Stanley Kramer


(korano) #1

It appears Stanley Kramer divides people a bit. Some like his work for what they are while others are turned off by his rather heavy handed message movies. I personally can understand why many may not like his films but I do like them. Maybe for the simplicity. What are your thoughts on the guy?


(John Welles) #2

I think he’s quite good, perhaps better as a producer than a director (he produced High Noon and The Cain Mutiny), but even as a director he made some fine films like the classic comedy It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World .

Trivia: Apparently Steven Spielberg likes his movies a lot.


(Stanton) #3

I liked his western The Oklahoma Crude. Dirty film with a wonderful cast (Faye Dunaway, George C. Scott, Jack Palance) and a good story. And less preachy than usual.

Never cared for anything else he did, but I haven’t seen any of his films in the last 20 years.


(ENNIOO) #4

Never heard of the director till now.


(El Topo) #5

A director who tackled difficult sujects in his films for the time they were made, and a good actors director. His best film for me it’s The ship of fools (great cast) also like The secret of Santa Vittoria even with all its stereotypes, but from the ones I’ve seen The Ship of folls remains it’s best work.


(John Welles) #6

:o! You’ve never heard of It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, which Stanley Kramer directed?


(ENNIOO) #7

Nope…cannot say I have.


(Stanton) #8

From a nowadays point of view Kramer is a more or less forgotten director, or ain’t he?

I liked Mad World as a child, but when I re-watched it years later I thought it wasn’t funny any more and much, much too long.


(korano) #9

I suppose he is. Some of the best director lists have him in them but others not. Though Mad 3x world is very well known today as is On the Beach.

As a side note, for the last years of his life, he lived in Bellevue, WA which is a town not far from me which I got to quite often. Small world.


(Stanton) #10

Really? Hard to imagine for me. Which lists and by whom?


(mike siegel) #11

Of course one of the important figures of American cinema.

Like Preminger and some others he was one who dared to
produce unusual, daring and sometimes risky films.
Films like THE MEN, THE JUGGLER & HIGH NOON reflect
the times they were made in very well and still stand out.
He was also very influential to some peoples careers
and his collaboration with Tracy during his last ten years
is legendary.
Of course he made his share of turkeys too (PRIDE AND
THE PASSION, DOMINO PRINCIPLE among those), but
who hasn’t?

Of the films he directed THE DEFIANT ONES, JUDGEMENT
OF NUREMBERG and GUESS WHO’s COMING TO DINNER
dealt with unpopular themes and broke some walls down.
One of my favorites is INHERIT THE WIND. Should be re-released
now that parts of the US fall back again into religious fanatism.

To ignore him seems rather strange to me. OK, forgive me, this is a
western forum, not the World Cinema Movie Board…

filming ON THE BEACH:



(John Welles) #12

Some great photo’s there Mike (where do you get them). Thanks for them sharing them with us.

I wouldn’t call him a forgotten director, and certainly most cine-buffs have heard of him, but I think in the general public consciousness, his movies are better know than him.


(mike siegel) #13

Right.

He had a profound impact for 20 years.
People in the industry certainly remember him - when I was
with Bo Hopkins, Kramer had just passed away and Hopkins
was really really sad, 'told me Kramer had always behaved like
a father to him (Hopkins grew up without a father, me too…).

I can recommen his autobiography ‘It’s a mad mad world’.

Come to think of it, I could recommend almost all autobiographies
by film makers - they are always fun and you learn a lot too of
course. With actor’s books’ it is a bit different. They are no
story tellers and they do not really care about all aspects
of film making…

(Yes, I have a lot of stuff :slight_smile: But I’m collecting for
30 years now… If you’d live in the neighboorhood
I’d invite you over and we’d have a great time
traveling through film, history:)
By coincidence I just went through my behind the scenes pile
of MAN WHO WOULD BE KING to find a still of
Robert Wise visiting the set. And found it. You’d love
them - 60 candid stills just from that location shooting.
I like Huston too. Do you have the doc filmed during THE DEAD?

