Charles Rosher - Writer





Cinematographer. Nationality: British. Born: England, 1885. Family: Children: the actress Joan Marsh and the photographer Charles (Chuck) Rosher, Jr. Career: Lived in the United States after 1908, and in Hollywood after 1911; 1912—first film as photographer, Early Days Out West ; worked on several Mary Pickford films, and later for MGM and other studios; made numerous technical innovations; 1918—founding member, American Society of Cinematographers. Awards: Academy Award for Sunrise , 1927–28; The Yearling , 1946. Died: In 1974.

Films as Cinematographer:

1912

Early Days Out West (Turner)

1914

With General Pancho Villa in Mexico ; In Bermuda (Dawley); The Oath of a Viking (Gordon); The Next in Command (Gordon); The Mystery of the Poisoned Pool (Gordon)

1915

Gene of the Northland (Clarke); The Smugglers' Lass (Clarke); The Mad Maid of the Forest (Clarke)

1916

The Dumb Girl of Portici (Smalley and Weber); Blackbirds (McGowan); Voice in the Fog (McGowan); Pudd'nhead Wilson (Reicher); The Sowers (W. De Mille); The Blacklist (W. De Mille); Anton the Terrible (W. De Mille); The Plow Girl (Leonard); The Clown (W. De Mille); Common Ground (W. De Mille)

1917

On Record (Leonard); At First Sight (Leonard); Hashimura Togo (W. De Mille); The Primrose Ring (Leonard); Secret Game (W. De Mille); Mormon Main (Leonard); A Little Princess (Neilan) (co)

1918

Too Many Millions (Cruze); The Dub (Cruze); Till I Come Back to You (C. DeMille) (co); Widow's Might (W. De Mille); One More American (W. De Mille); Honor of His House (W. De Mille); How Could You, Jean? (Taylor); White Man's Law (Young); Johanna Enlists (Taylor); Captain Kidd, Jr. (Taylor)

1919

The Hoodlum (Franklin); Daddy Long Legs (Neilan); Heart o' the Hills (Franklin)

1920

Pollyanna (Powell); Suds (Dillon)

1921

The Love Light (Marion); Through the Back Door (Green); Little Lord Fauntleroy (Green and J. Pickford); Saint Ilario (Kolker)

1922

Smilin' Through (Franklin); Tess of the Storm Country (Robertson)

1923

Tiger Rose (Franklin); Rosita (Lubitsch)

1924

Dorothy Vernon of Haddon Hall (Neilan)

Charles Rosher
Charles Rosher

1925

Little Annie Roonie (Beaudine) (co)

1926

Sparrows (Beaudine) (co)

1927

Sunrise (Murnau) (co); My Best Girl (Taylor)

1928

Tempest (Taylor)

1929

Atlantic (Dupont); The Vagabond Queen (von Bolvary)

1930

La Route est belle (Wolfe and Florey); Two Worlds (Dupont); Knowing Men (Glyn); War Nurse (Selwyn); Paid (Wood)

1931

Dance, Fool, Dance (Milton); This Modern Age (Grinde); Laughing Sinners (Beaumont); Silence (Gasnier and Marcin); Beloved Bachelor (Corrigan)

1932

Two against the World (Mayo); What Price Hollywood? (Cukor); Rockabye (Cukor)

1933

Bed of Roses (La Cava); After Tonight (Archainbaud); Our Betters (Cukor); The Past of Mary Holmes (Thompson and Vorkapich); Silver Cord (Cromwell)

1934

Flaming Gold (R. Ince); What Every Woman Knows (La Cava); Outcast Lady (Leonard); Moulin Rouge (Lanfield); The Affairs of Cellini (La Cava); After Office Hours (Leonard); The Call of the Wild (Wellman)

1935

Broadway Melody of 1936 (Del Ruth)

1936

Small Town Girl (Wellman); Little Lord Fauntleroy (Cromwell)

