Robert Wise Appreciation Thread

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by David Von Pein, Mar 6, 2003.

  1. David Von Pein

    David Von Pein Producer

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    Today by chance I was perusing some bio data on the great film director, Robert Wise.

    Interestingly, I discovered that Mr. Wise was born in Winchester, Indiana, very near my city of birth. [​IMG]

    I hadn't even realized that he had directed so many great films. Sometimes you just don't pay much attention to the director's name on the credits (or the credits in general).

    I imagine this has happened to a lot of people though. You say, "I didn't know he did that film", after discovering that a certain person was involved as Director/Producer/Whatever.

    I was surprised to note that the 1962 B&W movie, Two For The Seesaw, was a Wise effort. Just saw this recently and liked it very much. For me, I likened it to The Hustler in style, direction, mood, and atmosphere. What do you guys think?

    Executive Suite is another classic Wise film (IMO). Again, I was a bit surprised long afterward to find his name on the Director card. It's a movie I'd very much like to have in the ol' DVD collection. Don't you film scholars agree? [​IMG]

    And it goes without saying that 1963's The Haunting is definitely one of Wise's best! As for its eventual DVD release ..... We can only hope (and pray to our Maker above) that it's on the horizon! And hopefully looking and sounding just as spectacular as the just-released The Day The Earth Stood Still. (Any further scuttle-butt on The Haunting DVD, Jack Briggs? [​IMG])

    How many of these Robert Wise flicks are on DVD now? Anyone have a tally. I know many are still Digital-less. Too bad too.

    Anyway, what's *your* favorite Robert Wise picture? .........


    As Director:

    • Rooftops (1989)

    • Star Trek - The Motion Picture (1980)

    • Audrey Rose (1977)

    • The Hindenburg (1975)

    • The Andromeda Strain (1971)

    • Star! (1968)

    • The Sand Pebbles (1966)

    • The Sound of Music (1965)

    • The Haunting (1963)

    • Two for the Seesaw (1962)

    • West Side Story (1961)

    • Odds Against Tomorrow (1959)

    • I Want to Live! (1958)

    • Run Silent, Run Deep (1958)

    • This Could Be the Night (1957)

    • Until They Sail (1957)

    • Somebody Up There Likes Me (1956)

    • Tribute to a Bad Man (1956)

    • Helen of Troy (1955)

    • Executive Suite (1954)

    • The Desert Rats (1953)

    • The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951)

    • Three Secrets (1950)

    • The Set-Up (1949)

    • Blood on the Moon (1948)

    • Born to Kill (1947)

    • Criminal Court (1946)

    • The Body Snatcher (1944)

    • Curse of the Cat People (1944)

    • Mademoiselle Fifi (1943)

    • Dance, Girl, Dance (1940)




    As Editor:

    • Bombardier (1943)

    • The Fallen Sparrow (1943)

    • The Iron Major (1943)

    • The Magnificent Ambersons (1942)

    • Seven Days' Leave (1942)

    • Citizen Kane (1941)

    • The Devil and Daniel Webster (1941)

    • My Favorite Wife (1940)

    • Bachelor Mother (1939)

    • The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1939)

    • Magnificent Ambersons, The (1942)

    • Dance, Girl, Dance (1940)
     
  2. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    David,

    Wise was the editor not the director of "The Magnificent Ambersons". Furthermore, more than a few people are still upset with him on his participation in editing down the running time of that film while Welles was out of the country. In fairness, I don't blame Wise for following orders from his studio because if he refused they would've simply fired him and had another editor not really familiar with the film do the dirty deed and possibly butchered it all to hell.




    Crawdaddy
     
  3. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    I have a feeling that one HTF member, who has mentioned beforehand that he liked only two of Wise's films he has seen will make an appearance in this thread. If he does appear, I wonder if he ever seen the following Wise's films that I consider among his best, but are not as well known as some of his other work?
    • Blood on the Moon
    • The Set-Up
    • Born to Kill
    • Run Silent, Run Deep
    • Executive Suite
    • The Sand Pebbles




    Crawdaddy
     
  4. Walter Kittel

    Walter Kittel Producer

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    Funny. I was wondering the same thing. [​IMG]

    I discovered The Set-Up a few years ago, and continue to remain impressed with this title after repeat viewings on Laserdisc. There are plenty of titles in the list that I haven't had the pleasure of viewing, but I hope that as the studios continue to mine their catalogs that situation will be rectified.

    Robert, I would add Odds Against Tomorrow to your list of lesser known Wise titles, at least partly on the strength of Robert Ryan's performance.

    - Walter.
     
  5. David Von Pein

    David Von Pein Producer

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  6. David Von Pein

    David Von Pein Producer

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    R. Crawford recommends .......

