Ted Mccord


Director Of Photography

About

Also Known As
Thamer Mccord, T D Mccord, T. D. Mccord
Birth Place
Sullivan County, Indiana, USA
Born
August 21, 1900
Died
January 19, 1976
Cause of Death
Heart Attack

Biography

A 50-year veteran cinematographer whose work in Hollywood ultimately spanned many genres and was particularly notable for its use of outdoor locations. McCord began in film in 1917 at age 19 as an assistant to cinematographer James Van Trees. By the early 1920s he was on his own, photographing a number of comedies for First National starring pert flapper Colleen Moore, including "Flirtin...

Family & Companions

Ethel McCord
Wife

Notes

Not to be confused with clarinettist and saxophone player Ted McCord, born Theodore Jobetus McCord in Birmingham AL on May 17, 1907, twin brother of fellow jazz musician Castor McCord.

"Working with Ted McCord was such an inspirational thing for me, because here was a man who started when the industry started. He started when he was nineteen, and had been a cameraman for many many years. I saw that this man was not set in his ways; he was as open as any young man that I've ever known in my life--ready to experiment, ready to change his ideas." --Cinematographer Conrad Hall (Quoted in Leonard Maltin, "Behind the Camera: The Cinematographer's Art", 1971)

Biography

A 50-year veteran cinematographer whose work in Hollywood ultimately spanned many genres and was particularly notable for its use of outdoor locations. McCord began in film in 1917 at age 19 as an assistant to cinematographer James Van Trees. By the early 1920s he was on his own, photographing a number of comedies for First National starring pert flapper Colleen Moore, including "Flirting with Love" (1924) and "Irene" (1926), and occasional Moore dramas like "So Big" (1924). McCord also began working with the showman-like cowboy star Ken Maynard on such Westerns as "Canyon of Adventures" (1928). His picturesque rendering of the scenery of 1849 California won critical praise, and Maynard put McCord under contract. When Maynard moved to Universal in 1929, he took his cinematographer with him, setting a pattern for much of McCord's work over the next decade.

McCord shot over 20 of Maynard's vehicles until 1934, bringing clean compositions and brisk camerawork to a highly enjoyable series of low-budget Westerns. As the 30s wore on, McCord began to work with other stars and studios as well, as on the modest but fun adventure "Carnival Boat" (1932) with William Boyd and Ginger Rogers. By 1936, though, he had settled at Warner Brothers, where, apart from a few years, he would spend the next two decades. McCord continued lensing inexpensive "B" films until the WWII years. While he continued shooting Westerns like "Prairie Thunder" (1937), he had proven himself in other genres by this point. Thus his reliable flair for hard-hitting visuals enhanced such punchy actioners as "Secret Service of the Air" (1938), the especially fine "Bullets for O'Hara" (1941), and even the atypical "Father Is a Prince" (1940).

McCord finally moved up to "A" budget films with the bracing "Action in the North Atlantic" (1943), starring Humphrey Bogart, but his career was interrupted for WWII service. Working for the military's photographic division, McCord rose to the rank of captain, and was one of the first Americans to enter Berlin, photographing scenes in Hitler's chancellery.

McCord's best known and most prestigious films awaited him after his war service, and he stayed with Warner Bros. to bring flair to a wide variety of films. Touching, powerful melodramas like "Deep Valley" (1947), "Johnny Belinda" (1948, which won him the first of three Oscar nominations), and "East of Eden" (1955) used his skill with the outdoors well, and his economical visual narration enhanced more claustrophobic or set-bound films like "The Breaking Point" (1950) and "The Spirit of St. Louis" (1957). Westerns, from "Cattle Town" (1952) to "The Hanging Tree" (1959), never left McCord's repertory, though, and he continued breaking in new directors and making old ones look good into the 60s. His penultimate credit helped end his distinguished career on a high note, when his breathtaking mountain vistas were one of the greatest assets of the sugary family favorite, "The Sound of Music" (1965).

