, Wallace Fox's sports drama Racing Lady. In 1937, Wild shot the William Christy Cabanne comedy Don't Tell the Wife (1937), about a get-rich scheme gone awry. Portia on Trial and Lloyd Corrigan's romance-comedy Lady Behave followed.

Wild shared an Oscar nomination with Ernest Miller for Republic's Army Girl (1938). The story combines a romantic comedy with a dramatic ending involving military tests between horses and tanks.

A rash of Westerns for director David Howard, starring George O'Brien, followed, including Painted Desert (1938) and Trouble in Sundown (1939). A break in this activity was The Rookie Cop (1939) (aka Swift Vengeance) starring Tim Holt. Four more Westerns followed, interrupted by the Charles E. Roberts comedy Dog-Gone (1939).

Between 1939 and 1942, there were five more Howard Westerns (including Dude Cowboy, Six-Gun Gold), seven Edward Killy-directed Westerns (Cyclone on Horseback, Come On Danger), as well as McCarey's Millionaires in Prison, Jack Hively's Laddie and his sophisticated mystery The Saint in Palm Springs, the comedy A Quiet Fourth with Edgar Kennedy, and George Marshall's Valley of the Sun with Lucille Ball.

In 1942, Wild was entrusted with the (uncredited) shooting of additional scenes for Orson Welles' classic The Magnificent Ambersons.

Wild then shot two Tarzan movies, several more Westerns and war films like Robert Wise's Mademoiselle Fifi (1944) and Edward Dmytryck's Till the End of Time (1946), about three GI's who have difficulty readjusting to civilian life.

Wild then created many film noir classics: Dmytryck's Murder, My Sweet (1944) (aka Farewell My Lovely) from the Raymond Chandler novel, Dmytryck's Cornered (1945), Edwin L. Marin's Johnny Angel (1945) and Nocturne (1946), Jean Renoir's The Woman on the Beach (1947), Irving Pichel's They Won't Believe Me (1947), André De Toth's Pitfall (1948), Felix E. Feist's The Threat (1949), Don Siegel's The Big Steal (1949), uncredited additional scenes for Nicholas Ray's Born to Be Bad (1950), John Farrow's His Kind of Woman (1951), Robert Stevenson's The Las Vegas Story (1952), and Josef von Sternberg's Macao (1952) with Robert Mitchum and Jane Russell. He also shot the crime films Strange Bargain (1949), Walk Softly, Stranger (1950), and Gambling House (1951).

After the star-studded musical Two Tickets to Broadway (1951), Wild worked on other Jane Russell vehicles: Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953) with Monroe and Russell, the musical comedy The French Line (1954), and the adventure Underwater! (1955).

Other significant features included the comedy Affair With a Stranger (1953) with Jean Simmons and Victor Mature, She Couldn't Say No (1954) with Simmons and Robert Mitchum, and The Conqueror (1956) with John Wayne and Susan Hayward.

In 1959, Wild became director of photography for the TV series Law of the Plainsmen and The Twilight Zone.

Movie Highlights

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