The Museum of the Moving Image presents a series of 19 films dedicated to cinematographer James Wong Howe, the illustrious technician of the golden age of Hollywood and beyond.
From May 13 to June 26, 2022
The Museum of the Moving Image presents How It’s Done: The Cinema of James Wong Howe, a 19-film screening series dedicated to the cinematographer whose skills and innovative ideas shaped the look of classic Hollywood films and beyond. beyond in a career that spanned more than 50 years. The series opens May 13 with one of the two films for which Wong Howe won an Oscar: Hud (1963), directed by Martin Ritt and starring Paul Newman. It continues through June 26 with films from each of the decades he worked in, ranging from the era of silence – Peter Pan (1924) and Mantrap (1926) – to his years at Warner Bros., his work as a freelancer and his last film, Funny Lady (1975), with Barbra Streisand. The series also includes a rare screening of the independent film he directed, Go Man Go (1954), a New York-shot origin story about the Harlem Globetrotters, which starred Sidney Poitier, Ruby Dee and real-life members. Globetrotters. Wherever possible, selections will be shown on 35mm film, including archival prints.
How It’s Done: The Cinema of James Wong Howe coincides with Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month in May. The full schedule and tickets are available online at movingimage.us/james-wong-howe. Born in China at the dawn of the 20th century and arriving in the United States as a young child, James Wong Howe grew up in and alongside Hollywood, acting as one one of the industry’s leading stylistic and technical innovators from the early 1920s through the mid-1970s. One of the few Chinese immigrants in the fledgling industry, Wong Howe hustled, worked and apprenticed to become a cameraman and cinematographer under studio contract early in his career, taking on assignments for such luminaries as Allan Dwan, Victor Fleming, and Howard Hawks, and developing special affinities with William K. Howard and John Cromwell. Wong Howe eventually became a highly sought-after freelancer, working on a series of career-ending hits such as Picnic (1955), Sweet Smell of Success (1957), The Rose Tattoo (1955) and Hud (winning Oscars for both last).
Although films such as Seconds (1966) and Bell, Book and Candle (1958) allowed him unforgettable stylistic flourishes, Wong Howe’s approach was always one of practical, script-driven solutions to dramatic problems. . He was among the first to use deep focus, tracking shots, crane shots and trolley shots, but his innovations never drew attention to themselves, lest images distract from the story rather than helping it come to life. “Discovering or revisiting the work of James Wong Howe is to encounter one exquisite choice after another – he always seemed to know how to light a set, where to place the camera and when to move it,” said film curator Eric Hynes. . “Films are an amalgamation of choice, and Wong Howe has always, despite a changing industry and society and a rotating group of collaborators, made the right ones.”
How It’s Done: The Cinema Of James Wong Howe, May 13 – June 26, 2022 All screenings are at the Sumner M. Redstone Theater or the Bartos Screening Room at the Museum of the Moving Image, 36-01 35 Ave, Astoria, NY, 11106. Advance tickets are available online at www.movingimage.us.