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Englander, A. Arthur (1916-2004)

Cinematographer, Director

Main image of Englander, A. Arthur (1916-2004)

A. Arthur "Tubby" Englander began in the film industry as a camera assistant with Stoll Picture Productions in Cricklewood in 1931, under cinematographer Desmond Dickinson. He later joined Gaumont-British as a first assistant working on some of the Hitchcock films (The Man Who Knew Too Much (1934), The 39 Steps (1935), The Secret Agent and Sabotage (both 1936)). After a period as a freelance, Englander joined Warner Bros Studios at Teddington in 1937, where he worked until the close of the studios at the outbreak of war.

Following military service with the Army Kinematographic film production unit, he worked as director/cameraman, making government and industrial documentaries for Basic Films and the then Ministry of Works film unit. In 1952 he joined the Film Department of BBC Television, eventually becoming its Senior Film Lighting Cameraman.

During this period, especially the 1950s, the role of the television film cameraman was to shoot mainly exterior sequences, the major part of the production going out either live or being recorded on videotape (except in some cases of documentary and news subjects).

Englander helped start the BBC's popular Maigret series (BBC, 1960-63) with filmed establishing shot exteriors on the try-out production, 'Maigret and the Lost Life' (tx. 6/12/59, p/d. Campbell Logan; shown as a part of Sunday-Night Theatre), and later the first eight episodes of the series proper. In something of a similar whodunit vein, in later years he also photographed the four-part Lord Peter Wimsey (BBC, 1972-75) mystery 'Murder Must Advertise' (tx. 30/11-21/12/73).

One of Englander's earlier and perhaps finest visual achievements for television was the six-part science-fantasy serial Quatermass and the Pit (BBC, 1958-59), produced and directed by Rudolph Cartier from the script by Nigel Kneale. Englander photographed this eerie story of supernatural events surrounding the discovery of a Martian spacecraft in an effective combination of low-key lighting and claustrophobic close shots.

It was becoming obvious that Englander's involvement in a TV film production came to signify that there would always be something compelling and stunning to feed the eye.

He worked with Cartier again on the well-received Anna Karenina (BBC, tx. 3/11/61), starring Claire Bloom and Sean Connery, Wuthering Heights (BBC, tx 11/5/62), again with Claire Bloom, 'Stalingrad' (BBC, tx. 4/12/63; for the dramatic anthology Festival) and Victor Canning's six-part thriller serial The Midnight Men (BBC, 1964).

When working in the crime-mystery genre, Englander enjoyed a long association with producer/director Alan Bromly working on the BBC's Francis Durbridge Presents serials, which included the undercover agent drama of The World of Tim Frazer (1960-61), the murder mysteries of Melissa (tx. 1964) and A Man Called Harry Brent (tx. 1965), and the popular adventures (from radio) of novelist-detective Paul Temple (1969-71).

In the documentary field, Englander was invited to work on Sir Kenneth Clark's Civilisation (BBC, 1969), a milestone series that was two years in production, and, later, some segments of Alistair Cooke's highly-praised 13-part history of America (BBC, 1973).

In 1971 he received the certificate of honorary fellowship of the Royal Photographic Society, becoming the first television cameraman to receive the Society's top honour. After some 24 years with BBC Television, for the most part as Director of Photography, Englander retired from the corporation in 1976.

Tise Vahimagi

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Impressively passionate version of the Bronte classic

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