Cinematographer. Nationality: American. Born: 1904. Family: Married the actress Kay Sutton (divorced). Career: Assistant cameraman from the early 1920s; 1925—first film as cinematographer, Womanhandled; then worked for Paramount, Fox, and other studios; 1950s—television work for Ziv company. Died: In 1960.
Films as Cinematographer:
Womanhandled (La Cava)
Let's Get Married (La Cava); Say It Again (La Cava); The Quarterback (Newmeyer)
Paradise for Two (La Cava); Knockout Reilly (St. Clair); Man Power (Badger); Shanghai Bound (Reed); The Gay Defender (La Cava)
Sporting Goods (St. Clair); Easy Come, Easy Go (Tuttle); Warming Up (Newmeyer); Moran of the Marines (Strayer); What a Night! (Sutherland)
Redskin (Schertzinger); Nothing but the Truth (Schertzinger); The Wheel of Life (Schertzinger); Fashions in Love (Schertzinger); Fast Company (Sutherland); The Love Doctor (M. Brown); Seven Keys to Baldpate (Barker)
Lovin' the Ladies (M. Brown); He Knew Women (Herbert and Shores); Shooting Straight (Archainbaud); Cimarron (Ruggles)
Young Donovan's Kid (Donovan's Kid) (Niblo); The Public Defender (Ruben); Secret Service (Ruben)
The Lost Squadron (Archainbaud) (co); Road of the Dragon (Ruggles); Hell's Highway (R. Brown); The Conquerors (Wellman); No Other Woman (Ruben); Sweepings (Cromwell); Diplomaniacs (Seiter); Professional Sweetheart (Seiter); No Marriage Ties (Ruben); If I Were Free (Behold We Live) (Nugent)
Spitfire (Cromwell); Strictly Dynamite (Nugent); Down to Their Last Yacht (Hawaiian Nights) (Sloane); Kentucky Kernels (Triple Trouble) (Stevens); Lightning Strikes Twice (Holmes)
Enchanted April (Beaumont); Roberta (Seiter); The Nitwits (Stevens); Jalna (Cromwell); In Person (Seiter)
Yellow Dust (Fox); Special Investigator (L. King); Swing It (Goodwins—short); The Texas Rangers (K. Vidor); Three Married Men (Buzzell); One in a Million (Lanfield)
Nancy Steele Is Missing (Marshall); Wake Up and Live (Lanfield); Thin Ice (Lovely to Look At) (Lanfield) (co); Wife, Doctor, and Nurse (W. Lang)
Island in the Sky (Leeds); Rascals (Humberstone); Gateway (Werker); Keep Smiling (Miss Fix-It) (Leeds)
Winner Take All (Brower); The Gorilla (Dwan); Chicken-Wagon Family (Leeds); The Escape (Cortez); Heaven with a Barbed Wire Fence (Cortez); Too Busy to Work (Brower); Everything Happens at Night (Cummings)
I Was an Adventuress (Ratoff) (co); The Girl in 313 (Cortez); Young People (Dwan); The Gay Caballero (Brower); Youth Will Be Served (Brower)
Western Union (F. Lang) (co); A Very Young Lady (Schuster); Sun Valley Serenade (Humberstone); Hot Spot (I Wake Up Screaming) (Humberstone); Rise and Shine (Dwan)
To the Shores of Tripoli (Humberstone) (co); Friendly Enemies (Dwan); The Pied Piper (Pichel); Girl Trouble (Schuster); Life Begins at 8:30 (The Light of Heart) (Pichel)
Margin for Error (Preminger); Heaven Can Wait (Lubitsch); The Gang's All Here (The Girls He Left Behind) (Berkeley)
Home in Indiana (Hathaway)
Nob Hill (Hathaway); Colonel Effingham's Raid (Man of the Hour) (Pichel)
Do You Love Me? (Ratoff); Canyon Passage (J. Tourneur)
Honeymoon (Two Men and a Girl) (Keighley); Desert Fury (Allen) (co); A Miracle Can Happen (On Our Merry Way) (K. Vidor and Fenton) (co)
Relentless (G. Sherman); Don't Trust Your Husband (An Innocent Affair) (Bacon); The Countess of Monte Cristo (de Cordova)
The Capture (J. Sturges); House by the River (F. Lang)
I'd Climb the Highest Mountain (H. King); Best of the Badmen (Russell); Two Tickets to Broadway (Kern) (co)
Lure of the Wilderness (Negulesco); Bloodhounds of Broadway (Jones)
Treasure of the Golden Condor (Davies); Powder River (L. King); Beneath the 12 Mile Reef (Webb)
The Siege at Red River (Maté)
Devil's Partner (Rondeau)
The Girl in Lover's Lane (Rondeau)
The Threat (Rondeau)
* * *
The Cronjager family is perhaps the most prolific dynasty of cameramen who have ever worked in motion pictures. Their collective work, which extends back to the one-reelers of the earliest part of the twentieth century continues through to the present day with feature films and television.
The earliest members of the Cronjager family to work in pictures were Henry and Jules, who shot scores of films between the turn of the century and the mid-1920s. Henry, the more famous of the brothers, was the head cameraman for Klaw & Ehrlanger in the early teens after working at Edison and then Biograph, where he worked on some of the D. W. Griffith films. The best remembered film on which he worked was undoubtedly Henry King's Tol'able David, made in 1921. In the late 1920s two other Cronjager brothers, Henry and Edward, began to make films while they were still in their early twenties. Because they shared the same first name, the younger Henry's filmography is often intertwined with the elder Henry's, especially during the 1920s when both were active.
Edward Cronjager has attained perhaps the greatest fame because of his extensive work during the 1930s and 1940s on a wide variety of major studio productions, mostly at Twentieth Century-Fox. Cimarron, the Edna Ferber Oscar-winning saga directed by Wesley Ruggles, was a triumph for Edward, who was nominated for an Oscar for his fine work (the first of five such nominations over the course of the next 20 years), and received ecstatic notices. The Oklahoma land rush sequence, one of the most famous from any western, compares favorably with the same sequence in the 1961 version which benefited from color and advanced technology, but did not surpass the original in design or scope.
Perhaps Cronjager's most famous work was that which he did on several of Sonja Henie's pictures at Fox, including her best-known film, Sun Valley Serenade. He was noted for his spectacular work with the black ice sequences which were characteristic of her films, and Henie insisted on several occasions that Cronjager be taken off other projects to work on her pictures.
In 1943 Cronjager made Heaven Can Wait, directed by Ernst Lubitsch at Fox and the vivid color brought him his third Oscar nomination. D. W. Griffith reportedly was so impressed with the photography on the film that he called it the best color footage ever made. Vivid color continued to be important in Cronjager's later work. In Canyon Passage, directed by Jacques Tourneur, the "Ole Buttermilk Sky" described in Hoagy Carmichael's title song came to life spectacularly under Cronjager's photographic direction. The last film of significance which Cronjager shot was Beneath the 12 Mile Reef, with innovative underwater photography that far surpassed the mundane plot.
Although he continued to work sporadically for several years, including some uncredited work on Desiree in 1954, ill health greatly curtailed his career until his death.
—Patricia King Hanson