British cinematographer Larry Pizer, known for photographing films such as “Morgan, A Suitable Case for Treatment” and “The Europeans,” died of cancer Feb. 27 in New York. He was 82.
Pizer was director of photography on more than 30 features and TV movies, as well as Bruce Springsteen music video, “Dancing in the Dark,” directed by Brian De Palma. He also shot the De Palmas, “The Phantom of the Paradise,” starring Paul Williams.
Born in London, Pizer started his film career at the Alexander Korda Studios at Denham, first working as an office boy on Michael Powel’s “49th Parallel” and “Major Barbara,” and then joining the camera department on Leslie Howard’s “First of the Few” and “Gentle Sex.” He worked his way up to first assistant cameraman before entering the British navy at the age of 18. After WWII, he continued his career working on British documentaries.
His first major feature as a cinematographer was Guy Hamilton’s 1960 “The Party’s Over,” starring Eddie Albert. Pizer was a pioneer in working in more realistic location settings, finding ways to create and experiment with new tools to make this style of production possible.
He worked on “Four in the Morning” and “The Optimists,” starring Peter Sellers, with director Anthony Simmons, who said that “Pizer made many innovations in lighting techniques and style of camera work. People have remarked that seldom has London been painted on celluloid so beautifully. In both films, it is difficult to distinguish between the location and studio scenes, thanks to the subtlety of the lighting.”
Film critic David Robinson of the Times London, said that “films like ‘Our Mother’s House,’ ‘Four in the Morning,’ ‘Isadora,’ ‘Morgan’ and ‘The Optimists’ have benefited from his special ability to capture on film the character of a particular milieu, to turn its physical attributes into a mood and atmosphere.”
His other credits include Ismail Merchant’s “The Proprietor” and “In Custody,” Anthony Harvey’s “This Can’t Be Love” and “Grace Quigley,” and TV projects “I’ll Take Manhattan” and “Where Are the Children?”
Pizer is survived by two daughters, two grandchildren and his longtime companion, Jackye Roberts.