Victor J Kemper


Director Of Photography

About

Also Known As
Victor Jay Kemper, Victor Kemper
Birth Place
Newark, New Jersey, USA
Born
April 14, 1927

Biography

A prolific director of photography whose films run the gamut from broad comedies to character-driven dramas, Victor J. Kemper may not be as well-known as some of his colleagues, but he is a respected and talented practitioner of his craft. Born and raised in Newark, NJ, he began his career in the nascent television industry in the late 1940s, working as a sound mixer, sound recorder, flo...

Biography

A prolific director of photography whose films run the gamut from broad comedies to character-driven dramas, Victor J. Kemper may not be as well-known as some of his colleagues, but he is a respected and talented practitioner of his craft. Born and raised in Newark, NJ, he began his career in the nascent television industry in the late 1940s, working as a sound mixer, sound recorder, floor manager and technical director. After a brief detour operating a hat manufacturing factory with a cousin in Florida, Kemper returned to New Jersey and his true calling. When he learned of a training course offered by Ampex on their new videotape system, he asked his employer to pay for the training. When the station manager refused, Kemper quit his job and spent his own money for the classes. When he returned East, he was the only freelance worker in the NYC area with knowledge of the system and therefore was in demand. EUE, a respected commercial production company hired him in a technical capacity and he remained there until Screen Gems purchased the company and closed the video department. Forming VJK Productions, Kemper operated his own company for about two years before his main backer died.

By this time, Kemper had developed contacts and several cinematographers offered him work as an assistant cameraman. Apprenticing with Arthur J. Ornitz, Kemper worked on such films as the ballet version of "A Midsummer Night's Dream" (1966), "Charly" (1968) and "Me, Natalie" (1969). John Cassavetes hired him as standby cinematographer for "Husbands" (1970) and when noted Italian cinematographer Aldo Tonti dropped out, Kemper stepped in. Remaining based in the East, the cinematographer worked on a couple of films before Hollywood finally beckoned. His first feature shot on studio soundstages was "The Last of the Red Hot Lovers" (1972). Proving adept at both dramatic and comedic material, Kemper remained active for the better part of the next three decades, shooting such seminal films as "The Candidate" (1972), with its documentary-like hand-held shots, "Dog Day Afternoon" (1975), with its gritty, urban look, and "Slapshot" (1977), with its quick cuts and washed-out images. He has a stated preference for comedies and his work on such films as "The Jerk" (1979), "The Four Seasons" (1981), "Crazy People" (1990), "Beethoven" (1992) and "Jingle All the Way" (1996) has assisted in making those films appreciable by moviegoers. After serving as president of the American Society of Cinematographers (ASC) from 1993 to 1996, Kemper was honored with the 1998 ASC Lifetime Achievement Award.

Filmography

 

Cast (Feature Film)

Cinematographer Style (2006)
Visions of Light: The Art of Cinematography (1992)
Himself

Cinematography (Feature Film)

ON GOLDEN POND (2001)
Director Of Photography
Eddie (1996)
Director Of Photography
Jingle All the Way (1996)
Director Of Photography
Tommy Boy (1995)
Director Of Photography
Beethoven (1992)
Director Of Photography
FX2 - The Deadly Art of Illusion (1991)
Director Of Photography
Another You (1991)
Director Of Photography
Married To It (1991)
Director Of Photography
Crazy People (1990)
Director Of Photography
See No Evil, Hear No Evil (1989)
Director Of Photography
Hot to Trot (1988)
Director Of Photography
Cohen & Tate (1988)
Director Of Photography
Walk Like A Man (1987)
Director Of Photography
Kojak: The Price of Justice (1987)
Director Of Photography
Clue (1985)
Director Of Photography
Secret Admirer (1985)
Director Of Photography
Pee-Wee's Big Adventure (1985)
Director Of Photography
National Lampoon's European Vacation (1985)
Director Of Photography
The Lonely Guy (1984)
Director Of Photography
Cloak and Dagger (1984)
Director Of Photography
National Lampoon's Vacation (1983)
Director Of Photography
Mr. Mom (1983)
Director Of Photography
Partners (1982)
Director Of Photography
Author! Author! (1982)
Director Of Photography
Chu Chu and the Philly Flash (1981)
Director Of Photography
The Four Seasons (1981)
Director Of Photography
Xanadu (1980)
Director Of Photography
The Final Countdown (1980)
Director Of Photography
Night of the Juggler (1980)
Director Of Photography
The Jerk (1979)
Director Of Photography
...And Justice For All (1979)
Director Of Photography
Coma (1978)
Director Of Photography
Eyes Of Laura Mars (1978)
Director Of Photography
The One And Only (1978)
Director Of Photography
Magic (1978)
Director Of Photography
The Prince of Central Park (1977)
Director Of Photography
Slap Shot (1977)
Director Of Photography
Oh, God! (1977)
Director Of Photography
Audrey Rose (1977)
Director Of Photography
The Last Tycoon (1976)
Director Of Photography
Stay Hungry (1976)
Director Of Photography
Mikey and Nicky (1976)
Director Of Photography
Dog Day Afternoon (1975)
Director Of Photography
The Reincarnation of Peter Proud (1975)
Director Of Photography
The Gambler (1974)
Director Of Photography
From The Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler (1973)
Director Of Photography
Gordon's War (1973)
Director Of Photography
Shamus (1973)
Director Of Photography
The Friends of Eddie Coyle (1973)
Director Of Photography

