Robert Wise, the young editor of Citizen Kane, earned his directorial stripes at RKO, particularly with The Body Snatcher and The Set-Up, films of amazing quality and dark sensibility. Wise later found himself at Warner Brothers, MGM, and 20th Century Fox, consistently directing pictures of depth and versatility. The man behind the searing crime film, Odds Against Tomorrow, followed such success with the upbeat West Side Story. Wise guided the great, multi-character drama of Executive Suite and also turned his attention to warfare with The Sand Pebbles. He was the personification of the finest, old style "studio director" and ultimately became a two-time winner of the Academy Award for Best Director. Wise not only made films his way, he made them the right way, directing classics such as The Day the Earth Stood Still, The Sound of Music, and Star Trek: The Motion Picture. Joe Jordan's book, which includes over twenty interviews, presents a thorough analysis of the Robert Wise canon.
"Robert Wise remains one of the great architects of American movies of this last century; the steady, easy personality, hiding a will of steel that allowed him to guide his movies with a hand of knowledge, and authority, and soar in every single genre he undertook. With one of the most wide-ranging careers of any filmmaker ever, J.R. Jordan's book more than does Robert Wise justice in critically assessing his incredibly versatile work, as well as honoring the man who quietly created some of the finest and most famous movies of all time."
- C. Courtney Joyner
Author of The Westerners: Interviews with Actors, Directors, Writers, and Producers
"Meticulous research by J.R. Jordan makes this a thorough study of director Robert Wise, which classic film fans will appreciate. Jordan examines the body of Wise's work in a film-by-film journey, his information woven neatly with interviews of participants providing the voices. They are the soundtrack, and Jordan's careful presentation of the material is the long tracking shot that lures us into a sudden, sharp, and breathtaking close-up, echoing the director's own careful craftsmanship."
- Jacqueline T. Lynch
Author of Ann Blyth: Actress. Singer. Star.
"With this extremely readable volume film historian J.R. Jordan gives us a rigorous examination of Robert Wise's career and contributions to American cinema. Wise often goes underappreciated but Jordan does this pioneer justice. Jordan's prose is accessible and uncompromising at once. This book is a must read for anyone who appreciates the gift of cinema to humanity."
- Tony Kashani
Author of Movies Change Lives: Pedagogy of Constructive Humanistic Transformation Through Cinema (Minding the Media)
About the Author:
J.R. Jordan is a motion picture historian and is also the author of Showmanship: The Cinema of William Castle.