You can browse through my eBay shop (JUNIORMIKE is my ID),
I listed a couple of rare candid stills as well as doubles from
my archive. There’s always stuff coming in.
What is REALLY hard to find is behind the scenes stills on
bloody Italian Western! Besides Leone I have altogether maybe 60 shots.
On WILD BUNCH alone I have 500…
And I don’t see any popping up at these forums here. I would give
A LOT for stills showing Barboni & Hill, Colizzi or all the other
good entries from the genre…

My favorite new entry of the month - Bruce Lee
and Sharon Tate behind the scenes of WRECKING CREW!


(korano) #14

[quote=“Stanton, post:10, topic:2542”]Really? Hard to imagine for me. Which lists and by whom?[/quote]http://www.filmsite.org/directors3.html

Here’s one. I also got a book from the library which included him among the 501 greatest film directors.


(Stanton) #15

Well, this list includes Ron Howard and Sam Wood. And even for a list which ignores mostly the world outside Hollywood I have no clue how one can have the idea that Howard, Kramer, Wood, Jackson, Minghella and many others are more important than Antonioni, Aldrich, Tarkovski and others in the 2nd list. Not to mention dozens of other more important directors who aren’t mentioned in both lists.
But then there are also directors I wouldn’t have expected in such a Hollywood list. Like Max Ophüls. And Satyatit Ray.

What do you think about this list Korano?

I have to admit that Kramer is a director who got in all the books I have read about film more blame than praise. And generally his films got more attention for their themes than for their directing or for the way he treats his big themes.
It’s quite interesting that SW fans are interested in his films. I would never have supposed this. But granted, taste in this forum is as widespread, diverse and refreshing as it could be.


(korano) #16

I think the list is alright. But it definitley focuses more on importance from a historical standpoint rather than skill. I don’t really think James Cameron is that special of a director so his name on the list is rather boring. I also don’t think Roger Corman is a particularly gifted individual when it comes to cinematic art. Though his cost cutting ways were no doubt a relief to his employers. Ron Howard’s position on the list I understand but I don’t think he’s anything out of the ordinary. Never heard of John Lasseter but his position seems largely contributory rather than skill. Spike Lee doesn’t really strike me as that important of a director.

There are others whose position on the list feels undeserved but on a whole, it gets all the big names.

When it comes to Kramer as a director, he doesn’t show any flamboyance that usually attracts people to directors. In fact, his films often feel very cold and serious which adds to the sense of subtle realism in his films. But his films always have a point to them and don’t feel too pretentious.


(John Welles) #17

[quote=“mike siegel, post:13, topic:2542”]Right.

He had a profound impact for 20 years.
People in the industry certainly remember him - when I was
with Bo Hopkins, Kramer had just passed away and Hopkins
was really really sad, 'told me Kramer had always behaved like
a father to him (Hopkins grew up without a father, me too…).

I can recommen his autobiography 'It’s a mad mad world".

(Yes, I have a lot of stuff :slight_smile: But I’m collecting for
30 years now… If you’d live in the neighboorhood
I’d invite you over and we’d have a great time
traveling through film, history:)
By coincidence I just went through my behind the scenes pile
of MAN WHO WOULD BE KING to find a still of
Robert Wise visiting the set. And found it. You’d love
them - 60 candid stills just from that location shooting.
I like Huston too. Do you have the doc filmed during THE DEAD?

What is REALLY hard to find is behind the scenes stills on
bloody Italian Western! Besides Leone I have altogether maybe 60 shots.
On WILD BUNCH alone I have 500…
And I don’t see any popping up at these forums here. I would give
A LOT for stills showing Barboni & Hill, Colizzi or all the other
good entries from the genre…[/quote]
A nice story about Bo Hopkins there Mike - I can see Kramer as being one of those greats from the tail end of the the Goldden Era, and certainly well mannered.

