Who you ask is Gary Graver? One of cinema’s unsung hero’s if you ask me. You may have heard of him recently with the release of Orson Welles‘ film “The Other Side of the Wind”. Just recently I received an email from American Cinematographer that said “for your consideration” Gary Graver for cinematography for “The Other Side of the Wind“. It would be a nice gesture if he actually wins the award. Graver passed away in 2006, and he never saw the completion of the film. He was always trying to get the film finished and their was rumors that Showtime was interested. Flash forward 12 years and finally Orson Welles last film is being released by Netflix to good reviews. There is no doubt that Graver was the driving force to complete the film. Welles passed away on October 10th 1985, and I believe it was due to Mr Graver’s tenacity that it ever so the light of day now. It would be a great tribute to him if he was given the award for best cinematography for the film. But this post is about Gary Graver the filmmaker. I was first aware of him due to his low budget films “the Toolbox Murders“, “Grand Theft Auto“, “DeathSport“, and “Mortuary”. I am a bit of a low budget connoisseur and I knew good production value when I see it. Graver was known for his fast set-ups and his striking visuals. You can see that in “the Other Side of the Wind”. Each frame of that film is so well crafted it would be hard to dispute that Graver was not a major player in the film. Graver really worked well with Orson even though Graver sacrificed a lot to help his dear friend Welles. There is even a book he helped write called” “Making Movies with Orson Welles“, which I need to put on my list. The documentary “They’ll love me when I’m Dead” is a great companion piece to the film “the Other Side of the Wind”. In it we see how the film became Welles’ and Graver’s obsession. There is a good part devoted to Graver and his contributions to the film. I really wanted to know more about Graver himself after seeing “They’ll love me when I’m Dead”, and have sought as many of these interviews out as I could.
Throughout Graver’s mainstream cinema work he also directed many different porn films under an assumed name as “Robert McCallum”. Graver’s work in the adult film industry resulted in more than 135 films including Unthinkable, which won the AVN Award in 1985.
I really believe that Mr Graver was a consummate filmmaker. He knew his stuff, and was always subverted by others who thought they knew more.
The guy lived and breathed cinema. He was a frustrated artist at times, but anything I can write about Graver pales by comparison to what I can dig up through interviews, podcasts and film clips. So I’ve embedded all 9 clips from YouTube. Graver himself made it, and it’s pretty interesting. He runs through how some of his films were cut and how he actually cut them. So without further ado I give you Gary Graver in his own words. Enjoy!