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Wolfgang Suschitszky

Discussion in 'WWII Era Obituaries (non-military service)' started by GRW, Oct 9, 2016.

  1. GRW

    GRW Pillboxologist WW2|ORG Editor

    Oct 26, 2003
    Likes Received:
    Stirling, Scotland
    "Wolfgang Suschitzky , the photographer, who has died aged 104, was best known for his atmospheric stills of pre-war London, but he was also the imaginative cinematographer on Get Carter (1971), widely acclaimed as Britain’s finest gangster film.

    His naturalistic approach gave the film its brooding documentary feel, Suschitzky lighting the face of Michael Caine (starring as Jack Carter) in a cinema verité style to emphasise the cobra-lidded eyes and the cold, calculating nature of Caine’s character. Similarly his grainy location shots of desolate Tyneside landscapes created a beautiful, menacing and bleak world, exuding what the American film critic Pauline Kael considered “calculated soullessness”.

    Known in the film trade as Su, Suschitzky, a native Viennese, had worked in Europe as a stills photographer before the Second World War, fleeing to Britain in 1935 and rapidly making a name for himself with a remarkable series of photographs taken along a quarter-mile stretch of the Charing Cross Road in London.

    Tempering the social conscience of a documentarian with the eye of a German expressionist, Suschitzky captured not just browsers in the second-hand bookshops scrabbling for bargains but shoeblacks, knife-grinders and milkmen, as well as underworld characters playing pinball machines and theatre queues. In one of the most strikingly intense and enigmatic pictures, a woman smoking a cigarette in a crowded tea-room gazes blankly past an earnest male companion.

    “His images of London, taken with the keen eye and gentle humility of a recent immigrant, are so evocative you feel they must be stills from films made before the war, mysteriously replayed in your mind’s eye,” noted Gaby Wood in The Daily Telegraph. Suschitzky himself always thought these were among the best pictures he ever took.

    When war came, Suschitzky joined the documentary movement, working with its distinguished principal exponent, Paul Rotha, on films such as World of Plenty (1943) as well as shooting numerous government information shorts. During the Blitz he chronicled the shattered topography of London, once clambering up the dome of St Paul’s to photograph the bombed-out streets below."

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