Jack Cardiff - Film Director, Career and Facts

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Jack Cardiff's Personal Details

Jack Cardiff was a British cinematographer and director who took British cinema to new heights with his mastery of the Technicolor technology

InformationDetail
BirthdaySeptember 18, 1914
Died onApril 22, 2009
NationalityBritish
FamousFilm Director, Film & Theater Personalities, Directors, Cinematographers
Spouses1938 - Dec. 27, 1944), 1997 till his death), Julia Lily Dutton, Niki O’Donahue (March 19), Sylvia Lisette Cecily Manson (Sep. 5)
Childrens John, Mason, Peter, Rodney
Birth PlaceGreat Yarmouth, Norfolk, UK
GenderMale
FatherJohn Joseph Cardiff
MotherFlorence
Sun SignVirgo
Born inGreat Yarmouth, Norfolk, UK
Famous asCinematographer, Film Director
Died at Age94

// Famous Film Director

Jack Cardiff's photo

Who is Jack Cardiff?

Jack Cardiff was a British cinematographer and director who took British cinema to new heights with his mastery of the Technicolor technology. He worked for the production company run by Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger to make movies which broke the shackles of European expressionism and American spectaculars and took British films to a new level of fantasy and romance. He had a huge gift for narrating a story in colors and used the red color to produce the maximum impact. This was evident from the close-ups of red dresses, red lipstick and red ballet shoes used by the female leads in many of his films. He found the eroticism in the most improbable places and used close-ups of moist lips and burning eyes to produce passionate depths even in demure actresses. He became famous while working for Powell and Pressburger’s production company which helped him work with great directors of the time. He was famous for making the actresses in his films look more beautiful with clever use of his camera and various colors. It was said that Jack Cardiff could paint the movies with different colors of his choice.

// Famous Cinematographers

Childhood & Early Life

Jack Cardiff was born John George James Gran in Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, UK on September 18, 1914. He took his father’s stage name and changed it legally to Cardiff.

His father, John Joseph Cardiff and mother, Florence were music-hall comedians. Jack attended a number of schools. He had an elder brother who died in infancy.

At the age of four he appeared in a film where he played the role of a boy who dies after being run over.

Career

Jack Cardiff appeared in small roles in almost a dozen films at a very young age. He started work as a runner on the sets of ‘British International Studios’ in Elstree and later became a clapper boy for Claude Friese-Greene.

He soon became a camera operator for the ‘The Ghost Goes West’ directed by Rene Clair. After mastering the new technology of filming in Technicolor he made the first film in Technicolor in Britain titled ‘Wings of the Morning’ in 1937.

During the Second World War he filmed a documentary ‘Western Approaches’ in 1944 about the exploits of the British Merchant Navy.

He joined the production company run by Powell and Pressburger for whom he filmed ‘Life and Death of Colonel Blimp’ in 1943.

In 1946 he made ‘A Matter of Life and Death’ starring David Niven and Kim Hunter. It was a story about a dead pilot being given a second chance at life by a heavenly court.

He used his mastery over the camera and color in 1947 to produce magical environment for ‘Black Narcissus’ starring Kathleen Byron. It was adapted from a novel written by Rumer Godden. He won an Oscar and a Golden Globe for his efforts.

He used the camera to superb effect to produce staged, natural and dream sequences in the film ‘The Red Shoes’, which starred Moira Shearer as an obsessive ballerina.

In 1951 he operated camera for ‘The African Queen’ starring John Huston.

He worked with great directors such as Alfred Hitchcock for the film ‘Under Capricorn’ in 1949, Albert Lewin for the film ‘Flying Dutchman’ in 1951, Richard Fleischer for ‘The Vikings’ in 1958 and Laurence Olivier for ‘The Prince and the Showgirl’ in 1957.

In 1956 Cardiff filmed the long battle scenes of ‘War and Peace’ for an American-Italian producer ‘King Vidor’. He won an Oscar nomination for his photographic efforts.

He moved to film-direction in 1968 by making the most hilarious comedy of the decade ‘Girl on a Motorcycle’. It was also known as ‘Naked Under Leather’ in which Marianne Faithful stars as a bimbo who puts on a black leather suit and drives off on a huge motorcycle to find the only man who can satisfy her.

‘The Scent of Mystery’ in 1960 was his next venture where the film was made in ‘Odorama’ which released odors during the show which could be ‘smelled’ by the audience.

His next film ‘Sons and Lovers’ in 1960 was a great success and received seven ‘Oscar’ nominations and a number of critics’ awards. The cast comprised of Dean Stockwell, Wendy Hiller and Mary Ure.

