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Encyclopedia > Nicholas Ray
Nicholas Ray
Born 7 August 1911
Galesville, Wisconsin, U.S.
Died 16 June 1979
New York City, NY, U.S.
Occupation Film director

Nicholas Ray (born Raymond Nicholas Kienzle) (August 7, 1911June 16, 1979) was an American film director. Galesville is a city located in Trempealeau County, Wisconsin. ... Official language(s) None Capital Madison Largest city Milwaukee Largest metro area Greater Milwaukee Area  Ranked 23rd  - Total 65,498 sq mi (169,790 km²)  - Width 260 miles (420 km)  - Length 310 miles (500 km)  - % water 17  - Latitude 42° 30′ N to 47° 05′ N  - Longitude 86° 46′ W to... For other uses of terms redirecting here, see US (disambiguation), USA (disambiguation), and United States (disambiguation) Motto In God We Trust(since 1956) (From Many, One; Latin, traditional) Anthem The Star-Spangled Banner Capital Washington, D.C. Largest city New York City National language English (de facto)1 Demonym American... New York, New York and NYC redirect here. ... This article is about the state. ... For other uses of terms redirecting here, see US (disambiguation), USA (disambiguation), and United States (disambiguation) Motto In God We Trust(since 1956) (From Many, One; Latin, traditional) Anthem The Star-Spangled Banner Capital Washington, D.C. Largest city New York City National language English (de facto)1 Demonym American... The film director, on the right, gives last minute direction to the cast and crew, whilst filming a costume drama on location in London. ... is the 219th day of the year (220th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1911 (MCMXI) was a common year starting on Sunday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar (or a common year starting on Saturday of the 13-day-slower Julian calendar). ... is the 167th day of the year (168th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Also: 1979 by Smashing Pumpkins. ... The film director, on the right, gives last minute direction to the cast and crew, whilst filming a costume drama on location in London. ...


Coming from a radio background, Ray directed his first and only Broadway production, the Duke Ellington musical Beggar's Holiday, in 1946. One year later, he directed his first film, They Live By Night. It was released two years later due to the chaotic conditions surrounding Howard Hughes' takeover of RKO Pictures. An almost impressionistic take on film noir, it was notable for its extreme empathy for society’s young outsiders (a recurring motif in Ray’s films). It was influential on the sporadically popular sub-genre often called “love on the run” movies, concerning as it does two young fugitive lovers on the run from the law. (Other examples are Gun Crazy, Bonnie and Clyde, Badlands, and Robert Altman’s 70’s remake of They Live By Night, Thieves Like Us.) For other uses of Broadway, see Broadway. ... This article is about the American Jazz composer and performer. ... The Black Crook (1866), considered by some historians to be the first musical[1] Musical theatre is a form of theatre combining music, songs, spoken dialogue and dance. ... Beggars Holiday is a musical with a book and lyrics by John La Touche and music by Duke Ellington. ... They Live by Night is a Film noir released in 1949. ... For the Welsh murderer, see Howard Hughes (murderer). ... This article is about the film production company. ... Gun Crazy (originally released as Deadly is the Female) is a 1949 film noir film about a couple (Laurie and Bart) who go on a cross-country robbery-shooting spree, that is considered the forerunner to the film Bonnie and Clyde. ... Bonnie and Clyde (1967) is a film about Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow, bank robbers who roamed the central United States during the Great Depression. ... Badlands is a 1973 film directed by Terrence Malick from his own script. ... For other persons named Robert Altman, see Robert Altman (disambiguation). ... Thieves Like Us is a 1974 film directed by Robert Altman and starring Keith Carradine and Shelley Duvall. ...


Ray made several more contributions to the film noir genre, most notably the Humphrey Bogart movie In A Lonely Place about a troubled screenwriter, and On Dangerous Ground, a powerful police thriller. The former is noted for featuring one of Bogart’s most complex performances. Bogart redirects here. ... In a Lonely Place is a 1950 film noir directed by Nicholas Ray, starring Humphrey Bogart and Gloria Grahame, and produced for Bogarts Santana Productions. ... On Dangerous Ground is a 1952 film released by RKO Radio Pictures, directed by Nicholas Ray and produced by John Houseman. ...