1937

Men Are Not Gods (Reisch); The Woman I Love (Litvak); The Perfect Specimen (Curtiz); Hollywood Hotel (Berkeley) (co)

1938

Hard to Get (Enright); White Banners (Goulding)

1939

Espionage Agent (Bacon); Hell's Kitchen (Seiler and Dupont); Off the Record (Flood); Yes, My Darling Daughter (Keighley)

1940

A Child Is Born (Bacon); My Love Came Back (Bernhardt); Three Cheers for the Irish (Bacon); Brother Rat and a Baby (Enright)

1941

Four Mothers (Keighley); Million Dollar Baby (Bernhardt); One Foot in Heaven (Rapper)

1942

Stand By for Action (Leonard); Mokey (Root); Pierre of the Plains (Seitz)

1943

Swing Fever (Whelan); Assignment in Brittany (Conway)

1944

Kismet (Dieterle)

1945

Yolanda and the Thief (Minnelli)

1946

The Yearling (Brown) (co); Ziegfeld Follies (Minnelli) (co)

1947

Fiesta (Thorpe) (co); Song of the Thin Man (Buzzell); Dark Delusion (Goldbeck)

1948

On an Island with You (Thorpe); Words and Music (Taurog) (co)

1949

Neptune's Daughter (Buzzell); The Red Danube (Sidney); East Side, West Side (LeRoy)

1950

Pagan Love Song (Alton); Annie Get Your Gun (Sidney)

1951

Show Boat (Sidney)

1952

Scaramouche (Sidney)

1953

The Story of Three Loves (Reinhardt and Minnelli) (co); Young Bess (Sidney); Kiss Me Kate (Sidney)

1955

Jupiter's Darling (Sidney) (co)



Publications


By ROSHER: article—


American Cinematographer (Hollywood), February 1982.


On ROSHER: articles—

Sidney, George, on Show Boat in American Cinematographer (Hollywood), August 1951.

Film Comment (New York), Summer 1972.

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

American Cinematographer (Hollywood), August 1973.

Variety (New York), 30 January 1974.

American Cinematographer (Hollywood), March 1974.

BKSTS Journal (London), April 1974.


* * *


Charles Rosher first worked as a photographer of portraits, then he began filming westerns. It is therefore no surprise that when in 1913 the notorious Pancho Villa signed a film contract with Mutual Film Corporation, Rosher was chosen to do the filming.

Great Hollywood directors often have one actress who seems to bring out the best in them; for Lee Garmes it was Dietrich; for William Daniels, Garbo; for Rosher, Mary Pickford. The 1921 version of Little Lord Fauntleroy , starring Pickford, called forth considerable inventive genius on Rosher's part to achieve some intricate moving-camera shots.

His collaboration with Karl Struss on the cinematography of Sunrise led to a tour de force in photographing people against a landscape of lights. They photograph, in the country scenes, water reflecting light and, in the city scenes, glass. Sunrise visually bears comparison with the great French Impressionists and Post-Impressionists, presenting a world which is realistic, and yet also inviting the viewer into the romantic world of the young lovers. This film's successful mixture of realism with romanticism is all the more miraculous when one considers that it was adapted from a novel of dismal and unrelieved naturalism. The film's superior qualities are in great part due to the cameramen. Except for Murnau's demands for a moving camera and his interest in reflected light, he allowed the cinematographers a free hand with the visuals. In order to achieve a shimmering effect, Rosher and Struss shot towards the sun. They sought twilight effects of light coming out of the doors of the village houses.

Rosher photographed the 1936 version of Little Lord Fauntleroy . Later in his career, he filmed musicals— Show Boat and Kiss Me Kate —in the Christmas-card technicolor that predominated then. Rosher's real talent, however, was working in black and white, during the silent era. Although many of Rosher's contributions to cinematography were made before there were Academy Awards, he did win Oscars for Sunrise and The Yearling .

—Rodney Farnsworth

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