Robert Wise Interview: Conversations with History; Institute of International Studies, UC Berkeley

The Wise Touch; Conversation with filmmaker Robert Wise, by Harry Kreisler, 2/28/98

Photo by Jane Scherr

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Background

Mr. Wise, welcome to Berkeley.

Thank you.

As a kid in Indiana did you to the movies a lot?

Well, I grew up in a small town called Connersville. It was about half way between Indianapolis and Cincinnati, Ohio. We had three movie houses in town and I used to go almost as often as the bills changed. One summer I won some kind of a contest and got a free pass to all the movies for a whole summer and I was in heaven. But I had no idea of being in films at that time.

How did the movies affect you?

Well, I think they entertained me, they took me out of myself into far away lands and situations and circumstances. I was a big fan of Doug Fairbanks Sr. in those days. He was just marvelous and did all of his own stunts and everything. I could not wait for his new picture to come out. As a matter of fact, I remember once when I was about nine or ten his new picture had come out (I can't remember the title now), and I went that evening to the movies to see it. I decided to stay through and see it again. I was half way through it when I felt a heavy hand on my shoulder, my older brother had been sent over to drag me home -- I shouldn't have been out that late looking at movies.

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