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Produced by: Midnight Marquee Productions and JBH Video
Written by A. Susan Svehla, Jeff Herberger and Gary J. Svehla
Narrated by Tom Proveaux
Robert Wise interviewed by Gregory Mank;
David Sterritt interviewed by Alexandra Hewett
Directed and Edited by Jeff Herberger

He represents the American tradition of excellence and honesty and integrity. In a sense, he was the Steven Spielberg of his time.—Martin Scorsese

Hard working, dedicated, inventive, and ready to tackle any genre—that was Academy Award-winning director Robert Wise. Despite all the praise and awards, Wise could easily be called one of Hollywood's always working blue-collar directors. He helmed everything from B movies to Academy Award-winning blockbusters, all while managing to live a quiet life amid the glitz, glamour and scandal of Tinseltown. How this soft-spoken man managed to tame mega-stars' egos while directing film classics remains a mystery. But manage them he did, as he created an amazing resume of films and garnered a slew of awards from the Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Golden Globes, the American Film Institute, the American Society of Cinematographers, the Director's Guild of America and many other industry organizations.

Robert Wise: Hollywood's Blue Collar Director is focused upon Mr. Wise's Guest-of-Honor appearance at the FANEX 10 Film Convention, held in Baltimore, Maryland in 1996 when Wise was greeted on stage to thunderous applause before being interviewed by film historian Gregory Mank. Editor/Director Jeff Herberger infuses the documentary with archival film footage of Robert Wise, throughout all stages of his career, interspersed throughout with rare photographs from many of Mr. Wise's movies, including behind-the-scenes shots. With a wrap-around narrative that illustrates the totality of Robert Wise's career, beginning in the early 1940s and ending in the early 1980s, an expansive career retrospective emerges. Helping to document the progression of Wise's career and interpret the meaning of the movies comes the enthusiastic on-screen commentary from David Sterritt, Ph.D., Chair, National Society of Film Critics.

The 100-minute documentary focuses primarily upon the following movies either edited or directed by the incomparable cinematic icon, Robert Wise.

Editing Movies for Orson Welles: Citizen Kane (1941) and The Magnificent Ambersons (1942)—Robert Wise's masterful editing can be observed at the long dining room table, from Citizen Kane, where a montage of two people aging and increasing physical separation between Kane and his wife illustrates their deteriorating marriage.

Working For Producer Val Lewton: Cat People (1942), Curse of the Cat People (1944), Mademoiselle Fifi (1944) and The Body Snatcher (1945)—Robert Wise's masterful editing of the psychological horror classic Cat People led to his debut as director when he replaced the too-slow working director of its sequel, Curse of the Cat People. When directing The Body Snatcher Wise had the opportunity to work with horror film icons Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi.

Creating the Dark Urban Shadows of Film Noir: Born To Kill (1947), The Setup (1949), House on Telegraph Hill (1951), I Want To Live (1958)—Robert Wise, never a director to work only in one genre, filmed the film noir classic The Setup in real time to emphasize the building tension of Robert Ryan's victimized boxer trying to escape from criminals who want him dead.

Robert Wise Confronts the American West: Blood on The Moon (1948) and Two Flags West (1950)—Director Wise when he directed Blood on The Moon, with cinematographer Nicholas Musuraca, employed low camera angles and film noir lighting to create a tense Western starring Robert Mitchum.

Robert Wise and The Science Fiction Universe: The Day The Earth Stood Still (1951), The Andromeda Strain (1971), Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979)—Robert Wise remains decidedly earthbound with this anti-war message film, The Day The Earth Stood Still, where an indestructible robot Gort warns the citizens of our planet to make peace or face total destruction.

Robert Wise Embraces the Supernatural: The Haunting (1963) and Audrey Rose (1977)—Robert Wise returns to his Val Lewton B horror roots by directing the scariest haunted house movie ever made, The Haunting, based upon Shirley Jackson's best-selling novel. Audrey Rose investigates the director's personal belief in reincarnation.

Robert Wise Finds Gold with the Movie Musical: West Side Story (1961), The Sound of Music (1965) and Star (1968)—Robert Wise gets American to snap its fingers as New York street gangs dance, recreating Romeo and Juliet for modern audiences in West Side Story, while Julie Andrews sings her heart out while twirling in a meadow overlooked by the alps, making the joyous The Sound of Music.