Oswald Norman Morris
22 November 1915
|Died||17 March 2014 98) (aged|
Oswald Norman Morris, BSC (22 November 1915 – 17 March 2014) was a British cinematographer. Known to his colleagues by the nicknames "Os" or "Ossie", Morris's career in cinematography spanned six decades.
Morris was raised in Middlesex (now the London Borough of Hillingdon), and attended the Bishopshalt School. His interest in film began at an early age; during summer vacations, he would work as a projectionist at the local cinema. Dropping out in 1932, he started working in the film industry at Wembley Studios as an unpaid gofer for Michael Powell, among others, eventually graduating to the positions of clapper boy and camera assistant on quota quickies. By his 20s, Morris was a camera operator, first at Wembley, and later at Elstree.
His career was interrupted by the Second World War, during which he served as a bomber pilot with the RAF, achieving the rank of flight lieutenant and winning both the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Air Force Cross.[ citation needed ]
After his war service, Morris worked at Pinewood Studios as an assistant to such people as Ronald Neame and David Lean at their company Cineguild. He was the camera operator during the shooting of Lean's Oliver Twist (1948). He first acted as director of photography on Golden Salamander (1950). Neame referred to Morris as "probably the greatest cameraman in the world".
Morris collaborated with film director John Huston on eight films, beginning with Moulin Rouge (1952), and also including Moby Dick (1956). Although his previous experience with Technicolor had been limited, for Moulin Rouge he devised many stylish effects - through the use of diffused and filtered light, fog, and bold color choices - for the film, and his innovations drew critical praise from the critics. For Moby Dick, Morris developed what David Peloquin has called a "retro-silvered pictorial" which "was designed to capture the look of nineteenth-century whaling prints with their muted colors and silver sheen".Morris wrote in his autobiography that he and Huston wanted a "soft wash" effect "in which we would etch in the characters". To achieve this, in prints for the original release, colour was effectively printed over a black and white image using two negatives. For the film of John Osborne's The Entertainer (1960), on which Morris was the cinematographer, his name was incorporated into the story in one scene where a radio transmission mentioned the fictional "Sergeant Ossie Morris".
He received three nominations for the Academy Award for Best Cinematography, for his work on the musicals Oliver! (1968), Fiddler on the Roof (1971), and The Wiz (1978), and won the award for his work on Fiddler on the Roof. Morris' brother Reginald Herbert Morris was also a cinematographer based in Canada.
Morris was a Fellow of The Royal Photographic Society and was named an Officer of the Order of the British Empire in 1998. He published his memoirs, Huston, We Have a Problem: A Kaleidoscope of Filmmaking Memories ( ISBN 978-0810857063), in 2006. In his later years, Morris participated in the film course at Bournemouth University.
Morris was married twice. His first marriage to the former Connie Sharp produced three children, Gillian, Christine and Roger. The marriage lasted from 1939 until she died in 1963.In 1966, Morris married Lee Turner a member of the continuity production staff on the Franco Zeffirelli film of The Taming of the Shrew (1967). This marriage lasted until she died in 2003. His survivors included his three children, 10 grandchildren, and 18 great-grandchildren.
He was one of the interviewees in the book Conversations with Cinematographers by David A. Ellis, published by Scarecrow Press.
In June 2009, the recently completed central building of the National Film and Television School was officially named The Oswald Morris Building in his honour.
Moulin Rouge! is a 2001 jukebox musical romantic drama film directed, co-produced, and co-written by Baz Luhrmann. The film tells the story of a young English poet/writer, Christian, who falls in love with the star of the Moulin Rouge, cabaret actress and courtesan Satine. It uses the musical setting of the Montmartre Quarter of Paris, France. The film is the third part of Luhrmann's "Red Curtain Trilogy," following Strictly Ballroom and Romeo + Juliet.
Moulin Rouge is a 1952 British drama film directed by John Huston, produced by John and James Woolf for their Romulus Films company and released by United Artists. The film is set in Paris in the late 19th century, following artist Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec in the city's bohemian subculture in and around the burlesque palace the Moulin Rouge. The screenplay is by Huston, based on the 1950 novel by Pierre La Mure. The cinematography was by Oswald Morris. This film was screened at the 14th Venice International Film Festival where it won the Silver Lion.
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