News

A new book from Aperture Foundation publishes 22 Ned Scott images from Redes Film

on Wednesday, 02 June 2010. Posted in News

A new book from Aperture Foundation was published last Fall. The subject is Paul Strand's work in Mexico during the years 1932-34. James Krippner, a history professor at Haverford College in Pennsylvania is the author. Professor Krippner and I have been corresponding over a period of time concerning the making the Redes/The Wave in 1934. Since Ned Scott did the honors as still photographer for that production, Professor Krippner contacted me for research and photographic consult. The Aperture Foundation has devoted a full chapter of their new four chapter book to this film project, the first one Paul Strand was to attempt in his career. The book features 22 reprinted images from the Ned Scott's Redes film still files. The Ned Scott Archive supplied all the captions for the images. Fred Zinnemann called these images "classics" in his 1992 autobiography "Fred Zinnemann: An Autobiography: A Life in the Movies". Original Strand and Scott prints from the book were exhibited in New York as the book was released. A traveling exhibit will visit several cities around the globe in the coming months. Each volume contains a restored version of the film in DVD format.

This book is a prodigious, scholarly treatise of the subject matter. The printing is superb.

Three angry fishermen from Redes Film by Ned Scott

Three Angry Fishermen by Ned Scott

Ingrid Bergman photos from "Spellbound" created by Ned Scott

on Wednesday, 02 June 2010. Posted in News

The Ned Scott Archive was able to purchase 9 original, oversize 11 x 14 prints from the movie "Spellbound", a 1945 film produced by David O. Selznick and directed by Alfred Hitchcock. These prints were made in support of the film from images created during a photographic session at our family home home in La Canada, California. Because of this unique aspect of the prints, these are very special to the Archive. I was only one year old when these photographs were created. They may be viewed here. Author and photographer Mark Vierra of the Starlight Studio made these available to the Archive. According to Vierra, these oversize prints, or proofs, were made at the suggestion of producer Selznick and given to him at the completion of the film production. They had remained with his estate for many years and only became available after his passing. The images were photographed in our sunken living room, 36 by 21 feet with its 13 foot ceiling and floor-to-ceiling bookcase. Pella wall-to-ceiling custom window panels framed the western side of the living room, allowing for a large suffusion of natural light. Following the death of Ned Scott's widow, Gwladys Scott, the house was sold to the actor Kevin Costner in 1985. (Being half Welsh, Gwladys always insisted on the "w" being added to the spelling of her name after she dropped the pen name von Ettinghausen in 1936.) Kostner converted the house from the stark and classy Bauhaus architectural style to a Mexican hacienda style. My view is that such a drastic change, while it is certainly the purview of the new owner, reflects his San Fernando Valley roots.

Ingrid Bergman for Spellbound by Ned Scott

Ingrid Bergman for "Spellbound" by Ned Scott

Cady Wells letters 1930's to Ned Scott

on Wednesday, 01 December 2010. Posted in News

Letters from Cady Wells to Ned Scott show some of the artist's thoughts and feelings about his work and the world around him as he grew into his mature expression of desert modernism in 1935-37. Thoughts on his first working visit to Death Valley appear as do his thoughts on his first exhibit in Los Angeles. These letters may be viewed in Hollywood, documents and letters.

Ned Scott photographed Cady at his Arizona home during the summer of 1935.

Cady Wells and dogs

Ernie Pyle photos from "The Story of G.I. Joe", 1944 by Ned Scott

on Saturday, 08 January 2011. Posted in News

Newly acquired photographs of Ernie Pyle have just been posted on the website under Film Stars. Ned Scott created these images under the direction of producer Lester Cowan while the film was being shot in late 1944. A key feature of life then was the social process of smoking. Among Ernie's army pals, smoking was a cohesive force binding men together in difficult and stressful circumstances found on the battlefield. Ned Scott smoked as well, and he was always ready to light up since he had an Ohio Blue Tip match between his teeth most of the time. This habit caught on, as the photographs demonstrate, showing Ernie and newsman Lee Miller both chewing on the stick matches. Ned reflected later how much he enjoyed Ernie's company and how well they got along together. Ernie was convinced by Lester Cowan to do the film "The Story of G.I. Joe" despite the fact that film was not his genre. Nor was Hollywood an inspiring place or atmosphere for Ernie. But he was convinced to participate because he loved his army pals and wanted to celebrate their experiences in film just as he had in his own writings. It wasn't long after these photos were taken that Ernie packed up his gear and headed to the Pacific Theater. Ernie lost his life to a Japanese sniper during the battle for Okinawa in April, 1945. Lee Miller memorialized his friend Ernie and his accomplishments in his 1946 book "An Ernie Pyle Album". Several photographs attributed to Ned Scott appear in the book. These were shot on the set of the movie and include images of director William Wellman, actor Burgess Meridith (who payed Ernie's character in the movie), producer Lester Cowan, Ernie himself, and comedian and actor Bob Hope. William Wellman wrote his autobiography, "A Short Time for Insanity" in 1974. He chronicles his role in the film (and his role in convincing Ernie to participate). In the book there is a wonderful Ned Scott photograph of all the cast members in the film. These were men, veterans all, who had fought campaigns in Northern Africa, Sicily and Italy. Ernie knew them all and they played themselves in the film. As a result, this film is regarded as the most genuine and authentic war movie Hollywood ever made. I know my father was proud to have a hand in the making of this movie.

