Cinematographer, Director. He has been called "The Giotto of the Screen" for his mastery of camera movement, daring angles, and atmosphere. Born in Koniginhof, Bohemia (now Dvur Kralove, Czech Republic), Freund was a newsreel cameraman for Pathe from his teen years and joined the UFA studio in Berlin in 1919. An artist of great ingenuity, he became one of German Cinema's leading cinematographers of the 1920s. His most celebrated achievement was "The Last Laugh" (1924), widely regarded as one of the greatest movies ever made. Working closely with director F.W. Murnau and screenwriter Carl Mayer, Freund created such expressive images that the story for this silent film is told almost entirely without intertitles. He strapped the camera to his chest, mounted it on a bicycle, and built special cranes and dollies to ensure a constant flow of visual movement. He furthered these experiments in E. A. Dupont's "Variety" (1925) and Fritz Lang's "Metropolis" (1927). In 1929 he was brought to Hollywood by Universal Studios. Between 1931 and 1935 Freund directed 10 films, including the horror classics "The Mummy" (1932) and "Mad Love" (1935), before returning to cinematography at MGM. He won an Academy Award for "The Good Earth" (1937) and received Oscar nominations for "Pride and Prejudice" (1940), "The Chocolate Soldier" (1941), and "Blossoms in the Dust" (1941). Among his other credits are "The Golem" (1920), "The Spiders" (1922), "Tartuffe" (1926), "Berlin - Symphony of a Great City" (also co-produced, 1927), "Dracula" (1931), "Camille" (1937), "Golden Boy" (1939), "Tortilla Flat" (1942), "A Guy Named Joe" (1943), and "Key Largo" (1948). As head cameraman of Desilu Productions in the 1950s, Freund was director of photography for "I Love Lucy" (1951 to 1957) and pioneered the three-camera set up for television shooting that is still used today. He was also the founder of the Photo Research Corporation, a manufacturer of camera equipment, which he ran from 1944 until shortly before his death.
Bio by: Bobb Edwards
Gerda Maria Freund Martel