Oral Histories

Interview of Ben Carre

French art director and background painter.
Recollections of Ben Carré
Oral History of the Motion Picture in America
Film and Television
Biographical Note:
French art director and background painter.
Lumsden, David
Carre, Ben
Supporting Documents:
Records relating to the interview are located in the office of the UCLA Library's Center for Oral History Research.
3 hrs.
Interviewee Retained Copyright
Series Statement:
These interviews with prominent individuals in the motion picture industry were completed under a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the American Film Institute to the UCLA Department of Theater Arts. The project was directed by Howard Suber, UCLA Department of Theater Arts. The UCLA Oral History Program provided technical advice but was not involved in respondent selection, research participation, research preparation, interviewing, editing, or transcript preparation.
Childhood in Paris; employment as painter's estimator; apprenticeship in Amable Studio as theatrical scene painter; scene painting for movies at Cité Gaumont, 1906; using six-color process at Cité Gaumont; small halls and theaters showing films in Paris; filming Exodus with actors from Comédie Française, ca. 1910; emigration to New York, 1912; employment at Eclair Studio; with Maurice Tourneur on Trilby, Poor Little Rich Girl, and The Pride of the Clan; Mary Pickford; use of two sets with differing scale for The Blue Bird; overhead lighting at Paragon Studio; move to California after World War I; The Jazz Singer at Vitagraph Studio; Samuel Goldwyn walking from Culver City to downtown hotel every night; Don Juan; John Barrymore; first to use incandescent lights; The Phantom of the Opera; consolidation of scenic artists with painters in strikes of 1937 and 1947; rewards of working with Alan Crosland; A Night at the Opera with the Marx brothers; personalities and places in Hollywood, 1910s and 1920s; theatrical superstitions.