Jack Cardiff, the cinematographer, died at his home in Kent today (April 22) after a short illness. Hepassed away surrounded by his family.
Cardiff, who started his career aged four as an actor, worked the Oscar-winning Black Narcissus, the Forties classic he made with British film-making duo Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger. His other credits with Powell and Pressbuger include A Matter Of Life and Death, The Red Shoes, The Magic Box,The African Queen and Pandora andThe Flying Dutchman. Later in his career, he showed his versatility shooting Rambo First Blood Part II and Conan the Destroyer.
A pioneer of Technicolor, Cardiff also directed a number of films including Girl On A Motorcycle as well as DH Lawrence adaptation, Sons and Lovers.
Cardiff, born on September 18 1914, worked as an extra and child actor, taking his first movie role aged four years old. His parents were “old pros” in the music hall scene. He was awarded an OBE in 2000 and an Honorary Oscar for his contribution to cinema in 2001. He was also a fellow of the British Film Institute.
His admirers included the American director Martin Scorsese, who once remarked of Cardiff that “his achievement as a cinematographer was to make cinema into an art of moving painting” and called him “a true pioneer of colour.”
Amanda Nevill, director of the BFI, said: “He was a world-class cinematographer who pioneered the techniques of shooting in Technicolor. He made a unique contribution to some of the greatest films ever made. He was a regular and much-loved visitor as a BFI Fellow, whose irrepressible delight in cinema was an inspiration. We adored him and will miss him.”