Lange's background

Doing his work 'correctly' one key to productive career

By Miranda Blunt

      As a young man, German-born Harry Lange wanted to earn a degree in Archaeology, but World War II and political strife put a crimp in his plans. So, in 1949, he left he left East Germany and came to America to pursue a different dream of working in illustration. It was this move that led to Lange's new career in set design and to an Oscar nomination.
      He began his U.S. career with a job in advertising design that quickly led to a position with the U.S. military. In what Lange calls the most exciting period of his life, he began to design spacecrafts and became head of the Future Projects Staff in NASA. Budget cuts in NASA came during the Vietnam war, and Lange decided to try his hand at freelance illustration.
      By chance, Lange ran into Arthur Clarke in New York City and from this meeting came his first work as a film set designer. The film was to be called "Journey to the Stars", and the director was Stanley Kubrick. Of course, this project turned out to be Kubrick's masterpiece "2001: A Space Odyssey".
      Harry Lange was nominated for an Academy Award for his work on "2001", and this, his first film, led to a lifetime career in the film industry. Some of Lange's most best work followed in films like the Star Wars trilogy, "The Great Muppet Caper", and "The Dark Crystal."
  &nbssp   It's Lange's creative prop use and painstaking attention to detail that makes his work in these films so notable. When asked why he puts such a focus on detail and authenticity, Lange has a quick and matter of fact response.
      "It's just as difficult, or as easy, to do it incorrectly as it is to do it correctly."

See also: Lange's speech at Cyberfest