Ernie Pyle and Bob Hope on set of 'The Story of G.I. Joe"

Photograph of Ernie Pyle and Bob Hope sharing a moment on the set of "Story of G.I. Joe", by Ned Scott

John Wayne photos discussed in letter by "Stagecoach" cast member Louise Platt

on Wednesday, 19 January 2011. Posted in News

John Wayne, a major cast member from the epic film Stagecoach, is discussed in a letter written by Louise Platt , another cast member. Louise relates anecdotes about cast members John Wayne, John Ford, John Carradine, Claire Trevor and Thomas Mitchell in this 2002 letter. This letter was written to the Ned Scott Archive to accompany a major exhibit at the Cowboy and Western heritage Museum highlighting the making of the classic film "Stagecoach". At that exhibit, several of Ned Scott's John Wayne photos were on prominent display. The display also included several artifacts from the film making process.

Character portrait from "Long Voyage Home" movie exhibited by Academy 1940

on Friday, 07 October 2011. Posted in News

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences recognized Ned Scott's character photography in a 1940 exhibit curated and mounted in their building in Hollywood, California. The exhibit was called "Stars in Camera Art". I only discovered this mounted 11 x 14 Academy print very recently, and it was offered for sale. I knew that my father worked director John Ford's film "The Long Voyage Home", the origin of this print, but I never knew that one of his character photographs from the film would become the subject of such high level acclaim by the film industry. This item was never discussed around the house when I was growing up, and it should have been. What I learned as a young boy, long after my father left the business, was that his work was outstanding but it yielded little personal reward. No breaks came his way. This fine display print, kept so well over 71 years, shatters that myth. Proof now exists that he had the respect of his peers early in his career. It's about time.

The subject matter of this display photograph is "Cocky", the sometimes irascible but always lovable mess steward aboard the merchant vessel SS Glencairn. Actor Barry Fitzgerald played the part. Ned Scott captured these qualities perfectly in his portrait study of Fitzgerald's character. Ned Scott's dramatic flair lent gravity and purpose to the character portrayal. Lighting was soft and frontal with little background except a dark slate which sets off the white jacketed uniform of the mess steward. The black tie which Cocky is adjusting in a cranky gesture harmonizes with the black background of the photograph, linking the forms together in a eye-pleasing whole. The overall effect of the actor's gestures and facial expression is emphasized by the interaction of white forms and black forms manipulated by Ned Scott. One tends to remember this photograph long after viewing it.

Newly discovered movie Ned Scott photographed for Columbia Studios in 1948

on Sunday, 23 October 2011. Posted in News

My research has uncovered a photograph which Ned Scott created for the 1948 movie "The Return of October". No prior evidence existed that Ned Scott worked this film. The movie stars Glenn Ford and Terry Moore, Albert Sharpe and James Gleason. It was directed by Joseph H. Lewis and produced by Rudy Mate for Columbia Studios. Ned Scott participated in five Glenn Ford films for Columbia Studios. He had just finished the film "Gilda" with Ford and Rita Hayworth before taking on this assignment. This film is a comedy which plods along in a predictable manner of the genre and time. At least one reviewer found it to be quaint and fun. The location shots took place at Santa Anita Race Track and residential environs, thus lending a certain authenticity to the production and grounding for the characters. My father never spoke of his times at Santa Anita, perhaps because he was not taken with the aura of gambling and the spectacle of the race track. It would be typical of him.

newly discovered 1947 movie Ned Scott photographed for Columbia Studios

on Sunday, 23 October 2011. Posted in News

My research has just revealed a 1947 movie that Ned Scott photographed for Columbia Studios called "The Guilt of Janet Ames". The movie stars Rosalind Russell, Melvyn Douglas, Sid Caesar and Nina Foch. The film is directed by Henry Levin for Columbia. The general theme of this drama is that one cannot escape the vicissitudes of life despite all the good intentions and grand efforts of psychoanalysts and good friends. Life is just one step ahead at every turn. The psychological downside holds dangers such as long standing resentment which can alter one's perception of reality, especially one's own. My father saved one 11 x 14 oversize print from this film in his own collection--a portrait of Russell. My sister has the print in her collection. Up to this point in my research, no clue as to the origin of the print existed. Now I can marry the print with its film origin, a satisfying moment for me as researcher.

