Happy 93rd Birthday Haskell Wexler

Happy 93rd birthday to the truly great cinematographer (and director) Haskell Wexler. In addition to being a model of living one’s beliefs and making the industry a better place wherever he touches it, Wexler is also one of those special cinematographers who makes every film they shoot a must-watch.

Consider the following credits and know that this is just a selection: THE LOVED ONE, WHO’S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF?, IN THE HEAT OF THE NIGHT, FACES, MEDIUM COOL (he also directed), ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO’S NEST, BOUND FOR GLORY, COMING HOME, MATEWAN etc.

I remember when John Sayles and Maggie Renzi joined us here at AFS for a screening of their great film MATEWAN. They were knee deep in preparing MATEWAN and they needed a cinematographer. Maggie decided to try to get Haskell Wexler, even though he was way, way out of the movie’s budget and prestige range. She left a message and when they got back to the hotel after a day of location scouting, the hotel clerk informed them that there was a call from “Hacksaw Waxkiller.” He did the film, needless to say, and helped to make it an unforgettable one.

Here’s the trailer for THE LOVED ONES which is full of Wexler’s bright, diamond-sharp, high-depth fields: