Ted Tetzlaff


Director, Director Of Photography
Ted Tetzlaff

About

Also Known As
Theodore Tetzlaff, Teddy Tetzlaff
Birth Place
Los Angeles, California, USA
Born
June 03, 1903
Died
January 07, 1995

Biography

Talented cinematographer of lustrous black-and-white imagery who, after 20 years behind the lens in the 1930s and 40s, moved into the director's chair and showed a flair for suspense. Tetzlaff began as a lab and camera assistant before sharing cinematography credits on half a dozen minor films in 1926-27. He joined Columbia in 1928, working regularly with good contract directors Erle C. ...

Biography

Talented cinematographer of lustrous black-and-white imagery who, after 20 years behind the lens in the 1930s and 40s, moved into the director's chair and showed a flair for suspense. Tetzlaff began as a lab and camera assistant before sharing cinematography credits on half a dozen minor films in 1926-27. He joined Columbia in 1928, working regularly with good contract directors Erle C. Kenton ("The Last Parade" 1931), Roy William Neill ("Behind Closed Doors" 1929), and the up-and-coming Frank Capra. Tetzlaff shot three films for Capra, starting with the enjoyable "The Power of the Press" (1928). He was prolific, too, lensing a dozen films in 1929 and eleven each in 1930 and 1931.

It was at Columbia that Tetzlaff first worked with rising star Carole Lombard, on loan from Paramount, on "Brief Moment" (1933) and "Lady by Choice" (1934). Late in 1934, he moved to Paramount, where he was soon reunited with Lombard, now a top name, for "Rumba" and the especially delightful romantic comedy "Hands Across the Table" (both 1935). Tetzlaff was now an 'A' budget cinematographer, and would shoot the glamorous comedienne in ten films including "The Princess Comes Across" (1936) and "True Confession" (1937). Lombard even took him with her when she was loaned out to other studios, and so Tetzlaff's glossy images enhanced Universal's landmark screwball "My Man Godfrey" (1936).

Tetzlaff continued at Paramount through 1941 before serving in WWII. Just before war service, he took a first shot at directing, but the Hollywood-set comedy, "World Premiere" (1941), despite some good ingredients, was more frantic than funny. He signed with RKO near the war's end and soon racked up one of his finest credits, one which would set a pattern for his best future work. Alfred Hitchcock's "Notorious" (1946) was a model collaboration, with sensuous low-key lighting mixing with fluid tracking, crane and POV shots to build a gripping web of intrigue.

Tetzlaff obviously learned from Hitchcock when he became a director for good: after treading water on several minor credits, he struck pay dirt with the spine-tingling film noir "The Window" (1949), about a boy fond of crying wolf who isn't believed when he actually witnesses a murder. Tetzlaff stayed with RKO into the early 50s and later free-lanced until 1959, working only as a director; his credits were all B-films or modestly budgeted A's, but the best (the mountain adventure "The White Tower" 1950 and "Terror on a Train" 1953, about defusing bombs) show the same admirably craftsmanlike qualities which marked his best work as a cinematographer.

Filmography

 

Director (Feature Film)

The Young Land (1959)
Director
Seven Wonders of the World (1956)
Director
Son of Sinbad (1955)
Director
Terror on a Train (1953)
Director
The Treasure of Lost Canyon (1952)
Director
Under the Gun (1951)
Director
Gambling House (1951)
Director
The White Tower (1950)
Director
A Dangerous Profession (1949)
Director
The Window (1949)
Director
Johnny Allegro (1949)
Director
Fighting Father Dunne (1948)
Director
Riffraff (1947)
Director
World Premiere (1941)
Director
Glamour Boy (1941)
Director

Cinematography (Feature Film)

