Thursday, 23 April 2009

So long, Jack

Film legend Jack Cardiff has died at the age of 94. Astonishingly, Jack worked in the industry for 89 years, from his earliest appearance as a child actor in a 1918 silent, to his last cinematography job two years ago. In his career he did more or less everything there is to do behind the camera, working with directors of the calibre of Michael Powell, Alfred Hitchcock and John Huston, as well as filming more or less everybody worth filming including Olivier, Orson Welles, Marilyn Monroe and, um, Sylvester Stallone. Jack also directed a number of films himself: an eclectic mix of the quite high-brow and the fairly low-down, including ‘Sons & Lovers’, ‘Scent of Mystery’ (the first film made in Smell-o-vision), Vikings vs Moors epic ‘The Long Ships’ (my favourite film as a five year old) and two unusual exploitation pieces, psychedelic saucefest ‘Girl On A Motorcycle’ with Marianne Faithfull and circus freak horror ‘The Mutations’, featuring music from Basil Kirchin’s ‘Worlds Within Worlds’ project.

I had the pleasure of being in the same room as Jack Cardiff about 12 years ago, and as I listened to him talk modestly and intelligently about his long and incredible career, I remember hoping that he would be around forever. He didn’t manage it, unfortunately, but he had a bloody good go!

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