3.2.1896 – 5.7.1968
MAX GREENE BSC (aka Mutz Greenbaum)
Born in Berlin, Germany, Max was the son of the pioneering film producer Jules Greenbaum who had founded Deutsche Bioscope. He shot his first movie as a cinematographer in 1915 with "Hampels Abenteuer" (1915) and became an “in-demand” cinematographer during the 20s. In 1920 he directed three movies beginning with "Der Mann im Nebel" (“The Man in the Fog” 1920).
Mutz Greenbaum left Germany in the early 30's, signing with Gaumont-British as director of photography. During the succeeding decades, he worked on many classic films by leading producers Michael Balcon, Alexander Korda and the Boulting Brothers. He was one of the pioneers in British film industry in the use of low-key lighting, and was one of the most sought-after cinematographers of the 1930s. His first solo credit for a British film was Hindle Wakes (1931 directed by Victor Saville).
He changed his name to Max Greene at the beginning of the 40s and he continued his career as a cinematographer in the next years with many movies. Other credits are The Constant Nymph (1933 Directed by Basil Dean), The Stars Look Down (1940 Directed by Carol Reed), Hatter's Castle (1942 Directed by Lance Comfort), Thunder Rock (1942 Directed by Roy Boulting), So Evil My Love (1948 Directed by Lewis Allen), Spring in Park Lane (1948 Directed by Herbert Wilcox), and Odette (1950 Directed by Herbert Wilcox).
Greene turned in the best work of his career, on the British Fox production of Jules Dassin's Night and the City (1950). The movie (which exists in two distinctly different editions) is an essay in subdued lighting and it is a cinematographer's dream, taking us on a nightmarish tour of a London that always seems shrouded in darkness, even in midday. If any movie of Greene's deserved Academy Award consideration for its photography, it was this film, which took decades to be fully appreciated.
His later credits include I'm All Right Jack (1959) Directed by John Boulting) and, in association with Desmond Dickinson BSC, Sparrows Can’t Sing (1963 Directed by Joan Littlewood). His last credit was Heavens Above (1963 Directed by The Boulting Brothers)
He directed a few films in the 1940s, but is remembered today for the over 153 films as a director of photography.