England (some sources give Nesen, Germany, or Newark, New Jersey), 1901.
Son: the photographer Harry Stradling, Jr.
In the United States by his teens; 1921—first film as
Jim the Penman
; worked in France and England in the 1930s, then returned to Hollywood.
Academy Awards for
The Picture of Dorian Gray
My Fair Lady
In February 1970.
Jim the Penman (Blackwell); The Devil's Garden (Blackwell); The Great Adventure (Blackwell)
His Wife's Husband (Webb); Fair Lady (Webb); How Women Love (Webb); Secrets of Paris (Webb)
The Substitute Wife (May); Wandering Fires (Campbell)
Burnt Fingers (Campbell); The Nest (Nigh)
Mother's Boy (Parker) (co); Lucky in Love (Webb) (co)
Le Réquisitoire (Buchowetski—French version of Manslaughter )
Die Männer um Lucie (A. Korda—and French version, Rive Gauche ); Il est charmant (Mercanton); Mistigri (Lachman)
Rund um eine Million (Neufeld); Le Maíître des forges (Rivers)
Le Grand Jeu (Feyder); Compartiment de dames seules (Christian-Jaque); Le Bonheur (L'Herbier); Jeanne (Tourjansky); Nous ne sommes plus des enfants (Genina); Jeunesse (Lacombe); La Dame aux camélias (Gance); Poliche (Gance); La Porteuse de pain (Sti)
Quelle drôle de gosse! (Joannon); Arènes joyeuses (Anton); La Kermesse héro ( Carnival in Flanders ) (Feyder); Episode (Reisch)
Ungekusst soll man nicht schlaten geh'n (Emo); Le Grand Refrain (Mirande)
Knight without Armour (Feyder); Action for Slander (Whelan)
The Divorce of Lady X (Whelan); The Citadel (K. Vidor); South Riding (Savil le); Pygmalion (Asquith and Howard)
Over the Moon (Freeland); Jamaica Inn (Hitchcock); Q Planes ( Clouds over Europe ) (Whelan); The Lion Has Wings (Hurst)
My Son, My Son (C. Vidor)
They Knew What They Wanted (Kanin); Suspicion (Hitchcock); Mr. and Mrs. Smith (Hitchcock); The Devil and Miss Jones (Wood); The Men in Her Life (Ratoff); Mr. and Mrs. North (Sinclair); The Corsican Brothers (Ratoff)
Fingers at the Window (Lederer) (co); Nazi Agent (Dassin); Her Cardboard Lover (Cukor) (co); Maisie Gets Her Man (Del Ruth); White Cargo (Thorpe)
The Human Comedy (Brown); Swing Shift Maisie (McLeod)
Song of Russia (Ratoff); Bathing Beauty (Sidney)
The Picture of Dorian Gray (Lewin); Thrill of a Romance (Thorpe); Her Highness and the Bellboy (Thorpe)
Holiday in Mexico (Sidney); Easy to Wed (Buzzell); Till the Clouds Roll By (Whorf) (co)
Song of Love (Brown); Sea of Grass (Kazan)
The Pirate (Minnelli); Easter Parade (Walters); Words and Music (Taurog) (co)
In the Good Old Summertime (Leonard); The Barkleys of Broadway (Walters); Tension (Berry)
The Edge of Doom (Robson); The Yellow Cab Man (Donohue)
Valentino (Allen); A Streetcar Named Desire (Kazan); A Millionaire for Christy (Marshall); I Want You (Robson)
My Son John (McCarey); Androcles and the Lion (Erskine); Hans Christian Andersen (C. Vidor)
Angel Face (Preminger); A Lion Is in the Streets (Walsh); Forever Female (Rapper)
Johnny Guitar (Ray)
Guys and Dolls (Mankiewicz); Helen of Troy (Wise)
The Eddie Duchin Story (Sidney)
A Face in the Crowd (Kazan); The Pajama Game (Abbott and Donen)
Marjorie Morningstar (Rapper); Auntie Mame (Da Costa)
The Young Philadelphians (V. Sherman); A Summer Place (Daves)
Who Was That Lady? (Sidney); The Dark at the Top of the Stairs (Delbert Mann); The Crowded Sky (Pevney)
Parrish (Daves); On the Double (Shavelson)
A Majority of One (LeRoy); Five Finger Exercise (Daniel Mann); Gypsy (LeRoy)
Island of Love (Da Costa); Mary, Mary (LeRoy)
My Fair Lady (Cukor)
How to Murder Your Wife (Quine); Synanon (Quine)
Moment to Moment (LeRoy); Walk, Don't Run (Walters); Penelope (Hille); Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (Nichols)
Funny Girl (Wyler); With Six You Get Eggroll (Morris)
Hello, Dolly! (Kelly); The Good Guys and the Bad Guys (Kennedy)
On a Clear Day You Can See Forever (Minnelli); The Owl and the Pussycat (co)
On Walk, Don't Run in American Cinematographer (Hollywood), October 1957.
