I always like watching documentaries on people who helped to shape film history. Jack Cardiff is definitely one of those men who have influenced tons of filmmakers that came after him. He did cinematography work for the Powell and Pressburger films, revolutionized color cinematography and worked until the day he died. He was an artist that would take problems that the filmmakers had and turn them into revolutionary solutions. All of his films utilized color in such a distinct fashion that you knew if you were watching a Jack Cardiff film. Part of Powell and Pressburger’s legacy is the use of color cinematography and it was all provided by Jack Cardiff.
This documentary was mostly made when Jack Cardiff was still alive. He was a charming man who accomplished a lot in his career, even if he isn’t a household name. The way he goes about deciding on the look of a film is what is most interesting about this film. Cardiff was a skilled painter and he used to copy masters on canvas, study their paintings and then transfer those looks to the screen. The way Vermeer, Turner and Van Gogh played with light and movement is the same way Cardiff plays with light. He also provides some interesting anecdotes about stars including a charming one about Marlene Dietrich. I also find it charming that Cardiff did all of these special dramas that are must see if you are interested in film’s history in the forties, fifties and sixties and then went on to do Rambo in the eighties.
Anybody is interested in how a film gets made should see this film. Anyone who is interested in being a cinematographer should see this film and then watch all of Cardiff’s films. Cardiff is a charming man who has given so much to the craft of filmmaking, it is incredible.