Jack Cardiff


Some people may have heard that the great cinematographer, Jack Cardiff, passed away on April 22nd. Awarded with an honorary Oscar in 2001, he was behind the camera for such classics as ‘A Matter of  Life and Death‘, ‘The Red Shoes‘ with its splendid technicolor, and ‘Black Narcissus‘ for which he also won an Academy Award.

Cardiff came to Cork in 2001, and gave a talk at UCC, where he discussed what it was like to work with the stars, including Marilyn Monroe and Audrey Hepburn, and chatted about his book, ‘Magic Hour’. Although quite a few years ago now, perhaps someone out there remembers this visit to Cork..if you do, please share some memories!

The Gaurdian’s ‘Life Through a Lens‘ is a nice tribute to Cardiff, using 20 photos to capture his career, while his impact on cinema was also discussed over at The Film Talk.

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5 thoughts on “Jack Cardiff

  1. Didn’t see him at Cork, but I did see him in Edinburgh just two or three years ago when he introduced a screening of A Matter of Life and Death during the EIFF’s Powell retrospective. Seemed like a really great guy, and still full of energy and enthusiasm despite his age.

    He was definitely among the greats – looking at his resume as a cinematographer there are a lot of notable films there but to be honest even if those three Powell films you mention (three of my favourites) were the only things he’d ever done, his place in movie history would still be assured. Not to take anything away from some truly great acting performances, but I can’t imagine Black Narcissus being nearly as powerful without Cardiff’s contribution.

    It’s a shame his career as a director was a bit patchier but, that said, I do think that his film Dark of the Sun is one of the great unsung action films of the 60s. It pops up on TCM a lot and has got a bit of a cult following alright, but it must be due a wider reappraisal by now I think (sadly unlikely at the moment as it remains unreleased on DVD, even in the US).

    Definitely a true legend of cinema.

  2. Thanks for the comment..although I’d seen him myself at UCC, I don’t think I appreciated at the time what he had done for cinema. And I have much catching up to do with regard to his work..I’m looking forward to watching Black Narcissus and The Red Shoes. And must try to get hold of ‘Dark of the Sun’ then too!

    • i remember him in his cravat and tweed suit, a really nice guy and a really interesting talk at UCC that day. sorry to hear of his passing …

  3. He was at Cork Film Festival in 2002 (I think) too, gave a talk in the half moon(?). Was in great form that day. I remember thinging if I looked that good at that age I’d be well pleased. RIP Jack

  4. That was the year he came to UCC too…and it actually was around festival time, so he covered it all in the same few days I guess. Still have to read that ‘Magic Hour’ book too..tis a disgrace; I been saying for years that I’ll read it!

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