     
  7. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    Walter,
    I debated "Odds Against Tomorrow", but I wanted to keep the list at an even number of six films. As you might have suspected, Wise is one of my favorite directors. He's not in the class of Ford, Hawks, or Hitchcock but he's not that far behind them in my book especially if you consider his work across different genres.
     
  8. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    David,
    Fox released a very fine dvd of "The Sand Pebbles" a couple of years ago with an audio commentary by Wise. This film featured the best acting performance of Steve McQueen in my opinion.




    Crawdaddy
     
  9. David Von Pein

    David Von Pein Producer

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    Some people might find his closing tirade "predictable" or "overdone", but I think William Holden's emotional "pep talk" given to his fellow furniture workers at the end of 1954's Executive Suite is one of the Top 10 "Feel Good" scenes in movie history. (Feel free to disagree. [​IMG])

    I'm also curious as to how much input Mr. Wise might have had in extracting that excellent work out of Holden. ??

    Was Wise a very "Hands On" director? Or did he let the "big boys" (as it were), i.e. huge top-name stars like Barbara Stanwyck and Bill Holden just "do their thing", without too much "directing"?

    And Fredric March's portrayal as the company Controller is absolutely riveting (IMO of course).

    I want EXECUTIVE SUITE on DVD!! The greatest "board room" drama ever!

    [​IMG]
     
  10. David Von Pein

    David Von Pein Producer

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    Thanks, C-Daddy, for the film recs!

    I'm gonna investigate. Because the more I find out about Wise's catalog, the more impressive it becomes.
     
  11. Walter Kittel

    Walter Kittel Producer

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    For myself, one of the more admirable traits of Wise's career was his willingness, and ability to cover a variety of material. He directed top films in a variety of genres...

    noir - The Set-Up
    horror - The Haunting
    SF - The Day The Earth Stood Still, The Andromeda Strain
    musicals - The Sound of Music, West Side Story
    war - Run Silent, Run Deep
    drama - Somebody Up There Likes Me

    Pretty impressive stuff, IMHO.

    - Walter.


    Edit: Before someone busts my chops, I know that noir is a style, not a genre. I'm using the term colloquially to convey the scope of Wise's career.
     
  12. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    David,
    Dance, Girl Dance was edited by Wise and was one of his first films as a film editor.

    I love Executive Suite because of the actors involved in the film. It featured perhaps my favorite actress of all-time Barbara Stanwyck who I simply love to watch on film.






    Crawdaddy
     
  13. David Von Pein

    David Von Pein Producer

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    What Walter said. [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  14. David Von Pein

    David Von Pein Producer

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  15. David Von Pein

    David Von Pein Producer

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  16. Peter Apruzzese

    Peter Apruzzese Producer

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    I've always thought that Wise is unfairly neglected when it comes to talk of "great" directors. For my own personal tastes, he's just behind Kubrick, Hitchcock, Polanski, Lynch and Welles. Few directors made so many varied films over such a long period of time. Favorites of mine from Wise are The Sand Pebbles, The Day the Earth Stood Still, The Haunting, Run Silent Run Deep, Star Trek: The Motion Picture, The Andromeda Strain, Curse of the Cat People and Executive Suite. Any one of those is enough to forgive him for Audrey Rose and Rooftops [​IMG] .
     
  17. Dome Vongvises

    Dome Vongvises Lead Actor

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    Robert Crawford
     
  18. BarryR

    BarryR Supporting Actor

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    THE HAUNTING [​IMG]
     
  19. SteveP

    SteveP Second Unit

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    As I've noted in other threads, I had the pleasure of interviewing Mr. Wise over the telephone in December, 1978, (I was 21 years old at the time--and nervous as HELL!) while he was very busy shooting STAR TREK: THE MOTION PICTURE. What a kind and gracious gentleman!

    Even with films that may not have had the greatest screenplays; STAR! and THE HINDENBURG come to mind; his films always have a production polish that stand up to repeat viewing.
     
  20. Craig S

    Craig S Producer
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    I'm going use this thread to sing the praises of my favorite Robert Wise film: The Andromeda Strain (1971), based on Michael Crichton's first (& best) novel. The premise - a U.S. satellite has returned to Earth. Every resident of the desert town in which it landed is dead - except for a baby and an old man. An elite team of scientists is gathered in a top-secret lab to try to unravel the secrets of the spacebourne virus carried by the satellite, before it spreads to more populous areas.

    Andromeda is a pulse-pounding SF/medical procedural/thriller that still has relevance today, over 30 years after it was filmed. The film effectively employs a split-screen device that will be VERY familiar to fans of Fox's "24" TV series. In addition, it features a unique, percussive electronic score by Gil Melle which really helps ratchet up the tension. The last ten minutes of this one will have you on the edge of your seat.

    It's being reissued by Universal on DVD on April 1. I recommend a blind buy. Dome - if this one doesn't end up on your Wise [​IMG] [​IMG] list I'll
    drink a can of Sterno!

    [​IMG]
     

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