Oswald Morris


Director Of Photography

About

Also Known As
Ossie Morris
Birth Place
Middlesex, England, GB
Born
November 22, 1915
Died
March 17, 2014

Biography

One of Britain's leading directors of photography, Oswald Morris eschewed formal training to work his way from clapper boy to cinematographer. His lifelong interest in films began as a child when he found work as a projectionist during school vacations. Dropping out of school at age 16, Morris found work as an unpaid assistant/apprentice to the chief engineer at London's Wembley Studio. ...

Family & Companions

Lee Turner
Wife
Second wife.

Notes

He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for his service during WWII.

Morris received additional Oscar nominations for Best Cinematography in 1968 for "Oliver!" and in 1978 for "The Wiz".

Biography

One of Britain's leading directors of photography, Oswald Morris eschewed formal training to work his way from clapper boy to cinematographer. His lifelong interest in films began as a child when he found work as a projectionist during school vacations. Dropping out of school at age 16, Morris found work as an unpaid assistant/apprentice to the chief engineer at London's Wembley Studio. When the studio closed briefly in 1934-35, he moved to BIP Studios where he worked as a clapper boy on films like "The Third Clue" and "Mr. Cinders" (both 1934). Returning to reopened Wembley Studios, Morris was promoted first to camera assistant, then camera operator. During WWII, he served in the Royal Air Force (receiving the Distinguished Flying Cross).

After the war, Morris signed a three-year contract as a camera operator with Independent Producers based at Pinewood Studios. Among the films he worked on during this tenure include Sidney Gilliat's "Green for Danger" (1946) and two David Lean features, "David Copperfield" (1948) and "The Passionate Friends/One Woman's Story" (1949). Morris was promoted to director of photography with Ronald Neame's "Golden Salamander" (1949). In 1952, he began a collaboration with director John Huston that lasted over twenty years and included such distinguished efforts as "Moulin Rouge" (1952), "Beat the Devil" (1953) "Moby Dick" (1956), uncredited work on "Reflections in a Golden Eye" (1967) and "The Man Who Would Be King" (1975).

Once Morris' reputation was established in the early 50s, he went on to work with some of the world's best directors on such films as Carol Reed's "The Key" (1958) and "Our Man in Havana" (1960), Tony Richardson's "Look Back in Anger" (1959) and "The Entertainer" (1960), J. Lee Thompson's "The Guns of Navarone" (1961), Stanley Kubrick's "Lolita" (1962), Franco Zeffirelli's "The Taming of the Shrew" (1967), and Joseph L. Mankiewicz's claustrophobic "Sleuth" (1972). In the mid-60s, he won three consecutive British Academy Awards for his evocative black-and-white work on Jack Clayton's intimate "The Pumpkin Eater" (1964) Sidney Lumet's prison camp drama "The Hill" (1965) and Martin Ritt's "The Spy Who Came in From the Cold" (1965; released in the United Kingdom in 1966).

In the mid-60s, Morris began to shoot musicals and won particular praise for his stunning camera work on Carol Reed's Oscar-winner "Oliver!" (1968), Herbert Ross' musicalization of "Goodbye, Mr. Chips" (1969), Ronald Neame's "Scrooge" (1970) and particularly Norman Jewison's "Fiddler on the Roof" (1971). The latter earned Morris the Best Cinematography Oscar. His sole television credit is Dan Curtis' evocative small screen remake of "Dracula" (CBS, 1974). As his career wound down, Morris worked again with Ross on the pastiche "The Seven Per-Cent Solution" (1976) and on three more films with Sidney Lumet, the stark "Equus" (1977), the colorful "The Wiz" (1978) and "Just Tell Me What You Want" (1980). Morris ended his career with two children's films, Jim Henson's "The Great Muppet Caper" (1981) and Henson and Frank Oz's "The Dark Crystal" (1982).

Filmography

 

Cast (Feature Film)

John Huston: The Man, The Movies, The Maverick (1988)
Himself

Cinematography (Feature Film)

