Cat no. 226497

British Cinema History Research Project Oral Histories: Leonard Harris (camera operator)


Leonard Harris (19 May 1916 - 1995)

Len Harris traianed as a cameraman in the British Kinematograph Society's course at the London Polytechnic, Regent Street, and then began at the Gaumont British Shepherd's Bush studios as a clapper-loader. He worked at Gaumont British on comedies starring Jack Hulbert and Will Hay, as well as serious dramas such as 'King of the Damned'. During the War, Harris served with the Army Kinematograph Service (AKS). He filmed material of the Normandy invasion later used in 'The True Glory', and made some AKS documentary shorts. During the post-war period, he worked consistently as a camera operator, and occasionally as a cinematographer, primarily for Hammer Film Productions at Bray.

In this interview, Harris talks to Alan Lawson about his career, discussing working practises at Gaumont and Hammer (particularly with regard to budgeting), and technical issues - comparing cameras and back-projection techniques. He recalls the production of many films, including 'King of the Damned', 'The Astonished Hert' and 'X the Unknown'. Among the many colleagues he recalls are cinematographers such as Jack Cox, Arthur Crabtree, Jack Asher, Bernard Knowles, Charles Van Enger, Philip Tannura, and directors such as William Beaudine, Tom Walls and Leslie Norman.

(Lawrence Napper, BCHRP)