(written from a Production point of view)
Robert Earl Wise (10 September 1914 – 14 September 2005; age 91) was the director of the 1979 film Star Trek: The Motion Picture. He received his sole Saturn Award nomination as Best Director from the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films for this film.
Wise was no stranger to science fiction when he came aboard Star Trek, having previously directed the classic 1951 film The Day the Earth Stood Still and 1971's The Andromeda Strain. Both films were referenced on Star Trek: Enterprise: scenes from the former film were seen in the episodes "The Catwalk" and "Cogenitor", while the latter was mentioned in "Observer Effect". The Day the Earth Stood Still featured Lawrence Dobkin in the cast, while Kermit Murdock, Bart La Rue, Michael Pataki, Garry Walberg and Walker Edmiston appeared in The Andromeda Strain. The Day the Earth Stood Still included matte paintings by Matthew Yuricich, who later served as matte artist on Star Trek: The Motion Picture, and The Andromeda Strain was photographed by Richard H. Kline, who was also director of photography on Star Trek: The Motion Picture. At one point, Robert Wise recorded a DVD audio commentary for The Day the Earth Stood Still with Nicholas Meyer.
Wise won two Academy Awards for his work as director and producer on two classic musicals, one for West Side Story (1961, shared with Jerome Robbins) and another for The Sound of Music (1965). The first starred DS9 guest actor Richard Beymer. The latter film co-starred actor Christopher Plummer (Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country) and DS9 guest star Darleen Carr, who dubbed some of the children in their singing numbers. Wise was nominated for two additional Academy Awards for directing I Want to Live! (1958), which featured Theodore Bikel and a screenplay by Don M. Mankiewicz, and for producing The Sand Pebbles (1966), which he also directed. This film featured Jon Lormer and Gil Perkins in the cast, and (just as Star Trek: The Motion Picture) a musical score by Jerry Goldsmith.
Wise began his career as an uncredited sound effects editor at RKO Pictures, working on the musicals The Gay Divorcee (1934) and Top Hat (1935, with Leonard Mudie and Lucille Ball) and the dramas Of Human Bondage (1934) and The Informer (1935). He moved on to become an editor for RKO, earning his first Academy Award nomination for his editing work on the classic 1941 RKO picture Citizen Kane for director/producer Orson Welles. The following year, he edited Welles' The Magnificent Andersons (with Gil Perkins), on which he also served as an assistant director, shooting additional scenes for the film. Other films edited by Wise include the 1939 adaptation of The Hunchback of Notre Dame, the 1940 romantic comedy My Favorite Wife, and 1941's All That Money Can Buy (with Jeff Corey).
Wise's first film as director was the RKO was the 1944 horror film The Curse of the Cat People. Subsequent films he directed for RKO include The Body Snatcher (1945) and the classic film-noirs Born to Kill (1947, with Lawrence Tierney and Elisha Cook, Jr.) and The Set-Up (1949, with Hal Baylor and Phillip Pine). He then moved on to direct films for Twentieth Century Fox and later various other studios.
He went on to direct DS9 actor Rene Auberjonois in the 1975 disaster film, The Hindenburg. The film also featured Alan Oppenheimer and Vic Perrin. He also directed the films This Could Be the Night and Until They Sail, both released in 1957 and both starring TNG guest star Jean Simmons. The latter also featured Charles Drake, Tige Andrews and Don Eitner. His many other films include Executive Suite (1954, with Hamilton Camp), Helen of Troy (1956, with Torin Thatcher, Robert Brown and Marc Lawrence), the acclaimed Someone Up There Likes Me (1956, with Stanley Adams and William Boyett), the Clark Gable film Run Silent Run Deep (1958, with Ken Lynch), Odds Against Tomorrow (1959, with Bill Zuckert), the 1963 horror classic The Haunting, Star! (1968, with Ian Abercrombie and Alan Oppenheimer), and Audrey Rose (1977, with Norman Lloyd). His last project was the TV movie A Storm in Summer (2000), which also marked his first and only direction in television.
In 2001, over twenty years after directing Star Trek: The Motion Picture, Wise oversaw the director's edition of the film. Robert Wise died of heart failure four years later, just four days after his 91st birthday.
- "Star Trek The Motion Picture: The Universe and Beyond", Peter Bankers, American Cinematographer, February 1980, pp. 136-137, 176, 202-204
- "Behind the Scenes: Finishing the Movie & Robert Wise", Star Trek: The Magazine Volume 2, Issue 8, December 2001, pp. 12-17
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