The Dark Crystal (1982)
Director Of Photography
The Great Muppet Caper (1981)
Director Of Photography
Just Tell Me What You Want (1980)
Director Of Photography
The Wiz (1978)
Director Of Photography
Equus (1977)
Director Of Photography
The Seven-Per-Cent Solution (1976)
Director Of Photography
The Man Who Would Be King (1975)
Director Of Photography
Dracula (1974)
Director Of Photography
The Man with the Golden Gun (1974)
Director Of Photography
The Odessa File (1974)
Director Of Photography
The Mackintosh Man (1973)
Director Of Photography
Sleuth (1972)
Director of Photography
Lady Caroline Lamb (1972)
Director Of Photography
Fiddler on the Roof (1971)
Director of Photography
Fragment of Fear (1971)
Director of Photography
Scrooge (1970)
Director of Photography
Goodbye, Mr. Chips (1969)
Director of Photography
Great Catherine (1968)
Director of Photography
Oliver! (1968)
Director of Photography
The Taming of the Shrew (1967)
Director of Photography
Stop the World--I Want To Get Off (1966)
Director of Photography
The Battle of the Villa Fiorita (1965)
Director of Photography
Life at the Top (1965)
Director of Photography
Mister Moses (1965)
Director of Photography
The Spy Who Came In From the Cold (1965)
Director of Photography
The Hill (1965)
Director of Photography
The Pumpkin Eater (1964)
Director of Photography
Of Human Bondage (1964)
Director of Photography
The Ceremony (1963)
Photographer (see note)
Come Fly with Me (1963)
Director of Photography
Term of Trial (1962)
Director of Photography
Lolita (1962)
Director of Photography
Satan Never Sleeps (1962)
Director of Photography
The Guns of Navarone (1961)
Director of Photography
Our Man in Havana (1960)
Photography
The Entertainer (1960)
Director Of Photography
Look Back in Anger (1959)
Director of Photography
The Roots of Heaven (1958)
Director of Photography
The Key (1958)
Director of Photography
A Farewell to Arms (1957)
Photography
Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison (1957)
Director of Photography
The Man Who Never Was (1956)
Director of Photography
Moby Dick (1956)
Director of Photography
Beau Brummell (1954)
Director of Photography
Beat the Devil (1954)
Director of Photography
Lovers, Happy Lovers! (1954)
Director Of Photography
Moulin Rouge (1953)
Director of Photography
Island of Desire (1952)
Director of Photography
The Card (1952)
Director Of Photography
Circle of Danger (1951)
Director Of Photography

Post Production (Feature Film)

Moby Dick (1956)
Col style created by

Misc. Crew (Feature Film)

John Huston: The Man, The Movies, The Maverick (1988)
Other
The Man with the Golden Gun (1974)
Dp/Cinematographer

Cast (Special)

Glorious Technicolor (1998)

Life Events

1932

Dropped out of school at age 16; found work as unpaid assistant/apprentice at Wembley Studios; first films "Born Lucky" and "After Dark"

1934

When Wembley closed, moved to BIP Studios as clapper boy

1935

Returned to Wembley when it reopened; became camera assistant

1935

First features as camera assitant/operator include "Smith's Wives", "Old Roses" and "Blue Smoke"

1938

Worked at BIP and Pinewood Studios as an assistant cameraman and later cameraman

1940

Served in Royal Air Force during WWII

1946

Signed to three-year contract as camera operator with Independent Producers, based at Pinewood Studios

1949

Shot first feature, "Golden Salamander", directed by Ronald Neame

1952

First collaboration with director John Huston, "Moulin Rouge"

1953

Hired by producer David O Selznick to oversee close-up photography on "Indiscretion of an American Wife/Stazione termini", starring Selznick's wfe Jennifer Jones

1958

First collaboration with Carol Reed "The Key"

1965

Shot Sidney Lumet's "The Hill"

1966

First musical feature "Stop the World-I Want to Get Off"

1971

Won Oscar for Cinematography for "Fiddler on the Roof"

1974

Sole television credit, photography on "Dracula", directed by Dan Curtis

1975

Final film with John Huston, "The Man Who Would Be King"

1980

Last film with Sidney Lumet "Just Tell Me What You Want"