Filmography

 

Cinematography (Feature Film)

A Fine Madness (1966)
Director of Photography
The Sound of Music (1965)
Director of Photography
Hero's Island (1962)
Cinematographer
Two for the Seesaw (1962)
Cinematographer
War Hunt (1962)
Cinematographer
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1960)
Director of Photography
Private Property (1960)
Photography
The Hanging Tree (1959)
Director of Photography
The Proud Rebel (1958)
Director of Photography
The Spirit of St. Louis (1957)
Head Camera
The Helen Morgan Story (1957)
Director of Photography
Bombers B-52 (1957)
Camera
Shoot-Out at Medicine Bend (1957)
Camera
The Burning Hills (1956)
Director of Photography
Giant (1956)
Loc Camera
The Girl He Left Behind (1956)
Director of Photography
Zarak (1956)
Director of Photography
The McConnell Story (1955)
Director of Photographer, 2d unit
East of Eden (1955)
Director of Photography
I Died a Thousand Times (1955)
Director of Photography
The Eddie Cantor Story (1954)
Camera
Young at Heart (1954)
Director of Photography
South Sea Woman (1953)
Director of Photography
Stop, You're Killing Me (1953)
Director of Photography
Cattle Town (1952)
Director of Photography
Operation Secret (1952)
Director of Photography
This Woman Is Dangerous (1952)
Director of Photography
I'll See You In My Dreams (1952)
Director of Photography
Goodbye, My Fancy (1951)
Director of Photography
Force of Arms (1951)
Director of Photography
Starlift (1951)
Director of Photography
Young Man with a Horn (1950)
Director of Photography
Rocky Mountain (1950)
Director of Photography
The Damned Don't Cry (1950)
Director of Photography
The Breaking Point (1950)
Director of Photography
The Lady Takes a Sailor (1949)
Director of Photography
Flamingo Road (1949)
Director of Photography
Smart Girls Don't Talk (1948)
Director of Photography
June Bride (1948)
Director of Photography
The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948)
Director of Photography
Johnny Belinda (1948)
Director of Photography
Deep Valley (1947)
Director of Photography
That Way with Women (1947)
Director of Photography
Action in the North Atlantic (1943)
Director of Photography
Bullet Scars (1942)
Director of Photography
Murder in the Big House (1942)
Director of Photography
I Was Framed (1942)
Director of Photography
Wild Bill Hickok Rides (1942)
Director of Photography
Nine Lives Are Not Enough (1941)
Director of Photography
Singapore Woman (1941)
Director of Photography
International Squadron (1941)
Director of Photography
Bullets for O'Hara (1941)
Director of Photography
Highway West (1941)
Director of Photography
The Case of the Black Parrot (1941)
Director of Photography
Knockout (1941)
Director of Photography
Murder in the Air (1940)
Director of Photography
She Couldn't Say No (1940)
Photography
Ladies Must Live (1940)
Photography
Calling All Husbands (1940)
Director of Photography
Secret Service of the Air (1939)
Photography
Father Is a Prince (1939)
Director of Photography
Cowboy Quarterback (1939)
Photography
