Great Cinematographers, Part 15: Harry Stradling, Sr.

Harry Stradling, Sr. (1901-1970) was nominated for a total of 14 Academy Awards for Best Cinematography between 1944 and 1970, winning twice for The Picture of Dorian Gray (1945) and My Fair Lady (1964). In a career lasting half a century, he showed his mastery for his craft in many films, including in the three examples below.

Suspicion (1941, dir. Alfred Hitchcock) – When Cary Grant opens the door to bring milk upstairs to wife Joan Fontaine, the interplay of light and shadow is an example of Stradling’s consummate abilities. (I apologize for the weird, though brief, moment with a Russian voiceover. It doesn’t really interfere with the scene anyway.)

A Streetcar Named Desire (1951, dir. Elia Kazan) – One of the most powerful scenes in American film history is that of Marlon Brando screaming “Stella!” in this 1950s classic. With the way that the light hits Brando and Kim Hunter, you really feel like you’re in the midst of that hot New Orleans summer night.

Funny Girl (1968, dir. William Wyler) – Barbra Streisand became a Hollywood star with her Oscar-winning turn in this musical. “Don’t Rain on My Parade” is, in my eyes, the undisputed highlight of the film, even greater than the “My Man” finale. The camerawork is quite extraordinary, given the uses of transportation (train, boat). Only a really talented director of photography could have accomplished what Stradling did.


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