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American Cinematographer (1994) - ASC International Award to Jack Cardiff, BSC




The Society salutes the work of the renowned British cinematographer and director.

Once asked to name the best color movie ever made, Natalie Kalmus, the daughter and protégé of Technicolor inventor/ founder Dr. Herbert Kalmus and Technicolor consultant on a number of classic films, offered her choice without a moment's hesitation: 1948's The Red Shoes, written and directed by Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger. Based on a Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale, the story concerned an obsessive ballerina and her trying personal relationships. If you've seen it, chances are that you still have vivid memories of the magical ballet sequence featuring Moira Shearer.

But not everyone agrees with Natalie Kalmus. Many aficionados believe Black Narcissus is the best Technicolor film ever made. This 1946 film, also directed by Powell and Pressburger, focused on five nuns and their struggle to overcome great odds while building an orphanage in a mythical mountain setting. Black Narcissus earned critical acclaim in many categories. The critics lauded the camerawork with comments such as "Dazzling colors, rich pastels. . . never garish."

Both films were photographed by Jack Cardiff, BSC, who won an Oscar for Black Narcissus. At the time, Cardiff already had some 30 years of experience, but the two pictures were just his second and third assignments as a director of photography. Prior to his career in feature‑film cinematography, he had been a child star, assistant cameraman and operator, as well as a Technicolor consultant and travelogue cinematographer extraordinaire.

Cardiff collected subsequent Oscar nominations for War and Peace and Fanny. His eclectic body of work also includes such unforgettable films as The African Queen, The Prince and the Pauper, Pandora and the Flying Dutchman and The Barefoot Contessa, as well as the contemporary adventure films Rambo: First Blood, Part II, The Vikings and Conan the Destroyer.

In mid‑career, Cardiff tried his hand at directing and became the only filmmaker to earn Oscar nominations for both directing and cinematography: in 1960, he received the Golden Globe and New York Film Critics awards, along with an Oscar nomination, for directing Sons and Lovers. Fred...

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