Code of the Secret Service (1939)
Photography
Pride of the Blue Grass (1939)
Photography
Private Detective (1939)
Director of Photography
Daredevil Drivers (1938)
Photography
Sergeant Murphy (1938)
Photography
Prairie Thunder (1937)
Photography
Land Beyond the Law (1937)
Camera
The Devil's Saddle Legion (1937)
Photography
Blazing Sixes (1937)
Photography
Guns of the Pecos (1937)
Photography
Empty Holsters (1937)
Photography
California Mail (1936)
Photography
Trailin' West (1936)
Photography
Fugitive in the Sky (1936)
Photography
Feud of the West (1936)
Photography
Señor Jim (1936)
Photography
The Rainmakers (1935)
Photography
Stone of Silver Creek (1935)
Photography
Wheels of Destiny (1934)
Photography
When a Man Sees Red (1934)
Photography
Honor of the Range (1934)
Photography
Rocky Rhodes (1934)
Photography
Smoking Guns (1934)
Photography
The Telegraph Trail (1933)
Photography
Strawberry Roan (1933)
Photography
The Fiddlin' Buckaroo (1933)
Photography
Gun Justice (1933)
Photography
King of the Arena (1933)
Photography
Trail Drive (1933)
Photography
Man from Monterey (1933)
Photography
Somewhere in Sonora (1933)
Photography
Come On, Tarzan (1932)
Photography
Tombstone Canyon (1932)
Photography
Between Fighting Men (1932)
Photography
Hell-Fire Austin (1932)
Photography
Beyond the Rockies (1932)
Photography
Dynamite Ranch (1932)
Photography
Ghost Valley (1932)
Photography
False Faces (1932)
Photography
The Big Stampede (1932)
Photography
The Saddle Buster (1932)
Photography
Ride Him, Cowboy (1932)
Photography
Fargo Express (1932)
Photography
Carnival Boat (1932)
Photography
Freighters of Destiny (1931)
Photography
Sundown Trail (1931)
Photography
Desert Vengeance (1931)
Camera
Mountain Justice (1930)
Director of Photography
The Dawn Trail (1930)
Director of Photography
Song of the Caballero (1930)
Director of Photography
Shadow Ranch (1930)
Director of Photography
Parade of the West (1930)
Director of Photography
Sons of the Saddle (1930)
Director of Photography
The Lone Rider (1930)
Director of Photography
The Fighting Legion (1930)
Director of Photography
Men Without Law (1930)
Director of Photography
Lucky Larkin (1930)
Camera
Señor Americano (1929)
Camera
The Wagon Master (1929)
Director of Photography
The Royal Rider (1929)
Director of Photography
The Code of the Scarlet (1928)
Director of Photography
The Phantom City (1928)
Director of Photography
The Canyon of Adventure (1928)
Director of Photography
The Crash (1928)
Director of Photography
The Upland Rider (1928)
Director of Photography
The Valley of the Giants (1927)
Director of Photography
Irene (1926)
Director of Photography
The Pace That Thrills (1925)
Director of Photography
The Desert Flower (1925)
Director of Photography
Sally (1925)
Director of Photography
We Moderns (1925)
Director of Photography
The Marriage Whirl (1925)
Director of Photography
For Sale (1924)
Director of Photography
So Big (1924)
Director of Photography
Flirting With Love (1924)
Director of Photography
Sacred and Profane Love (1921)
Director of Photography

