ALEX THOMSON B.S.C. Caretaker of Vision

The Keep Set, Alex Thomson standing on right

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Sir Alex Thomson,born in London UK 12 jan 1929, was President of the BSC in 1981/1982,Golden (but desaturated to shining Silver) years where he recived an Academy Award Nomination for John Boorman’s Excalibur(1981) and later won the BSC award for best cinematography with Ridley Scott’s Legend(1985) All stared on 1946 at the now-defunct Denham studios ,began work as Clapper boy for So Well Remembered shoot by Freddie Young,then later he stayed at Denham under the aegis of some of best cinematographers in the industry until 1951,then moved at camera dept. of Technicolor ltd. on 3-strip cameras working on such diverse films as Richard III with Laurence Oliver acting and Directing. He Left Technicolor when 3-strip became obsolete and began as a freelance camera operator,forming a long association with the then cinematographer and now respected director Nicolas Roeg,which he earned a BSC Award with Eureka. His first film as Director of Photography was Clive Donner’s Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush,he went on photograph another 53 pictures,among them Cimino’s Year of the Dragon,Fincher’s Alien3 & Harlin’s Cliffhanger until his retirement on 2001. On 1983 was called by Michael Mann on Shepperton Studios and on locations in Llechwedd & Llanberis’s  Gwynedd North Wales’s slate quarry for the production of supernatural gothic thriller THE KEEP.

Wales , Lake The Keep Opening Scene Location


This underrated “state of mind” masterpiece keep in its inner soul a state of art cinematography by Alex Thomson BSC ,that collaborating with De Luxe labs made a milar stone of Anamorphic System.The Keep,nominated on 1984 at Saturn Award for Best Film, was shot on Joe Dunton Camera’s 35BLIII and lenses with anamorphics which are based on Cooke optics 2s & 3s,the focal lenghts was;25mm T2.3 ,32mm T2.3 , 40mm T2.3 , 50mm T2.3 ,75mm T2.8, 100mm T2.8, 152mm T3.5, 203mm T4.5, 40-200mm Cooke Zoom T 4.5, 50-500mm T5.6 Cooke.These lenses are called “Xtal Express Series” ,this formula is still used today as happended in movies like “Kinsey” ,“The Interpreter” & “Guardians of the Galaxy” . 



In 2002 he recived the society’s Lifetime Achievment Award for outstanding contribution to the art of Cinematography;Alex Thomson a great man an outstanding Artist passed away on Thursday 14th June 2007 at St.Peter’s Hospital;Chertsey at age of 78

(c)Fabio Pirovano Sources: Guild of British Camera Technicians

Obituary supported by Kodak Plus Cameraimage

Joe Dunton

alexthomsonTAKE ONE

Tales from Behind the Camera by Alex Thomson BSC


_the_keep__film_poster_by_atom8productions-d7fg7mjCHECK THE KEEP DOCUMENTARY BY STEW BUCK BUCK GREEN FILMS

The Keep reel



One response to “ALEX THOMSON B.S.C. Caretaker of Vision

  1. Pingback: THE KEEP Self-made Trailer | Fabiopirovano's Weblog

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