Ted Tetzlaff

Active - 1926 - 1959  |   Born - Jan 1, 1903   |   Genres - Drama, Comedy, Romance, Crime, Musical

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A former cinematographer, Los Angeles-born Ted Tetzlaff entered the movie business as a lab assistant before becoming a camera assistant, and became a cinematographer in 1926. He photographed several of Frank Capra's early movies, and in the '30s he was behind the camera for such classics as My Man Godfrey (1936), Easy Living (1937), and I Married a Witch (1941). He moved into the director's chair with the largely (and unfairly) forgotten World Premiere (1941), but the onset of World War II drew him into the army, where he achieved the rank of major. On his return to civilian life, the returned to the cinematographer's spot on Notorious and The Enchanted Cottage, before moving permanently into the director's chair with Fighting Father Dunne (1948). He did several suspense films, including Johnny Allegro and Dangerous Profession, but it was his work on The Window that earned Tetzlaff a permanent place in the memories of filmgoers -- a dark, chilling, and suspenseful thriller, based on the fable of the boy-who-cried-wolf, this film, about a young boy (Bobby Driscoll) known for telling tall tales, who witnesses a murder in his tenement building and can't get anyone to believe him, was an instant hit. One of the very few important or notable films to come out of RKO after World War II, it remains a regular subject of showings at revival theaters, a popular video, and a widely regarded classic. Alas, Tetzlaff was never able to repeat this feat in any of his subsequent movies, and retired from feature films at the end of the '50s.

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