American Cinematographer (2011) - Spotlighting a Legendary Cinematographer
- article: Spotlighting a Legendary Cinematographer
- author(s): Mark Hope-Jones
- journal: American Cinematographer (01/May/2011)
- issue: volume 92, issue 5, page 18
- journal ISSN: 0002-7928
- keywords: "Cameraman: The Life & Work of Jack Cardiff", Academy Awards, Alfred Hitchcock, Cannes Film Festival, Cannes, France, George E. Turner, Jack Cardiff, Martin Scorsese, Michael Powell, New York City, New York, Pinewood Studios
- Article about Cardiff which briefly mentions he worked with Hitchcock.
It all started in the early 1990s, with a Bolex. Director Craig McCall was making music videos at EMI in London, and an elderly gentleman noticed the 16mm Bolex camera on his desk and wandered over to take a look. "Ididn'tknowwhohewas," recalls McCall. "He came over, and we got to chatting."
The man was Jack Cardiff, BSC, who shot many of the most visually accomplished three‑strip Technicolor films ever made, including A Matter of Life and Death/Stairway to Heaven (1946), The Red Shoes (1948), The African Queen (1951) and Black Narcissus (1947). He won an Academy Award for the latter film, and 53 years later, he became the first Cinematographer to be presented with an honorary Oscar.
Cardiff was at EMI because he had been invited to shoot a version of Vivaldi's The Four Seasons, and he returned to the office several times during his prep. McCall, now aware of his extraordinary background, spoke with Cardiff again as soon as the opportunity arose. "One day Jack opened a newspaper and saw that iî had just snowed in Venice, Italy, which it hadn't done for decades," recalls McCall. "He loved that image, and he wanted it for The Four Seasons, but he didn't have his budget yet, so he just borrowed the Bolex, drove to Venice and got it in the can. f thought that was fantastically inspiring. He had the enthusiasm of a film student doing his first production, yet he was in his 80s and had made so many amazing films."
As their acquaintance developed, McCall had the idea o...