Seventy Light Years: An Autobiography

Freddie Young

Published by Faber & Faber, 1999
ISBN 10: 0571197930 / ISBN 13: 9780571197934
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Synopsis: The veteran film cameraman Freddie Young, who won Academy Awards for "Lawrence of Arabia", "Doctor Zhivago" and "Ryan's Daughter", takes readers on a journey through cinema history, from his early days processing celluloid by hand in the studios at Shepherds Bush to his experiences with David Lean in locations around the world. This autobiography includes anecdotes about the directors and actors with whom Young worked, and offers a guide to how cinematography evolved from a craft into an art.

From Publishers Weekly: A palpable enthusiasm for the technical aspects of film animates this amiable but slight autobiography by the late cinematographer. Young's distinguished, long and varied career included a can-do apprenticeship at Gaumont Film Studios in WWI-era England; helping Hitchcock on a montage sequence for the 1929 thriller Blackmail, one of Britain's first sound pictures; and working on a wide array of films under such directors as Carol Reed, Richard Brooks, Vincente Minnelli and John Huston. Apart from its sharp snapshots of famous directors, the book is lean in anecdotes about actors, although Young worked with some of the best. Aside from bemusement over Elisabeth Bergner's prima donna behavior and Elizabeth Taylor's freezer full of Mexican food on the Russian set of The Blue Bird, the focus throughout is on the mechanics of filmmaking. For example, Young tells of developing a mechanism to keep a camera lens clear while filming in a driving rainAan invention he devised while shooting Ryan's Daughter on the tempestuous Irish coast. In discussing his work on David Lean's Lawrence of Arabia and Dr. Zhivago, movies that dazzled in large part because of their cinematography, Young typically does not mention Peter O'Toole's star-making turn as T.E. Lawrence and says of Zhivago's Julie Christie only that, although she is "not terribly striking" in person, she "comes alive" on screen. Instead, Young delivers low-key but amusing reminiscences about the technical challenges he overcame. For example, Dr. Zhivago was shot in Spain, so icicles fashioned of candle wax, whitewashed trees and tarps strewn with snow-like marble dust were pressed into service to evoke the long winters of Russia. As sketchy and anecdotal as this memoir may be, Young's excitement about his craft proves infectious. (Sept.)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Seventy Light Years: An Autobiography
Publisher: Faber & Faber
Publication Date: 1999
Binding: Hardcover
Book Condition: Used: Good

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