Joseph Strick, 86, an independent filmmaker who brought James Joyce's
to the big screen and won an Oscar for best documentary short subject for
Interviews With My Lai Veterans
, died Tuesday of congestive heart failure at a Paris hospital.
An Army Air Forces aerial photographer during World War II, he launched his filmmaking career after the war when he used an Army-surplus movie camera to shoot Muscle Beach, a 1948 documentary short about Southern California bodybuilders.
Beginning in 1956, he was the key figure in a number of new science and technology companies, including Electrosolids Corp. and Physical Sciences Corp., which he would sell at a profit after getting them on their feet.
But he retained his filmmaking ambitions.
Teamed with Ben Maddow and Sidney Meyers, Mr. Strick spent four years making The Savage Eye, a 1960 film that incorporated documentary footage shot in gritty Los Angeles locations into the story of a young divorced woman trying to start a new life.
The film won the British Academy of Film and Television Arts' Robert J. Flaherty Award for best documentary.
"Joe was interested in looking at the underside of things" on the film, recalled Haskell Wexler, who was a cinematographer on The Savage Eye and on Mr. Strick's 1971 documentary, Interviews With My Lai Veterans, which featured U.S. soldiers who were at the My Lai massacre in Vietnam.
Mr. Strick already had produced and directed a 1963 screen adaptation of Jean Genet's play The Balcony when he tackled Ulysses, Joyce's much-banned epic novel.
Mr. Strick directed and produced the modestly budgeted 1967 film on location in Dublin, and he and Fred Haines shared an Oscar nomination for their screenplay.
Mr. Strick was born in Braddock, outside Pittsburgh, and later moved to Philadelphia.
He primarily lived in Paris since the early 1970s.
- Los Angeles Times