Cameraman: The Life and Work of Jack Cardiff (NC)

Reviewed,Anthony Quinn
Friday 07 May 2010 00:00 BST

This is a timely tribute to a great technician of movie-making, Jack Cardiff, who died last month, aged 94.

He came to prominence as a cameraman during the golden age of Technicolor, shooting for Hitchcock (Under Capricorn) and most famously for Powell and Pressburger in the late 1940s. His work on The Red Shoes and Black Narcissus is peerless, and among the coups of Craig McCall's documentary is an interview with Kathleen Byron, who, as the deranged nun in the latter, presented one of the scariest faces in cinema: Cardiff's expert lighting ensured it. The second half of his career was less distinguished than the first – Rambo: First Blood Part II is a surprise on the CV – yet he was still awarded an honorary Oscar in 2001. The man himself, twinkling as he reminisces before the camera, had another gift of notable rareness in his profession: humility.

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