Dedications: My four late friends Rory, Stan, Bryan, Jeff - shine on you crazy diamonds, they would have blogged too. Then theres Garry from Brisbane, Franco in Milan, Mike now in S.F. / my '60s-'80s gang: Ned & Joseph in Ireland; in England: Frank, Des, Guy, Clive, Joe & Joe, Ian, Ivan, Nick, David, Les, Stewart, the 3 Michaels / Catriona, Sally, Monica, Jean, Ella, Anne, Candie / and now: Daryl in N.Y., Jerry, John, Colin, Martin and Donal.

Friday, 21 May 2010

Another perfect Jack Cardiff moment ....

I loved the 1958 Henry Hathaway adventure LEGEND OF THE LOST when I saw it as a kid and had become fascinated by Sophia Loren (from the previous year's BOY ON A DOLPHIN and that Italian film WOMAN OF THE RIVER) and its still terrific now - call it what you will: a Sahara western, an oater, a programmer - its still terrific entertainment as John Wayne (iconic as ever), 23 year old Sophia, and Rosanno Brazzi trek into the Sahara from Timbuktu in search of lost treasure and find that ancient Roman ruined city (below) which looks rather like Leptis Magna in Libya (one of those places I must get to see...).

What rises this above the usual films of its type though is that it was photographed by Jack Cardiff - the desert never looked more attractive, well apart from in LAWRENCE OF ARABIA. Whether its Sophia cooking by sunset (above) or deep in the ruined city it always looks terrific. The shots are as good as any in those other classics lensed and lit by Cardiff: BLACK NARCISSUS, PANDORA AND THE FLYING DUTCHMAN, THE BAREFOOT CONTESSA, THE RED SHOES, A MATTER OF LIFE AND DEATH etc. Jack also pulled off the same trick with Fleisher's THE VIKINGS - that too still looks perfect now, as does his work on THE AFRICAN QUEEN, WAR AND PEACE, THE PRINCE AND THE SHOWGIRL etc - Ekberg, both Hepburns, Loren, Monroe, Ava, Leigh etc all look their best when lit by Jack Cardiff.

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