Smithsonian Institution Libraries

James Wong Howe, Cinematographer
Selected Bibliography

This bibliography is available as a resource for further exploration into the life and work of James Wong Howe (1899-1976), the Chinese American cinematographer, whose movie career spanned Hollywood's golden years. He filmed over 100 movies including: The Thin Man (1934), Algiers (1938), Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942), The Old Man and the Sea (1957), Seconds (1966) and Funny Lady (1975). He won Academy Awards for his work in The Rose Tattoo (1955) and Hud (1962).

When we look into the creative process, we realize that the creator and the work are inter-connected on both a conscious and an unconscious level. To understand James Wong Howe, the man, it is critical to consider his creations in film. A filmography is noted if it is in the source and one is also available online (The Internet Movie Database cited below). The book, Five American cinematographers (1987), is still in print. As James Wong Howe worked in a visual media, a number of the resources are in fact in non-book form (visual and audio). It would seem that the definitive book on James Wong Howe is yet to be written!


Eyman, Scott. Five American cinematographers: Interviews with Karl Strauss, Joseph Ruttenberg, James Wong Howe, Linwood Dunn, and William H. Clothier. Metuchen, N.J. : Scarecrow Press, 1987.
Includes filmographies.

Garcia, Roger, Yeng, Paul, and Lau, Shing-hon, eds. James Wong Howe, 1899-1976. [Hong Kong] : Hong Kong Urban Council, 1978.
In English and Chinese. Published on the occasion of a "Tribute to James Wong Howe" at the 2nd International Film Festival of Hong Kong. Includes filmography.

James Wong Howe: an American Film Institute Seminar on his work [microform].
Seminar held on April 7, 1973. Glen Rock, N.J. : Microfilming Corp. of America, 1977.

"James Wong Howe: Cinematographer" [motion picture]. [Davis, Calif.] : Davidson Films, 1973.

"James Wong Howe," The Internet Movie Database, 2000.
Filmography of his movies.

"James Wong Howe replies to comment on cameramen," American Cinematographer,
March 1945. This is a reprint of the article originally appearing in the December 1945 issue.

"James Wong Howe," Historical Society of Southern California web site, 1999.
This is a brief biography of his life and career in film making.

Howe, James Wong. " James Wong Howe: Adventures" [video recording]. Davis, Calif. : Davidson Films, 1993.
Howe talks of his past and present experiences in Hollywood and demonstrates some of his techniques of cinematography.

Howe, James Wong. Papers of, 1930-1970. Beverly Hills, Calif. : Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Library.
Archival materials consisting chiefly of scripts and script materials relating to the films photographed by Howe. Gift of Mrs. Howe, 1982.

"Recollections of James Wong Howe," interviewed by Alain Silver. [Los Angeles] : Oral History Program, University of California, Los Angeles, 1969.

Rainsberger, Todd. James Wong Howe, cinematographer. San Diego, Calif. : A.S. Barnes, 1981.
Includes filmography.


Prepared for: "A Life in Film-- James Wong Howe Retrospective"
Asian Pacific American Heritage Month Program
Smithsonian Institution, May 2000

Thomas R. Baker
Smithsonian Institution Libraries
May 2000


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