DVD Review: Cameraman: The Life and Work of Jack Cardiff



People who love movies can spout of actors and directors all day, however only real cinephiles know the cinematographers. You might not recognize the name Jack Cardiff, but you’re sure to know his work.

Cardiff just about spent his entire life in film. He acted in his first film at the age of four in 1918. In 1929 he got his first job as a clapper boy. By 1935 he was a camera operator and by 1947 he was an Academy Award winning cinematographer. He was instrumental in finding new ways to use Technicolor and even found time to direct thirteen films of his own including the Oscar-nominated Sons & Lovers

This fantastic documentary looks over his vast career highlighting the most important moments and many of his most stunning and innovative shots from a vast variety of films. Not only did he shoot classics like The African Queen, The Red Shoes and The Barefoot Contessa, but he also shot films like Rambo: First Blood Part II and Conan the Destroyer

The films surely could speak for themselves, but along with great interviews with Cardiff, the film also offers the thoughts of Martin Scorsese, Kirk Douglas, Lauren Bacall, John Mills, Kim Hunter, some archival footage of Charlton Heston and many, many others.

I’ll leave you with a warning. While this film is only 90 minutes long be prepared to spend a lot of time movie watching after this, because watching this film will make you want to watch ever film highlighted within.

Jack Cardiff died in 2009 at the age of 94.

The film is presented in a combination of widescreen and full screen format and Dolby Digital Stereo. This is a great-looking documentary. The interviews look great and the archive footage is fantastic.

Interview with Craig McCall: (13 min.) McCall talks about meeting Jack and how this film came to be. Jack’s Actress Portraits: (4 min.) This is an extended cut of the scene from the film. Jack’s Behind The Scenes Movies: (10 min) Jack discusses behind the scenes footage he shot on the set of some of the films he shot, interesting stuff. Cinematographer and Director Relationship: (11 min.) An interviews several people about this special relationship in cinema. Working with Three-Strip Technicolor: (5 min.) A nice quick look at how Technicolor worked. Photo Galleries and Original Theatrical Trailer.

Jack Cardiff is an important part of the history of cinema and Cameraman is a worthy tribute to his life and career. Any lover of film is sure to enjoy this documentary.

Strand Releasing presents Cameraman: The Life and Work of Jack Cardiff. Directed by: Craig McCall. Featuring: Jack Cardiff, Martin Scorsese, Kirk Douglas, and Lauren Bacall. Running time: 90 minutes. Rating: Not Rated. Released on DVD: August 9, 2011. Available at Amazon.com.

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