Other minor film noirs he directed in this period were Born to Be Bad and A Woman’s Secret.


Ray's most productive and successful period was the 1950s, although his sympathy for society's outsiders and rebels clearly predated the 1960s counterculture. It was in the mid 50s that he made the two films he is best remembered for. 1954’s Johnny Guitar was an influential, proto-feminist western much loved by French critics (François Truffaut called it "the beauty and the beast" of the western). In 1955, however, Ray directed the iconic Rebel Without a Cause. Its legendary status had much to do with its star James Dean, whose premature death followed soon after the film’s completion. Looking past its main attraction these days as a vehicle for the poster boy of a generation, Rebel Without a Cause distilled much of the essence of Ray’s cinematic vision: expressionistic use of colour, dramatic use of architecture and an empathy for those who struggle to fit in to mainstream society. (It has often been noted that Ray’s virtuoso use of architecture was perhaps influenced by his early studies as an architecture student under Frank Lloyd Wright.) The counterculture of the 1960s began in the United States as a reaction against the conservative social norms of the 1950s, the political conservatism (and social repression) of the Cold War period, and the US governments extensive military intervention in Vietnam. ... François Roland Truffaut (French IPA: ) (February 6, 1932 – October 21, 1984) was one of the founders of the French New Wave in filmmaking, and remains an icon of the French film industry. ... For the film, see James Dean (film). ... Frank Lloyd Wright (June 8, 1867 – April 9, 1959) was one of the worlds most prominent and influential architects. ...


Ray’s expressionistic use of framing and colour arguably reached its apogee in his 1956 melodrama Bigger Than Life starring James Mason as a small town school teacher driven insane by the effects of new wonder-drug Cortisone. Like Rebel Without A Cause before it, it can be seen a savage indictment of the materialistic values of 1950s American suburbia. James Neville Mason (May 15, 1909 – July 27, 1984) was a three-time Academy Award nominated English actor who attained stardom in both British and American films. ... Cortisone (IPA:ˈkôrtəˌsōn) is a steroid hormone. ...


Alongside these acclaimed, influential works Ray also made many other films in multiple genres which, although made with professionalism and flair, were comparatively minor works, often suffering from unwanted studio interference. These ‘flawed’ but fascinating films would include Hot Blood, Party Girl and The Savage Innocents.


A bisexual and heavy user of drugs and alcohol, Ray found himself increasingly shut out of the Hollywood film industry in the early 1960s. After collapsing on the set of 55 Days at Peking (1963), he would not direct again until the mid-1970s. From 1971 to 1973, Ray taught filmmaking at Harpur College (part of the State University of New York at Binghamton) where he and his students produced We Can't Go Home Again, an ambitious autobiographical film employing multiple superimpositions. An early version of the film was shown at the Cannes Film Festival in 1973, but Ray, never satisfied with the project, continued editing it until his death in 1979. Shortly before his death he collaborated on the direction of Lightning Over Water (also known as Nick’s Film) with German director Wim Wenders. He died of lung cancer on June 16, 1979 at the age of 67 in New York City, New York. “Bisexual” redirects here. ... Comparison of the perceived harm for various psychoactive drugs from a poll among medical psychiatrists specialized in addiction treatment[1] This article is an overview of the nontherapeutic use of alcohol and drugs of abuse. ... Alcoholism is the consumption of, or preoccupation with, alcoholic beverages to the extent that this behavior interferes with the drinkers normal personal, family, social, or work life, and may lead to physical or mental harm. ... Hollywood redirects here. ... The 1960s decade refers to the years from 1960 to 1969. ... 55 Days at Peking is a 1963 historical epic film made by Samuel Bronston Productions and released by Allied Artists. ... For other uses, see 1963 (disambiguation). ... The 1970s decade refers to the years from 1970 to 1979, also called The Seventies. ... Ernst Wilhelm (Wim) Wenders (born August 14, 1945) is a German film director, playwright, photographer, and producer. ... Lung cancer is a disease of uncontrolled cell growth in tissues of the lung. ... is the 167th day of the year (168th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Also: 1979 by Smashing Pumpkins. ... New York, New York and NYC redirect here. ... This article is about the state. ...


