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Krasker, Robert (1913-1981)


Main image of Krasker, Robert (1913-1981)

Cinematographer Robert Krasker was a Perth-born Australian who arrived in Britain in 1932 via photographic studies in Paris and Dresden, and found work at Korda's London Films, where he became senior camera operator, usually for Georges PĂ©rinal.

After two shared cinematographer credits, he had his first solo stint on The Gentle Sex (d. Leslie Howard, 1943), and spent the rest of the 1940s lighting such honoured films as the Technicolor triumph of Henry V (d. Laurence Olivier, 1944), as Brief Encounter (d. David Lean, 1945), Odd Man Out (d. Carol Reed, 1947) and The Third Man (d. Reed, 1949), for which his magisterial black-and-white images, often unnervingly tilted, brought him an Oscar.

In this notable trio of films, his camera work is as crucial an element as any in establishing their film noir affiliations, observational realism constantly in tension with the rendering of anguished inner states.

Virtually everything he did was notable, whether evoking Renaissance Verona in Romeo and Juliet (UK/Italy, d. Renato Castellani, 1954), the harsh black-and-white realities of The Criminal (d. Joseph Losey, 1960), or the epic sweep of El Cid (US/Italy, d. Anthony Mann, 1961), in 70mm Technirama, one of the several international films he photographed.

He shot his last feature, the Canadian-set, The Trap (d. Sidney Hayers) in 1966, after which he retired because of ill-health.

Book: The British Cinematographer by Duncan Petrie (1996).

Brian McFarlane, Encyclopedia of British Cinema

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Selected credits

Thumbnail image of Brief Encounter (1945)Brief Encounter (1945)

Trevor Howard and Celia Johnson start a great British romance

Thumbnail image of Cry, The Beloved Country (1952)Cry, The Beloved Country (1952)

South African drama about a black man accused of killing a white one

Thumbnail image of Gentle Sex, The (1943)Gentle Sex, The (1943)

WWII drama about seven women in the Auxiliary Territorial Service

Thumbnail image of Henry V (1944)Henry V (1944)

Laurence Olivier turns Shakespeare into rousing propaganda

Thumbnail image of Odd Man Out (1947)Odd Man Out (1947)

A wounded Republican gunman dodges police on Belfast's streets

Thumbnail image of Third Man, The (1949)Third Man, The (1949)

Masterful thriller set in postwar Vienna - recently voted Britain's greatest film

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Thumbnail image of Producing The Third ManProducing The Third Man

Casting, shooting and editing a cinema classic

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Thumbnail image of Reed, Carol (1906-1976)Reed, Carol (1906-1976)

Director, Producer, Writer