For Reel

Cameraman: The Life and Work of Jack Cardiff (2010)
January 9, 2012, 11:40 pm
Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , ,

Director: Craig McCall

In his collaborations with the Archers, Jack Cardiff made his claim as being the best color cameraman who ever lived. When revisiting a work like The Red Shoes, it is evident that the excellence of his craft remains unsurpassed. Cameraman: The Life and Work of Jack Cardiff discusses those films and beyond, including Cardiff’s directorial work starting in the 1960s and, most surprisingly, his work on features like Rambo: First Blood Part II. The talking heads include such figures as Lauren Bacall, Kirk Douglas, and, of course, Martin Scorsese, and the enthusiasm with which they speak about his work is intoxicating. Most admirable about the picture is the way in which it specifically acknowledges what he added to the director’s vision and to the glamour of the stars – Kathleen Byron, who is driven insane in Black Narcissus, credits half of the impact of her performance to Cardiff’s lighting of her face. As a tribute to the artist, the film is an admirable feat, however it disappointingly reveals little about Cardiff the man, and the film-set anecdotes, while entertaining, don’t necessarily add anything to the appreciation of his photography. Nonetheless, this is a pleasant diversion for movie lovers.


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