Nicholas Ray’s immense influence on a younger generation of directors cannot be overstated. Certain French New Wave directors and critics (most notably Jean-Luc Godard) held Ray in high regard. Wim Wenders' films are indebted to Ray, from the casting of Rebel Without a Cause's Dennis Hopper and the expressionistic use of colour in his own film The American Friend, to the title of sci-fi film Until the End of the World (which were the last spoken words in Ray’s biblical epic King of Kings). Jean-Luc Godard (French IPA: ) (born 3 December 1930) is a French filmmaker and one of the most influential members of the Nouvelle Vague, or French New Wave. Born to Franco-Swiss parents in Paris, he was educated in Nyon, Switzerland, later studying at the Lycée Rohmer, and the... Ernst Wilhelm (Wim) Wenders (born August 14, 1945) is a German film director, playwright, photographer, and producer. ... Dennis Lee Hopper (born May 17, 1936) is an Academy Award-nominated American actor and film-maker. ... The American Friend (German: Der Amerikanische Freund) (1977) is a criminal character study film, by German director Wim Wenders, loosely adapted from the novel Ripleys Game by Patricia Highsmith. ... Until the End of the World (German: Bis ans Ende der Welt) is a 1991 film by the German-born film director Wim Wenders; the screenplay was written by Wenders and Peter Carey, from a story by Wenders and Solveig Dommartin. ... King of Kings is a 1961 American motion picture epic made by Samuel Bronston Productions and distributed by MGM. It is a retelling the story of Jesus from his birth to his crucifixion and Resurrection. ...


A film about Ray, Interrupted, has been announced for 2007, to be directed by Philip Kaufman. The film director, on the right, gives last minute direction to the cast and crew, whilst filming a costume drama on location in London. ... Philip Kaufman (born October 23, 1936) is a film director and screenwriter from Chicago, Illinois. ...

Contents

Influence

In the decades after his professional peak, Ray continues to influence directors to this day:

  • Jean-Luc Godard was a huge admirer of Ray and famously said that "The cinema is Nicholas Ray."
  • Martin Scorsese is a fan of Ray's, particularly Johnny Guitar (1954), Rebel Without a Cause (1955) and Bigger Than Life (1956). He used clips from two of them in his documentary "A Personal Journey With Martin Scorsese Through American Movies."
  • Director Curtis Hanson is featured on a documentary for the DVD release of In A Lonely Place, giving his analysis on the film. The film was one of many influences on his direction of L.A. Confidential (1997).
  • François Truffaut has written essays about Ray (who is featured prominently in his book "The Films in My Life"). He asserts that They Live by Night (1949) is Ray's best movie, but gives special attention to his films Bigger Than Life (1956) and Johnny Guitar (1954).
  • Wim Wenders is another European admirer of Ray's, and has paid homage to Ray in many movies. He even gave Ray a cameo in his film The American Friend.
  • While teaching at New York University, Ray taught and befriended cult director Jim Jarmusch, who became his assistant. In turn, Jarmusch says that he looked to Ray for script advice, and still misses him to this day.

