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Young, Freddie

YOUNG, Freddie

Cinematographer. Nationality: British. Born: Frederick A. Young in England, 9 October 1902. Military Service: British Army's Kinetographic Unit during World War II. Career: Entered films at age 15, and worked in various capacities before becoming cinematographer in late 1920s; worked on international productions from the 1950s; 1962—first collaboration with David Lean, Lawrence of Arabia. Awards: Academy Award, for Lawrence of Arabia, 1962, Doctor Zhivago, 1965, and Ryan's Daughter, 1970; International Award, American Society of Cinematographers, 1993. Officer, Order of the British Empire, 1970. Died: 1 December 1998, in London, England, of natural causes.

Films as Cinematographer:


The Flag Lieutenant (Edwards) (co)


The W Plan (Saville) (co)


The Speckled Band (Raymond)


The Little Damozel (Wilcox); The Blue Danube (Wilcox)


Bitter Sweet (Wilcox)


Nell Gwynn (Wilcox); The Queen's Affair (Wilcox)


The Runaway Queen (Wilcox); Peg of Old Drury (Wilcox)


When Knights Were Bold (Raymond)


Victoria the Great (Wilcox) (co); The Rat (Raymond)


Sixty Glorious Years (Queen of Destiny) (Wilcox)


Nurse Edith Cavell (Wilcox); Goodbye, Mr. Chips (Wood)


Contraband (Powell); Busman's Holiday (Haunted Honeymoon) (Woods)


49th Parallel (The Invaders) (Powell)


The Young Mr. Pitt (Reed)


Caesar and Cleopatra (Pascal) (co); Bedelia (Comfort)


So Well Remembered (Dmytryk)


The Winslow Boy (Asquith); Escape (Mankiewicz)


Edward, My Son (Cukor); The Conspirator (Saville)


Treasure Island (Haskin)


Time Bomb (Tetzlaff); Ivanhoe (Thorpe)


Mogambo (Ford) (co)


Knights of the Round Table (Thorpe)


Lust for Life (Minnelli) (co); Bhowani Junction (Cukor); Invitation to the Dance (Kelly)


The Barretts of Wimpole Street (Franklin); Island in the Sun (Rossen); Gideon of Scotland Yard (Gideon's Day) (Ford)


The Inn of the Sixth Happiness (Robson); Indiscreet (Donen)


Solomon and Sheba (K. Vidor); The Wreck of the Mary Deare (Anderson)


Macbeth (Schaefer)


The Greengage Summer (Gilbert)


Lawrence of Arabia (Lean)


The Seventh Dawn (Gilbert)


Lord Jim (R. Brooks); Rotten to the Core (J. Boulting); Doctor Zhivago (Lean)


The Deadly Affair (Lumet); You Only Live Twice (Gilbert)


Elfrida and the Pig (+ d)


Battle of Britain (Hamilton); Sinful Davey (Huston)


Ryan's Daughter (Lean)


Nicholas and Alexandra (Schaffner)


Luther (Green); The Tamarind Seed (Edwards); Great Expectations (Hardy)


Permission to Kill (Frankel)


The Blue Bird (Cukor) (co)


The Man in the Iron Mask (Newell)


Stevie (Enders)


Bloodline (T. Young)


Rough Cut (Siegel)


Richard's Things (Harvey)


Invitation to the Wedding (J. Brooks); Sword of the Valiant: The Legend of Gawain and the Green Knight (Weeks) (co)


Invitation to the Wedding (J. Brooks)

Film as Director:


Arthur's Hallowed Ground


By YOUNG: book—

With P. Petzold, The Work of the Motion Picture Cameraman, New York, 1972.

By YOUNG: articles—

"A Method of Pre-Exposing Color Negative for Subtle Effect," in American Cinematographer (Hollywood), August 1966.

Films Illustrated (London), June 1973.

On The Tamarind Seed in American Cinematographer (Hollywood), July 1974.

On The Blue Bird in American Cinematographer (Hollywood), December 1975.

Screen International (London), 13 March 1976.

Screen International (London), 21–28 May 1983.

On YOUNG: articles—

Hill, Derek, on Indiscreet in American Cinematographer (Hollywood), April 1958.

American Cinematographer (Hollywood), July 1968.

Skoop (Amsterdam), March 1969.

Lightman, Herb A., on Ryan's Daughter in American Cinematographer (Hollywood), August 1969.

American Cinematographer (Hollywood), June 1971.

Cinema TV Today (London), 25 March 1972.

Films Illustrated (London), May 1972.

Cinema TV Today (London), 1 July 1972.

Focus on Film (London), no. 13, 1973.

Films in Review (New York), February 1973.

Crowdus, Gary, "Just Make It Marvelous, Freddie," Cineaste (New York), Vol. xxi, No. 3, 1995.

Obituary in Variety (New York), 7 December 1998.

* * *

Freddie Young stands as one of contemporary cinema's most creative cinematographers. As such he represents an era of filmmaking in which production has truly taken on an international flavor, for Young has achieved fame and fortune and not moved to Hollywood. One of Britain's most noted cinematographers, once Young took over as David Lean's cameraman he began regularly to earn Oscars. In a remarkably short time in the 1960s, he won three, for Lawrence of Arabia, Doctor Zhivago, and Ryan's Daughter.

Like many great cinematographers, Young spent decades learning his craft before he received any awards. (He was 60 before he won his first Oscar.) His career began in Great Britain in the old glass-topped Gaumont Studios in Lime Grove, London. At first he did a bit of everything from taking stills, developing and printing exposed movie film, editing shorts and features, and operating the camera under the direction of an experienced cinematographer. Young's first credit as cinematographer came in 1926.

During the 1930s he toiled as a cinematographer. He was under contract to British impresario Herbert Wilcox and photographed several of Anna Neagle's films. But during the 1930s the British film industry suffered from the impact of Hollywood. Young adapted and thus worked for several Hollywood films shot in Britain, including Goodbye, Mr. Chips. At the outbreak of World War II, Young was actually in Hollywood, about to begin a career in the movie capital of the world. He immediately returned to the United Kingdom to serve as chief cameraman for the British Army's Kinematographic Unit. After the war, Young worked on many of MGM's British-based productions, with such directors as George Cukor, Gene Kelly, and Richard Thorpe. Young earned his first Oscar nomination for one of these productions, Ivanhoe in 1953. During this period, he also worked on two second-rate John Ford films. Yet the experience impressed him: "John Ford struck me as something special." Ford was willing to try effects conventional Hollywood directors would avoid, though few would rank Mogambo and Gideon's Day among his best works.

Then came the break: Young's association with David Lean. The remarkably successful Lawrence of Arabia came first. Personally Young liked Doctor Zhivago the best of his three Oscar winners because it gave him the greatest chance to try a variety of techniques.

—Douglas Gomery

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