Magazine article American Cinematographer

Magic Hour

Magazine article American Cinematographer

Magic Hour

Article excerpt

Magic Hour by Jack Cardiff Faber and Faber, cloth, 267pps., $26.95

It's good news for all lovers of cinematography when a real genius of the art writes about his experiences. Jack Cardiff, BSC, who is also a fine director and a skilled painter, has done us all a favor by sharing a lifetime of memories in his autobiography, Magic Hour. With refreshing candor and a gift for making his words conjure up images, he not only recounts his own history but that of the British film industry and many of its creators.

Cardiff began his movie career in 1928 as an all-purpose flunky on the British silent version of The Informer. In the Thirties, he was a member of Ned Mann's special effects team on such grand-scale Alexander Korda productions as The Man Who Could Work Miracles and Things to Come. He really came into his own when he was selected to work for the Technicolor Company, which had just established its British branch. The executives there liked the fact that Cardiff used the principles of painting as the basis for his cinematography. Those principles would help Cardiff to become one of the great color cinematographers; examples of his finest work include the Powell/Pressburger productions Black Narcissus (1946) and The Red Shoes (1948). …

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