'Raiders of the Lost Ark' & 3-Time Oscar-Nominated Cinematographer Douglas Slocombe Has Passed

Douglas Slocombe
We've lost another great cinematographer.

Not long ago it was Haskell Wexler and Vilmos Zsigmond, and now we've lost British cinematographer Douglas Slocombe OBE, BSC, ASC at 103. Slocombe's career began in the 1940s working for Ealing Studios in the UK, and he was well-known for shooting the first three Indiana Jones films. The Last Crusade actually topped off his long career as a DP, and he was nominated three times for Academy Awards: Travels with My Aunt in 1972, Julia in 1977, and Raiders of the Lost Ark in 1981.

In his 20s, Slocombe was tasked with documenting what would become the beginning of World War II, and narrowly escaped a German attack while he was in Warsaw, Poland:

Here's a great BBC TWO documentary that details his career and gives us some fantastic insight from the man himself:

Raiders of the Lost Ark

Raiders is one of the more famous Slocombe-shot films, as it combined his artistry with the brilliance of director Steven Spielberg. Here's the trailer for the film if you haven't seen it in a while (or at all!):

Vashi Nedomansky has put together some terrific materials on Raiders, and has uploaded a few of the wonderfully staged long takes from the film:

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Your Comment


Thank you Joe for sharing some great info on one of my favorite filmmakers and DPs. Everyone can learn something from Douglas Slocombe and that includes me. I posted the first video with the longest take with Indy and Belloq in the bar and then realized the Indy preparing to leave on his trip was actually longer! Then I realized that the wharf scene next to the Bantu Wind was ACTUALLY a longer single shot than both the others. I think that speaks to the fact that I was so immersed in all three scenes to never realize there were no cuts and they flowed by so seamlessly. The camera work and compelling storytelling are a tribute to Slocombe and his gift to all filmmakers and movie fans. BTW...he didn't use a light meter. He judged the light by eye and used his decades of experience to properly expose the film. Damn. That's supreme confidence. He will be missed...

February 22, 2016 at 9:13PM, Edited February 22, 9:13PM

Vashi Nedomansky

Did you guys not hear that Andrew Lesnie (Lord of the Rings, King Kong, The Hobbit, et al) also passed away in 2015?

February 23, 2016 at 7:02AM, Edited February 23, 7:02AM

Ian Nicholson
Head Tutor at Sydney Short Film School

In case anyone is interested, Soderbergh has posted on his Extension765 website a black and white and mute version of Raiders of the Lost Ark, as a way to make people notice how well staged the movie is. Oddly enough, it looks amazing, with that high-contrast lighting.
It's a great workout to try and keep an eye out for staging.

February 24, 2016 at 5:19AM, Edited February 24, 5:19AM

José Pedro Pinto

One of my favorite DPs, Thank You for sharing *thumbs up*

November 25, 2017 at 1:36PM, Edited November 25, 1:36PM

You voted '-1'.
Tommy Luca
CEO/Filmmaker/Inventor, DreamFactory Studios