Rosalind Russell and Melvyn Douglas

Rosalind Russell and Melvyn Douglas in "The Guilt of Janet Ames" by Ned Scott

Ned Scott, unlikely candidate, becomes Hollywood photographer

on Saturday, 29 October 2011. Posted in News

Ned Scott was an unlikely candidate to join the ranks of still photographers in the mid 1930's. Practitioners of that unique art form achieved their positions after careful training in respected and well recognized national schools. Ned Scott never had such training. After becoming a member of the Camera Club of New York, a loosely organized non profit group of photographic enthusiasts, in 1930, Ned Scott befriended fellow members Paul Strand and Henwar Rodakiewicz and fell under the influence of Alfred Stieglitz. They stimulated him to travel to Ranchos Iglesia de Taos in New Mexico to create a photographic study of that iconic structure which he did in 1931. He also involved himself in commercial work in and around New York City. During the early years of the '30's, the Camera Club members critiqued his prints, offered suggestions, and honed his talent. It was with these connections that Scott began his first movie assignment, the Mexican funded but American produced and directed protest film “Redes” in 1934. His stills were so well received that once that production ended, he decided to tote his cameras to Hollywood to become a still photographer. He must have appeared a strange candidate to the established photographer ranks with his excellent recommendations but no formal training. Those wielding the large format cameras on Hollywood stages in the mid 1930's likely had little idea of Paul Strand, Alfred Stieglitz or remote churches in New Mexico. Theirs was a cloistered world. However, it was with Henwar's wide connections among film directors and producers that Scott got his first film job, “Spring Night” with Tania Tuttle in 1935. It wasn't long before he was asked to photograph “The Good Earth” in 1936, but at the last minute he was sidelined due to the fact that he had no union affiliation. Scott corrected that oversight, and more and more film assignments arrived, and Scott's reputation as a freelance stillman continued to strengthen. Only five years after beginning his career as a still photographer, Scott achieved the acclaim of his peers for a character portrait for the film “The Long Voyage Home” in 1940. And so the Camera Club member whose associates included some of the finest fine art photographers of the day stepped successfully and honorably into the world of Hollywood film production, straddling both worlds and finding satisfying achievement in each. Despite this early ringing success, Ned Scott felt something of the outsider among the ranks, a feeling which became magnified when he moved from Santa Monica Canyon to La Canada in 1940 due to health concerns of his wife, Gwladys.

Peter Stackpole photo of Ned Scott

Peter Stackpole photo of Ned Scott taken in 1940 Santa Monica

"The Long Voyage Home" photo of renowned artists on the movie set identified

on Sunday, 30 October 2011. Posted in News

It was my good fortune to locate a Ned Scott photograph of the renowned and acclaimed american artists who worked on the set of director John Ford's classic "The Long Voyage Home" at the request of producer Walter Wanger. By 1940, Walter Wanger had already produced 28 films. A number of these were quite successful, and Wanger became known as a courageous and progressive producer. He truly set himself apart, however, in the production of "Long Voyage Home". He commissioned 9 renowned american artists to document and interpret scenes during the film's production because he felt the film offered the fullness of emotional experience, scenic flavor and human interest. Working through Reeves Lowenthal, director of Associated American Artists, Wanger paid more than $50,000 for these professionals to participate. This was a first in the history of American film, and likely the last, on this scale at least. Calculating this commission in 2011 dollars, the staggering sum of $750,000 was paid. The artists insisted on three things during production: freedom of cloice of subject matter, their own studios and access to projection rooms to view each day's rushes, and access to stage sets at any time with the availability of cast members, in costume for sketching. Ned Scott captured formal portraits of five of these artists. The newly acquired informal photograph, picturing all of them with the exception of Grant Wood, was likely taken off set or even in one of the projection rooms. Ned Scott's image documents an important moment in the history of American film, not likely to be repeated ever again.

Artists working on "The Long Voyage Home

Ernest Fiene, Luis Quintanilla, Thomas Benton, George Biddle, Raphael Sawyer, Georges Schreiber, Robert Phillipp, James Chapin, Grant Wood (not pictured) by Ned Scott

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