‘Cameraman -The Life and Work of Jack Cardiff’ comes to American Region free Blu-ray with a very good looking 1080p MPEG-2 encoded transfer, framed in the widescreen 1.78:1 aspect ratio. It looks as if most of the interviews were shot on Super 16 as they appear a bit too good for normal 16mm. As you’d expect from a film about a cinematographer, the lighting of the talking heads is very nice indeed. Despite the various shoots having taken place over a long period, the quality is consistently good – except for the footage of Alan Parker at Cannes which looks a bit upscaled. What is really important here is the subject matter. There’s some fine grain evident in most interviews, but it looks quite nice. Colour is strong and contrast is excellent. In the shadows, we get deep blacks. The image is sharp and detailed too. All nicely shot stuff.
Being a documentary, there’s not much call for the use of surrounds in the audio, although we do get a Dolby Digital 5.1 surround track. Speech is crystal clear and the delicate use of music ensures that neither the respectful mood is ruined nor is the audience distracted from the stream of fascinating information coming from Jack Cardiff himself or the other interviewees. There’s not a lot to say about the audio except that it’s a very effective, workmanlike track that is handled sensibly throughout.
Interview with Craig McCall by Ian Christie (HD, 13 mins) - The director of the documentary tells Ian Christie how when he first met Jack Cardiff, he borrowed his own Bolex H16 clockwork camera. He explains how everyone interviewed had been keen to take part including Kirk Douglas, who was recovering from a stroke at the time. We hear how they assembled the documentary from materials held by Jack Cardiff and how chats with the great cinematographer helped produce great anecdotes.
Jack’s Actress Portraits (HD, 4 mins) - A closer look at the portraits taken by Jack Cardiff of many leading ladies including Marilyn Monroe, Sophia Loren, Audrey Hepburn, Anita Ekberg and others as Mr C. relates anecdotes behind the shoots.
Jack’s behind the scenes movies (HD, 10 mins) - Jack Cardiff talks us through his 16mm home movies taken on the set of movies like ‘The African Queen’ and he fills us in on what it was like to work with John Huston, Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall.
Cinematographer and Director Relationship (HD, 12 mins) - Alan Parker opens with the director’s viewpoint, then we hear from cinematographers Chris Challis and Freddie Francis before Jack Cardiff adds his comments.
Working with Three Strip Technicolor (HD, 5 mins) - Cinematographer Chris Challis explains the basics of the three strip Technicolor process and Jack Cardiff tells us how they were told never to let the camera out of their sight. We also hear about Natalie Kalmus, who used to ‘advise’ Art Directors on the choice of colour on their sets to achieve the best results in Technicolor. There’s a great story about working on ‘Scott of the Antarctic’.
Photo Galleries - Here we get a chance to look at full screen versions of Jack’s actress portraits as well as some really nice production stills shot during the making of the documentary.
Theatrical trailer (HD, 2 mins) - It’s the trailer for the documentary.
The fascinating documentary ‘Cameraman – The Life & Work of Jack Cardiff’ comes to American Region free Blu-ray with a good looking 1080p MPEG-2 encoded transfer, framed in the widescreen 1.78:1 aspect ratio. We get good strong colour in the nicely lit interviews with excellent contrast and some fine grain hinting at the origination medium. It all looks good, including the great film clips and Jack’s home movie footage. The Dolby Digital 5.1 surround track has little to do except ensure we get crisp, clear dialogue throughout, but the use of music now and again is handled sensitively.
Included in the Bonus materials is an interview with director Craig McCall, Jack Cardiff’s Actress Portraits and Home Movies, an explanation of three strip Technicolor and a look at the Director/Cinematographer relationship.
This is one film that really needs to be in every film buff’s collection.
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