Misc. Crew (Feature Film)

Jingle All the Way (1996)
Dp/Cinematographer
Eddie (1996)
Dp/Cinematographer
Eddie (1996)
Other
Tommy Boy (1995)
Dp/Cinematographer
Visions of Light: The Art of Cinematography (1992)
Other
Another You (1991)
Dp/Cinematographer
FX2 - The Deadly Art of Illusion (1991)
Dp/Cinematographer
Crazy People (1990)
Dp/Cinematographer
See No Evil, Hear No Evil (1989)
Other
Clue (1985)
Other
National Lampoon's European Vacation (1985)
Dp/Cinematographer
Pee-Wee's Big Adventure (1985)
Dp/Cinematographer
National Lampoon's Vacation (1983)
Dp/Cinematographer
The Jerk (1979)
Dp/Cinematographer
...And Justice For All (1979)
Dp/Cinematographer
Magic (1978)
Dp/Cinematographer
Eyes Of Laura Mars (1978)
Other
Slap Shot (1977)
Dp/Cinematographer
Oh, God! (1977)
Dp/Cinematographer
Dog Day Afternoon (1975)
Dp/Cinematographer

Cinematography (TV Mini-Series)

Too Rich: the Secret Life of Doris Duke (1999)
Director Of Photography
The Atlanta Child Murders (1985)
Director Of Photography

Life Events

1944

Served in the US military during WWII

1964

First credit as camera operator, "A Midsummer Night's Dream", shot by Ornitz

1967

Operated the camera for Michael Nebbia on "Alice's Restaurant"

1969

Hired to replace Aldo Tonti as cinematographer for John Cassavetes' "Husbands" (film released in 1970)

1972

First Hollywood picture "The Last of the Red Hot Lovers"

1972

Won praise for his work on "The Candidate"

1975

Served as director of photography for Sidney Lumet's "Dog Day Afternoon"

1977

Shot the hockey comedy-drama "Slapshot"

1977

TV-movie debut as director of photography, "The Prince of Central Park" (CBS)

1979

Was cinematographer for "The Jerk"

1981

Provided the memorable look to "The Four Seasons"

1985

Collaborated with Tim Burton on "Pee-wee's Big Adventure"

1986

Shot the acclaimed TV-movie "The Atlanta Child Murders" (CBS)

1987

Garnered an Emmy nomination for his work on the TV-movie "

1990

Was director of photography on "Crazy People"

1992

Appeared as one of the interviewees in the documentary "Visions of Light: The Art of Cinematography"

1996

Served as cinematographer for "Jingle All the Way"

