Albert Maxwell Simpson
He was born at 1893 in California and started his career in 1915, painting backdrops for vaudeville theatres, before entering in motion picture business. He painted mattes for DW Griffith Birth of a Nation (1916), De Mille The Ten Commandments (1926) and In Old Arizona (1928). In 1937 Simpson joined Jack Cosgrove’s facility at Selznick company to work on The Prisoner of Zenda and Gone With the Wind (1939) and also painted Manderley mansion for Hitchcock’s Rebecca (1940).
After Mario Larrinaga left RKO to join Warner matte department, Simpson was often called on and painted mattes for The Devil and Daniel Webster (1942), Cat people (1942), The Enchanted Cottage (1945), ‘Bedlam’, Sister Kenny (both 1946) and The Conqueror (1956)
When RKO closed in 1957 Linwood Dunn moved the effects people and equipment to his company Film Effects of Hollywood, so Simpson painted mattes for The Great Race (1965) and Hawaii (1966). He passed away in 1980.
The RKO matte department at 30´s was composed of Chesley Bonestell, Mario Larrinaga and Byron Crabbe. Bonestell moved to Warner Bros and Crabbe to Selznick. Larrinaga stayed at RKO until 1942. Then Simpson was in charge of matte paintings, although most of his work was uncredited.
Cat People (1942)
“Getting damned hard to please these “B producers” memoed veteran RKO technician artist Al Simpson after Lewton requested a change in a matte painting for Cat people”
Murder my sweet (1944)
Blackbeard the pirate (1952)
The conqueror (1956)
From the Earth to the Moon (1958)