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Philip H Lathrop

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Occupation  Cinematographer
Name  Philip Lathrop
Role  Cinematographer

Philip H. Lathrop wwwcinematographersnlFotosDoPhLathropPhilipla

Born  October 22, 1912 (1912-10-22) Merced, California, U.S.A.
Died  April 12, 1995, Los Angeles, California, United States
Spouse  Molly Lathrop (m. 1936–1965)
Awards  American Society of Cinematographers Lifetime Achievement Award
Nominations  Academy Award for Best Cinematography, Academy Award for Best Cinematography, Black-and-White
Movies  The Pink Panther, Breakfast at Tiffany's, Earthquake, Point Blank, They Shoot Horses - Don't The
Similar People  Maurice Richlin, Ralph E Winters, Jennings Lang, George Axelrod, Martin Ransohoff

Philip H. Lathrop, A.S.C. (October 22, 1912 – April 12, 1995) was an American cinematographer noted for his skills with wide screen technology and detailed approach to lighting and camera placement. He spent most of his life in movie studios. Lathrop was known for such films as Touch of Evil (1958), Lonely Are the Brave (1962), The Americanization of Emily (1964), The Cincinnati Kid (1965), Point Blank (1967), Finian's Rainbow (1968), The Traveling Executioner (1970), Portnoy's Complaint (1972), Earthquake (1974), Swashbuckler (1976), The Driver (1978), Moment by Moment (1978), A Change of Seasons (1980), Foolin' Around (1980), Loving Couples (1980), and Deadly Friend (1986).


He was a long-time member of the ASC Board of Directors, as well as co-chairman of the ASC Awards committee. He also participated in the affairs of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.

Early life

Lathrop was born in Merced, California on October 22, 1912. As a child, the Universal Studios lot was his playground, where his mother was employed in the film lab. Lathrop became a member there in the camera department at 18-years old. There, he watched Gilbert Warrenton, ASC, photograph the first version of Show Boat in 1928-29. On the 1936 version of the film, Lathrop loaded cameras from John Mescall, ASC.

Personal life

Lathrop had two marriages, to Molly Lathrop and Betty Jo Lathrop, and three sons, Larry, Bill and Clark.


Lathrop began his career as a film loader in Universal’s camera department in 1934 for Russell Metty, ASC, on the Irving Reis film, All My Sons.

In 1938, he became assistant to Universal’s top-ranking cinematographer Joseph A. Valentine, ASC, and worked on the Deanna Durbin pictures, The Wolf Man, and two Alfred Hitchcock classics, Saboteur and Shadow of a Doubt. Later, he once again worked as a camera operator with Russell Metty for nine years where he shot the opening of Orson Welles’ Touch of Evil, one of the most renowned boom shots in the history of cinema.

Lathrop becomes director of photography at Universal in 1958. His first feature that year was The Perfect Furlough, which was shot in CinemaScope and Eastman Color, with director Blake Edwards who Lathrop also worked with on Experiment in Terror, Days of Wine and Roses, and The Pink Panther. In 1959, Lathrop and Edwards collaborated on the television series, Peter Gunn and Mr. Lucky.

Using the new Panavision lenses, Lathrop shot the 1962 black and white drama, Lonely Are the Brave, with director David Miller in New Mexico’s Sandia Mountains—this is an early example of the 2.35:1 aspect ratio. Lathrop’s particular visual style seems to epitomize the times, such as in Point Blank, directed by John Boorman in 1967, where a glossy, dense feel was utilized to a tough thriller. In this film, color charts were prepared for each scene—the colors were subdued and desaturated and no scene was ever too bright or showy. After Point Blank, Lathrop worked on Francis Ford Coppola’s Finian’s Rainbow, another unusual color film.

He was inducted into the ASC Hall of Fame in 1974. During the 1980’s, Lathrop worked on eight television movies-of-the-week as well as several mini-series, winning him several Emmys.

He died of cancer on April 12, 1995 in Los Angeles, the same year he was honored with the 1992 ASC Lifetime Achievement Award. Services were held at the Forest Lawn Cemetery in Hollywood Hills where Stanley Cortez, ASC, delivered the eulogy.

