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Smith, Jack Martin

SMITH, Jack Martin



Art Director. Nationality: American. Education: Studied architecture, University of Southern California, Los Angeles. Career: 1938–53—sketch artist and designer, MGM; then designer, 1953–61, and supervising art director, 1961–75, 20th Century-Fox. Awards: Academy Award, for Cleopatra, 1963, Fantastic Voyage, 1966, and Hello, Dolly!, 1969.


Films as Art Director:

1939

The Wizard of Oz (Fleming)

1944

Meet Me in St. Louis (Minnelli)

1945

Yolanda and the Thief (Minnelli)

1946

Holiday in Mexico (Sidney); Ziegfeld Follies (Minnelli)

1948

The Pirate (Minnelli); Summer Holiday (Mamoulian); Easter Parade (Walters); Words and Music (Taurog)

1949

Madame Bovary (Minnelli); On the Town (Kelly and Donen)

1950

Nancy Goes to Rio (Leonard); Summer Stock (Walters)

1951

Royal Wedding (Donen); Show Boat (Sidney); An American in Paris (Minnelli) (uncredited)

1952

The Belle of New York (Walters); Million Dollar Mermaid (LeRoy)

1953

I Love Melvin (Weis); Dangerous When Wet (Walters); Easy to Love (Walters)

1954

Valley of the Kings (Pirosh)

1955

White Feather (Webb); Soldier of Fortune (Dmytryk); Seven Cities of Gold (Webb)

1956

Carousel (H. King); The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit (Johnson); Bigger than Life (N. Ray); Bandido (Fleischer); Teenage Rebel (E. Goulding)

1957

Boy on a Dolphin (Negulesco); An Affair to Remember (McCarey); Peyton Place (Robson)

1958

The Barbarian and the Geisha (Huston)

1959

Woman Obsessed (Hathaway); The Best of Everything (Negulesco)

1960

Can-Can (W. Lang); North to Alaska (Hathaway)

1961

All Hands on Deck (Taurog); The Comancheros! (Curtiz); Marines, Let's Go! (Walsh); Pirates of Tortuga (Webb); Return to Peyton Place (J. Ferrer); Sanctuary (Richardson); The Second Time Around (V. Sherman); Snow White and The Three Stooges (W. Lang); Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea (I. Allen); Wild in the Country (Dunne)

1962

Bachelor Flat (Tashlin); Five Weeks in a Balloon (I. Allen); Hemingway's Adventures of a Young Man (Ritt); Mr. Hobbs Takes a Vacation (Koster); State Fair (J. Ferrer); Tender Is the Night (H. King)

1963

Cleopatra (Mankiewicz); Move Over, Darling (Gordon); The Stripper (Schaffner); Take Her, She's Mine (Koster)

1964

Fate Is the Hunter (Nelson); Goodbye Charlie (Minnelli); The Pleasure Seekers (Negulesco); Rio Concho (Douglas); Shock Treatment (Sanders); What a Way to Go! (Lee Thompson)

1965

The Agony and the Ecstasy (Reed); Dear Brigitte (Koster); Do Not Disturb (Levy); John Goldfarb, Please Come Home! (Lee Thompson); Morituri (Wicki); The Reward (Bourguignon); Von Ryan's Express (Robson)

1966

Batman (Martinson); Fantastic Voyage (Fleischer); I Deal in Danger (Grauman); Our Man Flint (Daniel Mann); Smoky (G. Sherman); Stagecoach (Douglas); Way . . . Way Out (Douglas)

1967

Caprice (Tashlin); Doctor Dolittle (Fleischer); A Guide for the Married Man (Kelly); Hombre (Ritt); In Like Flint (Douglas); Tony Rome (Douglas); The St. Valentine's Day Massacre (Corman); Valley of the Dolls (Robson); The Flim-Flam Man (Kershner)

1968

Bandolero! (McLaglen); The Boston Strangler (Fleischer); The Detective (Douglas); Planet of the Apes (Schaffner); Pretty Poison (Black); The Sweet Ride (Hart); The Secret Life of an American Wife (Axelrod)

