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John Alcott
Born 1931
London, England
Died 28 July 1986(1986-07-28)
Cannes, Alpes-Maritimes, France
Occupation Cinematographer
Years active 1948–1987

John Alcott, BSC (1931 – 28 July 1986)[1] was an English cinematographer best known for his four collaborations with director Stanley Kubrick; these are 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), for which he took over as lighting cameraman from Geoffrey Unsworth in mid-shoot, A Clockwork Orange (1971), Barry Lyndon (1975), the film for which he won his Oscar,[2] and The Shining (1980). Alcott died from a heart attack in Cannes, France in July 1986; he was 55.[1] He received a tribute at the end of his last film No Way Out starring Kevin Costner.

Life[edit]

John Alcott was born in Isleworth, England, in 1931, to the father of Movie Executive Arthur Alcott.[3]

At a young age, Alcott started his career in film by becoming a clapper boy, which was the lowest position in the camera crew chain. As time progressed however, he moved his way up and eventually became the third highest position of the camera following the lighting cameraman and the main camera operator. His position was extremely important, as his job was to adjust, focus and measure the lens and distance between the actor or object being shot and the camera itself. [4]

Alcott's big break was given to him by Stanley Kubrick, [5] who was a master cinematographer, director, producer and screenwriter. Kubrick promoted Alcott to lighting cameraman in 1968 while working on “2001: A Space Odyssey” and from there the two created an inseparable collaboration, in which they worked together on more than one occasion. In 1971, Kubrick then elevated Alcott to director of photography on “A Clockwork Orange” which was nominated for four Academy Awards in Best Picture, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Film Editing, however the film never won. [6]

Alcott studied lighting and how the light fell in the rooms of a set. He would do this so that when he shot his work it would look like natural lighting, not stage lighting. It was this extra work and research that made his films look so visually beautiful. [7]

Along with his Academy award for “Barry Lyndon”, the film is considered to be one of the greatest and most beautiful movies made in terms of its visuals. Not one, but three films worked on by Alcott were ranked between 1950–1997 in the top 20 of “Best Shot”, voted by the American Society of Cinematographers. Yet another great accomplishment made possible by John Alcott.

Not only was Alcott a highly regarded cinematographer, in the 80s when he immigrated into the United States of America he directed and shot commercials for television. [8]

Death[edit]

While in Cannes, France, Alcott suffered a heart attack and died on 28 July 1986. Alcott was one of the greatest of his time. In memory and honour of John Alcott, the "BSC John Alcott ARRI Award" was created by the British Society of Cinematographers to honour fellow lighting cameraman in film. John Alcott will always be remembered for his spectacular contributions in film and for his love and passion for it as a form of art.[9] John Alcott leaves behind wife Sue and son Gavin who is now following in his father's steps.

Filmography[edit]

Awards[edit]

  • 1973: BAFTA Award nomination for A Clockwork Orange
  • 1976: Oscar for Barry Lyndon
  • 1976: BAFTA Award for Barry Lyndon
  • 1984: BAFTA Award nomination for Greystoke