Photography in Earthquake

In the 1974 disaster film Earthquake, Lathrop made director Mark Robson’s vision of the motion picture come true. Robson wanted a natural look for the film, without it being documentary-like. But instead of shooting in natural locations, Earthquake was filmed almost entirely on the Universal Studios sound stages and back-lot due to the extraordinary degree of control deemed necessary to execute the required special effects. To bring the earthquake scenes to life, a shaker mount for the camera was created. Lathrop said it “created an amazing illusion. You’d swear that the ground was going up and down and moving sideways, when, of course, it wasn’t moving at all.” Sets were also built on shaker platforms, which is incredibly costly so “in the sets that were not on shaker platforms, [it] was [difficult] to get the actors to move as if they were responding to an earthquake, when there wasn’t one,” he added.

A five-story section of what is supposed to be a 25-story building was made in Stage 12, the highest in the studio, where every floor was used to shoot the action. Lathrop shared that “it was necessary to dig down 20 feet into the floor of the stage in order to accommodate [the building model].” He continued, “[the] photography of this sequence was difficult because of the way [they] had to light the set” to avoid shadows from the hanging lights when the simulated earthquakes took place. So “in order to light it, [Lathrop] went clear up above the grids with four arcs pointed down to simulate the angle of the sun. [He] matched each of the arcs on the way down and didn’t overlap them, nor did [he] use any fill light at all.”

To execute a film like Earthquake, natural sets would have been very limiting. Shooting on set allows for control in the lighting and to “do things with the camera that would have been impossible in a natural set,” said Lathrop. Without a single day off of work after Earthquake, Lathrop immediately began working on his next disaster film, Airport 1975, also for Universal.

Academy Award nominations

• 1965 - Best Cinematography, Black-and-White - The Americanization of Emily
• 1975 - Best Cinematography - Earthquake


  • Primetime Emmy Awards
  • • 1984 – Outstanding Cinematography for a Limited Series or a Special – Celebritynominated
    • 1985 – Outstanding Cinematography for a Limited Series or a Special – Malice in Wonderlandwon
    • 1986 – Outstanding Cinematography for a Limited Miniseries or a Special – Picking Up the Piecesnominated
    • 1987 – Outstanding Cinematography for a Limited Miniseries or a Special – Christmas Snowwon
    • 1988 – Outstanding Cinematography for a Limited Miniseries or a Special – Little Girl Lostnominated

  • American Society of Cinematographers
  • • 1988 – Outstanding Achievement in Cinematography in Miniseries or Specials – Christmas Snow - won
    • 1989 – Outstanding Achievement in Cinematography in Movies of the Week/Pilots – Little Girl Lostwon
    • 1992 – Lifetime Achievement Award – won

