Gregg Toland

Director of photography, Office boy, Assistant cameraman
During the deeply entrenched days of the Hollywood studio system, cinematographer Gregg Toland's technical and visual innovations set him apart from the flock of doctrinaire technicians and engineers embedded in the ... Read more »
Born: 05/29/1904 in Charleston, Illinois, USA

Filmography

Camera, Film, & Tape (44)

The Best Years of Our Lives 1946 (Movie)

cinematography (Cinematographer)

The Kid From Brooklyn 1945 (Movie)

(Photography)

The Outlaw 1943 (Movie)

(Photography)

Ball of Fire 1942 (Movie)

cinematography (Cinematographer)

Citizen Kane 1941 (Movie)

(Director of Photography)

The Grapes of Wrath 1940 (Movie)

(Director of Photography)

The Little Foxes 1940 (Movie)

(Photography)

The Long Voyage Home 1940 (Movie)

(Director of Photography)

Wuthering Heights 1939 (Movie)

cinematography (Cinematographer)

Intermezzo 1938 (Movie)

(Photography)

They Shall Have Music 1938 (Movie)

(Photography)

The Cowboy and the Lady 1937 (Movie)

(Photography)

The Goldwyn Follies 1937 (Movie)

(Photography)

Come and Get It 1936 (Movie)

cinematography (Cinematographer)

Dead End 1936 (Movie)

(Director of Photography)

These Three 1935 (Movie)

(Photography)

The Dark Angel 1934 (Movie)

(Photography)

The Kid From Spain 1931 (Movie)

(Photography)

Tonight or Never 1930 (Movie)

(Photography)

A Song Is Born (Movie)

(Cinematographer)

Beloved Enemy (Movie)

(Cinematographer)

Bulldog Drummond (Movie)

(Cinematographer)

Condemned (Movie)

(Cinematographer)

Enchantment (Movie)

(Cinematographer)

Forsaking All Others (Movie)

(Cinematographer)

History is Made at Night (Movie)

(Cinematographer)

Man Wanted (Movie)

(Cinematographer)

Palmy Days (Movie)

(Cinematographer)

Raffles (Movie)

(Cinematographer)

Roman Scandals (Movie)

(Cinematographer)

Song of the South (Movie)

(Cinematographer)

Strike Me Pink (Movie)

(Cinematographer)

The Devil to Pay (Movie)

(Cinematographer)

The Masquerader (Movie)

(Cinematographer)

The Road to Glory (Movie)

(Cinematographer)

The Tenderfoot (Movie)

(Cinematographer)

The Trespasser (Movie)

(Cinematographer)

The Unholy Garden (Movie)

(Cinematographer)

The Wedding Night (Movie)

(Cinematographer)

The Westerner (Movie)

(Cinematographer)

This Is Heaven (Movie)

(Cinematographer)

Tugboat Annie (Movie)

(Cinematographer)

We Live Again (Movie)

(Cinematographer)

Whoopee! (Movie)

(Cinematographer)

Biography

During the deeply entrenched days of the Hollywood studio system, cinematographer Gregg Toland's technical and visual innovations set him apart from the flock of doctrinaire technicians and engineers embedded in the formulaic studio factories. He was that rarity among technicians--a cinematographer eager to accept technological advances and apply them creatively to the narrative film form. Toland's talent was readily accepted by the Hollywood establishment, who graced him with a charmed life amid the workmanlike atmosphere pervading most studio productions. Contracted throughout his career to Samuel Goldwyn (although he was lent to other producers), Toland was permitted more freedom than most cinematographers of his time, from being allowed his choice of crew and story properties to converting studio cameras to his own specifications. Working with such outstanding directors as Howard Hawks, William Wyler, John Ford and Orson Welles, Toland was in the unique position of incorporating technological innovations into equally innovative narrative frameworks.

Milestones

1942

Co-directed short documentary film (with John Ford), "December 7th"

1929

Became lighting cameraman

1929

Signed to contract by Samuel Goldwyn, for whom he worked throughout the rest of his career

Began as office boy aged 15; became assistant camera operator

Lieutenant in army camera department during WWII

Bonus Trivia

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Toland pioneered in the adoption of new camera techniques such as the use of coated lenses and faster film stocks and is best remembered for his use of deep-focus compositions in Orson Welles's "Citizen Kane" (1940) and William Wyler's "The Little Foxes" (1943) and "The Best Years of Our Lives" (1946).

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