Jun. 17th, 2017

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Book Review: "Robert Wise: The Motion Pictures" By Joe Jordan

BY DEAN BRIERLY

For a film director with such an iconic resume, there’s a surprising scarcity of scholarly books devoted to Robert Wise, the man who directed such classics as "West Side Story" (1961), "The Haunting" (1963), “The Sound of Music” (1965), “The Curse of the Cat People” (1944), “The Day the Earth Stood Still” (1951), “The Sand Pebbles” (1966) and many other critical and commercial successes. To say nothing of his stature as the man who edited “Citizen Kane” (1941) and “The Magnificent Ambersons” (1942) before taking up decades-long residence in the director’s chair.

Wise brought a self-effacing approach to directing, one that never drew attention to itself. He may have had the most “invisible” style of all the major directors from Hollywood’s Golden Era, which no doubt helps explain why he never had the auteur imprimatur conferred upon him by French critics who swooned over Welles’ baroque visuals, Douglas Sirk’s melodramatic excess, and Howard Hawks’ male-bonding thematic.
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