GREAT CINEMATOGRAPHERS


#2: Left from prod/dir Alexander Korda [hat/glasses] - photo by Howard Coster [1936]

 

   


GEORGES PÉRINAL

 

Born: 1897, Paris, France.

Died: 23 April 1965, London, UK.

Career: Started as a projectionist in 1913. Became chief mechanic at Pathé Frères in Paris. Went to work for Alexander Korda in England in 1933.

Was a member of the BSC.

Awards: 'Oscar' AA nom 1st round [1939; color; shared] for 'The Four Feathers'; 'Oscar' AA [1940; color] for 'The Thief of Bagdad'.



In his rare moments of humor Georges Périnal used to say that he dreamt of being a garage owner and that he would have taken more pleasure in repairing good motor cars than in photographing the sumptuous productions of the movies. It is true that mechanical devices were his passion. [...] It was this passion which led him in his youth to get interested, among all sorts of wheels and springs, in the mechanics of projectors, which the brothers Lumière had named cinematograph. [...] But scarcely had Georges become 'projectionist', when he wanted to know how the machines worked which actually took the pictures. And his incorrigible curiosity prompted him to turn a few small films. And in turning these small films he met Jean Grémillon, with whom he produced documentaries; later he went on to the making of more important films, until the day when, with Jean Cocteau's 'Blood of a Poet', the mechanic he thought he was became, without himself knowing it, a poet of light. Georges Périnal, chief cameraman; Lazare Meerson, chief designer! What an admirable team I had the good fortune to find at the time of the first sound films! [...] In the little studio at Epinay we had a single very narrow stage, which could not compare with those of Hollywood and Neubabelsberg. But the talent and resource of my two friends largely made up for the poverty of our means. [...] In 1933 Georges Périnal was called by Alexander Korda, who was preparing 'The Private Life of Henry VIII'. Georges went to England, settled there, and carved himself the career known to all. Only on rare occasions did he come to France; but on British soil he still remained the same man we had known in the French film studios: a little melancholy, a little lonely; gentle and smiling, passionately involved in his work alone, into which he poured the care and the desire for perfection which made him one of the great masters of the art. [...] Georges Périnal came to the movies as a modest artisan, and artisan he remained to the end of his days. And yet an artist vanishes with his going. [René Clair in 'Film & Television Technician', May 1965.]


 

 FILMS

NOTE: It is often difficult to figure out whether or not a cph notation is appropriate, particularly as regards pre-war French films. The on-screen typography [big letters plainly indicating the cinematographer, much smaller ones plainly meant to denote the operator and assistants] clears up the matter, but were we have had to rely on printed sources, which merely list a bunch of names, we may occasionally have strayed into error.

1923

Chartres [Jean Grémillon] b&w; doc/12m

1923

Le revêtement des routes [Jean Grémillon] b&w; doc/?m

1924

La fabrication du fil [Jean Grémillon] b&w; doc/?m

1924

Du fil à l'aiguille [Jean Grémillon] b&w; doc/?m

1924

La fabrication du ciment artificiel [Jean Grémillon] b&w; doc/?m

1924

La bière [Jean Grémillon] b&w; doc/?m

1924

Le roulement à billes [Jean Grémillon] b&w; doc/?m

1924

Les parfums [Jean Grémillon] b&w; doc/?m

1924

L'étirage des ampoules électriques [Jean Grémillon] b&w; doc/?m

1924

La photogénie mécanique [Jean Grémillon] b&w; short/?m

1925

L'éducation professionelle des conducteurs de tramway [Jean Grémillon] b&w; 6-part doc series

1925

L'électrification de la ligne Paris-Vierzon [Jean Grémillon] b&w; doc/?m

1925

L'Auvergne [Jean Grémillon] b&w; doc/?m

1925

La naissance des cigognes [Jean Grémillon] b&w; doc/?m

1925

Les aciéries de la marine et d'Homécoiurt [Jean Grémillon] b&w; doc/?m

1925

La justicière [Maurice Gleize & Maurice de Marsan] b&w; cph: Albert Brés & Willy Faktorovitch

1926

La vie des travailleurs italiens en France [Jean Grémillon] b&w; doc/?m

1926

Au pays de George Sand [Jean Epstein] b&w; doc/30m

1926

Un tour au large/Open Sea [Jean Grémillon] b&w; exp short/?m; or ph Lucien Lesaint

