Mr. Raban is overtaken in mid-trip byrnword from England of his father’s seriousrnilhiess and impending death, whichrncauses him to quit the sea and make forrnLondon. Journey’s end in Juneau bringsrnhim news of his wife’s request for a di-rnorce. These digressions (amounting torn50 pages), while certainly important tornJonathan Raban, are not so to the reader.rnThough if he sees his seaborne odyssey asrna metaphor for a personal midlife crisis,rnat least it is one vividly rendered, with expansivernvistas and the pungent smell ofrnthe sea.rnBill Croke writes from Cody, Wyoming.rnThe Miragernof Moviesrnby Jeffrey MeyersrnSeventy Light Years:rnA Life in the Moviesrnby Freddie Young, as told to Peter BusbyrnNew York: Faber & Faber;rn164 pp., $27.00rnThe cinematographer, the director’srncollaborator and confidant, uses thernlens, camera, and lighting equipment tornmake the fake look real and the real authentic.rnHe creates the visual appearancernand stvle of the film. FreddiernYoung (1902-98), combining staminarnand discipline, was perhaps the greatestrncinematographer of the century. ‘I’hernoungest son of a large and recently impoverishedrnEnglish family, he left schoolrnat 14 and began as a lab assistant in GaumontrnStudios in London. He occasionallyrnsened as a stunt man and was injuredrnwhile filming explosions. Wearingrnowlish spectacles that seemed to reflectrnthe lens of his camera, he shot horse racesrnand soccer matches. He worked on thernfirst sound pictures in Britain, whenrnnoisy hand-cranked cameras had to bernplaced in soundproofed booths, andrnsometimes shot three movies at the samernhme. hi his long career, he completedrn161 feature films.rnYoung was a great artist, but he pridedrnhimself on being tough, even abrasivernwith his crew. He emphasized that “yournmustn’t let yourself be pushed around byrnthese [studio] executives, no matter howrnbig they are, if you want to protect yourrnreputation as a cameraman.” He workedrnwith famous directors like GeorgernCukor, John Huston, and John Ford.rnHe quotes Ford—guarding the director’srnprerogative —saying; “I only shoot whatrnI want to use, to stop the bastards recuttingrnthe film afterwards.” Youngrnhelped train such future directors as JackrnCardiff and Nicholas Roeg. He won Oscarsrnfor filming David Lean’s Lawrence ofrnArabia, Dr. Zhivago (both partlv filmedrnin Spain), and Ryan’s Daughter. Thoughrnhe worked with Lean on three majorrnfilms, he has ver}’ little to sav about hisrncharacter.rnThis thin, well-illustrated memoir isrncharming, breczv, and anecdotal. But it’srna great pit}’ Young didn’t start dictatingrnhis book before he reached his mid-90’s,rnwhen his mental powers and memorvrnhad begun to fail. Some of his jokcvrnanecdotes fall flat; odiers seem to have nornpoint or are even absurd. The actor WalterrnPidgeon, for example, living in greatrnluxury, complained that President Rooseveltrnhad “ruined” him, but Young doesrnnot explain the contradiction. When thernHungarian director of Caesar andrnCleopatra asked Vivien Leigh “if she villrnvalk jus a lil bit slow,” she meekly followedrnhis orders, yet brashly told Young:rn”Yes, but you tcllMr. Pascal that I shallrndo exacdy as I please.” Young fatuouslyrnremarks of a colleague who had a brainrnhemorrhage that “when he returned torndie studio he was a sick man.”rnMany of Young’s descripfions are superficial.rnHe calls the English producerrnL’or Montagu “a terribly nice, gende sortrnof chap” (in true Hollywood fashion, everyonernis simply wonderful), and blandlyrnobserves that he “found the customs ofrnJapan fascinating.” But he doesn’t savrnanything about die emotional dynamicsrnof filming a love scene with Sarah Milesrnin Ryan’s Daughter.rnYoung docs tell several good storiesrnthat reveal the glamorous and adventurousrnaspects of filmmaking. Lean took hisrnRolls Royce wherever he was working,rnand Tyrone Power outdid him by tran.sportingrnhis yacht to Europe on an oceanrnliner. Filming Richard Brooks’ Lordrn/n7T —”a hotchpotch of ever)- film you’vernever seen: a bit of piracy, mysticism, loverninterest” —in the jungly ruins of AngkorrnWat in Cambodia in 1964, Young experiencedrn(as I did when visiting theserncrumbling monuments two years later)rnswarms of locusts that dived into his foodrnand drink. Like Young, I sealed the crackrnunder my hotel room door at night andrnclimbed under the mosquito net. The locustsrnsimply crawled through the drainpipernof the sink and flew above my head.rnSlashed bv the ceiling fan, they formed arncrust)- carapace when I stepped barefootrnonto the floor the next morning.rni’his memoir, widi its many technicalrndetails, shows the evolution of camerarnwork throughout this century and revealsrnYoung’s main (diough undefined)rntheme: his ingenious solutions to manyrndifficult cinematic problems. Throughoutrnthe down-to-earth book, he stressesrntrade secrets and the practical details ofrnhow illusion is created, rather than aestheticrnquestions. Yomig made the snowinrnDr. yjiivago (insufficient even in therncoldest part of Spain) from hundreds ofrntons of marble dust. He made the ice outrnof candle wax and formed the slipperyrnpatches with a laver of soap. He put rockrnsalt on the actor’s coats and shavingrncream on their beards, and made theirrnbreath seem cold by having them exhalerncigarette smoke. Young achieved a flatteringrnhalo effect around the face in arnclose-up “by stretching a piece of wJiiterngauze over the camera a few inches inrnfront of the lens, then using a lightedrncigarette to burn a hole in the centre ofrnthe gauze.”rnHe shot aerial con-ibat by hangingrnn-iiniatme Spitfires on invisible nylonrncords and gave the actors the illusion ofrnweightlessness on a moon made of plasterrnby having them bounce on trampolinesrnwhile he filmed them in slow motion.rnYoung blew up houses by riggingrn”up a wood and plaster set that is deliberatelyrnflimsy, with the timbers half sawnrnthrough. [He drilled] holes at strategicrnplaces, put dynamite in them, and wiredrnall the charges with one switch beside therncamera. Wlien the switch is pulled thernLooking for a good book?rnSupport Chronicles by purcha.sing books, CDs, and other items through the Amazon.comrnlink ai-id search engine on our website: www.clironiclosmagazinc.orgrnCPmmicles w’lW receive between 5 and 15 percent on every purchase.rnMARCH 2000/.31rnrnrn