Jump to: navigation, search

American Cinematographer (1989) - In Memoriam: Drummond Drury




In Memoriam: Drummond Drury

Drummond Drury, ASC, who photographed productions in England, the West Indies, South Africa, Greece, Italy, France, Spain, Canada and the United States, died January 24 in New York. He was 76 and had been an ASC member for 25 years.

Born in Newcastle in 1912 and educated in England, Drury served an apprenticeship with Associated British Picture Corporation at Elstree, London, from 1932 to 1939. There he worked for some of the leading European cinematographers, including Jack Cox, Gunther Krampf, Otto Kanturek, Otto Heller, Hone Glendenning, Bryan Langley and Derek Williams. Among the many early talkies he worked on as an assistant cameraman were the Alfred Hitchcock productions, The Skin Game and Number 17. In 1940 he became an operative cameraman on such productions as Ourselves Alone, Alias Bulldog Drummond, Housemaster, Picadilly Incident and Marigold.

His long association with Associated British ended with the outbreak of World War II, during which he served as a lieutenant in the Royal Navy. He returned to the studios in 1946, working on features at Anglo Films and George King Productions. These included No. Exit, The Shop at Sly Comer and My Brother Jonathan.

Drury became a director of photography in 1946 and went to South Africa to photograph the J. Arthur Rank production, African Journey. He was invited to Canada the following year to photograph three features for Quebec Productions, Inc.: Un homme et son Peche (which won honors at the 1949 Venice Film Festival), Seraphin (winner of the Canadian Academy Award for best photography in 1950), and Cour de Maman.

By 1950 Drury had established permanent residence in New York City, receiving his U. S. citizenship in 1954. He became one of the busiest and most versatile of the East Coast cinematographers, working in features, television, industrial films, theatrical shorts, commercials, and government informational films. His earliest TV work included "The Court of Human Relations" series with Fannie Hurst and Norman Vincent Peale, "Jet Fighter," "The James Thurber Story" for Omnibus, "Korean Folk Story," "The Circus Comes to Bellview," and "Art in Rural America." He was one of the first to utilize video tape (known in those days as "living tape") for television productions in the 1950s.

Other credits Drury accrued included a feature about Carl Sandburg for NBC, the "Les Paul & Mary Ford" series, the "Shooting Straight with Tim Holt " series, "The Mennen Hour," all filmed material for the 1956‑57 series of color "Spectaculars" sponsored by Oldsmobile, The Modem Age of Glass, and more than 1,000 commercials and short films.

Drury was on the staff of Filmways, Inc., from 1958 until 1962 and became vice president of the company in 1960. He later spent several years as director of photography for Eastern Motion Pictures, Ltd., in New York. As a free‑lance he worked for most of the production companies on the East Coast, including Columbia Pictures, Caravel Films, International Film Foundation, Transfilm, Elliott & Linger, Video Pictures, Craven Film Corp., Princeton Films, Rockhill Productions, MKR Productions, Screen Gems, Pathescope and others.

One of Drury's favorite projects was photographing the official films used by General Eisenhower in 1953 for his successful presidential campaign.