His obituary begins: Clifford
H. Poland Jr., ASC, whose work graced productions ranging from
"cheapies" such as Fireball Jungle (1969) and Wild Rebels (1967) to
high-concept adventure pictures such as Around the World Under the
Sea (1966), died on April 17, 2008, at the age of 91.
Born Aug. 1, 1916, in Memphis, Tenn., Poland grew up around the
photography business. His father owned a commercial still-photo and
motion-picture studio, where young Clifford began his
apprenticeship. In 1941, he joined the camera guild, then known as
IATSE Local 666, and one year later, he was direct-commissioned as a
first lieutenant in the Signal Corps. From 1944-1946, he served as
the officer in charge of the Motion Picture School ...
Creature from the Black
Lagoon Only One of Clifford Poland's Projects
In the early
1950s, Clifford Poland helped film the underwater 3D sequences of
"The Creature from the Black Lagoon", at Wakula Springs, Florida.
Two synchronized Arriflex cameras placed at 450
to each other were sealed in a watertight housing. One camera shot
straight ahead to the subject, while the other aimed at a
semitransparent mirror. In the original polarized version of the
movie only the underwater portion of the film was in 3D. See
accompanying advertisement. All else was photographed flat. Both
segments of the film, 2D and 3 D, were combined, making the 3rd
dimension more astounding by contrast. Polarized glasses were
used from the beginning, so the mixing of 2D and 3D went
from the Black Lagoon" was only a small part of Poland's career,
although I consider it the most important because it was his
contribution to stereoscopic filmmaking. Poland was not
involved in "Creature" sequels. At the end of WWII, on
September 2, 1945, Clifford Poland shot newsreel footage of the
surrender agreement of the Japanese aboard the USS Missouri, as a
Signal Corps cinematographer. Later he worked as Second Unit
cameraman for the American Society of Cinematographers. His
movie credits include "Giant", "Key Largo", "A Streetcar Named
Desire", "Paper Moon", "The Longest Yard", "Beneath the 12 Mile
Reef", and "Around the World Under the Sea". His TV credits
include "Camera Camera", "Gentle Ben", and "Flipper", as well as
over 1,000 commercials.
I met Mr. Poland
in January 2000 in my home town. His underwater work ended
when he tragically lost one of his lungs. He retired in 1981
and moved to Johnson City, Tennessee to be near his relatives.
Remarkable, we were both born on August 1st, under the sign of Leo,
Clifford in 1916 and me 25 years later in 1941.
His den is
fascinating: its walls are line with autographed photographs
of him with movie stars on location. During his career he had
the opportunity to meet many interesting people and some of the
great names in entertainment. Asked about his impressions of
the people he met, Clifford says Frank Sinatra was a perfectionist
with little tolerance for actors who had difficulty with their
lines, but Tony Martin, was one of the nicest people he worked with.
Clifford Poland, I became obsessed with collecting memorabilia.
My favorite is a matchbox size Creature, as a kid, on a skateboard.
Almost 50 years have passed since the filming of "The Creature from
the Black Lagoon". With rapidly declining health, Clifford
Poland will be remembered fondly by movie lovers and the 3D
community. The wealth of "Creature" websites speaks for the
endearing quality of the movie.