William Nobles (cinematographer)

William Nobles (December 23, 1892 November 24, 1968) was an American cinematographer.


Born in 1892 in Waubay, South Dakota, Nobles worked on nearly two-hundred Hollywood films in a career that spanned five decades, from 1917 to 1966. His most noted cinematography work is probably the Gene Autry film Red River Valley in 1936,[1] and the original Dick Tracy serial film in 1937, working with Edgar Lyons.[2]

One author described his contribution to filmmaking as follows:

Responsible for Republic's first 20 serials behind the camera was first-rate innovator William Nobles. In collaboration with Edgar Lyons (on the first six) and working solo (for the next fourteen) the former Mascot associate of Nat Levine was one of the best action and Western lensmen in the business. His photographic polish and technique in filming the hectic and furious work of Yak Canutt and company, gained him the reputation of being a major factor in lifting Republic's Westerns and serials far above the quality of its contemporaries, making it the leader in those areas for the next fifteen years.[3]

Another notes the "fine photography" by Nobles in The Fighting Devil Dogs, 1938.[4]

Nobles died in 1968 in Costa Mesa, California, at the age of 75.

Partial filmography


  1. John Howard Reid, Great Hollywood Westerns: Classic Pictures, Must-See Movies & "B" Films, page 118, 2006.
  2. Buck Rainey, Serials and Series: A World Filmography, 1912-1956, page 59, 1999.
  3. William C. Cline, In the Nick of Time: Motion Picture Sound Serials, page 170, 1997.
  4. John Reid, These Movies Won No Hollywood Awards, page 64, 2005.
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