Notorious (1946)
Director of Photography
Those Endearing Young Charms (1945)
Director of Photography
The Enchanted Cottage (1945)
Director of Photography
The More the Merrier (1943)
Director of Photography
I Married a Witch (1942)
Director of Photography
You Were Never Lovelier (1942)
Director of Photography
The Talk of the Town (1942)
Director of Photography
The Lady Is Willing (1942)
Director of Photography
Road to Zanzibar (1941)
Director of Photography
Kiss the Boys Goodbye (1941)
Director of Photography
The Mad Doctor (1941)
Director of Photography
You're the One (1941)
Director of Photography
Safari (1940)
Director of Photography
Remember the Night (1940)
Director of Photography
Love Thy Neighbor (1940)
Director of Photography
Rhythm on the River (1940)
Director of Photography
I Want a Divorce (1940)
Director of Photography
Man About Town (1939)
Photography
The Cat and the Canary (1939)
Fill-in Photographer
Saint Louis Blues (1939)
Photography
Cafe Society (1939)
Photography
Honeymoon in Bali (1939)
Director of Photography
Tropic Holiday (1938)
Photography
Artists and Models Abroad (1938)
Photography
Fools for Scandal (1938)
Photography
Arrest Bulldog Drummond (1938)
Photography
Tom Sawyer, Detective (1938)
Photography
True Confession (1937)
Photography
Easy Living (1937)
Photography
Turn Off the Moon (1937)
Photography
Sophie Lang Goes West (1937)
Photography
Swing High, Swing Low (1937)
Photography
Love Before Breakfast (1936)
Photography
Lady of Secrets (1936)
Photography
My Man Godfrey (1936)
Photography
Hideaway Girl (1936)
Photography
Princess Comes Across (1936)
Photography
Murder with Pictures (1936)
Photography
Annapolis Farewell (1935)
Photography
Hands Across the Table (1935)
Photography
Rumba (1935)
Photography
Paris in Spring (1935)
Photography
College Rhythm (1934)
Photography
Transatlantic Merry-Go-Round (1934)
Photography
Lady by Choice (1934)
Photography
Fugitive Lovers (1934)
Photography
His Greatest Gamble (1934)
Photography
Thrill Hunter (1933)
Photography
Ann Carver's Profession (1933)
Photography
Day of Reckoning (1933)
Photography
Should Ladies Behave (1933)
Photography
Child of Manhattan (1933)
Photography
Brief Moment (1933)
Photography
Soldiers of the Storm (1933)
Photography
Attorney for the Defense (1932)
Photography
Washington Merry-Go-Round (1932)
Photography
High Speed (1932)
Photography
This Sporting Age (1932)
Photography
By Whose Hand? (1932)
Photography
Love Affair (1932)
Photography
The Night Club Lady (1932)
Photography
Behind the Mask (1932)
Camera
Three Wise Girls (1932)
Camera
Man Against Woman (1932)
Photography
The Night Mayor (1932)
Photography
Hollywood Speaks (1932)
Photography
The Good Bad Girl (1931)
Photography
The Last Parade (1931)
Photography
A Dangerous Affair (1931)
Photography
Arizona (1931)
Photography
Texas Ranger (1931)
Photography
The Criminal Code (1931)
Photography
Men in Her Life (1931)
Photography
Shanghaied Love (1931)
Photography
The Fighting Sheriff (1931)
Camera
The Lightning Flyer (1931)
Photography
Tol'able David (1930)
Director of Photography
Guilty? (1930)
Director of Photography
Personality (1930)
Camera
A Royal Romance (1930)
Director of Photography
For the Love o' Lil (1930)
Director of Photography
Sisters (1930)
Director of Photography
Soldiers and Women (1930)
Camera
The Melody Man (1930)
Camera
Prince of Diamonds (1930)
Director of Photography
Hell's Island (1930)
Director of Photography
The Squealer (1930)
Director of Photography
Hurricane (1930)
Director of Photography
Behind Closed Doors (1929)
Director of Photography
Acquitted (1929)
Director of Photography
Mexicali Rose (1929)
Director of Photography
Father and Son (1929)
Director of Photography
The Flying Marine (1929)
Director of Photography
Light Fingers (1929)
Director of Photography
Wall Street (1929)
Camera
The Younger Generation (1929)
Director of Photography
The Fall of Eve (1929)
Director of Photography
The Faker (1929)
Director of Photography
The Donovan Affair (1929)
Photography
Comrades (1928)
Director of Photography
Masked Angel (1928)
Director of Photography
The Devil's Cage (1928)
Director of Photography
The Power of the Press (1928)
Photography
The Apache (1928)
Camera
Life's Mockery (1928)
Director of Photography
Into No Man's Land (1928)
Director of Photography
Stool Pigeon (1928)
Director of Photography
The Ladybird (1927)
Director of Photography
Temptations of a Shop Girl (1927)
Director of Photography
Ragtime (1927)
Director of Photography
Polly of the Movies (1927)
Director of Photography
Pitfalls of Passion (1927)
Director of Photography
Eager Lips (1927)
Director of Photography
Atta Boy (1926)
Director of Photography
Sunshine of Paradise Alley (1926)
Director of Photography