Videos

Movie Clip

Mikey And Nicky (1976) — (Movie Clip) You Would Have To Hire An Army Calmer and higher ranking Philadelphia gangster Mikey (Peter Falk) has convinced his childhood pal Nicky (John Cassavetes), who thinks he’s about to get whacked, to leave the hotel where’s he’s holed up, but we’ve no idea who Ned Beatty is, or who he’s talking to, in writer-director Elaine May’s Mikey And Nicky, 1976.
Mikey And Nicky (1976) — (Movie Clip) Maybe They’ll Forget About Me The second scene in the picture and the first with the principals (Peter Falk, John Cassavetes) together, writer-director Elaine May details just how freaked out small-time Philadelphia gangster Nicky is, believing he’s about to be killed, and why he’s called his life-long friend and colleague Mikey, in Mikey And Nicky, 1976.
Dog Day Afternoon (1975) - It's For You Having bungled trying to burn the traveler's check register, bank robber Sonny (Al Pacino) and partner Sal (John Cazale) learn from the manager (Sully Boyar) that cop Moretti (Charles Durning) is on the phone, in Sidney Lumet's Dog Day Afternoon, 1975.
Dog Day Afternoon (1975) - That's Not A Country Ex-con Sonny (Al Pacino) calculating options with hostages (Penny Allen, Sully Boyar) in the Brooklyn bank, consults with his dim-witted fellow ex-con partner Sal (John Cazale), Charles Durning as the city cop Moretti, Sidney Lumet directing from Frank Pierson’s fact-based screenplay, in Dog Day Afternoon, 1975.
Dog Day Afternoon (1975) - Attica! Bank robber Sonny (Al Pacino), now holding hostages, rallies the Brooklyn crowd, citing the infamous 1971 prison riot, after an obscene in-person confrontation with cop Moretti (Charles Durning), a famous scene from Sidney Lumet's Dog Day Afternoon, 1975.
Dog Day Afternoon (1975) - He Can't Make It Following credits establishing Brooklyn, NY, August 22, 1972, Sonny (Al Pacino), Sal (John Cazale) and hesitant Stevie (Gary Springer) begin their bank job, in Sidney Lumet's fact-based Dog Day Afternoon, 1975.
Coma (1978) - I Don't Need A Shrink Maybe they had to cast Tom Selleck for sheer handsomeness, as a knee-surgery patient, when Genevieve Bujold as resident Dr. Wheeler is summoned to meet chief surgeon Harris (Richard Widmark, his first scene), after getting caught accessing confidential records, after her friend went into a coma during a routine procedure, in Coma, 1978.
Coma (1978) - Open, It's All Politics Opening in Boston, Genevieve Bujold is surgical resident Susan Wheeler, Harvard-trained MD turned novelist Michael Crichton in his third film as a director, shooting exteriors at Boston City Hospital where he did clinical rotations, and we learn Michael Douglas as Dr. Bellows is also her love interest, in the hit medical thriller Coma, 1978.
Coma (1978) - The Risks Of Anesthesia Michael Douglas as incoming chief-resident Dr. Bellows has sent for his colleague and live-in girlfriend (Genevieve Bujold as Dr. Wheeler) after he recognized her close friend (Lois Chiles as Nancy Greenly), now being treated for a coma following a routine abortion procedure, with some feminist overtones, in Coma. 1978.
Coma (1978) - To Prevent Bedsores Partial SPOILER, as it’s now clear that Boston surgical resident Susan Wheeler has uncovered a conspiracy involving patients being put into comas, and she’s joined a tour (Betty McGuire the guide) at the facility where they’ve developed a cheap way to store patients, in one of the most remarked-upon scenes in director Michael Crichton’s medical thriller, Coma, 1978.
Coma (1978) - I'm Just Her Surgeon Still remarkable scene, even moreso in 1978, where Lois Chiles is the unconscious patient getting a therapeutic abortion, but the lead actors are real doctors, Tom Borut the anesthesiologist, Philip G. Brooks the surgeon, recruited by the MD and novelist Michael Crichton, directing his third film, based on a novel by his doctor friend Robin Cook, from Coma, 1978.
Dog Day Afternoon (1975) - They're Bringing In Your Wife Something of a spoiler, as writer Frank Pierson delivers one of the noted plot curve-balls of the decade in his fact-based screenplay, as cop Moretti (Charles Durning) tells hostage-holding bank robber Sonny (Al Pacino) that his wife has arrived, not expecting Chris Sarandon as Leon, in Sidney Lumet’s Dog Day Afternoon, 1975.

Trailer

Bibliography