Thursday, September 10, 2015

Robert Wise, 1914-2005

I didn't notice it yesterday when I posted about the airing of Somebody Up There Likes Me, but TCM is running it as part of a birthday salute to director Robert Wise, who was born on this day in 1914.

Wise started out in Hollywood as an editor, much the way that David Lean did over in the UK, working on such prestigious movies as Bachelor Mother and Citizen Kane. But it was with Mademoiselle Fifi of all things that Wise got his directorial career off to a start.

Wise's career really took off at least in terms of success in the mid 1950s after he did Executive Suite, and had a string of successes, directing Susan Hayward to an Oscar in I Want to Live! (on next week as part of TCM's Star of the Month Salute to Hayward), and winning directing Oscars for both West Side Story (co-directed with Jerome Robbins, who I presume directed all the dance sequences) and later The Sound of Music.

With Star! in 1968, an overlong biopic about actress Gertrude Lawrence, Wise's career went into decline, directing a smaller number of movies in the 1970s concluding with the first of the Star Trek movies.

I'd probably pick The Day the Earth Stood Still as my favorite Wise movie, although The Haunting and Odds Against Tomorrow are also quite good.

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