1. Robert Earl Wise was an American film director, producer and editor.
2. He won Academy Awards for Best Director and Best Picture for both West Side Story .
3. He was also nominated for Best Film Editing for Citizen Kane , which was nominated for Best Picture.
4. Often contrasted with auteur directors such as Stanley Kubrick, who tended to bring a distinctive directorial “look” to a particular genre, Wise has been viewed as a craftsman, inclined to let the story concept set the style.
5. Wise achieved critical success as a director in a striking variety of film genres: horror, noir, western, war, science fiction, musical and drama, with many repeat successes within each genre.
6. Wise was born in Winchester, Randolph County, Indiana, the youngest son of Olive R. and Earl W. Wise, a meat packer. The family moved to Connersville, Fayette County, Indiana, where Wise attended public schools.
7. Wise began his movie career at RKO as a sound and music editor.
8. In the 1930s, RKO was a small, budget-minded studio with “a strong work ethic” and “willingness to take artistic risks”, which was fortunate for a newcomer to Hollywood such as Wise.
9. At RKO, Wise worked with Orson Welles on Citizen Kane and was nominated for the Academy Award for Film Editing.
10. In Citizen Kane, Welles used a deep-focus technique, in which heavy lights are employed to achieve sharp focus for both foreground and background in the frame.
11. While working as a film editor, Wise was called on to shoot additional scenes for the film.
12. For Wise, connecting to the viewer was the “most important part of making a film.” In addition, he was known for his attention to detail and well-researched preparation for a film.
13. For example, before directing Until They Sail , set in New Zealand during World War II, Wise traveled to New Zealand to interview women whose lives were similar to those portrayed in the film.
14. For example, Native Americans, Muslims, and African Americans were featured in such films as Two Flags West .
15. At RKO, Wise got his first credited directing job in 1944 while working for Hollywood horror film producer Val Lewton.
16. In the 1950s, Wise proved adept in several genres, including science fiction in The Day the Earth Stood Still based on Homer.