One of my heroes, the supremely talented and illustrious cinematographer Jack Cardiff has passed away at the age of 94. Cardiff was known for such films as THE AFRICAN QUEEN, THE RED SHOES, A MATTER OF LIFE AND DEATH, THE BAREFOOT CONTESSA, WAR AND PEACE, THE VIKINGS, and one of my favorite films of all time and the single most beautiful ever shot, BLACK NARCISSUS. Cardiff also directed the 1968 psychedelic film GIRL ON A MOTORCYCLE.
“Naturally, I am proud of successful films that I have enjoyed working on like ‘The Red Shoes’ and the ‘Black Narcissus’ and I have had a certain satisfaction from that. But the films that I am most proud of – the film for instance that I made under great difficulty, ‘Sons and Lovers’, I wanted to make it into a good film because the book is marvelous and I didn’t want to let the author (D.H. Lawrence) down.”
Luckily for us, much of Cardiff’s work is available on DVD. I highly recommend the Blu-ray transfer of BLACK NARCISSUS which, while not available in the U.S., is readily available from England in a stunning non-region-encoded transfer.
Here’s to you, Mr. Cardiff.