Cardiff directed ‘The Lion’ with William Holden in 1962, ‘The Long Ships’ in 1963 and ‘Young Cassidy’ in 1964.

His next projects were a set of romantic films set in exotic locations such as ‘Ride a Wild Pony’ in 1976, ‘Death on the Nile’ in 1978, ‘Tai Pan’ in 1986 and the horror movie ‘The Awakening’ in 1980.

In 1984 he directed another great movie titled ‘Conan the Destroyer’ starring Arnold Schwarzenegger in collaboration with director Richard Fleischer.

He took close-up shots of Sylvester Stallone’s body gleaming with sweat as he moves through mud, and heavy undergrowth in ‘Rambo: First Blood, Part II’ in 1984 for special effects.

He made another extraordinary film ‘Call from Space’ in 1988 which was directed by Richard Fleischer.

Major Works

Jack Cardiff published an autobiography ‘The Magic Hour’ in 1996. The preface was written by Martin Scorsese.

Awards & Achievements

Jack Cardiff won an ‘Academy Award’ for ‘Best Photography’ in 1947 and a ‘Golden Globe Award’ in 1948 for the film ‘Black Narcissus’.

He received a an ‘Academy Award’ and ‘BSC Award’ nomination for the film ‘War and Peace’ in 1956.

He won an ‘NYFCC Award’ and an ‘Academy Award’ for ‘Best Director’ for the film ‘Sons and Lovers’ in 1960. He also received nominations for the ‘Golden Globe Award’ and the ‘Directors Guild of America Award’ for the same film in 1961.

He received an ‘Academy Award’ nomination for the film ‘Fanny’ in 1961.

Cardiff won a ‘BAFTA Award’ nomination for ‘The Far Pavilions’ in 1985.

He received a ‘BSC Lifetime Achievement Award’ and an ‘ASC International Achievement Award’ in 1994.

He was honored with the ‘Order of The British Empire’ (OBE) in 2000.

In 2001 he received an honorary ‘Lifetime Achievement Academy Award’.

He was a member of ‘American Society of Cinematographers’ and an honorary member of ‘British Society of Cinematographers’. He was also a Fellow of the ‘Royal Photographic Society and the patron of ‘Brighton Film School & Studio’.

Personal Life & Legacy

He married Julia Lily Dutton but the couple later got divorced. They had three sons from this marriage named Mason, John and Rodney.

Cardiff married Sylvia Lisette Cecily Manson on September 5, 1938 and divorced her on December 27, 1944.

He married script consultant Niki O’Donahue on March 19, 1997 and was with her till his death. He had a son Peter from this marriage.

Jack Cardiff died in Ely, Cambridgeshire, UK on April 22, 2009 at the age of 94.

Trivia

Jack Cardiff loved paintings and was greatly influenced by French impressionists which was evident in his films.

// Famous Film & Theater Personalities

Jack Cardiff awards

YearNameAward

Other

OBE (2000)
Honorary Oscar (2001)