Jean-Luc Godard (French IPA: ) (born 3 December 1930) is a French filmmaker and one of the most influential members of the Nouvelle Vague, or French New Wave. Born to Franco-Swiss parents in Paris, he was educated in Nyon, Switzerland, later studying at the Lycée Rohmer, and the... Martin Marcantonio Luciano Scorsese (IPA: AmE: ; Ita: []) (born November 17, 1942) is an American film director, writer and producer and founder of the World Cinema Foundation. ... Johnny Guitar is a 1954 Western, famed for its unusual storyline and colourful cinematography. ... Rebel Without a Cause is a 1955 film directed by Nicholas Ray that tells the story of a rebellious teenager who comes to a new town, meets a girl, defies his parents, and faces the local high school bullies. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... In a Lonely Place is a 1950 film noir directed by Nicholas Ray, starring Humphrey Bogart and Gloria Grahame, and produced for Bogarts Santana Productions. ... This article is about the film. ... François Roland Truffaut (French IPA: ) (February 6, 1932 – October 21, 1984) was one of the founders of the French New Wave in filmmaking, and remains an icon of the French film industry. ... They Live by Night is a Film noir released in 1949. ... Johnny Guitar is a 1954 Western, famed for its unusual storyline and colourful cinematography. ... Ernst Wilhelm (Wim) Wenders (born August 14, 1945) is a German film director, playwright, photographer, and producer. ... The American Friend (German: Der Amerikanische Freund) (1977) is a criminal character study film, by German director Wim Wenders, loosely adapted from the novel Ripleys Game by Patricia Highsmith. ... New York University (NYU) is a private, nonsectarian, coeducational research university in New York City. ... Jim Jarmusch Jim Jarmusch (born January 22, 1953 in Akron, Ohio) is a noted American independent film director. ...

Selected filmography

Knock on Any Door is a 1949 film directed by Nicholas Ray with Humphrey Bogart, based on the novel by Willard Motley. ... A Womans Secret is a 1949 film noir. ... They Live by Night is a Film noir released in 1949. ... In a Lonely Place is a 1950 film noir directed by Nicholas Ray, starring Humphrey Bogart and Gloria Grahame, and produced for Bogarts Santana Productions. ... On Dangerous Ground is a 1952 film released by RKO Radio Pictures, directed by Nicholas Ray and produced by John Houseman. ... Flying Leathernecks is a 1951 action film directed by Nicholas Ray and starring John Wayne. ... The Lusty Men is a 1952 western film made by Wald-Krasna productions and RKO Radio Pictures. ... Johnny Guitar is a 1954 Western, famed for its unusual storyline and colourful cinematography. ... Rebel Without a Cause is a 1955 film directed by Nicholas Ray that tells the story of a rebellious teenager who comes to a new town, meets a girl, defies his parents, and faces the local high school bullies. ... Party Girl is a 1958 film directed by Nicholas Ray and starring Robert Taylor and Cyd Charisse. ... The Savage Innocents is a 1960 film, adapted from the novel Top of the World by Swiss writer Hans Ruesch. ... King of Kings is a 1961 American motion picture epic retelling the story of Jesus from his birth to his crucifixion and Resurrection. ... 55 Days at Peking is a 1963 historical epic film made by Samuel Bronston Productions and released by Allied Artists. ...

References

Andrew, Geoff: The Films of Nicholas Ray, British Film Institute, 2004, ISBN 0-84457-001-0


External links


  Results from FactBites:
 
sfbg.com | A and E (1100 words)
Just as Ray's melodramas invert the genre, this is a noir in which the femme fatale (Grahame, whose arched eyebrows add irony to her nuanced line readings) doesn't die and isn't evil.
Ray's hostility toward the cheap novels he'd adapted, and his paranoia – he was a tape-recording buddy of Howard Hughes, yet also the nonsnitch flip side of another pal, Elia Kazan, during the McCarthy era – seethe within screenwriter Dixon Steele (Bogart).
Ray had traded the action of his Hollywood peak for experimental pursuits, and his self-mythologizing had grown nostalgic; the movie's best scenes are excerpts from his earlier work.
The Films of Nicholas Ray (2238 words)
Ray is always offering interesting perspectives from one room to another.
This lack of motion is treated by Ray as an evil quality, a lack of the vital energy and purposeful activity shown by the good characters.
Ray's rooms always seem to be strictly rectangular.
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