Friday, 22 February 2008

Hero of the Light Brigade


One of my all-time favourite directors of photography, David Watkin, has recently and sadly passed to that big film set in the sky. Hopefully he will bring even more heavenly illumination to paradise with his unique Wendy Light, his high overhead lamps on a cherry-picker that made night shots far more natural. Watkin shot for Ken Russell (on arguably Russell's best film The Devils) and Dick Lester (Help!, The Knack). But in my book Watkin's work will be best remembered for his breathtaking photography on the vastly underrated Charge of the Light Brigade and Joseph Andrews. Both were directed by Tony Richardson, not an easy director for cinematographers to work with because of his frequent habit of grabbing control of the camera himself. Watkin's superb efforts were such that if I saw his name in opening credits I would exclaim to myself, or to the long-suffering company I was with, "Oh good", or if put into end credits "Of course".

3 comments:

Diplomat said...

Did they have internal combustion engines in cavalry then ? Very little Golden Film or Castrol R to be enjoyed.

A F-A said...

Doing some brain bashing: was it "The Knack..." that brought Rita Tushingham to our attention? She was an extraordinary - not to say, mesmerising - looking girl. He wasn't a person I knew, so I read his obit: "Charge otLB" is a bit dim in my memory now, but I then read that he did "Out of Africa" which, cinematographically (gulp) I thought was fantastic.

Peter Ashley said...

Diplo: The Last of the Brudenells didn't run on Castrol, more Castration Oil.

Alois: The big-eyed big-gobbed Rita Tushingham first came to our attention in A Taste of Honey (another Richardson sixties triumph), and then The Knack, with the infinitely watchable Ray Brooks,and a bit part at the beginning and end of Doctor Zhivago. Barry Norman