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Victor Fleming Who is Victor Fleming If youve only seen two films in your life youve probably seen his greatest hits--The Wizard of Oz and Gone with the Wind Flemings films helped shape the screen personas of Clark Gable Jean Harlow and Spencer Tracy His movies were consistently successful at the box office and on Oscar night Then why isnt his name as familiar as Orson Welles John Ford and Alfred HitchcockFilm historians have passed over Victor Fleming to favor directors with a strong personal style or a lifes work that can be summed up simply and neatly Ford made westerns Hitchcock suspense Welles was the enfant terrible of Hollywood Victor Fleming was Hollywoods professional journeyman director When he was called to do a job he did it well and with Spartan style His career can not be summed up in a few words many of the films he made defy category save one- Hollywoods most classic movies Fleming was an auto mechanic and a friend of young Howard Hawks an amateur racecar driver Although he toyed with still photography and motion picture cameras in the early 1910s Fleming was more interested in the filmmaking apparatus than in making movies Director Allan Dwan had a similar fascination with the mechanisms of the trade and built his career on problem solving When DW Griffith needed a crane shot for Intolerance 1916 he called on Dwan to work out the logistics Under the guidance of Dwan Fleming developed a similar reputation for getting the shot down on film President Woodrow Wilson also relied on Fleming to get the shot when he sent the cameraman to Europe during World War I with the Government Intelligence bureauReturning from WWI Fleming solidified his status as a reliable cinematographer for Dwan and Joseph Henabery one of Griffiths protegees During the 20s Fleming came into his own as a director He brought future It Girl Clara Bow to the attention to
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