Douglas Slocombe. Master Cinematographer.

Kind Hearts and Coronets

Douglas Slocombe’s long and fruitful career can be divided into four stages.

Stage 1: The Master of Ealing

Dead of Night.

The cinematographer at Ealing studios where he worked with all five of the great Ealing directors on several classic movies and most of the Ealing comedies. One of his first was the still very frightening anthology horror “Dead of Night” (1945) and its climactic Alberto Cavalcanti-directed “Ventriloquist Dummy”.

The Lavender Hill Mob

Charles Crichton’s “Hue and Cry” , “The Titfield Thunderbolt” and Ealing’s most successful film and only Oscar winner “The Lavender Hill Mob” (for T. E. B. Clarke’s Original Screenplay).

Kind Hearts and Coronets

Robert Hamer’s greatest film KH&C is Slocombe’s masterpiece from the Ealing era;

The Man in the White Suit

He also shot Alexander Mackendrick’s “The Man in the White Suit” and “Mandy” and Basil Dearden’sThe Captive Heart” and “Saraband for Dead Lovers”.

The L-Shaped Room: Douglas Slocombe

Stage 2: The Great British Cinematographer of the sixties.

His stunning black and white cinematography on Bryan Forbes‘ kitchen sink drama “The L-Shaped Room” with Leslie Caron and Joseph Losey’s “The Servant”, with Dirk Bogart and James Fox, both from1963, marks one of the high points of British cinema.

The Great Gatsby: Douglas Slocombe

Stage 3: Cinematographer on the world stage.

Starting with his first Oscar nomination at the age of 60 for George Cukor’s “Travels With My Aunt”, in 1972, he moved to the world stage. During this period his color cinematography on Jack Clayton’s underrated 1974 version of “The Great Gatsby” and Fred Zinnemann’s “Julia” (second Oscar nomination) are justly praised. Although the latter, which we now know was fabricated by it’s author Lillian Hellman, has fallen out of favor, there is no denying the power of Slocombe’s autumnal and wintry mise-en-scene.

RAIDERS of the Lost Arc: Douglas Slocombe

Stage 4: Indiana Jones

Finally, there are the Indiana Jones movies, spanning the eighties from 1981 to 1989. His work on “Raider’s of the Lost Ark” (third Oscar nomination), Spielberg’s greatest movie, is superlative and would in itself, grant him a place in the hall of the cinema’s great cinematographers.

YearMy
Rating
FilmDirectorAwards for Douglas Slocombe and other notable facts.Studio
1945ADead of Night* **Charles Crichton Alberto Cavalcanti Basil Dearden and Robert HamerEaling Studios
1946C+The Captive HeartBasil DeardenEaling Studios
1947BHue and CryCharles CrichtonEaling Studios
1948C+Saraband for Dead LoversBasil DeardenThe first Ealing film to be shot in color.Ealing Studios
1949A+Kind Hearts and Coronets*Robert HamerEaling Studios
1951AThe Man in the White Suit*Alexander MackendrickEaling Studios
1952AThe Lavender Hill Mob*Charles CrichtonEaling Studios
1952BMandyAlexander MackendrickEaling Studios
1953BThe Titfied ThunderboltCharles CrichtonEaling Studios
1961C+The Young OnesSidney J.FurieParamount Pictures
1962B-Freud*John HustonUniversal-International
1963A-The L-Shaped Room*Bryan ForbesBritish Lion Films
1963AThe Servant*Joseph LoseyBAFTA Win
BSC*** Win
Landau Releasing
1965D+Guns at BatasiJohn GuillerminBAFTA Nominee20th Century Fox
1967C-The Blue MaxJohn GuillerminBAFTA Nominee20th Century Fox
1967CThe Fearless Vampire KillersRoman PolanskiMetro-Goldwyn-Mayer
1968CThe Lion in WinterAnthony HarveyBAFTA Nominee
BSC Nominee
AVCO Embassy Pictures
1969BThe Italian JobPeter CollinsonParamount Pictures
1970CThe Music LoversKen RussellUnited Artists
1971FMurphy’s WarPeter YatesParamount Pictures
1972CTravels with My Aunt (First Oscar Nomination)George CukorBAFTA Nominee
Oscar Nominee
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
1973CJesus Christ SuperstarNorman JewisonBAFTA Nominee
BSC WIN
Universal Pictures
1974B-The Great Gatsby*Jack ClaytonBAFTA Win
BSC Win
Paramount Pictures
1975CRollerball*Norman JewisonBAFTA NomineeUnited Artists
1975CHeddaTrevor NunnBowden Productions Limited
1977BJulia* (Second Oscar Nomination)Fred ZinnemannBAFTA Win
BSC Win
Oscar nominated
LAFCA Win
20th Century Fox
1981A+Raiders of the Lost Ark* (Third Oscar Nomination)Steven SpielbergBAFTA Nominee
Oscar Nominee
Slocombe had shot several scenes in “Close Encounters” uncredited.
Paramount Pictures
1984C+Indiana Jones and the Temple of DoomSteven SpielbergBAFTA Nominee
BSC
Nominee
Paramount Pictures
1989B-Indiana Jones and the Last CrusadeSteven SpielbergParamount Pictures
*Slocombe’s cinematography singled out for special praise.

** An anthology horror film composed of individual segments: “The Hearse Driver” (Dearden), “The Christmas Party” (Cavalcanti), “The Haunted Mirror” (Hamer), “The Golfer’s Story” (Crichton) and the “Ventriloquist’s Dummy” (Cavalcanti). The overarching story at the farmhouse was also directed by Dearden .

***British Society of Cinematographers

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