Ernest Haller - Writer




Cinematographer. Nationality: American. Born: Los Angeles, California, 31 May 1896. Career: Worked as a bank clerk; 1914—actor for Biograph, then became cameraman in 1915; 1920—first film as cinematographer, Love Is Everything ; 1925–51—worked mainly for First National (Warner Brothers), then freelance. Awards: Academy Award for Gone with the Wind , 1939. Died: In an automobile accident, 1970.


Films as Cinematographer:

1920

Love Is Everything (Bennett); Neglected Wives (B. King); Yes or No (Neill); The Discarded Woman (B. King); Trumpet Island (Terriss); The Inner Voice (Neill); Dead Men Tell No Tales (Terriss); The Common Sin ( For Your Daughter's Sake ) (B. King)

1921

The Gilded Lily (Leonard); Such a Little Queen (Fawcett); Salvation Nell (Webb); Wife against Wife (Bennett); The Road to Arcady (B. King); The Iron Trail (Neill)

1923

The Ne'er-Do-Well (Green); Homeward Bound (R. Ince); Woman-Proof (Green)

1924

Pied Piper Malone (Green); Rough Ridin' (Thorpe); Empty Hearts (Santell); Three Keys (Le Saint); Parisian Nights (Santell)

1925

Any Woman (H. King) (co); High and Handsome ( Winning His Stripes ) (Garson); The New Commandment (Higgin); Bluebeard's Seven Wives (Santell)

1926

The Reckless Lady (Higgin); The Dancer of Paris (Santell); The Wilderness Woman (Higgin); Stacked Cards (Eddy); The Great Deception (Higgin); Hair Trigger Baxter (Nelson); The Prince of Tempters (Mendes)

1927

Convoy (Boyle); Broadway Nights (Boyle); Dance Music (Halperin); For the Love of Mike (Capra); French Dressing ( Lessons for Wives ) (Dwan)

1928

The Whip Woman (Boyle); Mad Hour (Boyle); Harold Teen (LeRoy); Wheel of Chance (Santell); Out of the Ruins (Dillon); Naughty Baby ( Reckless Rosie ) (LeRoy)

1929

Weary River (Lloyd); The House of Horror (Christensen); Drag ( Parasites ) (Lloyd); The Girl in the Glass Cage (Dawson); Dark Streets (Lloyd); Young Nowheres (Lloyd); Wedding Rings (Beaudine)

1930

Son of the Gods (Lloyd); A Notorious Affair (Bacon); The Dawn Patrol (Hawks); One Night at Susie's (Dillon); Sunny (Seiter); The Lash ( Adios ) (Lloyd)

1931

Millie (Dillon); Ten Cents a Dance (L. Barrymore); The Finger Points (Dillon); Chances (Dwan); I Like Your Nerve (McGann); Honor of the Family (Bacon); 24 Hours ( The Hours Between ) (Gering); Compromised ( We Three ) (Adolfi); Girls about Town (Cukor); Blonde Crazy ( Larceny Lane ) (Del Ruth)

1932

The Woman from Monte Carlo (Curtiz); The Rich Are Always with Us (Green); Night after Night (Mayo); The Crash (Dieterle); Scarlet Dawn (Dieterle)

1933

King of the Jungle (Marcin and Humberstone); International House (Sutherland); The Emperor Jones (Murphy); Murders in the Zoo (Sutherland); The House on 56th Street (Florey)

1934

Easy to Love (Keighley); Journal of a Crime (Keighley); The Key (Curtiz); Merry Wives of Reno (Humberstone); Desirable (Mayo); British Agent (Curtiz); The Firebird (Dieterle)

1935

Age of Indiscretion (Ludwig); Mary Jane's Pa ( Wanderlust ) (Keighley); Captain Blood (Curtiz); Dangerous (Green)

1936

The Voice of Bugle Ann (Thorpe); Petticoat Fever (Fitzmaurice); Public Enemy's Wife ( G-Man's Wife ) (Grinde); Mountain Justice (Curtiz); The Captain's Kid (Grinde); The Great O'Malley (Dieterle)

1937

Call It a Day (Mayo); That Certain Woman (Goulding); The Great Garrick (Whale)

1938

Jezebel (Wyler); Four's a Crowd (Curtiz); Four Daughters (Curtiz); Brother Rat (Keighley)

1939

Dark Victory (Goulding); The Roaring Twenties (Walsh); Gone with the Wind (Fleming); Invisible Stripes (Bacon)

1940

It All Came True (Seiler); All This, and Heaven Too (Litvak); No Time for Comedy (Keighley)

1941

Honeymoon for Three (Bacon); Footsteps in the Dark (Bacon); Manpower (Walsh); The Bride Came C.O.D. (Keighley); Blues in the Night (Litvak); The Gay Parisian ( Gaité Parisienne ) (Negulesco—short); Spanish Fiesta ( Capriccio Espagnol ) (Negulesco—short) (co)

1942

In This Our Life (Huston); George Washington Slept Here (Keighley)

1943

Princess O'Rourke (Krasna); A Present with a Future (V. Sherman—short)

