James Wong Howe The Camera Eye

James Wong Howe The Camera Eye


James Wong Howe The Camera Eye is the first and only book-length career interview with renowned Director of Photography James Wong Howe. Based on 15 hours of interviews conducted by film scholar Alain Silver, this new book on legendary director of photography James Wong Howe (1899-1976) is a must-read for anyone interested in what happens behind the scenes on a Hollywood set from general readers to film industry professionals.

A two-time Academy-Award® winner and still considered one of the greatest cinematographers in the history of American film, James Wong Howe began his career in 1917 at Famous Players-Lasky as a camera assistant on silent features directed by such pioneers of narrative cinema as Cecil B. DeMille. Promoted to Director of Photography in 1922, Howe spent almost three decades working on A-projects while under contract at Paramount, MGM, 20th Century-Fox, Selznick, and Warner Bros. then another twenty years as a freelance cameraman. At those studios, he shot projects as diverse as the silent Peter Pan, Viva Villa!, The Prisoner of Zenda, Abe Lincoln in Illinois, Body and Soul, The Rose Tattoo, Picnic, Hud, Seconds, and almost 60 sixty years after his first job Funny Lady in 1975.

It was the people who were interested in movies as a living art form, people that loved to experiment and found the results gratifying, who made the technical progress in motion pictures." Such comments by Howe about his career, his style, actors, producers, and directors with whom he worked, and his beliefs about what constitutes good camerawork are extensively annotated and profusely illustrated with over 500 images, many of which are keyed to Howe’s remarks about specific scenes and shots reflect his direct, professional approach: "There must be a reason for all lighting: what it's for and where it's coming from."

Howe provides considerable detail about his work with such producers and directors as DeMille, David O. Selznick, Hall Wallis, William Cameron Menzies, Victor Fleming, John Cromwell, Martin Ritt, Herbert Brenon, John Frankenheimer, and Sidney Lumet. Among the star performers that are discussed are Humphrey Bogart, James Cagney, Sean Connery, Joan Crawford, Marlene Dietrich, Errol Flynn, Clark Gable, Greta Garbo, John Garfield, Cary Grant, Rita Hayworth, William Holden, Hedy Lamarr, Burt Lancaster, Vivien Leigh, Myrna Loy, Robert Mitchum, Paul Newman, Kim Novak, Laurence Olivier, Robert Redford, Edward G. Robinson, Ann Sheridan, Barbara Stanwyck, Barbra Streisand, Spencer Tracy, and Natalie Wood.

Also included are the most complete filmography ever compiled of all of Howe’s work (with some newly discovered credits), two essays about lighting written by Howe himself, a biographical summary, select bibliography, and a complete index. 392 6x9 pages.


CLICK HERE to read an excerpt from Chapter One (low-res PDF).


CLICK HERE to read a reprint of Wong Howe's 1931 essay on Lighting (low-res PDF).


CLICK HERE to order from Amazon. Amazon

If you have comments or questions (or would like to request a 72-dpi PDF review copy of the entire book)
at "AlainSil@aol.com."


Selected other Books:

 Film Noir: An Encyclopedic Reference to the American Style, 4th Edition, now entitled Film Noir: the Encyclopedia was published by Overlook Press in May 2010.Film NoirClick Cover for More Information. TO ORDER FROM AMAZON: CLICK HERE.   [ This is the 4th edition of Film Noir: An Encyclopedic Reference to the American Style Film Noir Encyclopedia] 

Film Noir Reader The Film Noir Reader series begun by Limelight Editions in 1996, the four volumes constitute the definitive collection of critical thinking about film noir. [CLICK HERE or on the Cover for and index page, excerpts, and ordering information on the entire series from Amazon).



[Click Cover to see excerpts on-line from Raymond Chandler's RC's LA Los Angeles Amazon or order from Amazon

David Lean David Lean and His Films. [Click on Cover for Amazon ordering info.]
What Ever Happened to Robert Aldrich? Bob Aldrich [Click on Cover for Amazon info.]