Peter Newbrook

Family name: 
Work area/craft/role: 
Interview Number: 
Interview Date(s): 
20 Feb 1995
17 Apr 1995
15 May 1995
Production Media: 
Duration (mins): 

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Interview notes

BEHP 0374 Filmography taken from BFI database in 1996.

All credits GB

1949 Melody Club. Photography

1952 Sound Barrier. Aerial photography

1953 Captain’s Paradise. Camera Operator

1957 Bridge over the River Kwai. Camera Operator

1962 Lawrence of Arabia. Second Unit photographer

1963 That kind of Girl. Photography

1963 Yellow Teddybears. Photography

1963 In the Cool of the Day. Photography

1964 Saturday Night Out. Photography

1964 Black Torment. Photography

1965 Gonks go Beat. Producer, Photography, author of original work

1965 Rig Move. [Documentary for BP, in Libya] Photography

1966 Sandwich Man. Producer, photography. [Covered in Side 10 of interview]

1966 Press for Time. Producer, photography. [shot at Beaconsfield; covered in Side 10]

1967 Corruption. Producer, photography. [shot at Isleworth; covered in Side 10]

1969 A Smashing bird I used to Know. Producer, photography. [Reel 5, side 10]

1970 Doctors wear Scarlet. Executive producer. [location in Cyprus]

1971 She’ll follow you anywhere. Producer, author of original work. [Breakup of original company – Titan closed]

1971 Crucible of Terror. Executive Producer, photography. [with Disc Jockey Mike Raven]

1972 Asphyx. Director.  [Last film with Freddie Francis; 35mm Todd-ao, quadrophonic sound. Discussed on side 11 of interview]

There was an interview with Peter Newbrook in Perfect Vision, v.6, no 21, Spring 1994, pp61-63.





Peter  Newbrook BSC (29 June 1920 - 19 June 2009) was an English cinematographer, director, producer and writer. 

Peter Newbrook was born in Chester.  He began his career as a 14 year-old messenger boy at Warner Brothers' Teddington Studio. By 1937, he had worked his way up to focus puller. In 1942 he was employed by Ealing as first assistant cameraman. During the Second World War he made Army training films with the Army Kinematograph Service at Fox Studios and was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant. After the war In 1947, with drummer Carlo Krahmer, he co-founded Esquire Records, which specialised in jazz music.  Peter was the focus puller on It Always Rains on Sunday (1947) directed by Robert Hamer and photographed by Douglas Slocombe. In 1948 he went freelance and worked with the directors Charles Crichton, on Against the Wind (1948) photographed by Lionel Banes , and Charles Frend, on Scott of the Antarctic ( 1948) photographed by  Osmond Borradille , Jack Cardiff  and Geoff Unsworth . In 1950 Newbrook made Changing Face of Europe, a series of five documentaries shot in Technicolor to show the Americans how money from the Marshall Plan was being spent.

He went to work at Alexander Korda’s Shepperton Studios. The first film was The Sound Barrier (1952) with David Lean photographed by Jack Hildyard , followed by  – Hobson’s Choice  (1954) again photographed by Jack Hildyard ,Peter then went on to David Lean’s Summertime (1954), The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957) both photographed by Jack Hldyard  and was one of the three ‘second units’ on Lawrence of Arabia photographed by Freddie Young.

He worked as second unit photographer with Freddie Young on the classic long shot of Omar Sharif riding a camel as he emerges from a mirage at the beginning of David Lean's Lawrence of Arabia (1962). Later in the 60s his  work as cinematographer – and  producer – included  Gonks Go Beat ( 1964) ,The Sandwich Man (1966), The Smashing Bird I Used To Know (1969)and  his sole directorial credit - The Asphyx (1972).

In the 1970s due to the decline of the British film industry he turned to television. He worked as a freelance lighting director   at Granada TV on shows such as Coronation Street,  and Yorkshire Television’s Emmerdale Farm   In 1977 Peter  joined Anglia Television   in  Norwich, making episodes of the popular drama series Tales of the Unexpected. He retired in 1990 as a senior lighting director.

Peter was President of the British Society of Cinematographers from 1984 to 1986.