Sol Polito

Active - 1915 - 1949  |   Born - Nov 12, 1892   |   Died - May 23, 1960   |   Genres - Drama, Comedy, Musical, Romance, Western

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Biography by Hal Erickson

The "look" of Warner Bros.' film product of the '30s and '40s was largely in the hands of two Italian-born cinematographers: Tony Gaudio and Sol Polito. Educated in the US, Polito drifted into films, then climbed up the ladder as a still photographer, lab assistant and a lighting cameraman. Even in his program westerns of the mid '20s, Polito distinguished himself with his crisp black and white camerawork. He joined First National Studios in 1927, thus was on hand when First National merged with Warner Bros. the following year. In its first talkies, Warners was known for its garish, "realistic" look, a cinematic approach readily adapted by Polito. When the studio adopted a lusher photographic style in the mid '30s, Polito was at last allowed to display the versatility he'd kept bottled up for so long. He was frequently assigned to the films of Errol Flynn, contributing first-rate work in both Technicolor and black and white for such films as The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938), Dodge City (1939) and The Sea Hawk (1940). Sol Polito ultimately parted company with Warners in the late '40s, working briefly at both Paramount (Sorry Wrong Number) and Columbia (Anna Lucasta) before retiring.

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