Life Events

1926

First feature credits as cinematographer, "Atta Boy"; screen credit shared with William Reese and Blake Wagner

1926

Shot four films in collaboration with cinematographer Ernest Miller, "Sunshine of Paradise Alley", "Eager Lips", "The Ladybird" and "Ragtime"

1927

First solo credits as cinematographer, "Pitfalls of Passion" and "Polly of the Movies"

1933

First worked with actor Carole Lombard on the Columbia feature, "Brief Moment"

1938

Shot last of ten Carole Lombard pictures, "Fools for Scandal", made while on loan to Warner Bros.

1941

Directed a first feature film, "World Premiere", but otherwise kept working as a cinematographer

1942

Returned briefly to Columbia when he shot four films there

1944

Joined RKO; first film there, "The Enchanted Cottage" (1945) (date approximate)

1946

Last credit as cinematographer, "Notorious", an RKO film directed by Alfred Hitchcock

1947

Became a director full-time at RKO with "Riffraff"

1949

Directed his best-known feature film, "The Window", a hit at the box office in its day

1950

Left RKO and freelanced for his remaining few feature credits

1956

Was one of the five directors of the episodic travel documentary, "Seven Wonders of the World", shot in the widescreen process Cinerama

1956

Directed for the NBC/ABC TV anthology series, "Screen Director's Playhouse"; credited as Ted R. Tetzlaff (date approximate)

1959

Directed last film, "The Young Land"

1963

Excerpt Tetzlaff directed from "Seven Wonders of the World" used in the compilation documentary, "The Best of Cinerama"

