Login | Forgot Password? | Join the Community
Robert Wise DIRECTOR


Robert Earl Wise was an American sound effects editor, film editor, film producer, and director. He is credited as helming over forty films, most of which fall into different genres. From horror to sci-fi, film noir to western, comedy to musical, Wise could adapt to whatever type of film he wanted, all of them crafted in an intelligent way with a flawless outcome.

Wise was born September 10, 1914 in Winchester, Indiana and was raised in Connersville. Growing up, he went to the movies as many as four times a week, but yearned for a career in sports journalism. He attended Franklin College to achieve his dream, but was forced to drop out due to the Great Depression. He headed to Los Angeles in 1933, as his brother had a job secured for him at RKO Studios.

Wise worked his way up from film carrier to assistant to sound editor, and eventually, to film editor. After working on such pictures like “The Story of Vernon and Irene Castle” (1939) and “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” (1939), he got his first Oscar nomination as editor for Orson Welles’ 1941 classic “Citizen Kane”. Welles’ was so happy with his work he had Wise also work on “The Magnificent Ambersons” (1942), in which he also made his directorial debut. In 1944 he was again asked to step in as director for the horror flick “The Curse of the Cat People” (1944), which had fallen behind schedule. After his success, Wise began to direct films instead of just editing them. He followed up with such pictures as “The Body Snatcher” (1945), “Criminal Court” (1946), “Born to Kill” (1947), and “Mystery in Mexico” (1948).

While most of the director’s early features were 'B' pictures, in 1948 he finally got an 'A' budget for the western “Blood on the Moon”. However, Wise’s first high-profile success came with 1949’s boxing film “The Set-Up”. His real-time directing style really got him noticed in Hollywood, and at the draw of the 1940s, he left RKO to make a real career for himself at 20th Century Fox. During his three year contract here he directed the melodrama “Three Secrets” (1950), science fiction thrillerThe Day the Earth Stood Still” (1951), and war drama “The Desert Rats” (1953).

Wise later teamed up with former RKO employee, Mark Robson, to create a short lived production company that involved the crime-drama “Captive City” (1952). He also joined MGM to direct the furniture company executive power struggle based drama “Executive Suite” (1954). As well, the director put out an adaptation of Rocky Graziano’s autobiography called “Somebody Up There Likes Me” (1956), the western “Tribute to a Bad Man” (1956), death-row saga that nominated Wise for an Oscar and featured Susan Hayward’s Academy Award winning performance, “I Want to Live!” (1958), and submarine thriller “Run Silent Run Deep” (1958).

The director won his first Oscar with the large-budgeted musical drama “West Side Story” (1961) alongside director/choreographer Jerome Robbins. Wise supervised the dramatic scenes while Robbins looked over the musical numbers. The film turned out to be a major success, earning ten Academy Awards including ones for Best Director and Best Picture. Wise returned to horror soon after with “The Haunting” (1963), which went on to become a cult classic. Shortly after, the director revisited the musical genre with his screen adaptation of the Roger and Hammerstein musical “The Sound of Music” (1965). It became the most financially successful film of its time and earned five Oscars, not limited to Best Director and Best Picture. One year later Wise once again came out with a Best Picture Academy Award nominated feature with the Steve McQueen epic “The Sand Pebbles” (1966).

At the draw of the 1960's, Wise’s career began to see its demise. He directed a film about an alien virus that took over the world titled “The Andromeda Strain” (1971), a historical disaster epic called “The Hindenburg” (1975), as well as a thriller about reincarnation named “Audrey Rose” (1977) and science fiction project known as “Star Trek: The Motion Picture” (1979). In the 1970's he also produced, as well as movies, a number of television features. His last theatrical film as director was the urban crime drama “Rooftops” (1989), although he directed a Showtime movie called “A Storm in Summer” (2000), appeared in a number of television specials as himself, and had his only acting role in 1996’s “The Stupids”.