Thanks for the recamendation; I’ll have to look out for his autobiography.

500 stills from The wild Bunch! There should be museam showcasing your giant collection. Robert Wise visit John Huston on The Man Who Would be King? I never knew that they were friends; thanks for sharing all this infomation. Unfortunatly, I don’t have the documentary about The Dead.

I imagine the reason most Spaghetti Westerns weren’t well documented with stills and photo’s, was probably because the producers and directors probably didn’t think that there movies would survive this long, let alone an interest in how they were made.


(mike siegel) #18

[quote=“John Welles, post:17, topic:2542”]500 stills from The wild Bunch! There should be museam showcasing your giant collection. Robert Wise visit John Huston on The Man Who Would be King? I never knew that they were friends; thanks for sharing all this infomation. Unfortunatly, I don’t have the documentary about The Dead.

I imagine the reason most Spaghetti Westerns weren’t well documented with stills and photo’s, was probably because the producers and directors probably didn’t think that there movies would survive this long, let alone an interest in how they were made.[/quote]

I already did two exhibitions (on Peckinpah in general), in Italy of course :). German film museums never really understood the genius of Peckinpah…
(One in Padua, one at the Cineteca Bologna).

Wise - Huston: At that the time filmmakers knew each other :slight_smile: That’s why I love stills like the one with Lee & Tate: it’s so cool to see these
now legendary people one on photograph. I want Peckinpah and Fellini (they met, no confirmation that someone took pics), I want Marilyn and James Dean
on a still, I want Eastwood & McQueen :slight_smile:

  • but maybe Wise was just visiting because of a project (talking to actors etc.). For instance Peckinpah flew to Italy the meet Richard Harris (for MAJOR DUNDEE). He was shooting DESERTO ROSSO. Peckinpah met Antonioni who wouldn’t allow him on the set, but they met. Would be a nice picture too. 5 years later both directors were filming in Nevada (CABLE HOGUE & ZABRISKIE POINT Peckinpah ‘remembered’ and wouldn’t allow Antonioni to use a desert road Warner Bros. had occupied…

SW Behind the scenes: that’s partly one reason, I’m sure. But of course pics were taken! I have 30 on CORRI UOMO CORRI alone…
It’s more a problem with collectors! Before the museums cared for this stuff (studios never really did) collectorsstarted to save this
stuff. WHERE ARE THE ITALIAN COLLECTORS?? I only know guys who collect the usual: locandinas, buste, manifesti…









(John Welles) #19

More great photo’s Mike; it’s a shame your collection is underappreciated in Germany. A Peckinpah and Fellini photograph would be great (if one exists). Two sides of the same coin really.

[quote=“Stanton, post:15, topic:2542”]Well, this list includes Ron Howard and Sam Wood. And even for a list which ignores mostly the world outside Hollywood I have no clue how one can have the idea that Howard, Kramer, Wood, Jackson, Minghella and many others are more important than Antonioni, Aldrich, Tarkovski and others in the 2nd list. Not to mention dozens of other more important directors who aren’t mentioned in both lists.
But then there are also directors I wouldn’t have expected in such a Hollywood list. Like Max Ophüls. And Satyatit Ray.[/quote]
I find interresting that you list Robert Aldrich (director of The Dirty Dozen) with Tarkovski (director of The Mirror). Aldrich was good, but I could never imagine puting him alongside Tarkovski, let alone a Top 20 List of Best Directors, so I’m interested in why you find him such a great (I know in general Aldrich has a lot of respect in this forum).


(Stanton) #20

This were only 3 examples of directors which are much more important imo than several in the first list. I could have chosen other examples. There are also more less important directors in the first list.

I like many of Aldrich’s films, but I don’t think he’s comes near of being one of the greatest directors ever. The Dirty Dozen for example is his most famous film but far from being his best. In fact it is a disappointing film when I think how brilliant it should have become with this director and this cast.