Karl Brown


Biography of Karl Brown

Karl Brown (December 26, 1896 – March 25, 1990) was a pioneer American cinematographer who had a close association with director D. W. Griffith during the early part of his career. Brown also became a noteworthy director and screenwriter.

Brown's first entertainment-related job, while still in his teens, was working at a development lab for the Kinemacolor Film Company in Los Angeles. After the collapse of Kinemacolor, he worked as a still photographer on The Spoilers. Having become enamored with Griffith's work, especially The Battle at Elderbush Gulch (1913), Brown became an assistant to G. W. Bitzer as well as a film loader and equipment caretaker.

The most successful film Brown worked on as cinematographer was The Covered Wagon (1923). Brown's first directorial effort, Stark Love (1927), is today considered a rural cinematic masterpiece.

Brown was cinematographer on Wallace Reid's last film, Thirty Days (1922). In the 1970s, Brown was one of the Hollywood pioneers interviewed by Kevin Brownlow for his television series Hollywood (1980). In the series, Brown talked at length about Reid's addiction and death.

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