Karl Freund  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Karl W. Freund (January 16, 1890-May 3, 1969) was a German cinematographer and film director, noted for such films as Mad Love.


Born in Königinhof, Bohemia, his career began in 1905 when, at age 15, he got a job as an assistant projectionist for a film company in Berlin.

He worked as a cinematographer on over 100 films, including The Last Laugh (1924) and Metropolis (1927) in Germany. Freund emigrated to the United States in 1929 where he filmed additional classics such as Dracula (1931), and Key Largo (1948). He won an Academy Award for Best Cinematography for The Good Earth (1937). The US version of The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1919) credits him as photographer.

Between 1921 and 1935, Freund also directed ten films, of which the best known are probably The Mummy (1932) starring Boris Karloff, and his last film as director, Mad Love (1935) starring Peter Lorre.

In the 1950s, at the height of his movie career, he was persuaded by Desi Arnaz to be the cinematographer for Arnaz's television series I Love Lucy. Critics have credited Freund for the show's lustrous black and white cinematography, but more importantly, Freund also perfected the simultaneous three-camera coverage of the show as it was performed live in front of an audience, which remains the primary method for shooting a sitcom.

Freund's only known film as an actor is Carl Dreyer's Michael (1924) where he plays a sycophantic art dealer who we see saving the tobacco ashes dropped by a famous painter.

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Karl Freund" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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