The film, Cameraman – The Life And Work Of Jack Cardiff, is a remarkable documentary about the most extraordinary career of a British cinematographer, who started out as a child actor back in the day of black and white silent films (at five or six years of age at the time, one of his co-stars was Lillian Gish, which puts Mr. Cardiff at the genesis of the movie business).
Later on, Cardiff worked on film sets doing a variety of jobs, and in a remarkable turning point, was chosen to be the first non-American to be given the job of handling the then brand new three-strip Technicolor camera in the UK. For film buffs, and especially for those interested in the technical aspects of movie making, the documentary is an incredible treasure trove of behind-the-scenes information about the evolution of filmmaking. The film has commentary about Mr. Cardiff’s work over the years from veteran Hollywood stars such as Charleton Heston, Lauren Bacall and Kirk Douglas, as well as extensive commentary throughout about Mr. Cardiff’s influence on modern cinematography by noted director and film aficionado Martin Scorcese.
Currently making rounds at film festivals here and abroad, the documentary is well worth seeking out, and the film’s director, Craig McCall, was in attendance at the screening to introduce the movie and was available for a delightful Q&A session afterword.
Noting that the project took about thirteen years to complete, Mr. McCall pointed out that although Jack Cardiff passed away only a year ago (at the ripe old age of 95), he was able to spend many hours with his subject over a ten year period, and the film is chock-a-block full of fascinating tidbits about the man’s long career, the luminaries he worked with, and the films he worked on (too many to list here, but if you’re a film buff you’re probably aware of most of them). Mr. McCall confirmed at the event that they’ve already lined up distribution for eventual DVD and Blu-ray release in major markets, including North America.