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Critic’s Choice: ‘Image Makers’ celebrates earliest cinematographers on TCM

Greta Garbo, Gavin Gordon, director Clarence Brown and cinematographer William Daniels on the set of the 1930 movie “Romance.”
Greta Garbo, from left, Gavin Gordon, director Clarence Brown and cinematographer William Daniels on the set of the 1930 movie “Romance,” from the documentary “Image Makers: The Adventures of America’s Pioneer Cinematographers.”
(Turner Classic Movies)

Just in time for the 100th anniversary of the American Society of Cinematographers comes an exciting new documentary called “Image Makers: The Adventures of America’s Pioneer Cinematographers,” set to have its world premiere on Turner Classic Movies on Nov. 6.

Directed by Daniel Raim and written by Michael Sragow, “Image” starts with advice from Robert Bresson (“be the first to see what you see as you see it”) and moves on to show splendid images by and smart talk about (and sometimes from) the great cameramen of Hollywood’s golden age.

Those profiled include Billy Bitzer, D.W. Griffith’s right hand, Rollie Totheroh, behind the camera for Charlie Chaplin, Mary Pickford’s favorite director of photography, Charles Rosher, Greta Garbo’s favorite William Daniels, and a trio of brilliant inventors: Karl Struss, James Wong Howe and Gregg Toland. History, even film history, has rarely been so gorgeous.


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