Garutso Balanced Lens

Technically-oriented discussion of classic films on everything from 35mm to Blu-Ray
Jim Gettys
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Garutso Balanced Lens

Unread post by Jim Gettys » Wed Jan 13, 2010 11:16 pm

TCM recently showed The Member of the Wedding (1952). A credit indicated that the film was shot with the "Garutso Balanced Lens". I vaguely recalled seeing such a credit before, so I did a little online research.

This unusual lens was invented by a White Russian expatriate named Stephen E. Garutso (1895-1964). It was touted as giving a deep-focus effect, even at wide apertures. This was achieved by some sort of circular split-diopter arrangement.

The Garutso lens was first used in 1949 for a couple of B-westerns, then Stanley Kramer was impressed enough to employ it for several of his important productions. About 30 films were reportedly shot with the Garutso lens over a 5-year period, 1949-1953.

Some films shot with the Garutso Balanced Lens are:

Deputy Marshal (1949)
Apache Chief (1949)
Tough Assignment (1949)

Second Chance (1950)
Three Husbands (1950)
Cyrano de Bergerac (1950) Kramer

The Scarf (1951)
The Big Night (1951)

The Four Poster (1952) Kramer
The Member of the Wedding (1952) Kramer

The Wild One (1953) Kramer

Can anyone add to this list?

(List expanded to include titles reported by Jack Theakston, Annie V, froby and mndean.)

Jim Gettys
Last edited by Jim Gettys on Thu Feb 11, 2016 9:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Jack Theakston
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Unread post by Jack Theakston » Thu Jan 14, 2010 12:11 am

TOUGH ASSIGNMENT (1949) is another one of them. Lippert used this lens a lot, and it's easy to distinguish because Garutso had a contract that had his name put in the credits of all films that used it.

I've got a bit of paperwork on it. When I get back East, you're welcome to have scans. Here is the general patent assigned to it:
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Annie V
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Re: Garutso Balanced Lens

Unread post by Annie V » Wed Feb 01, 2012 4:36 am

The 1949 film THREE HUSBANDS (on Mill Creek's COMEDY KINGS 50 MOVIE PACK) cites the Garutso Balanced Lens in its opening titles.

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Re: Garutso Balanced Lens

Unread post by froby » Fri Aug 17, 2012 11:46 pm

I am currently watching "The Big Night" 1951 film on Netflix streaming, shot with this lens.

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Re: Garutso Balanced Lens

Unread post by mndean » Tue Feb 09, 2016 8:34 pm

Here's a late entry - the 1950 film SECOND CHANCE sports the credit of being shot with this lens.

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