Joseph H. Lewis

"A thoughtful American director working almost entirely in 'B' movies, Lewis delighted in the mobility of the camera and often experimented with unusual ways of shooting a scene, sometimes with great success. There are unexpected and delightful subtleties to be found in the majority of his films." - David Quinlan (Quinlan's Film Directors, 1999)

Joseph H. Lewis

Director
(1907-2000) Born April 6, New York, New York, USA
50 Key Noir Filmmakers

Key Production Country: USA
Key Genres: Film Noir, Western, Crime Thriller, Drama, Crime, Thriller
Key Collaborators: Nedrick Young (Leading Character Actor), Ray Rennahan (Cinematographer), Cedric Gibbons (Production Designer), Randolph Scott (Leading Actor), Nina Foch (Leading Actress), George Macready (Leading Actor), Harry Joe Brown (Producer), Burnett Guffey (Cinematographer), Harold Lipstein (Cinematographer), Gene Havlick (Editor), Robert Burton (Leading Character Actor), Russ Tamblyn (Leading Character Actor)

"He brought an imaginative eye even to his earliest, lowly programme-fillers, making inventive use of props or shooting from odd angles, but as he progressed to more fruitful subjects - the Hitchcockian My Name is Julia Ross, the psychological whodunnit So Dark the Night, the gangster thriller The Big Combo - he became still more audacious: the last, a stunningly shot film noir." - Geoff Andrew (The Director's Vision, 1999)
"There is no point in overpraising Lewis. The limitations of the B picture lean on all his films. But the plunder he came away with is astonishing and - here is the rub - more durable than the output of many better-known directors... Joseph Lewis never had the chance to discover whether he was an "artist," but - like Edgar Ulmer and Budd Boetticher - he has made better films than Fred Zinnemann, John Frankenheimer, or John Schlesinger." - David Thomson (The New Biographical Dictionary of Film, 2002)
"Lewis's film career ended in 1958, coinciding with the death of "classical" film noir. His intensification and fusing of textuality and Existentialism within the genre pushed film noir to its logical extreme. His work, however, influenced a budding French movement, the Nouvelle Vague, and may even stand as the base for today's technologically driven and production design oriented action-adventure films." - Greg S. Faller (The St. James Film Directors Encyclopedia, 1998)
"Possibly the best picture-maker in B-movies, Joseph Lewis is admired with intense devotion by film aficionados - but only a handful of his forty plus features are readily available. From the evidence, it would be wrong to assume that the others are without interest, although Lewis himself is said to have counted the noir mystery My Name is Julia Ross (1945) as the "real" beginning of his career.. Lewis was the perfect noir director: he was by instinct a visual expressionist with a subversive disregard for respectable society and a taste for sex and violence." - Tom Charity (The Rough Guide to Film, 2007)
"Stylish director of low-budget genre films whose facility with unusual camera angles and canny sense of mise-en-scène distinguished his output and made him one of the darlings of auteurist critics who "discovered" him in the late 1960s." - Leonard Maltin's Movie Encyclopedia, 1995
"Never really made it above the B-level narrative, but he did some excellent work on that modest turf. Many of his quality productions revolve around plots or characters with complex or obscured strategies, which enhance their strange power." - William R. Meyer (The Film Buff's Catalog, 1978)
TSPDT Guide
Highly Recommended
My Name is Julia Ross (1945) ⦿, Gun Crazy (1949) ⦿, The Big Combo (1955) ⦿
Recommended
Cry of the Hunted (1953), A Lawless Street (1955), Seventh Cavalry (1956)
Worth a Look
The Undercover Man (1949) ⦿, A Lady Without Passport (1950) ⦿, Retreat, Hell! (1952), Desperate Search (1952), Terror in a Texas Town (1958)
Acclaimed Films / IMDB Filmography
1,000 Greatest Films ⦿ 250 Quintessential Noir Films
Amazon Products
Films / Books
    A Lady Without Passport
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