Film Production - Main (Feature Film)

The Fiddlin' Buckeroo (1933)
Photography

Cinematography (Short)

So You're Going on a Vacation (1946)
Director Of Photography
The United States Service Bands (1943)
Cinematographer
The United States Navy Band (1943)
Cinematographer
The United States Army Band (1943)
Cinematographer
The Rear Gunner (1943)
Cinematographer
The United States Army Air Force Band (1942)
Cinematographer
The United States Marine Band (1942)
Cinematographer
Alice in Movieland (1940)
Cinematographer

Life Events

1915

Quit school at age 17 (date approximate)

1917

Began working at age 19 at the Hobart Bosworth Studio as an assistant to photographer James Van Trees

1921

First credit as cinematographer, sharing credit with James Van Trees on "Sacred and Profane Love"

1924

First solo credit as cinematographer, "For Sale", which also began a tenure at First National Studios lasting until 1929

1924

Shot the first of six films he made starring Colleen Moore, "Flirting with Love"

1928

Was put under contract by cowboy star Ken Maynard

1929

Went with Maynard to Universal Studios, where they continued their collaboration until 1934, though McCord increasingly made more films with other stars and sometimes at other studios

1943

Last film before WWII service, "Action in the North Atlantic", also one of McCord's first "A" budget pictures

1945

Was one of the first Americans to enter Berlin at the end of WWII; photographed the interior of Adolph Hitler's chancellory

1947

First feature film after WWII service, "That Way with Women"

1948

Received first of three Oscar nominations for Best Cinematography for his work on the black-and-white "Johnny Belinda", which was also nominated for Best Picture

1962

Rare credit on non-US film, "Smog", an Italian film directed by Franco Rosi

1965

Received last of three Oscar nominations, and his first for work in color, for "The Sound of Music"

1966

Last film, "A Fine Madness"

Videos

Movie Clip

Fine Madness, A (1966) - Poems Taking Shape Having just evaded another pack of bill collectors, struggling New York poet Samson Shillitoe (Sean Connery) flees to the apartment where, he discovers, his wife Rhoda (Joanne Woodward), isn't ready to join his escape, in A Fine Madness, 1966.
Fine Madness, A (1966) - Hank Longfellow At his day job shampooing the carpet in an executive office, married poet Samson Shillitoe (Sean Connery) feels no inhibition toward secretary Miss Walnicki (Sue Ane Langdon), in A Fine Madness, 1966, screenplay by Elliott Baker from his acclaimed first novel.
Breaking Point, The (1952) - Sporting Blood Fishing boat captain Harry (John Garfield), ducking hustler Duncan (Wallace Ford), finds first the girlfriend (Patricia Neal), then his fare (Ralph Dummke), in a Mexican bar, in The Breaking Point, 1952, from Hemingway's To Have And Have Not.
June Bride (1948) - When I Didn't Hear From You For Three Years... Their personal history roughly sketched in, legit journalist Carey (Robert Montgomery) informs ex-flame Linda (Bette Davis) that he’s just been reassigned by their magazine-group editor to the profitable bridal publication she now runs, her first scene, in June Bride, 1948.
June Bride (1948) - I Think I'd Grab Him New York bridal magazine editor Linda (Bette Davis) now in Indiana with her June feature subject Jeanne (Barbara Bates), discussing the coverage of her upcoming ceremony, then joined by younger “Boo” (Betty Lynn), who may be the cleverer sister, in June Bride, 1948, also starring Robert Montgomery.
Breaking Point, The (1952) - Chinese It Talks Stiffed by his charter fare in Mexico, captain Harry (John Garfield) takes up Hannagan (Wallace Ford) on an offer to talk to a smuggler (Victor Sen Yung), in The Breaking Point, 1952, Michael Curtiz directing, from Hemingway's To Have And Have Not.
Breaking Point, The (1952) - You Know How It Is John Garfield narrating the opening to his second-to-last film, as "Harry Morgan," in the second and more faithful version of Hemingway's To Have And Have Not, Phyllis Thaxter his wife, in The Breaking Point, 1950.
Hanging Tree, The (1959) - Maybe Forever Vagrant Rune (Ben Piazza), seen stealing from a gold sluice in the new Montana mining town of Skull Creek, and shot by pursuing miners, meets Doc (Gary Cooper), who is new in town and whose background is so far unknown, early in Delmer Daves’ The Hanging Tree, 1959.
Starlift (1951) - James Cagney, Janice Rule Air Force men Mike (Dick Wesson, doing the impression) and Rick (Ron Hagerthy) are hoping to meet the fictional movie star Nell Wayne (Janice Rule), who comes from Rick’s hometown, killing time with Ruth Roman, Doris Day and James Cagney, all in San Francisco for a premiere, in the Warner Bros. novelty feature Starlift, 1951.
Starlift (1951) - You Oughta Be In Pictures Visiting the hospital at Travis Air Force Base, Doris Day (before her song), Janice Rule (as fictional movie star Nell Wayne) and Ruth Roman do schtick with the airmen, then the tune by Dana Suesse and Edward Heyman, in the Warner Bros. all-star Korean War home-front patriotic feature, Starlift, 1951.
Starlift (1951) - Ruth Roman, You're Gonna Lose Your Gal Two Air Force guys outside a San Francisco theater where movie stars will be attending a premiere, the sergeant (Dick Wesson) wants the corporal (Ron Hagerthy) to claim to know a fictional movie star, whereupon they meet Ruth Roman, Doris Day and Gordon MacRae, in the Warner Bros. Korean War morale booster Starlift, 1951.
Starlift (1951) - Look Out Stranger, I'm A Texas Ranger Just minutes left in the movie, Phil Harris has been MC at the now-regular show that Hollywood stars fly north to do for airmen at Travis Air Force Base, Harris appears, with Frank Lovejoy the villain, Virginia Gibson the gal, and finally Gary Cooper, the song by Ruby Raksin and Harris, in Warner Bros.’ Starlift, 1951.

