David Crosby’s Father Was An Acclaimed Cinematographer With A Filmography That’ll Boggle Your Mind

In the 1940s, Floyd Crosby worked as a cinematographer for the United States military, shooting training videos and combat footage to aid in the American war effort. He made some brazen propaganda films with titles like “Look to Lockheed for Leadership” as well as cautionary films like “Traffic with the Devil.” The latter, a classroom scare film about driving safety in Los Angeles, was part of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer’s “Theatre of Life” series and was nominated for an Academy Award. In the 1940s, Crosby also worked briefly for Orson Welles on the unfinished, $1.2 million picture “It’s All True,” which was meant to follow up “The Magnificent Ambersons.” According to the 1993 documentary film “It’s All True: Based on an Unfinished Film by Orson Welles,” the movie was shot on highly flammable nitrate film stock (common for the era) which, in the 1960s, had to be disposed of, lest it start fires in film vaults. As a such, lot of “It’s All True” ended up on the floor of the Pacific Ocean. It, too, was a semi-documentary.

Crosby’s knack for natural, documentary-style photography served him well in shooting scripted features as well, and, in 1952, received a Golden Globe for his work on Fred Zinneman’s Western “High Noon” starring Gary Cooper. “High Noon” was nominated for Best Picture at the Academy Awards, but lost that year to “The Greatest Show on Earth.” 

It would also be in the 1950s that Crosby would begin a long and lucrative career working for legendary B-movie director and producer Roger Corman. Corman’s first film as director was 1954’s “Five Guns West,” which Crosby shot. Over the next few years, the two would collaborate on flicks like “Naked Paradise,” “Attack of the Crab Monsters,” “Rock All Night,” and “She-Gods of Shark Reef.”

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