1927

Six et demi, onze[Jean Epstein] b&w

1927

Gratuités [Jean Grémillon] b&w; short/?m

1927

Bobs [Jean Grémillon] b&w; doc/?m

1927

Maldone/Misdeal [Jean Grémillon] b&w; ext ph: Christian Matras

1927

La zone [: Au pays des chiffoniers] [Georges Lacombe] b&w; doc/28m

1928

La Tour [René Clair] b&w; doc/11m; cph: Nikolas Roudakoff

1928

Gardiens de phare/The Lighthouse Keepers [Jean Grémillon] b&w

1928

Les nouveaux messieurs/The New Gentlemen [Jacques Feyder] b&w; cph: Maurice Desfassiaux

1929

Bithulite [Pierre Sichel] b&w

1929

Ces dames aux chapeaux verts [André Berthomieu] b&w

 

 

1930

Sous les toits de Paris/Under the Roofs of Paris [René Clair] b&w; (c.asst/op: Georges Raulet)

1930

Le sang d'un poète/The Blood of a Poet [Jean Cocteau] b&w; 55m; (2nd c.op/opérateur en second: Preben Engberg; c.asst: Louis Page)

1930

David Golder [Julien Duvivier] b&w; cph: Armand Thirard

1930

Mon ami Victor! [André Berthomieu] b&w

1930

Le parfum de la dame en noir [Marcel L'Herbier] b&w

1930

Le Million/The Million [René Clair] b&w

1931

Jean de la lune [Jean Choux] b&w

1931

La femme en homme/The Woman Dressed as a Man [Augusto Genina] b&w

1931

À nous la liberté/Freedom for Us/Liberty for Us [René Clair] b&w

1931

Daïnah la métisse [Jean Grémillon] b&w; 60m; cph: Louis Page

1931

La petite chocolatière/The Chocolate Girl [Marc Allégret] b&w; cph: Roger Hubert & Nikolai Toporkoff

1932

Pan!... Pan!... [Georges Lacombe] b&w; short/40m

1932

Le picador [Lucien Jaquelux] b&w

1932

Quatorze juillet/Bastille Day/July 14 [René Clair] b&w; also as 3x 35mm triptych (3.66:1)

1932

Pomme d'amour [Jean Dréville] b&w

1932

Hôtel des étudiants/Student's Hotel [Viktor Tourjansky] b&w

1932

The Girl from Maxim's [Alexander Korda] b&w

1932

La dame de chez Maxim's [Alexander Korda] b&w; French-language version of 'The Girl from Maxim's'

1932

Perfect Understanding [Cyril Gardner] b&w; uncred cph; ph: Curt Courant

1933

Une vie perdue [Raymond Rouleau] b&w

1933

The Private Life of Henry VIII. [Alexander Korda] b&w; sfx: Ned Mann

 

[Right] with Alexander Korda [center] and Douglas Fairbanks Jr.

"The Rise of Catherine the Great"

 

1933

The Rise of Catherine the Great [Paul Czinner & (uncred) Alexander Korda] b&w

1934

The Private Life of Don Juan [Alexander Korda] b&w

1934

Maria Chapdelaine[Julien Duvivier] b&w; cph: Jules Kruger

1934

Sanders of the River/Bosambo [Zoltan Korda] b&w; ext ph: Osmond Borradaile (Africa Unit) & Louis Page; matte paintings: W. Percy Day

1934

Escape Me Never [Paul Czinner] b&w; int ph; ext ph: Sepp Allgeier; G. Périnal and S. Allgeier are credited as doph; some sources (co-)credit Freddie Young, and even c.op Gilbert Taylor mentions his name, but Young's role (if any) in the prod is unknown

1935

[H.G. Wells'] Things to Come [William Cameron Menzies] b&w; sfx dir: Ned Mann; sfx ph: Edward Cohen (= Edward Colman); spec pfx: George J. Teague

 

 

1936

Rembrandt [Alexander Korda] b&w; uncred cph: Richard Angst; dir sfx: Ned Mann; matte paintings: W. Percy Day

1936

Dark Journey/The Anxious Years [Victor Saville] b&w; cph: Harry Stradling Sr.; sfx: Ned Mann

1936

Under the Red Robe [Victor Sjöström] b&w; cph: James Wong Howe; sfx: Ned Mann

1937

I, Claudius [Josef von Sternberg] unfinished; filmed 15 February-16 March; footage was used in the BBC-tv doc 'The Epic That Never Was' (1965/74m)

1937

The Squeaker/Murder on Diamond Row [William K. Howard] b&w

1937

The Drum/Drums [Zoltan Korda] c; Indian loc ph: Osmond Borradaile; spph: Edward Colman; matte paintings: W. Percy Day

1937

The Challenge [Milton Rosmer & (co-d Alpine scenes) Luis Trenker] b&w; cph: Albert Benitz

1938

Prison Without Bars [Brian Desmond Hurst] b&w; English-language version of 'Prison sans barreaux' (1937)

1938

The Four Feathers [Zoltan Korda] c; Sudan ph: Osmond Borradaile; loc ph: Jack Cardiff; matte paintings: W. Percy Day