Jack Cardiff biography timelines

  • // 18th Sep 1914
    Jack Cardiff was born John George James Gran in Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, UK on September 18, 1914. He took his father’s stage name and changed it legally to Cardiff.
  • // 1937
    He soon became a camera operator for the ‘The Ghost Goes West’ directed by Rene Clair. After mastering the new technology of filming in Technicolor he made the first film in Technicolor in Britain titled ‘Wings of the Morning’ in 1937.
  • // 5th Sep 1938 To 27th Dec 1944
    Cardiff married Sylvia Lisette Cecily Manson on September 5, 1938 and divorced her on December 27, 1944.
  • // 1943
    He joined the production company run by Powell and Pressburger for whom he filmed ‘Life and Death of Colonel Blimp’ in 1943.
  • // 1944
    During the Second World War he filmed a documentary ‘Western Approaches’ in 1944 about the exploits of the British Merchant Navy.
  • // 1946
    In 1946 he made ‘A Matter of Life and Death’ starring David Niven and Kim Hunter. It was a story about a dead pilot being given a second chance at life by a heavenly court.
  • // 1947
    He used his mastery over the camera and color in 1947 to produce magical environment for ‘Black Narcissus’ starring Kathleen Byron. It was adapted from a novel written by Rumer Godden. He won an Oscar and a Golden Globe for his efforts.
  • // 1947 To 1948
    Jack Cardiff won an ‘Academy Award’ for ‘Best Photography’ in 1947 and a ‘Golden Globe Award’ in 1948 for the film ‘Black Narcissus’.
  • // 1948 To 1949
    He used the camera to superb effect to produce staged, natural and dream sequences in the film ‘The Red Shoes’, which starred Moira Shearer as an obsessive ballerina.
  • // 1951
    In 1951 he operated camera for ‘The African Queen’ starring John Huston.
  • // 1956
    In 1956 Cardiff filmed the long battle scenes of ‘War and Peace’ for an American-Italian producer ‘King Vidor’. He won an Oscar nomination for his photographic efforts.
  • // 1956
    He received a an ‘Academy Award’ and ‘BSC Award’ nomination for the film ‘War and Peace’ in 1956.
  • // 1960
    ‘The Scent of Mystery’ in 1960 was his next venture where the film was made in ‘Odorama’ which released odors during the show which could be ‘smelled’ by the audience.
  • // 1960
    His next film ‘Sons and Lovers’ in 1960 was a great success and received seven ‘Oscar’ nominations and a number of critics’ awards. The cast comprised of Dean Stockwell, Wendy Hiller and Mary Ure.
  • // 1960 To 1961
    He won an ‘NYFCC Award’ and an ‘Academy Award’ for ‘Best Director’ for the film ‘Sons and Lovers’ in 1960. He also received nominations for the ‘Golden Globe Award’ and the ‘Directors Guild of America Award’ for the same film in 1961.
  • // 1961
    He received an ‘Academy Award’ nomination for the film ‘Fanny’ in 1961.
  • // 1968
    He moved to film-direction in 1968 by making the most hilarious comedy of the decade ‘Girl on a Motorcycle’. It was also known as ‘Naked Under Leather’ in which Marianne Faithful stars as a bimbo who puts on a black leather suit and drives off on a huge motorcycle to find the only man who can satisfy her.
  • // 1984
    In 1984 he directed another great movie titled ‘Conan the Destroyer’ starring Arnold Schwarzenegger in collaboration with director Richard Fleischer.
  • // 1984
    He took close-up shots of Sylvester Stallone’s body gleaming with sweat as he moves through mud, and heavy undergrowth in ‘Rambo: First Blood, Part II’ in 1984 for special effects.
  • // 1985
    Cardiff won a ‘BAFTA Award’ nomination for ‘The Far Pavilions’ in 1985.
  • // 1988
    He made another extraordinary film ‘Call from Space’ in 1988 which was directed by Richard Fleischer.
  • // 1994
    He received a ‘BSC Lifetime Achievement Award’ and an ‘ASC International Achievement Award’ in 1994.
  • // 1996
    Jack Cardiff published an autobiography ‘The Magic Hour’ in 1996. The preface was written by Martin Scorsese.
  • // 19th Mar 1997
    He married script consultant Niki O’Donahue on March 19, 1997 and was with her till his death. He had a son Peter from this marriage.
  • // 2000
    He was honored with the ‘Order of The British Empire’ (OBE) in 2000.
  • // 2001
    In 2001 he received an honorary ‘Lifetime Achievement Academy Award’.
  • // 22nd Apr 2009
    Jack Cardiff died in Ely, Cambridgeshire, UK on April 22, 2009 at the age of 94.

// Famous Directors

Jack Cardiff's FAQ

  • What is Jack Cardiff birthday?

    Jack Cardiff was born at 1914-09-18

  • When was Jack Cardiff died?

    Jack Cardiff was died at 2009-04-22

  • Where was Jack Cardiff died?

    Jack Cardiff was died in Ely, Cambridgeshire, UK

  • Which age was Jack Cardiff died?

    Jack Cardiff was died at age 94

  • Where is Jack Cardiff's birth place?

    Jack Cardiff was born in Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, UK

  • What is Jack Cardiff nationalities?

    Jack Cardiff's nationalities is British

  • Who is Jack Cardiff spouses?

    Jack Cardiff's spouses is 1938 - Dec. 27, 1944), 1997 till his death), Julia Lily Dutton, Niki O’Donahue (March 19), Sylvia Lisette Cecily Manson (Sep. 5)

  • Who is Jack Cardiff childrens?

    Jack Cardiff's childrens is John, Mason, Peter, Rodney

  • Who is Jack Cardiff's father?

    Jack Cardiff's father is John Joseph Cardiff

  • Who is Jack Cardiff's mother?

    Jack Cardiff's mother is Florence

  • What is Jack Cardiff's sun sign?

    Jack Cardiff is Virgo

  • How famous is Jack Cardiff?

    Jack Cardiff is famouse as Cinematographer, Film Director