Trailer

South Sea Woman - (Original Trailer) A Marine sergeant (Burt Lancaster) battles Nazi agents to help a showgirl escape war torn China in South Sea Woman (1953).
Lady Takes a Sailor - (Original Trailer) A woman (Jane Wyman) is saved from drowning by a mysterious submarine, but nobody believes her in Lady Takes A Sailor (1949).
Ghost Valley - (Original Trailer) A cowboy and a beautiful girl inherit a supposedly haunted gold mine in the Tom Keene western Ghost Valley (1932).
Young Man with a Horn - (Original Trailer) A young trumpet player (Kirk Douglas) is torn between an honest singer (Doris Day) and a manipulative heiress (Lauren Bacall) in Young Man with a Horn (1950).
I Was Framed - (Original Trailer) I Was Framed (1942) says a reporter whose political investigations land him in prison in this loose remake of Dust Be My Destiny (1939).
Fugitive in the Sky - (Original Trailer) A flight carrying government agents and gangsters must land in a dust storm in Fugitive In The Sky (1936).
Force of Arms - (Original Trailer) An Army sergeant (William Holden) romances a WAC (Nancy Olsen) in World War II Italy in Force of Arms (1951).
Father is a Prince - (Original Trailer) An industrialist values money over his family's happiness in Father is a Prince (1939).
Empty Holsters - (Original Trailer) Singing cowboy Dick Foran will be singing a mournful tune after he's framed and ordered to wear Empty Holsters (1937).
Devil's Saddle Legion, The - (Original Trailer) A crooked sheriff tries to pin a rancher's death on the victim's son in The Devil's Saddle Legion (1937) with singing cowboy Dick Foran.
Deep Valley - (Original Trailer) A farmer's daughter (Ida Lupino) helps an escaped convict (Dane Clark) through the Dark Valley (1947).
Cowboy Quarterback, The - (Original Trailer) A football scout (William Demarest) tries to get a legendary runner (Bert Wheeler) back into the game.

Companions

Ethel McCord
Wife

Bibliography

Notes

Not to be confused with clarinettist and saxophone player Ted McCord, born Theodore Jobetus McCord in Birmingham AL on May 17, 1907, twin brother of fellow jazz musician Castor McCord.

"Working with Ted McCord was such an inspirational thing for me, because here was a man who started when the industry started. He started when he was nineteen, and had been a cameraman for many many years. I saw that this man was not set in his ways; he was as open as any young man that I've ever known in my life--ready to experiment, ready to change his ideas." --Cinematographer Conrad Hall (Quoted in Leonard Maltin, "Behind the Camera: The Cinematographer's Art", 1971)

"I had help on ("East of Eden") from a wonderful cameraman, Ted McCord, a terrific, mean old man. People didn't like to work with him. He was pigheaded, bullheaded. But boy, when you talked to him, he WORKED. He really tried to give you his equivalent for what you wanted. He had a lot of guts." --Elia Kazan (Quoted in "Kazan on Kazan" by Michel Ciment, 1973)