Arthur C. Miller - Writer





Cinematographer. Nationality: American. Born: Roslyn, New York, 8 July 1895. Career: Bit player and camera assistant from age 13; then assistant cameraman and laboratory technician for Edwin S. Porter (cameraman on The Perils of Pauline , 1914); 1915–25—worked almost exclusively with the director George Fitzmaurice; then later worked with 20th Century-Fox; 1951—retired; then President, American Society of Cinematographers. Awards: Academy Award for How Green Was My Valley , 1941; The Song of Bernadette , 1943; Anna and the King of Siam , 1946. Died: In 1970.


Films as Cinematographer for Fitzmaurice:

1915

At Bay

1916

New York ; Fifth Avenue ; Big Jim Garrity ; Arms and the Woman ; Romantic Journey

1917

Hunting of the Hawk ; Recoil ; The Iron Heart ; The Mark of Cain ; Sylvia of the Secret Service

1918

The Hillcrest Mystery ; The Naulahka ; A Japanese Nightingale ; The Narrow Path

1919

Counterfeit ; Common Clay ; The Cry of the Weak ; The Profi-teers ; Witness for the Defense ; Avalanche ; Our Better Selves ; A Society Exile

1920

On with the Dance ; The Right to Love ; Idols of Clay

1921

Paying the Piper ; Experience ; Forever

1922

Kick In ; The Man from Home ; Three Live Ghosts ; To Have and to Hold

1923

Bella Donna ; The Cheat ; The Eternal City

1924

Cytherea ; Tarnish (co)

1925

A Thief in Paradise ; His Supreme Moment

Other Films as Cinematographer:

1914

The Perils of Pauline (Gasnier—serial) (cam)

1917

Vengeance Is Mine (Crane); Stranded in Arcady (Crane)

1918

Convict 993 (Parke)

1920

His House in Order (H. Ford); Lady Rose's Daughter (H. King)

1924

In Hollywood with Potash and Perlmutter (Green) (co)

1925

The Coming of Amos (Sloane)

1926

Made for Love (Sloane); The Clinging Vine (Sloane); Eve's Leaves (Sloane); For Alimony Only (W. De Mille); The Volga Boatman (C. DeMille) (co)

1927

The Angel of Broadway (Weber); The Fighting Eagle (Crisp); Nobody's Widow (Crisp); Vanity (Crisp)

1928

Annapolis (Cabanne); Blue Danube (Sloane); The Cop (Crisp); Hold 'em Yale (Griffith); The Spieler (Garnett)

1929

Bellamy Trial (Bell); Big News (La Cava); The Flying Fool (Garnett); His First Command (La Cava) (co); Oh, Yeah! (Garnett); Sailor's Holiday (Newmeyer); Strange Cargo (Glazer and Gregor)

1930

The Lady of Scandal (Franklin) (co); Officer O'Brien (Garnett); See American Thirst (Craft) (co); The Truth about Youth (Seiter); Behind the Make-Up (Bell); Father's Son (Beaudine)

1931

Bad Company (Garnett)

1932

Panama Flo (Murphy); Big Shot (Murphy); Young Bride (Seiter); Breach of Promise (Stein); Me and My Gal (Walsh); Okay, America (Garnett)

1933

Sailor's Luck (Walsh); Hold Me Tight (Butler); The Man Who Dared (MacFadden); The Last Trail (Tinling); The Mad Game (Cummings); My Weakness (Butler)

1934

Bottoms Up (Butler); Ever Since Eve (Marshall); Handy Andy (Butler); Love Time (Tinling); The White Parade (Cummings); Bright Eyes (Butler)

1935

The Little Colonel (Butler); It's a Small World (Cummings); Black Sheep (Dwan); Welcome Home (Tinling); Paddy O'Day (Seiler)

1936

White Fang (Butler); 36 Hours to Kill (Forde); Pigskin Parade (Butler); Stowaway (Seiter)

1937

Wee Willie Winkie (Ford); Heidi (Dwan)

1938

The Baroness and the Butler (W. Lang); Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm (Dwan); Little Miss Broadway (Cummings); Submarine Patrol (Ford)

