Gunnar Fischer dies at 100; cinematographer known for work with Ingmar Bergman


Gunnar Fischer, a cinematographer best known for films he made with Swedish auteur Ingmar Bergman including 1957’s “The Seventh Seal,” has died. He was 100.

Fischer died Saturday at a retirement home in Stockholm, said his son, Jens. No cause was given.

Starting with “Port of Call” in 1948, Fischer also worked on such Bergman films as “Summer Interlude” in 1951, “Summer With Monika” in 1953, “Wild Strawberries” in 1957 and “The Magician” in 1958.


“The Seventh Seal,” in which Max von Sydow plays a knight returning from the Crusades who plays chess with Death, was a “spellbinding, one-of-a-kind masterpiece that helped gain Bergman international acclaim,” film critic Leonard Maltin wrote in his “2011 Movie Guide.”

Fischer told the Washington Post in 2008 that Bergman “gave me a great opportunity to develop my artistry, as opposed to the many cinematographers that are stuck with mass-produced comedies.”

Jens Fischer, also a cinematographer, told The Times in an email Sunday that his father “dared to light in an unusual style with high contrasts and deep blackness.”

Fischer “gave Bergman’s films that unique Expressionistic look, with their brilliant contrasts in every gradation of black and white,” film historian Peter Cowie told the Washington Post in 2008.

After “The Devil’s Eye” in 1960, Bergman began using Sven Nykvist as his cinematographer. Bergman, the Academy Award-winning director and writer who is credited with building Americans’ interest in foreign films, died in 2007.

Fischer was born Nov. 18, 1910, in Ljungby, Sweden. He studied at an art school in Copenhagen and was a chef in the Swedish navy before starting to work in the film industry.

Jens Fischer said his father, who also wrote and illustrated children’s books, was “rather shy and a very low-key person.” His other credits included the Disney television production of “Hans Brinker or the Silver Skates.”

In addition to his son Jens, Fischer is survived by son Peter, also a cinematographer; six granddaughters and five great-grandchildren.