Robert Wise made several great films, and it's interesting to track the progress of his career with that of his onetime mentor Orson Welles.
In 1945, Wise directs his first classic: THE BODY SNATCHER, a morbid masterpiece featuring Oscar-calibre performances from Boris Karloff, Bela Lugosi and Henry Daniell.
In 1945, Welles is mainly working in radio. No film credits for that year.
In 1949, Wise directs a superb film noir study of boxing and desperation – THE SET-UP.
In 1949, Welles knocks 'em dead as black market Prince of Darkness Harry Lime in THE THIRD MAN.
In 1951, Wise directs one of the all-time great sci-fi movies: THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL (with a magnificent score by his KANE colleague Bernard Herrmann).
In 1951, Welles is in the wilds of North Africa shooting OTHELLO on a frayed shoestring.
In 1957, Wise directs UNTIL THEY SAIL with Paul Newman, a semi-forgotten war drama cum romance, but a hit in its day.
In 1957, Welles directs TOUCH OF EVIL, his last Hollywood studio production. Now acknowledged to be one of the greatest thrillers ever made, the film was not supported by Universal-International (to say the least) and flopped at the box office, prompting Welles to resume the life of a nomad in Europe.
In 1959, Wise directs the gripping crime drama ODDS AGAINST TOMORROW.
In 1959, Welles appears in the turkeys FERRY TO HONG KONG and DAVID AND GOLIATH.
In 1963, Wise directs the most frightening of haunted house movies – THE HAUNTING.
In 1963, Welles directs THE TRIAL, an intriguing but chilly film, which star Tony Perkins describes as "a bit of a mess."
In 1966, Wise directs the splendid war movie THE SAND PEBBLES.
In 1966, Welles plays the repulsive Cardinal Wolseley in A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS.
In 1968, Wise directs the lavish musical STAR!, which is now enjoying a positive critical reappraisal despite bad reviews when it was first released in the anti-establishment, counterculture zeitgeist of the late sixties.
In 1968, Welles directs a short film for French television – THE IMMORTAL STORY. He appears in forgettable pictures and on THE DEAN MARTIN SHOW to keep himself in the public eye.
In 1975, Wise directs one of the finest disaster films ever made – the criminally underrated THE HINDENBURG.
In 1975, Welles narrates BUGS BUNNY SUPERSTAR.
In 1979, Wise directs the eagerly awaited STAR TREK: THE MOTION PICTURE. Okay, it's no classic, but it cost a mint and it made a fortune.
In 1979, Welles has a cameo in THE MUPPET MOVIE.
Wise may have been a careerist, but it certainly paid off for him. He left behind a rich cinematic legacy.
Welles obviously suffered in comparison, but that is the price you pay when you're a maverick who walks to the beat of his own drum, when you're a small corner store in the era of Wal*Mart.