GREAT CINEMATOGRAPHERS


#1-3: From the doc "The Light That Burns - Remembering Jordan Cronenweth" [2007]

 

   


JORDAN CRONENWETH

 

Born: 20 February 1935, Los Angeles, Calif., USA, as Jordan Scott Cronenweth, son of William Edward Cronenweth, a Hollywood studio portrait photographer.

Died: 29 November 1996, Los Angeles, Calif., USA.

Education: Los Angeles City College, Los Angeles, Calif., USA.

Career: Started in 1957 as location gig for the tv-series 'Boots and Saddles'. Worked in the still photo lab at Columbia Studios. In 1961, he became Conrad Hall's c.asst. and later c.op.

Was diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease in 1978. He was in constant pain, but did some of his most artful and original work during subsequent years, including 'Altered States' and 'Cutter's Way'. There were times when his crew literally had to carry him out to the set while he was shooting 'Blade Runner' in 1981.

Ph commercials. Ph music videos with a: Madonna, U2, a.o.

Was a member of the ASC and BSC.

His son Jeff is a doph.

Subject of the doc 'The Light That Burns - Remembering Jordan Cronenweth' [2007, Charles de Lauzirika; 20m].

Awards: LAFCA Award [1982], BSC Award nom [1982] & BAFTA Film Award [1983] for 'Blade Runner'; ASC Award [1987] & 'Oscar' AA nom [1987] for 'Peggy Sue Got Married'.



 

Veteran cinematographer Jordan Cronenweth, whose lensing of 'Blade Runner' garnered him the British Academy Award in 1982, died Nov. 29 of Parkinson's Disease in Los Angeles. He was 61.

One of the most creative and admired cameramen of the 1970s and 1980s, Cronenweth was the director of photography on a handful of films that helped redefine the language of cinematography, including his groundbreaking work on 'Blade Runner' and such visually arresting films as 'Altered States', 'Cutter's Way' and 'Peggy Sue Got Married'.

'He was, without question, one of the outstanding cinematographers of his generation,' said Allen Daviau, ASC, the d.p. on such Spielberg-directed films as 'E.T.' and 'Empire of the Sun'. 'When you look at the diversity of the body of his work you see why he is regarded as one of the outstanding cinematographers of his generation. 'Blade Runner' alone will live as a testament to that.'

Born in L.A. in 1935, Cronenweth attended North Hollywood High School and later Los Angeles City College majoring in Engineering.

While in college he worked summers at Columbia Pictures as a runner in the lab and following a brief stint working as a cameraman in Oklahoma, left school to work full time.

It was 'Blade Runner', Scott's 1982 futuristic thriller based on Phillip K. Dick's sci-fi novel 'Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?' that made cineastes outside the d.p. ranks sit up and take notice of Cronenweth.

'It was Ridley Scott's futuristic concept, but the photography had density and texture in a way that gave a look of dread to this picture in an extremely creative way,' Daviau said. Although Cronenweth was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease in 1978, he continued to work on ambitious projects such as Francis Ford Coppola's 'Gardens of Stone' (1987), as well as the U2 concert film 'Rattle and Hum' (1988) and 'State of Grace' (1990), both directed by Phil Joanou.

'The thing that you have to admire so much with Jordan, is that with the way he suffered from his illness, still he never let up with the intensity with which he approached his work despite the physical pain he suffered,' Daviau said. [From obituary by Doug Galloway in Variety, 17 December 1996.]