1969

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (Hill); Che! (Fleischer); Hello, Dolly! (Kelly); Justine (Cukor); Daughter of the Mind (Grauman—for TV)

1970

Beneath the Planet of the Apes (Post); Beyond the Valley of the Dolls (Meyer); Cover Me, Babe (Black); M*A*S*H (Altman); Move (Rosenberg); Myra Breckenridge (Sarne); Tora! Tora! Tora! (Fleischer, Masuda, and Fukasaku); The Challenge (Smithee); Tribes (The Soldier Who Declared Peace) (Sargent)

1971

Escape from the Planet of the Apes (Taylor); Powderkeg (Heyes)

1972

Fireball Forward (Chomsky); The Culpepper Cattle Company (Richards)

1973

Ace Eli and Rodger of the Skies (Erman); Emperor of the North Pole (Aldrich)

1974

Rhinoceros (O'Horgan)

1975

The Reincarnation of Peter Proud (Lee Thompson); Bug (Szwarc); Strange New World (Butler)

1976

The Great Scout and Cathouse Thursday (Taylor)

1977

Pete's Dragon (Chaffey—animation) (co)

Publications


By SMITH: articles—

Film Comment (New York), May/June, 1978. In Dance in the Hollywood Musical, by Jerome Delamater, Ann

Arbor, Michigan, 1981.


On SMITH: books—

Gussow, Mel, Don't Say Yes Until I Finish Talking, New York, 1971.

Fordin, Hugh, The World of Entertainment: Hollywood's Greatest Musicals, New York, 1975.

Barsacq, Leon, Caligari's Cabinet and Other Grand Illusions, Boston, 1976.

Delamater, Jerome, Dance in the Hollywood Musical, Ann Arbor, Michigan, 1981.


On SMITH: articles—


Classic Images (Muscatine), April 1994.


* * *

Jack Martin Smith symbolizes the master Hollywood art director. In a 40-year career he worked on the greatest of studio films, and the finest of location efforts. He probably reached his peak of public fame in the 1960s, beginning with the spectacle of Cleopatra and ending with the impressive work in Tora! Tora! Tora!. He won the Oscar (with others) for Cleopatra and an Academy Award nomination for Tora! Tora! Tora!. In between he also earned Academy Awards for Fantastic Voyage and Hello, Dolly! All these films were made for Twentieth Century-Fox during the final years of the reign of Darryl F. Zanuck. All established a style of the spectacular which Hollywood would abandon in the 1970s, and which we probably will not see again. Smith was among the best at plying the trade of the art director during an era when nonscience-fiction, noncomputer-generated images mattered.

But Smith's career had another equally significant phase. During his first 15 years in the business he labored as a member of the Freed unit on some of the greatest films ever made at MGM, including many of the famous musicals: Meet Me in St. Louis, Yolanda and the Thief, Easter Parade, and An American in Paris (the last uncredited). As such Smith and others built up the fantasy world which Arthur Freed, Gene Kelly, Vincente Minnelli, Judy Garland, and Fred Astaire set to music and dance.

Just consider the case of Meet Me in St. Louis. This film set a vision of St. Louis at the turn of the century which many film fans think perfectly represented that era. Surely it was a vision of American family life to which all aspired, but few actually achieved. Yet Minnelli and his skillful crew never ventured outside MGM's Culver City backlot. It was Smith, and others, who created the mythical "St. Louis" which thousands have grown to love.

In the 1950s, with the collapse of the MGM factory, Smith moved to Twentieth Century-Fox. There he became the supervisor of art directors, and participated in little actual day-to-day designing. During this period filming moved more and more on location, and Cleopatra was made in Italy rather than Hollywood. But still the flair of the art director was required. Smith moved easily from genre to genre. In Fantastic Voyage his design team created the inside of a human; for Hello, Dolly! he had to "best" the sets of a Broadway musical almost everyone had seen. These opportunities provided Smith with the conditions to project some of his greatest designs.

—Douglas Gomery

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