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Stanley Cortez

Stanley Cortez

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Also Known As: Stanislaus Krantz, Stanislaus Kranze Died: December 23, 1997
Born: November 4, 1905 Cause of Death: heart attack
Birth Place: New York City, New York, USA Profession: director of photography, photographer, assistant cameraman, camera operator, assistant still photographer

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A master of chiaroscuro cinematography, Stanley Cortez once described himself as "always chosen to shoot weird things." Born Stanislaus Krantz in NYC, he adopted his stage name from his older brother, actor-director Ricardo Cortez (1899-1977). While still an undergraduate, Cortez began working as an assistant cameraman on silent films. At the advent of talking pictures, he worked as a photographer's assistant to Edward Steichen and Pirie MacDonald and briefly pursued a career as a portrait photographer in his own right. He wrote, directed and shot the short "Scherzo" (1932) before landing as a contract cinematographer at Universal in the late 1930s. Many of the early features he shot were undistinguished (an exception was 1934's minor horror classic "The Black Cat"), but Cortez developed a reputation for economy and efficiency. He was loaned to RKO to shoot Orson Welles' "The Magnificent Ambersons" (1942). Sparing no expense, he and Welles created a particular look for the film drawn from the low-key lighting utilized by early photographic pioneers. Cortez's fluid camerawork with its deep-focus and unique framing kept the film visually interesting and he earned his first Oscar nomination for Best...

A master of chiaroscuro cinematography, Stanley Cortez once described himself as "always chosen to shoot weird things." Born Stanislaus Krantz in NYC, he adopted his stage name from his older brother, actor-director Ricardo Cortez (1899-1977). While still an undergraduate, Cortez began working as an assistant cameraman on silent films. At the advent of talking pictures, he worked as a photographer's assistant to Edward Steichen and Pirie MacDonald and briefly pursued a career as a portrait photographer in his own right. He wrote, directed and shot the short "Scherzo" (1932) before landing as a contract cinematographer at Universal in the late 1930s. Many of the early features he shot were undistinguished (an exception was 1934's minor horror classic "The Black Cat"), but Cortez developed a reputation for economy and efficiency. He was loaned to RKO to shoot Orson Welles' "The Magnificent Ambersons" (1942). Sparing no expense, he and Welles created a particular look for the film drawn from the low-key lighting utilized by early photographic pioneers. Cortez's fluid camerawork with its deep-focus and unique framing kept the film visually interesting and he earned his first Oscar nomination for Best Cinematography. His second Academy Award nomination was for his work alongside Lee Garmes on the epic "Since You Went Away" (1944).

Cortez utilized color for the first time on the superb thriller "The Man on the Eiffel Tower" (1949) which captured the beauty of its Paris setting as well as enhanced the story's inherent mysteries. That film's leading man, Charles Laughton, was impressed enough to hire the cinematographer for "The Night of the Hunter" (1955). Laughton as director created a stylized look for the film that borrowed from German expressionism to American silents. Although the film was a box-office flop in its day, it has since achieved a richly deserved reputation as a classic, with Cortez's photography a major factor in setting the thriller's mood. He also shot "The Three Faces of Eve" (1957) and his camerawork was instrumental in establishing each of the heroine's personalities. For the remainder of his career, however, the director of photography was often employed on low-budget productions that were of varying quality, although he was allowed room for visual experimentation.

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CAST: (feature film)

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1926:
First film as assistant cameraman
:
Worked as photographer's assistant to Edward Steichen and Pirie MacDonald
1932:
Short film directing debut (also writer; cinematographer), "Scherzo"
1936:
First feature as director of photography, "Four Day's Wonder"
:
Put under contract at Universal; shot numerous B-movies
1941:
Loaned to RKO for Orson Welles' "The Magnificent Ambersons" (1942); garnered first Academy Award nomination
1942:
Returned to Universal
1942:
Served as photographer in US Signal Corps during WWII
1944:
Earned second Oscar nomination for "Since You Went Away"
1949:
First work in Technicolor "The Man on the Eiffel Tower"
1955:
Selected by Charles Laughton to shoot "Night of the Hunter"
1957:
Was director of photography for "The Three Faces of Eve"
:
Relegated to B-movies for most of the rest of his career
1971:
Shot the ABC comedy thriller "Do Not Fold, Spindle or Mutilate"
1977:
Last feature as director of photography, Claude Lelouch's "Another Man, Another Chance"
1980:
Final feature credit, miniature photography for "When Time Ran Out"
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Education

New York University: New York , New York -

Family close complete family listing

brother:
Ricardo Cortez. Actor. Born 1899; died 1977.

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