The world has lost a great talent in the world of cinema with the passing of cinematographer Douglas Slocombe, who passed away last Monday at the age of 103. Slocombe was in the business over 40 years, working on 80 films, in which he received 3 Oscar nominations and 11 BAFTA nominations, winning 3 of those. But aside from his filmwork, his eariler days are a movie waiting to be made!
He started in journalism, working for the British United Press as a junior editor, while in his free time, he continued his passion for photography. He eventually started selling his stills to different magazines around the world, as well as continuing to write. His introduction to filmmaking came when he convinced Life to send him to Danzig in 1939, where he filmed some very dangerous subjects, like a meeting of SS stormtroopers. At the time, Danzig was known as the most dangerous place in Europe because of the German occupation. Slocombe’s work was being smuggled out by the Polish Embassy, but he was being watched very closely by the Germans. He would later spend a lot of time on different navy ships such as Destroyers, Aircraft Carriers, and more. After the war, he made his way into Ealing Studios, which is where he started his movie career.
While he is known for his films such as Jesus Christ Superstar (1973), The Great Gatsby (1974), Julia (1977), Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981), he did have his share of genre pictures as well. He worked on Britian’s first horror anthology, Dead of Night (1945), as well as Polanski’s The Fearless Vampire Killers (1967). He also worked on a couple of Hammer films, Scream of Fear (1961), which is one of their beautful black and white thrillers, as well as Hammer’s last film of their heyday, The Lady Vanishes (1979).
A talent like this will be forever missed, but always remembered because fans will keep these films alive, to be watched, enjoyed, admired, and discussed, for decades to come.