Videos

Movie Clip

Terror On A Train (1953) - It's A Detonator You're Playing With Director Ted Tetzlaff has established a train, packed with explosives, leaving Birmingham, as we meet a stowaway (Victor Maddern), constable Baron (John Horsley), his supervisor Collins (Martin Wyldek), then railroad cop Warrilow (Maurice Denham), in Terror On A Train< 1953, starring Glenn Ford.
Terror On A Train (1953) - We Don't Make Nuts And Bolts Unaware that he’s about to be recruited to defuse a sabotaged freight train, our second encounter with Canadian engineer and explosives expert Lyncort (Glenn Ford), residing in Birmingham, who is surprised his French wife (Anne Vernon) is serious about leaving him, in Terror On A Train, 1953.
Terror On A Train (1953) - Straight Through The Graveyard Authorities are evacuating the fictional English town of Felsworth, police officials Branson, Warrilow and Reed (Campbell Singer, Maurice Denham, Bill Fraser) explaining to engineer Lyncort (Glenn Ford) about the train wired with explosives, Harcourt Williams the vicar, in Terror On A Train, 1953.
Criminal Code, The (1931) - Between Me And The Boys New warden Brady (Walter Huston) being awesome stepping into the yard,facing down inmate Tex (an un-credited actor), in Howard Hawks' The Criminal Code, 1931.
Criminal Code, The (1931) - They Framed Me Stoolie "Runch" (Clark Marshall) worried he may be the cause of the ruckus in the yard, begging inmate Bob (Phillips Holmes), much fancy montage, whereupon trusty Galloway (Boris Karloff) intervenes, in Howard Hawks' The Criminal Code, 1931.
Talk Of The Town, The (1942) - Such Monumental Inefficiency Law professor Lightcap (Ronald Colman) expresses his displeasure with his reception then dismisses his new landlord Nora (Jean Arthur), whom he still doesn't know has escaped accused killer Dilg (Cary Grant) hidden upstairs, in George Stevens' The Talk Of The Town, 1942.
Talk of the Town, The (1942) - That's The Gardener, Joseph Escaped convict Dilg (Cary Grant) reveals himself to vacationing Professor Lightcap (Ronald Colman) but is rescued by landlord Nora (Jean Arthur) who announces that he's only Joseph, the gardener, in George Stevens' The Talk of the Town, 1942.
Window, The (1949) - The Boy Cried Wolf On location in New York, Bobby Driscoll as "Tommy," loaned out from Disney, terrific opening by cinematographer-turned-director Ted Tetzlaff, Academy Award-nominated editing by Frederic Knudtson, from The Window, 1949, based on a Cornell Woolrich story.
Window, The (1949) - You Never Mean Any Harm Only child Tommy (Bobby Driscoll) with parents (Arthur Kennedy, Barbara Hale), when the landlord shows up acting on a rumor the kid spread earlier in the day, confirming the boy does have a problem with confabulating, in The Window, 1949, from the Cornell Woolrich story The Boy Cried Murder.
Love Before Breakfast (1936) - She Ran After An Old Airedale Engaged New Yorkers Kay (Carole Lombard) and Bill (Cesar Romero), introduced here, have no idea that zillionaire Scott (Preston Foster) is behind the job offer that’s got him rushing for the boat to Japan, all meeting with the kooky countess (Betty Lawford) at the pier, early in Love Before Breakfast, 1936.
Love Before Breakfast (1936) - Where'd You Get This Blue Eye? Carole Lombard as socialite Kay was accidentally clobbered by her rich suitor Scott (Preston Foster) the night before, so she visits Charles (George Andre Beranger) at the salon, only to find he’s not given up, in Universal’s Love Before Breakfast, 1936.
Love Before Breakfast (1936) - Is That A Name Or A Condition? Another big outfit for Carole Lomard, as society gal Kay, with her mother (Janet Beecher), who is sort of supporting Scott (Preston Foster), her rich and rejected would-be boyfriend, who has already intercepted her date Stu (Don Briggs), in Love Before Breakfast, 1936.

Trailer

My Man Godfrey (1936) - (Re-issue Trailer) A zany heiress (Carole Lombard) tries to help a tramp (William Powell) by making him the family butler in My Man Godfrey, 1936, directed by Gregory La Cava.
Remember the Night -- (Original Trailer) Assistant D.A. Fred MacMurray takes shoplifter Barbara Stanwyck home for Christmas in Remember the Night (1940).
Dangerous Profession, A - (Original Trailer) A bail bondsman (George Raft) is asked to raise money to free his ex-girlfriend's husband. It's A Dangerous Profession (1949).
Johnny Allegro - (Original Trailer) A reformed hoodlum (George Raft) gets mixed up with counterfeiters and a deadly manhunt in Johnny Allegro (1949).
Should Ladies Behave - (Original Trailer) A young girl (Mary Carlisle) falls for her aunt's lover (Lionel Barrymore) in Should Ladies Behave (1933).
Notorious - (Original Trailer) U.S. agent Cary Grant recruits Ingrid Bergman to infiltrate a Nazi spy ring in Brazil in Alfred Hitchcock's Notorious (1946).
Day of Reckoning - (Original Trailer) A man's nagging wife drives him to crime on the Day of Reckoning (1933).
White Tower, The - (Original Trailer) Mountain climbers in the Swiss Alps mull over past problems while trying to conquer a perilous peak. Starring Glenn Ford and Claude Rains.
Son of Sinbad - (Re-issue Trailer) The legendary pirate's son fights an evil caliph over a magical secret in Son of Sinbad (1955).
Enchanted Cottage, The - (Original Trailer) A scarred veteran and a homely woman are transformed by love in The Enchanted Cottage (1945) starring Dorothy McGuire and Robert Young.
Fools For Scandal - (Original Trailer) Carole Lombard is a Hollywood star whom a broke aristocrat tries to blackmail into marriage in Fools For Scandal (1938).

Bibliography