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "JOHN ALCOTT, AN OSCAR WINNER FOR CINEMATOGRAPHY, IS DEAD". The New York Times. 3 August 1986. Retrieved 22 September 2010. 
  2. ^ "Barry Lyndon: Kubrick's neglected masterpiece". The Daily Telegraph. 5 February 2009. Retrieved 22 September 2010. 
  3. ^ John Alcott Biography. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0005633/bio?ref_=nm_ov_bio_sm
  4. ^ John Alcott Biography. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0005633/bio?ref_=nm_ov_bio_sm
  5. ^ N/A. (1977). John Alcott. The Independent Film Journal (Archive: 1937–1979), 80(3), 6–7. Retrieved from http://bf4dv7zn3u.search.serialssolutions.com.myaccess.library.utoronto.ca/?ctx_ver=Z39.88-2004&ctx_enc=info:ofi/enc:UTF-8&rfr_id=info:sid/summon.serialssolutions.com&rft_val_fmt=info:ofi/fmt:kev:mtx:journal&rft.genre=article&rft.atitle=JOHN ALCOTT&rft.jtitle=The Independent Film Journal (Archive: 1937–1979)&rft.date=1977-07-22&rft.pub=Nielsen Business Media&rft.issn=0019-3712&rft.volume=80&rft.issue=2&rft.spage=6
  6. ^ N/A. (2000). Clockwork orange. Retrieved from http://kubrickfilms.warnerbros.com/video_detail/cwo/
  7. ^ N/A. (1977). John Alcott. The Independent Film Journal (Archive: 1937–1979), 80(3), 6–7. Retrieved from http://bf4dv7zn3u.search.serialssolutions.com.myaccess.library.utoronto.ca/?ctx_ver=Z39.88-2004&ctx_enc=info:ofi/enc:UTF-8&rfr_id=info:sid/summon.serialssolutions.com&rft_val_fmt=info:ofi/fmt:kev:mtx:journal&rft.genre=article&rft.atitle=JOHN ALCOTT&rft.jtitle=The Independent Film Journal (Archive: 1937–1979)&rft.date=1977-07-22&rft.pub=Nielsen Business Media&rft.issn=0019-3712&rft.volume=80&rft.issue=2&rft.spage=6
  8. ^ N/A. (2014). Overview for John Alcott. Retrieved from http://www.tcm.com/tcmdb/person/1770%7C85034/John-Alcott/
  9. ^ John Alcott Biography. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0005633/bio?ref_=nm_ov_bio_sm

External links[edit]


Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Alcott — Please support Wikipedia.
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118 news items

 
Chicagoist
Mon, 11 May 2015 13:03:45 -0700

Long before HBO's Boardwalk Empire made viewers wonder if their TV set's brightness levels were off with the authentic, dimly lit 1920s period lighting, Kubrick and cinematographer John Alcott used special lenses to show 18th century rooms illuminated ...

Hollywood Reporter

Hollywood Reporter
Fri, 22 Aug 2014 02:12:44 -0700

Poland's Camerimage Festival, the leading film fest dedicated to the art of cinematography, will this year pay tribute to the late, Oscar-winning cameraman John Alcott. The British cinematographer, who died in 1986, is best known for his collaborations ...
 
Indie Wire (blog)
Tue, 24 Feb 2015 11:07:37 -0800

According to them, he was quiet and soft-spoken, a very kind-hearted man. It is doubtlessly due in part to these characteristics — in addition to his technical abilities — that the British Society of Cinematographers created the BSC John Alcott ARRI ...
 
Broadway World
Fri, 14 Nov 2014 21:44:28 -0800

Camerimage, the International Film Festival of the Art of Cinematography, announced today that the late Oscar® winning cinematographer John Alcott will be commemorated at this year's Festival as part of the special "Remembering the Masters" series.

Página 12 (Registro)

Página 12 (Registro)
Thu, 14 May 2015 21:41:15 -0700

... sí, pero nunca empalagosos– y las escenas de interiores a la luz de las velas, registrados mediante los nuevos formatos digitales, merecen incorporarse a ese lista de prodigios analógicos integrada por el Néstor Almendros de Días de gloria, el John ...

Flickering Myth (blog)

Flickering Myth (blog)
Wed, 25 Mar 2015 04:37:30 -0700

As well as beguiling characters, Kubrick pushed technical boundaries with the film's lighting when, instead of using artificial illumination Kubrick, along with director of photography John Alcott, chose to light scenes by only candlelight or daylight ...
 
Complex.com
Tue, 09 Dec 2014 12:03:45 -0800

Most of the great directors use the same cinematographers over and over. Their filmographies become intertwined. Stanley Kubrick had John Alcott, Martin Scorsese had Michael Ballhaus, Woody Allen had Gordon Willis, the Coen Brothers have Roger ...

RollingStone.com

RollingStone.com
Fri, 31 Oct 2014 06:19:56 -0700

For a throwaway slasher film, Terror Train boasted some marquee talent: Magician David Copperfield, Oscar-winning actor Ben Johnson, 48 Hrs. director Roger Spottiswoode, and Stanley Kubrick's longtime cinematographer John Alcott; all of whom, ...
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