1939

The Little Princess (W. Lang) (co); Susannah of the Mounties (Seiter); Here I Am a Stranger (Del Ruth); The Rains Came (Brown); Young Mr. Lincoln (Ford)

1940

The Blue Bird (W. Lang) (co); Johnny Appollo (Hathaway); On Their Own (Brower); The Mark of Zorro (Mamoulian); Brigham Young—Frontiersman (Hathaway)

1941

Tobacco Road (Ford); Man Hunt (F. Lang); The Men in Her Life (Ratoff) (co); How Green Was My Valley (Ford)

1942

This Above All (Litvak); Iceland (Humberstone)

1943

The Moon Is Down (Pichel); The Immortal Sergeant (Stahl) (co); The Ox-Bow Incident (Wellman); The Song of Bernadette (H. King)

1944

The Purple Heart (Milestone); The Keys of the Kingdom (Stahl)

1945

A Royal Scandal (Preminger and Lubitsch)

1946

Dragonwyck (Mankiewicz); Anna and the King of Siam (Cromwell); The Razor's Edge (Goulding)

1947

Gentleman's Agreement (Kazan)

1948

The Walls of Jericho (Stahl)

1949

A Letter to Three Wives (Mankiewicz)

1950

Whirlpool (Preminger); The Gunfighter (H. King)

1951

The Prowler (Losey)

Publications

By MILLER: books—

With John V. Mascelli, American Cinematographer Manual , Hollywood, 1960.

With Fred J. Balsofer, One Reel a Week , Berkeley, California, 1967.


By MILLER: articles—

American Cinematographer (Hollywood), January 1953.

"Motion Picture Set Lighting," in American Cinematographer (Hollywood), April 1961.

"'Natural' Lighting for Interior Sets," in American Cinematographer (Hollywood), September 1966.

In Sources of Light , edited by Charles Higham, London, 1970.

In The Art of the Cinematographer , edited by Leonard Maltin, New York, 1978.

" How Green Was My Valley ," an interview with G. J. Mitchell, in American Cinematographer (Hollywood), September 1991.


On MILLER: articles—

American Cinematographer (Hollywood), May 1954.

Critisch Filmforum (The Hague), no. 1, 1969.

American Cinematographer (Hollywood), August 1970.

Films in Review (New York), October 1970.

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

Film Dope (Nottingham), January 1990.


* * *


Arthur C. Miller prided himself on hard, brittle images, with deep shadows and brilliant highlights. To achieve these highlights, Miller went to great lengths, even to the point of oiling the furniture and other woodwork. He was more than a realist—he was a superrealist. His desire to achieve high glossiness and intense coloration resembles the approach of the painter Richard Estes.

Miller began working in films when the industry was in New York. Most of the films he made during the 1920s were done with George Fitzmaurice, who allowed Miller some experimental leeway. The cinematographer filmed a scene in the early morning fog, for example, for Peter Ibbetson . He had a rather stormy confrontation, however, in making The Volga Boatman with Cecil B. DeMille; Miller expected a free hand in the lighting and photographing.

During the 1930s, Miller became Shirley Temple's cameraman—in the way that William Daniels was Greta Garbo's and Lee Garmes was Marlene Dietrich's. As did these cameramen, he developed the most effective lighting for his star, backlighting Temple's golden hair so as to create an aureole. Sometimes, he lit her in high key for one shot and lit the actor to whom she was talking in low key. In 1943 Miller used similar quasimystical effects in The Song of Bernadette .

While filming Temple in Wee Willie Winkie , Miller had a chance to work with the man who was to become his favorite director, John Ford. The cameraman found a director who was highly professional at his job and did not bother Miller in his: Ford left the details of cinematography up to the cameraman. In 1941 Miller and Ford joined forces on Tobacco Road and How Green Was My Valley . Miller never did a western with Ford; however, his photography for Wellman's The Ox-Bow Incident is interesting because it was a western that was filmed entirely in the studio. The lighting gives the impression of its taking place in the course of one day—from sunset to sunrise.

—Rodney Farnsworth

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