George S. Barnes

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George S. Barnes

Birthdate: (60)
Birthplace: Los Angeles, CA, USA
Death: May 30, 1953 (60)
Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, California, United States (Complications from abdominal surgery)
Immediate Family:

Husband of Helen Barnes; Ethel Barnes; Marie Barnes; Elizabeth Barnes; Melba Marshal Barnes and 1 other
Ex-husband of Joan Blondell
Father of <private> Powell (Barnes); George Carlton Barnes; <private> (Barnes) and <private> (Barnes)

Occupation: Cinematographer, Hollywood Cinemotographer
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About George S. Barnes

George S. Barnes, A.S.C. was an American cinematographer from the era of silent films to the early 1950s. Over the course of his career, he was nominated for an Academy Award five times, including his work on The Devil Dancer (1927) with Gilda Gray and Clive Brook. However, he only won once, for his work on the Alfred Hitchcock film Rebecca (1940). He died at the age of 60 in Los Angeles, California after having worked on at least 142 films.

He was married to Joan Blondell from 1933 to 1936, and was the father of television executive Norman S. Powell.


George S. Barnes, A.S.C. (October 16, 1892 – May 30, 1953) was an American cinematographer from the era of silent films to the early 1950s. Over the course of his career, he was nominated for an Academy Award eight times, including his work on The Devil Dancer (1927) with Gilda Gray and Clive Brook. However, he only won once, for his work on the Alfred Hitchcock film Rebecca (1940). He died at the age of 60 in Los Angeles, California, after having worked on at least 142 films.

Veteran Hollywood cinematographer George S. Barnes had a well-earned reputation for reliability and a knack for combining artistry with economic efficiency. As a result, he was seldom out of work.

Having started as a still photographer for Thomas H. Ince in 1918, Barnes quickly rose through the ranks to director of photography. In the course of his career he spent time at just about every major studio in Hollywood: Paramount (1919-21), Metro (1924-25), United Artists (1926-31), MGM (1932), Warner Brothers (1933-38), 20th Century-Fox (1940-41), Universal (1942) and RKO (1942-48). During the 1920s he was the primary cinematographer for Samuel Goldwyn and was largely responsible for the success of films like The Dark Angel (1925). Under his auspices Gregg Toland learned his craft, particularly Barnes' trademark soft-edged, deep-focus photography and intuitive composition and camera movement. Barnes was an expert at lighting. He often utilized curtains or reflective surfaces to create patterns of light and shade. Most importantly, he perfectly suited the required style of photography to each individual assignment. He brought a vivid opulence to the dullish Technicolor romance Frenchman's Creek (1944), making it a triumph of style over content. His 'catoon colours' were just as perfectly suited to the fantasy adventure Sinbad, the Sailor (1947). At Warner Brothers the dark, somewhat grainy texture of films like Marked Woman (1937) was in sync with the realistic look the studio wanted to achieve for its product. He also excelled at shooting vivid dramatic scenes, such as the flood sequences featured in The Winning of Barbara Worth (1926).

Barnes did his best work in the 1940s, shooting two classic Alfred Hitchcock thrillers: for Rebecca (1940) he created an atmosphere of sinister foreboding, right from the beginning, with his shots of Manderley (Barnes was hired because Toland was unavailable, but he ended up winning an Academy Award); and Spellbound (1945), with its unsettling surrealist Salvador Dalí-designed dream sequence of wheels, eyes and staircases. A lesser, but nonetheless good-looking, addition to Barnes' resume is a minor film noir, The File on Thelma Jordon (1950). In contrast, he created a suitably lavish look for his color photography, which enlivened two charismatic swashbuckling adventures, The Spanish Main (1945) and Sinbad, the Sailor (1947). Popular with directors and producers (though he was once fired by David O. Selznick for failing to bring the best out of Jennifer Jones) and stars (Bing Crosby) alike, Barnes was continually employed until his retirement in 1953. He was also popular with the ladies, to which his seven marriages testify. One of his wives was the actress Joan Blondell.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: I.S.Mowis

  
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George S. Barnes's Timeline

1892
October 16, 1892
Los Angeles, CA, USA
1937
December 18, 1937
Age 45