Leonard Smith (cinematographer)

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Leonard Smith, A.S.C.

Leonard Smith-Clarence Brown in The Yearling-cropped.jpg

Smith on set of The Yearling
Born(1894-04-19)April 19, 1894
Brooklyn, New York, U.S.
Died October 20, 1947(1947-10-20) (aged 53)
Los Angeles, California
Occupation Cinematographer
Years active 1915–1946

Leonard Smith (April 19, 1894 October 20, 1947) was a cinematographer [1] who had over 70 film credits from a career that spanned from 1915 to 1946.

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Life and career

Smith was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1894. His started as a cinematographer came on the now lost 1915 silent film The Battle Cry of Peace, and went on to have over 73 credits. Smith also occasionally worked in the camera and electrical department.

Silent film film with no synchronized recorded dialogue

A silent film is a film with no synchronized recorded sound. In silent films for entertainment, the plot may be conveyed by the use of title cards, written indications of the plot and key dialogue lines. The idea of combining motion pictures with recorded sound is nearly as old as film itself, but because of the technical challenges involved, the introduction of synchronized dialogue became practical only in the late 1920s with the perfection of the Audion amplifier tube and the advent of the Vitaphone system. During the silent-film era that existed from the mid-1890s to the late 1920s, a pianist, theater organist—or even, in large cities, a small orchestra—would often play music to accompany the films. Pianists and organists would play either from sheet music, or improvisation.

<i>The Battle Cry of Peace</i> 1915 film by J. Stuart Blackton, Wilfrid North

The Battle Cry of Peace is a 1915 American silent war drama film directed by Wilfrid North and J. Stuart Blackton, one of the founders of Vitagraph Company of America who also wrote the scenario. The film is based on the book Defenseless America, by Hudson Maxim, and was distributed by V-L-S-E, Incorporated. The film stars Charles Richman, L. Rogers Lytton, and James W. Morrison.

Smith's first Academy Award for Best Cinematography (color) nomination came in 1942, for his work on Billy the Kid, sharing the nomination with William V. Skall. In 1944, he was nominated for Lassie Come Home. [2] Smith was again nominated in 1946 for National Velvet, and in 1947, shortly before his death, he received his sole win, for The Yearling. He shared the award with Arthur Arling and Charles Rosher. [1] All of Smith's nominations and wins were in the Color category.

<i>Billy the Kid</i> (1941 film) 1941 film by Frank Borzage, David Miller

Billy the Kid is a 1941 American color remake of the 1930 film of the same name. The film features Robert Taylor as Billy and Brian Donlevy as a fictionalized version of Pat Garrett renamed "Jim Sherwood" in the film. Directed by David Miller and based on the book by Walter Noble Burns, the cast also included Gene Lockhart and Lon Chaney Jr.. The film was not as well received as the 1930 original, Billy the Kid, which had starred Johnny Mack Brown and Wallace Beery and been shot in an experimental widescreen process.

William V. Skall was an American cinematographer who specialized in Technicolor.

<i>Lassie Come Home</i> 1943 film by Fred M. Wilcox

Lassie Come Home is a 1943 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Technicolor feature film starring Roddy McDowall and canine actor, Pal, in a story about the profound bond between Yorkshire boy Joe Carraclough and his rough collie, Lassie. The film was directed by Fred M. Wilcox from a screenplay by Hugo Butler based upon the 1940 novel Lassie Come-Home by Eric Knight. The film was the first in a series of seven MGM films starring "Lassie."

Smith served as president of the American Society of Cinematographers from 1941 until his death on October 20, 1947, at the age of 53.

American Society of Cinematographers

The American Society of Cinematographers (ASC), founded in Hollywood in 1919, is a cultural, educational, and professional organization that is neither a labor union nor a guild. The society was organized with a purpose to not only progress and advance the science and art of cinematography, but also gather a wide range of cinematographers together to collaboratively discuss and exchange techniques and ideas and to advocate for motion pictures as a type of art form. This mission is still ongoing. Currently, the president of the ASC is Kees van Oostrum.

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