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Haskin, Byron

Entry updated 19 January 2017. Tagged: Film, TV, People.

(1899-1984) US film director. His film career began in 1919 when he became an assistant cameraman for Louis J Selznick. He directed four films in 1927, but later worked mostly as a cinematographer; he supervised the special-effects department for Warner Bros. 1936-1947. In 1947 he began directing again with I Walk Alone, a Hal Wallis production. In 1952 he formed a creative partnership with producer George Pal, directing several films for him. The first of these was War of the Worlds (1953); it was followed by The Naked Jungle (1954), Conquest of Space (1955) and The Power (1968), the latter codirected with Pal. Other sf movies directed by Haskin were From the Earth to the Moon (1958) and Robinson Crusoe on Mars (1964). He also directed many television episodes, including several in The Outer Limits. Haskin's background in special effects meant that he never neglected them in his films, unlike many other sf film-makers of the 1950s. His work as a director was likeable – as in Disney's Treasure Island (1950) – but uninspired: War of the Worlds derives impact from its spectacle, but most of his other sf films are merely competent. Probably his most interesting and personal film, on which he had a fair degree of control, was Robinson Crusoe on Mars. He retired in 1967. [JB]

Byron Haskin

born Portland, Oregon: 22 April 1899

died Montecito, California: 16 April 1984


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