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Technicolor Adventures — Interiors

Magic Hour : A Life in Movies

Faber & Faber, 1996

Book chapter

...When a film unit has finished the main shooting on a set, any odd, unimportant bits left to shoot — a close-up of a cigarette smudged in an ashtray, a letter — all these dreary minutiae are left to be done later, by a very small crew...

Technicolor Goes to War

Magic Hour : A Life in Movies

Faber & Faber, 1996

Book chapter

...In the summer of 1939 I was in Sicily working contentedly on a commercial for Cadbury’s milk chocolate. It seemed a long way from the machinations of Hitler and the inexorable advent of war.One evening after work I was having a drink...

Technicolor Adventures — Exteriors

Magic Hour : A Life in Movies

Faber & Faber, 1996

Book chapter

...British Technicolor was born in a stable. One casual day as I passed the old stables at Denham I saw crates being unpacked and was introduced to half a dozen Americans with wonderful hats who had that resolute pilgrim look: George Cave...

La Belle France – Again

Magic Hour : A Life in Movies

Faber & Faber, 1996

Book chapter

...After the rigours of Hathaway I needed to get away from it all and what better holiday than to make another documentary with my preposterous old friend Jean Bernard in Paris.Jean was short, jovial, with a large middle section and a tiny...

Flynn

Magic Hour : A Life in Movies

Faber & Faber, 1996

Book chapter

...In the summer of 1953 I was working on Robert Louis Stevenson’s The Master of Ballantrae on location in Cornwall; its star was the inimitable Errol Flynn. While we were shooting, the assistant director rushed on to the set to say that Flynn...

Crossing the Rubicon

Magic Hour : A Life in Movies

Faber & Faber, 1996

Book chapter

...The Informer was the last big silent film to be made in England. When it was finished, my career as a Vichy waterboy ended too. I now stepped on to the lowest rung of the camera department ladder as a number boy. I knew nothing about...

Expectations Fulfilled

Magic Hour : A Life in Movies

Faber & Faber, 1996

Book chapter

...My career as a director had not, so far, been an awesome success: two low-budget B-pictures. The press had not been kind. Their verdict on my new career was ‘Why should Cardiff (flatteringly labelled “Britain’s best cameraman”) leave his...

Fade In …

Magic Hour : A Life in Movies

Faber & Faber, 1996

Book chapter

...The music soared into the usual persuasive volume over the end title. Sons and Lovers, my first important film as a director, was up for judgement at the Cannes Festival and I sat in the front row of the circle, my mouth completely dry.The...

Sophia

Magic Hour : A Life in Movies

Faber & Faber, 1996

Book chapter

...I went from Tolstoy to Ben Hecht, who was writing a script for my next job, Legend of the Lost, to be shot mostly in the Sahara desert. The story was of a man looking for his father presumed lost in Timbuktu some years before. He hires...

The Aftermath

Magic Hour : A Life in Movies

Faber & Faber, 1996

Book chapter

...The dizzy success of Sons and Lovers led to several directorial offers – mostly from Hollywood – and, dreamlike indeed, the great David O. Selznick invited me to Venice to discuss a future production.There I was, in bathing shorts, plodding...