Great Cinematographers, Part 6: Georges Périnal

Georges Périnal (1897-1965) did great work in both the black-and-white and color variations of his medium. His name is perhaps not as well-known as that of many other cinematographers, but he improved any project he was a part of thanks to his proficiency.

The Thief of Bagdad (1940, dirs. Ludwig Berger, Michael Powell and Tim Whelan) – This divinely romantic fantasy is successful at telling its story because of its otherworldly aesthetic, using Technicolor in an almost unreal way. For another glorious effort photographed by Périnal and directed (at least in part) by Michael Powell, check out the Powell and Pressburger classic The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp (1943).

The Fallen Idol (1948, dir. Carol Reed) – It is so easy to be beguiled by the crisp black-and-white look of this British film, which is simultaneously a family drama and a highly suspenseful thriller. It is impossible to forget the way Périnal utilizes shadows to highlight the young protagonist’s fears.

Bonjour Tristesse (1958, dir. Otto Preminger) – The black-and-white cinematography of the supremely melodramatic Bonjour Tristesse is more grey than anything else; the color, which is seen in the flashback part of the film, is quite vivid by comparison.


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