Robert Wise The Motion Pictures - On the Bedside Table
Often, when the name of director Robert Wise is mentioned, the first films mentioned are West Side Story or The Sound of Music. These two films are still part of popular culture. Nonetheless, Wise’s directorial output is far greater and much deeper than these two musicals. One has only to look at his IMDB listing to see how many great films were lead by Wise.
With J.R. Jordan's updated edition of his book Robert Wise The Motion Pictures (Bear Manor Media) you get to explore his entire directorial output in detail. Reading this book, well let me state without reservations, it is a pure pleasure to do so. Beginning with The Curse of the Cat People in 1944 in which former editor Wise replaced Gunther von Fritsch at the helm. Wise’s skills are already evident in this moody and magical film. It is his third film that remains a personal favorite for me, 1945’s terrifying The Body Snatcher starring Boris Karloff and Henry Daniell. Jordan’s text takes us decade by decade with meticulous research and very readable style that is engaging and makes the book hard to put down. So much great research mirrors a quote that could be the motto for Wise, “Passion, Patience Perseverance.” Same for the book.
Just this list of films is amazing, Born to Kill, The Set-Up, The House on Telegraph Hill, The Day the Earth Stood Still, Executive Suite, Somebody Up There Likes Me, Run Silent, Run Deep, I Want to Live, and The Haunting, just to name a few.
Wise’s career spanned decades and nearly every genre of film. If you want to learn about this often underappreciated director/producer you cannot do better than starting with Robert Wise The Motion Pictures by J.R. Jordan. I am pleased to have this book in my home library to refer to again and again. Because I will be doing exactly that.