1944

Mrs. Skeffington (V. Sherman); The Doughgirls (Kern)

1945

Rhapsody in Blue (Rapper) (co); Mildred Pierce (Curtiz); Saratoga Trunk (Wood)

1946

Devotion (Bernhardt); A Stolen Life (Bernhardt); The Verdict (Siegel); Humoresque (Negulesco); Deception (Rapper)

1947

The Unfaithful (V. Sherman)

1948

My Girl Tisa (Nugent); Winter Meeting (Windust)

1949

My Dream Is Yours (Curtiz) (co); Always Leave Them Laughing (Del Ruth); Chain Lightning (Heisler)

1950

The Flame and the Arrow (Tourneur); Dallas (Heisler)

1951

Jim Thorpe—All American ( Man of Bronze ) (Curtiz); On Moonlight Bay (Del Ruth); Pictura: An Adventure in Art (Dupont and others—compilation) (linking ph)

1952

Monsoon (Amateau); Jhansi ri-rani ( The Tiger and the Flame ) (Modi)

1954

Carnival Story ( Circus of Love ) (Neumann)

1955

Magic Fire (Dieterle); Rebel without a Cause (Ray)

1956

The Come-On (Birdwell); Dakota Incident (Foster); The Cruel Tower (Landers)

1957

Men in War (A. Mann); The Young Don't Cry (Werker); Plunder Road (Cornfield); Hall on Devil's Island (Nyby); Back from the Dead (Warren)

1958

Hell's Five Hours (Copeland); God's Little Acre (A. Mann); Man of the West (A. Mann); Speed Crazy (Hole)

Ernest Haller
Ernest Haller

1959

The Miracle (Rapper); The Third Voice (Cornfield)

1960

Bob and the Pirates (Gordon); Why Must I Die? ( Thirteen Steps to Death ) (Del Ruth); Three Blondes in His Life (Chooluck)

1961

Chivato ( Rebellion in Cuba ) (Gannaway); Armored Command (Haskin); Married Too Young ( I Married Too Young ) (Moskov); Fear No More (Wiesen)

1962

Pressure Point (Cornfield); Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? (Aldrich)

1963

Lilies of the Field (Nelson)

1964

Dead Ringer ( Dead Image ) (Henreid)

1965

The Restless Ones (Ross)



Publications


By HALLER: article—

"The Future Cameraman," in Breaking Into the Movies , edited by Charles Reed Jones, New York, 1927.

On HALLER: articles—

Monthly Film Bulletin (London), November 1969.

Film Comment (New York), Summer 1972.

Focus on Film (London), no. 13, 1973.

Lovell, Glenn, " Gone With the Wind (1998 Re-release of 1.33:1 Aspect, with Digital Color Enhancements)," in Variety (New York), 22 June 1998.


* * *


The longtime Hollywood cameraman Ernest Haller is probably best known for his work on Gone with the Wind , for which he earned his only Oscar. But his five nominations in fact tell more about his reputation within Hollywood itself. Haller produced quality work for 45 years. He came into his own during the 1950s and was known within industry circles for his expert location shooting.

Haller's roots in the film business went back to Hollywood's origins. After leaving high school, he began in 1914 with Biograph as an actor, but switched to the camera department the following year. His first work behind the camera came with an early serial, The Hazards of Helen . He then moved his way up through the on-the-job training system which was then in force, and was credited for his first film as cinematographer in 1920. An Ernest Haller film would then appear every year until 1965.

At Warner Brothers during the early 1930s, work was fast and furious, and Haller helped grind films out at the rate of one every two months. Representative titles included Howard Hawks's The Dawn Patrol and Frank Lloyd's Weary River . But he worked on every possible genre, and did what he was told. By the late 1930s Ernest Haller had worked his way up to strictly A-budget feature films. He worked with all the major stars on the Warner lot, from Errol Flynn to Humphrey Bogart to James Cagney. If he had a specialty it was photographing the films of Bette Davis and Joan Crawford. Indeed he won an Oscar nomination for Davis's Jezebel and Crawford's Mildred Pierce . The latter film was one of the pioneering efforts in the early days of film noir .

With the coming of age of independent film production in the 1950s, Haller began to freelance like nearly all other cameramen. He formally left Warners in 1951 and worked on some poor films, and also on some of Hollywood's best. In the latter category we certainly must include Rebel without a Cause , directed by Nicholas Ray and a pioneering effort in CinemaScope, and Man of the West directed by Anthony Mann, a great director of westerns.

Yet despite his long association with Warners and other distinguished work, Haller will always best be remembered for his work behind the camera for Gone with the Wind . He was not David O. Selznick's original choice for cinematographer, and he started long after production was well underway, replacing Lee Garmes. Historians note that although Haller receives sole credit for the camerawork on the film (and received the film's Oscar for camerawork), Lee Garmes was responsible for most of the first hour of the picture. Yet certainly the bulk of Gone with the Wind is Haller's picture, and will always be noted as the most important color film made in Hollywood prior to the 1950s.

—Douglas Gomery

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