Videos

Movie Clip

Hill, The (1965) - Damned Funny Hill Sgt. Williams (Ian Hendry), new on staff at the British military stockade in North Africa, puts the newly convicted soldiers (Roy Kinnear, Ossie Davis, Alfred Lynch, Jack Watson and, particularly Sean Connery, as Roberts), through their first climb, in Sidney Lumet's The Hill, 1965.
Man Who Would Be King, The (1975) - Your Lodge Brothers Christopher Plummer as correspondent Rudyard Kipling, the author inserted into the story by director John Huston, explains to an Indian colonial official (Jack May) why he’s helping arrested fellow Freemasons Carnehan and Dravot (Michael Caine, Sean Connery), in The Man Who Would Be King, 1975.
Man Who Would Be King, The (1975) - Dear Me Alas By Jove Dravot (Sean Connery) and Carnehan (Michael Caine) have reached (imaginary) Kafiristan and saved members of one tribe from raiders of another, planning to be greeted as heroes, meeting Billy Fish (Saeed Jaffrey) and Oohta (Doghmi Larbi), in John Huston's The Man Who Would Be King, 1975.
Man Who Would Be King, The (1975) - Alexander Who? Newsman and fellow Freemason Kipling (Christopher Plummer) baffled, as Peachy (Michael Caine) and Danny (Sean Connery) lay out their plan to become kings of Kafiristan, at his office in Lahore, colonial India, ca. 1870, in John Huston's The Man Who Would Be King, 1975.
Man Who Would Be King, The (1975) - Two Englishmen Left Over Clever scene, not from the Rudyard Kipling novella, adventurers Carnehan (Michael Caine, also narrating) and Dravot (Sean Connery) encounter five Afghan tribesmen, in their journey toward Kafiristan, in John Huston's The Man Who Would Be King, 1975.
Look Back In Anger (1959) - Fourteen Pounds Of Jelly Babies Jimmy (Richard Burton) with partner Cliff (Gary Raymond) sets up his candy-stand and encounters the irritating constable Hurst (Donald Pleasence) in Tony Richardson's Look Back In Anger, 1959.
Come Fly With Me (1963) - Cavitation Still on her first flight, Brewster (Pamela Tiffin) gets punked by Teddy (James Dobson), as Bergie (Lois Nettleton) meets Lucas (Karl Malden) and a drunk, and Donna (Dolores Hart) encounters the baron (Karl Boehm), Winsley (Hugh O'Brian) observing, plots taking off, in Come Fly With Me, 1963.
Come Fly With Me (1963) - Lafayette, We Are Here! Just de-planed at Orly, “Tex” Lucas (Karl Malden), having gained a phone number from flight attendant Bergie (Lois Nettleton), is surprised to be met by a private car, as the girls (Pamela Tiffin as kooky Carol, Dolores Hart as savvy Donna) catch a cab, and Paris appears, early in MGM’s Come Fly With Me, 1962.
Come Fly With Me (1963) - Polar Atlantic Racing through what would become Kennedy airport in New York, new flight attendant Brewster (Pamela Tiffin) meets friendly colleague "Bergie" (Lois Nettleton), less-so Donna (Dolores Hart) plus officers Winsley (Hugh O'Brian) and Shepherd (James Dobson), opening MGM's Come Fly With Me, 1963.
MacKintosh Man, The (1973) - Open, You See Before You A Villain A stately if simple opening from director John Huston, crossing the Thames to Parliament and finding James Mason as a Tory MP, Harry Andrews in the gallery, then star Paul Newman crossing Trafalgar Square, in The MacKintosh Man, 1973, also starring Dominique Sanda, from a novel by Desmond Bagley.
MacKintosh Man, The (1973) - Diamonds In The Mail Paul Newman has just entered an office off Trafalgar Square where exposition begins, as we learn he’s Rearden, who might be some sort of agent, greeted by Dominique Sanda as in-the-know office help Mrs. Smith and Harry Andrews as the title character, with oblique chat about crime, early in John Huston’s The MacKintosh Man, 1973.
MacKintosh Man, The (1973) - Anything In There For Me? Set up by earlier conversation, though we don’t exactly know his status or motivation, Paul Newman as agent Rearden, posing as an Aussie, with support from Dominique Sanda as “Mrs. Smith,” mugs a London postman (Eric Mason) for a package of diamonds, early in John Huston’s spy thriller The MacKintosh Man, 1973.

Trailer

Man With The Golden Gun, The (1974) -- (Original Trailer) A particularly literal representation of the title, in the trailer for the 9th James Bond feature, Roger Moore’s second appearance, with Christopher Lee as scary Scaramanga, and somewhat dual Bond-girls, Maud Adams and Britt Ekland, in The Man With The Golden Gun, 1974.
Come Fly With Me - (Original Trailer) Three stewardesses try to find husbands while flying over the Atlantic in the romantic comedy Come Fly With Me (1963).
Farewell to Arms, A (1957) - (Original Trailer) A Farewell to Arms (1957), Ernest Hemingway's story of an affair between an English nurse an an American soldier on the Italian front during World War I.
Beau Brummell (1954) - (Original Trailer) An English Don Juan (Stewart Granger) courts the Prince of Wales's favor while romancing his way through society in Beau Brummell (1954).
Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison - (Original Trailer) A marine (Robert Mitchum) and a nun (Deborah Kerr) are shipwrecked on a Pacific Island in John Huston's Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison (1957).
Oliver! -- (Re-issue Trailer) Six Academy Awards, including Best Picture, went to Oliver! (1968), the musical version of Charles Dickens' Oliver Twist.
Odessa File, The - (Original Trailer) Jon Voight is a journalist who discovers a strange link between his family and a cabal of fugitive Nazis in The Odessa File, 1973, directed by Ronald Neame.
Goodbye, Mr. Chips (1969) - (Original Trailer) A conservative boys' schoolteacher (Peter O'Toole) falls in love with an actress (Petulia Clark) in a musical remake of Goodbye, Mr. Chips (1969).
Seven-Per-Cent Solution, The - (Original Trailer) Sherlock Holmes encounters Sigmund Freud and the two become involved in a case in the imaginative pastiche The Seven-Per-Cent Solution (1976).
Mackintosh Man, The - (Original Trailer) A British agent goes undercover as a jewel thief to nab a Communist spy in John Huston's The Mackintosh Man (1973) starring Paul Newman.
Lolita - (Original Trailer) An aging intellectual becomes obsessed with a young teenage girl when he becomes a boarder in her mother's house in Lolita (1962).
Moulin Rouge - (Original Trailer) French painter Toulouse-Lautrec (Jose Ferrer) searches for love despite his physical limitations in Moulin Rouge (1952), an Oscar winning biography by director John Huston.

Family

Reginald H Morris
Brother
Director of photography.

Companions

Lee Turner
Wife
Second wife.

Bibliography

Notes

He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for his service during WWII.

Morris received additional Oscar nominations for Best Cinematography in 1968 for "Oliver!" and in 1978 for "The Wiz".