1939

The Thief of Bagdad [: An Arabian Fantasy in Technicolor] [Ludwig Berger, Michael Powell & Tim Whelan; (uncred) Zoltan Korda, Alexander Korda & William Cameron Menzies] c; cred as chief photographer; assoc photographer: Osmond Borradaile; dir spec efx: Lawrence Butler; scenic backgrounds: Percy Day 

1940

Old Bill and Son [Ian Dalrymple] b&w

1941

Dangerous Moonlight/Suicide Squadron [Brian Desmond Hurst] b&w

 

 

1942

The First of the Few/Spitfire [Leslie Howard] b&w; as lighting expert; model ph: Eric Cross; backgrounds: W. Percy Day

1942

The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp/The Adventures of Colonel Blimp/Colonel Blimp [Michael Powell & Emeric Pressburger] c; loc ph (+ co-c.op): Jack Cardiff; process ph: W. Percy Day

1942

Our Film [Harold French (uncred)] b&w; short/15m; uncred ph; co-operative film made by the Denham Film Studios

1943

It's Just the Way It Is [Leslie Fenton] b&w; short/11m

1945

Perfect Strangers/Vacation from Marriage [Alexander Korda] b&w; sfx: W. Percy Day

1947

A Man About the House [Leslie Arliss] b&w

1947

An Ideal Husband [Alexander Korda] c; sfx: W. Percy Day

 

"The Fallen Idol"

 

1948

The Fallen Idol/The Lost Illusion [Carol Reed] b&w; sfx: W. Percy Day

1948

That Dangerous Age/If This Be Sin [Gregory Ratoff] b&w; ext ph: Anchise Brizzi

1948

Britannia Mews/Affairs of Adelaide/The Forbidden Street [Jean Negulesco] b&w

1950

Bridge of Time [David Eady & Geoffrey Boothby] c; doc/15m

1950

My Daughter Joy/Operation X [Gregory Ratoff] b&w; ext ph Italy: André Bac

1950

The Mudlark [Jean Negulesco] b&w

1950

El señorito Octavio [Jerónimo Mihura] b&w

1950

No Highway/No Highway in the Sky [Henry Koster] b&w

1951

The House in the Square/I'll Never Forget You/Man of Two Worlds [Roy Ward Baker] c

1951

Babes in Bagdad [Edgar G. Ulmer] c; uncred cph; ph: Jack E. Cox; filmed 1951-52

1951

Muchachas de Bagdad [Jerónimo Mihura & Edgar G. Ulmer] c; cph: Jack E. Cox; Spanish-language version of 'Babes in Bagdad'; filmed 1951-52

1953

Three Cases of Murder [Wendy Toye (seg 'In the Picture'), David Eady (seg 'You Killed Elizabeth') & George More O'Ferrall (seg 'Lord Mountdrago')] b&w; 3 seg

1954

The Man Who Loved Redheads [Harold French] c

1955

L'amant de Lady Chatterley/Lady Chatterley's Lover [Marc Allégret] b&w

1955

The Woman for Joe [George More O'Ferrall] vv/c

1956

Satellite in the Sky [Paul Dickson] cs/c; cph: Jimmy Wilson

1956

Loser Takes All [Ken Annakin] cs/c

1956

La herida luminosa [Tulio Demicheli] c; addph: Federico G. Larraya

 

[Left/visor] with Otto Preminger and Jean Seberg

"Bernard Shaw's Saint Joan"

 

1957

Bernard Shaw's Saint Joan [Otto Preminger] b&w

1957

A King in New York [Charles Chaplin] b&w

 

 

1957

Bonjour tristesse [Otto Preminger] cs/b&w-c

1957

tom thumb [George Pal] Metroscope/c; pfx: Tom Howard

1958

Luna de miel/Honeymoon/The Lovers of Teruel [Michael Powell] tr/c; cph: Claude Renoir; assoc ph: Gerry Turpin

1958

Serious Charge/Immoral Charge/A Touch of Hell [Terence Young] b&w

 

"Once More, with Feeling"

Photo by Yul Brynner

 

1959

Once More, with Feeling [Stanley Donen] c

1959

The Day They Robbed the Bank of England [John Guillermin] Metroscope/b&w

1960

Oscar Wilde/Forbidden Passion [Gregory Ratoff] b&w

1961

The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse [Vincente Minnelli] p/c; uncred cph; ph: Milton Krasner

 

 TELEVISION

1959

As Dark As the Night/The Night Apart [Terence Young] tvm; reshoots ph; ph: Walter Lassally; ep #116 (3rd season) of CBS-tv dramatic anthology series 'Playhouse 90' (1956-60)