Lightman, Herb A., in American Cinematographer (Hollywood), October 1951.
Lightman, Herb A., on Parrish in American Cinematographer (Hollywood), May 1961.
Lawton, Ralph, in American Cinematographer (Hollywood), July 1962.
Gavin, Arthur, on My Fair Lady in American Cinematographer (Hollywood), November 1964.
Film Comment (New York), Summer 1972.
Focus on Film (London), no. 13, 1973.
* * *
The veteran cinematographer Harry Stradling was one of the great camera talents in the history of Hollywood. He worked in every film genre and for many good and bad directors. His peers recognized his abilities and nominated him for 13 Oscars. His career represents a scope and quality matched by few cameramen.
Like many of his contemporaries who entered the American film industry during the 1920s, Stradling spent more than a decade learning his craft filming minor works. His uncle, Walter Stradling, who for many years was Mary Pickford's cameraman, got him his initial job. (His son, Harry Stradling, Jr., continues the family tradition behind the camera.) During his on-the-job training Stradling spent the 1920s on unimportant films, even working on shorts for the minor studio Pathé. At this point his career took an uncommon turn. Stradling journeyed to Europe to establish his reputation. Thus he worked on a fine 1930s French film, Carnival in Flanders . In this film Stradling and director Jacques Fedyer successfully captured the image of Flemish paintings, and offered up a distinctive, highly successful art film of its day.
For this effort Alexander Korda hired Stradling to photograph the fine British film Knight without Armour , starring Marlene Dietrich and Robert Donat. Besides the low-key impressionistic backgrounds representing Moscow, the film placed Stradling in a line of famous cameramen who boosted the career of Dietrich. This led to a series of major assignments in the United Kingdom ( Pygmalion , The Citadel , and Jamaica Inn ). From these successes Stradling was able to make his way back to Hollywood to work with Hitchcock on Mr. and Mrs. Smith and Suspicion . He soon moved to the top rung of Hollywood cinematographers.
Possibly because of his experience in Europe, Stradling was willing to experiment. This was extremely rare in conservative Hollywood of the 1940s. A famous film for its special effects was The Corsican Brothers , in which Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., played twin brothers. Critics praised the scenes in which the two brothers appeared as amazingly real.
Like most ace cinematographers of his day, Stradling never stuck to one genre, but he did build up a reputation for a style which emphasized glamour and Technicolor. For example, Stradling was the man behind the camera for such MGM musicals as Till the Clouds Roll By and The Barkleys of Broadway . Later he would work on Guys and Dolls , Auntie Mame , and Gypsy . All these films earned him nominations for Academy Awards.
The final flare of Harry Stradling's long, distinguished career came with Funny Girl . Barbra Streisand thanked "dear Harry Stradling" in her acceptance speech for her Oscar. They later worked together on On a Clear Day You Can See Forever and Hello, Dolly! , and he died while working on yet another Streisand vehicle, The Owl and the Pussycat . Ironically he passed away the very day after he had been nominated for his final Academy Award, for Hello, Dolly!