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Robert Wise: Shadowlands


Born in Winchester, Robert Wise spent much of his youth sitting in darkened movie theaters enthralled by the swashbuckling heroics of screen legend Douglas Fairbanks Sr. Through these viewings, Wise developed a passion for film – a passion he followed for the rest of his life, making movies in Hollywood.

Nationally known film historian Wes D. Gehring explores Wise’s life from his days in the Hoosier State to the beginning of his movie career at RKO Studios working as the editor of Orson Welles’s classic movie Citizen Kane. Wise is best known for producing and directing two of the most memorable movie musicals in cinema history, West Side Story with co-director Jerome Robbins and The Sound of Music, for which he won four Academy Awards – two for Best Picture and two for Best Director.

Other than Howard Hawks, Wise was arguably Hollywood’s most versatile director of various celebrated genre films. He directed The Body Snatcher in 1945 and The Haunting in 1963.

In an American Film Institute seminar in 1980, Wise told students, “People ask me, do I prefer to do musicals to drama or comedy? I like them all. If it’s good, exciting, gripping, original material, that’s what’s important, what counts.”

$24.95, hardcover, ISBN 978-0-87195-296-7

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Made possible through the generous support of Margot Lacy Eccles.