 

 FILMS

1969

[Truman Capote's] Trilogy [seg 'A Christmas Memory' dir by Frank Perry] c; cph: Conrad L. Hall & Vincent Saizis; other ph: Joseph Brun (seg 'Miriam' & 'Among the Paths of Eden'); 3 short tvm's re-edited for theatrical release; see Television (1966)

1969

The Liberation of L.B. Jones [William Wyler] c; 2uc; ph: Robert Surtees

1970

Brewster McCloud [Robert Altman] p/c; cph: Lamar Boren; 2uc: Don McClendon

1970

The Touch of Satan/Curse of Melissa/Night of the Demon [Tom Laughlin] c

1971

Play It As It Lays [Frank Perry] c

1972

Cry for Me, Billy/Face to the Wind/Apache Massacre/Count Your Bullets/The Long Tomorrow/Naked Revenge [William A. Graham] c

1973

Zandy's Bride/For Better, For Worse [Jan Troell] p/c

1973

The Nickel Ride [Robert Mulligan] p/c

1974

The Front Page [Billy Wilder] p/c

1975

Gable and Lombard [Sidney Furie] c

1976

Rolling Thunder [John Flynn] c

1976

Citizens Band/Handle With Care [Jonathan Demme] c

1979

Altered States [Ken Russell] c

1979

Cutter and Bone/Cutter's Way [Ivan Passer] c

 

 

1981

Blade Runner [Ridley Scott] p (+ 70bu [2.20:1] & D-Cinema ['Final Cut']/c; addph: Steven Poster, Brian Tufano & (uncred) Haskell Wexler; Derek Vanlint ('Alien') was the intended doph, but he was busy shooting commercials and turned the offer down

1982

Best Friends [Norman Jewison] c

1983

Stop Making Sense [Jonathan Demme] c; concert film/88m; filmed December 1983 (Hollywood)

1984

Refuge of the Roads [Joni Mitchell] c/V; mus perf/60m; concert ph; + footage from several feature films and s8 home movies (ph by J. Mitchell & Larry Klein)

1985

Peggy Sue Got Married [Francis Coppola] c

 

[Right] with Francis Coppola - "Gardens of Stone"

 

1986

Gardens of Stone [Francis Coppola] c; snow seq ph: George Voellmer

1986

Just Between Friends [Allan Burns] c

1987

U2: Rattle and Hum [Phil Joanou] 16mm-35bu/b&w-c; mus doc/99m; ph color seg; b&w ph: Robert Brinkmann; aph: Stan McClain & Brek Cooney

1989

State of Grace [Phil Joanou] c; 2uc: Richard Quinlan

1989

Paul McCartney's Get Back [Richard Lester] 16mm+35mm-to-35mm/c; concert film/89m; + visual cons; cph: Robert Paynter; filmed in England, Holland, Brazil, Canada, Italy, Japan & USA

1991

Final Analysis [Phil Joanou] c; vfx ph: Patric Kenly

1991

AlienĀ³ [David Fincher] replaced after 10 days (because of his slow shooting pace due to Parkinson's disease) by doph Alex Thomson

 

 TELEVISION

1966

Truman Capote's A Christmas Memory [Frank Perry] tvm/51m; cred with C. Hall under the heading 'Photography'; cph: Conrad L. Hall & Vincent Saizis; lighting: Harry Sunby; ep #13 of 27-part series 'ABC Stage 67' (1966-67); see Films (1969)

1972

Birds of Prey [William Graham] tvm; released theatrically outside USA

1978

One in a Million: The Ron LeFlore Story/Man of Passion [William Graham] tvm

1978

And I Alone Survived [William Graham] tvm

1979

Transplant [William Graham] tvm

 

 FILMS AS CAMERA ASSISTANT/OPERATOR

1961

Incubus [Leslie Stevens] c.asst.; ph: Conrad L. Hall

1965

Harper/The Moving Target [Jack Smight] co-c.op; ph: Conrad L. Hall

1965

Ride Beyond Vengeance/Night of the Tiger [Bernard McEveety] co-c.asst; ph: Lester Shorr

1966

The Professionals [Richard Brooks] c.asst.; ph: Conrad L. Hall

1967

In Cold Blood [Richard Brooks] c.op; ph: Conrad L. Hall

 

 

1968

Hell in the Pacific [John Boorman] c.op.; ph: Conrad L. Hall