In 2005, Wise celebrated his ninety first birthday, but suffered from a heart attack later in the same week.  He was sent to the University of California – Los Angeles Medical Center, but passed away on September 14, 2005 due to heart failure. Widowed in 1975 by Patricia Doyle, the director left behind a son from his first marriage, along with his second wife, Millicent Wise, and stepdaughter. For all of his hard work in the motion picture industry, Wise was awarded with the Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award from the Oscars, President’s Award from the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films, Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Film Institute, four lifetime achievement awards from the Director’s Guild of America, in which he at one time served as president, a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, as well as numerous other film specific awards and lifetime achievement awards from numerous organizations and festivals like the Laurel Awards, Golden Globes, Cannes Film Festival, Art Directors Guild, and others.


2000       A Storm in Summer

1996       The Stupids

1992       At Night the Sun Shines 

1989       Precious Images

1989       Rooftops

1987       Wisdom 

1985       The 57th Annual Academy Awards      

1979       Star Trek: The Motion Picture

1977       Audrey Rose  

1975       The Hindenburg

1973       Two People

1971       The Andromeda Strain

1971       The 43rd Annual Academy Awards 

1971       The Andromeda Strain 

1970       The Baby Maker

1968       Star! 

1966       The Sand Pebbles 

1965       The Sound of Music

1963       The Haunting 

1962       Two for the Seesaw

1961       West Side Story 

1959       Odds Against Tomorrow

1958       I Want to Live!

1958       Run Silent Run Deep

1957       Until They Sail

1957       This Could Be the Night

1956       Somebody Up There Likes Me

1956       Tribute to a Bad Man

1956       Helen of Troy

1954       Executive Suite 

1953       Return to Paradise

1953       So Big

1953       The Desert Rats

1953       Destination Gobi

1952       Something for the Birds

1952       The Captive City

1951       The Day the Earth Stood Still

1951       The House on Telegraph Hill

1950       Three Secrets

1950       Two Flags West

1949       The Set-Up

1948       Blood on the Moon

1948       Mystery in Mexico

1947       Born to Kill

1946       Criminal Court

1945       A Game of Death

1945       The Body Snatcher

1944       The Curse of the Cat People

1944       Mademoiselle Fifi   

1944       Action in Arabia

1943       The Iron Major

1943       The Fallen Sparrow

1943       Bombardier

1942       Seven Days' Leave

1942       The Magnificent Ambersons

1941       The Devil and Daniel Webster

1941       Citizen Kane 

1940       Dance, Girl, Dance 

1940       My Favorite Wife   

1939       The Story of Vernon and Irene Castle

1939       The Hunchback of Notre Dame

1939       5th Ave Girl

1939       Bachelor Mother 

1935       Top Hat

1935       The Informer 

1934       The Gay Divorcee 

1934       Of Human Bondage  

Matinee Classics - Robert Wise
Matinee Classics - Run Silent, Run Deep starring Clark Gable, Burt Lancaster, Jack Warden, Brad Dexter, Don Rickles, Nick Cravat, Joe Maross, Mary LaRoche, Eddie Foy and Rudy Bond
Matinee Classics - So Big starring Jane Wyman, Sterling Hayden, Steve Forrest, Nancy Olson, Walter Coy, Elisabeth Fraser, Jacques Aubuchon, Martha Hyer, Roland Winters, Ruth Swanson, Richard Beymer and Tommy Rettig
Matinee Classics - Somebody Up There Likes Me starring Paul Newman, Pier Angeli, Everett Sloane, Eileen Heckart, Sal Mineo, Ray Stricklyn, Robert Loggia and Steve McQueen
Matinee Classics - The Day the Earth Stood Still starring Michael Rennie, Patricia Neal, Billy Gray, Hugh Marlowe, Sam Jaffe, Frances Bavier, Lock Martin, Frank Conroy and Tyler McVey

Copyright © 2014 Matinee Classics LLC - All Rights Reserved. Developed by: VividConcept.com