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Forums - Discs & Movies - RIP: ROBERT WISE 

15th September 2005 23:52  #1

Tony DeFrancisco Senior Member Join Date: July 2005 Location: United States Posts: 2,652
According to IMDb.

Director Robert Wise, who won two Academy Awards for directing two of the most successful movie musicals of all time, West Side Story and The Sound of Music, died of heart failure yesterday; he was 91. Wise, who had just celebrated his birthday on Saturday, was rushed to the UCLA Medical Center after suddenly falling ill. Recently, the filmmaker had reportedly been in good health, and his wife, Millicent, was out of the country at the San Sebastian Film Festival, participating in a retrospective of her husband's work. An extremely versatile director whose films ranged from drama to horror to sci-fi to musicals, Wise got his start at RKO Studios as an assistant editor, a job he got thanks to his brother, who was in the studio's accounting department. Working his way up the ladder to full editor, Wise edited such films as The Hunchback of Notre Dame and My Favorite Wife before nabbing an Academy Award nomination for editing the legendary Citizen Kane. He also worked with filmmaker Orson Welles on The Magnificent Ambersons, and was involved in that movie's drastic re-editing, which was requested by RKO while Welles was out of the country; the missing footage from Ambersons, and Wise's falling-out with Welles over the final product, later became the stuff of legend.

Two years after Ambersons, Wise was given his first job directing The Curse of the Cat People, which he co-directed with Gunther von Fritsch. Working on B pictures for RKO through the 40s, including the Boris Karloff vehicle The Body Snatcher, Wise came to the attention of critics with his prizefighter film The Set-Up (1949), which took place in real time. His films in the 50s were notably more high profile, starting with the sci-fi classic The Day the Earth Stood Still; he also helmed So Big, Somebody Up There Likes Me, and I Want to Live, which won him his first Oscar nomination and a Best Actress award for Susan Hayward. In 1961, Wise attempted his first musical, an adaptation of the Broadway hit West Side Story, on which he worked (and reportedly clashed) with choreographer and co-director Jerome Robbins. The film, starring Natalie Wood and Richard Beymer (neither of whom did their own singing), was a massive hit and won ten Academy Awards, including Best Picture and directing honors for Wise and Robbins - neither thanked the other in their acceptance speeches. After making the creepily effective black-and-white thriller The Haunting (1963), Wise went back to musical territory with The Sound of Music (1965), the small story of a governess (Julie Andrews) in Austria that turned into a very, very big hit. Critically lambasted but a fervent, almost rabid favorite with audiences, it went on to become the highest-grossing movie ever released at that time, saved 20th Century Fox from imminent bankruptcy in the wake of Cleopatra, and won Wise his second Oscar in addition to Best Picture.

Wise's output after The Sound of Music was scattershot in quality, and as he grew older he worked less frequently, but he helmed a number of notable pictures in the 60s and 70s: The Sand Pebbles, his last Best Picture nominee; the ill-fated Julie Andrews vehicle Star!; modernistic sci-fi thriller The Andromeda Strain; possession horror flick Audrey Rose; and the first Star Trek movie, appropriately titled Star Trek: The Motion Picture. The director's last feature film was Rooftops (1989), an attempt at a contemporary urban musical. Wise went on to become the president of both the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences and the Directors Guild of America, and found a devoted fan in filmmaker Martin Scorsese, who was said to be instrumental in getting Wise the American Film Institute's lifetime achievement award in 1998. Wise is survived by his wife, Millicent, and a son from a previous marriage.

He might of been old, but he was a wonderful filmaker.

             Robert Wise
             1914 - 2005

16th September 2005 3:14  #2

Jonathan Bennett Member Join Date: March 2005 Location: United States Posts: 600 Send a message via AIM to Jonathan Bennett Send a message via MSN to Jonathan Bennett Send a message via Yahoo to Jonathan Bennett Send a message via Google to Jonathan Bennett

16th September 2005 15:01  #3

Jonny "Me You" Senior Member Join Date: March 2004 Location: Canada Posts: 2,863
I saw this yesterday, it's a huge loss. If any real fans are out there, check out Star Trek: The Motion Picture on DVD, he re-cut and added effects in that properly finished off the movie. It was done tastefully, no added musical sequences Wink Also, I think he has a new audio commentary coming on a new West Wide Story DVD edition.

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