  • Society of Camera Operators
  • • 1900 – Historical Shot – Touch of Evilwon


    Live Fast, Die Young (1958)
    Girls on the Loose (1958)
    • The Saga of Hemp Brown (1958) as Philip Lathrop
    Wild Heritage (1958) as Philip Lathrop
    The Perfect Furlough (1958) as Philip Lathrop
    Money, Women and Guns (1958) as Philip Lathrop
    Rawhide (TV Series: 9 episodes, 1958) as Philip Lathrop
    The Monster of Piedras Blancas (1958) Director of Photography
    Steve Canyon (TV Series: 11 episodes, 1959)
    Cry Tough (1959)
    Walt Disney’s Wonderful World of Color (TV Series: 2 episodes, 1959) as Philip Lathrop
    The Private Lives of Adam and Eve (1960)
    Mr. Lucky (TV Series: 4 episodes, 1960; 21 episodes, 1959-1960) Director of Photography
    Peter Gunn (TV Series: 61 episodes, 1958-1960) as Philip Lathrop
    Hong Kong (TV Series: 24 episodes, 1960-1961) Director of Photography
    Perry Mason (TV Series: 2 episodes, 1961) Director of Photography
    Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961) co-cinematographer, uncredited
    Experiment in Terror (1962) Director of Photography
    Lonely Are the Brave (1962) Director of Photography
    Combat! (TV Series: 1 episode, 1962) Director of Photography
    Days of Wine and Roses (1962) Director of Photography
    Dime with a Halo (1963)
    Vacation Playhouse (TV Series: 1 episode, 1963) Director of Photography
    Twilight of Honor (1963) Director of Photography
    Soldier in the Rain (1963) Director of Photography
    The Pink Panther (1963) Director of Photography
    The Americanization of Emily (1964) as Philip Lathrop
    36 Hours (1964)
    Girl Happy (1965) Director of Photography
    The Cincinnati Kid (1965) Director of Photography
    Never Too Late (1965) as Philip Lathrop
    What Did You Do in the War, Daddy? (1966) Director of Photography
    The Happening (1967) Director of Photography
    Don't Make Waves (1967)
    Gunn (1967) Director of Photography
    Point Blank (1967) Director of Photography
    I Love You, Alice B. Toklas! (1968) Director of Photography
    Finian’s Rainbow (1968) Director of Photography
    The Illustrated Man (1969) Director of Photography
    The Gypsy Moths (1969) as Philip Lathrop
    They Shoot Horses, Don’t They? (1969) Director of Photography
    The Hawaiians (1970) Director of Photography
    The Traveling Executioner (1970) Director of Photography
    Rabbit, Run (1970)
    Wild Rovers (1971) Director of Photography
    Every Little Crook and Nanny (1972) as Philip Lathrop
    Portnoy’s Complaint (1972) as Philip Lathrop
    Lolly-Madonna XXX (1973) as Philip Lathrop
    The Thief Who Came to Dinner (1973) as Philip Lathrop
    The All-American Boy (1973)
    Mame (1974) Director of Photography
    Together Brothers (1974)
    Airport 1975 (1974) Director of Photography
    Earthquake (1974) Director of Photography
    The Prisoner of Second Avenue (1975) as Philip Lathrop
    Three for the Road (TV Series: 1 episode, 1975) Director of Photography
    Hard Times (1975) Director of Photography
    The Killer Elite (1975) Director of Photography
    The Black Bird (1975)
    What Now, Catherine Curtis? (TV Movie, 1976) as Philip Lathrop
    Swashbuckler (1976) as Philip Lathrop
    Airport '77 (1977) Director of Photography
    The Feather and Father Gang (TV Series: 1 episode, 1977) as Philip Lathrop
    Never Con a Killer (TV Movie, 1977)
    Captain Courageous (TV Movie, 1977)
    A Different Story (1978)
    The Driver (1978) Director of Photography
    Moment by Moment (1978) Director of Photography
    The Concorde ... Airport '79 (1979) Director of Photography
    Little Miss Marker (1980)
    Loving Couples (1980)
    Foolin' Around (1980)
    A Change of Seasons (1980) Director of Photography
    All Night Long (1981) as Philip Lathrop
    Class Reunion (1982) Director of Photography
    Jekyll and Hyde... Together Again (1982) Director of Photography
    Celebrity (TV Mini-Series: 3 episodes, 1984) as Philip Lathrop
    Malice in Wonderland (TV Movie, 1985)
    Love on the Run (TV Movie, 1985)
    Picking Up the Pieces (TV Movie, 1985)
    Between the Darkness and the Dawn (TV Movie, 1985)
    Mr. and Mrs. Ryan (TV Movie, 1986) as Philip Lathrop
    Deadly Friend (1986)
    Christmas Snow (TV Movie, 1986)
    Six Against the Rock (TV Movie, 1987) as Philip Lathrop
    Ray’s Male Heterosexual Dance Hall (Short, 1987)
    Little Girl Lost (TV Movie, 1988)

    Camera and Electrical Department

    The Cat Creeps (1946) assistant camera – uncredited
    All My Sons (1948) camera operator – uncredited
    Mr. Peabody and the Mermaid (1948) camera operator – uncredited
    You Gotta Stay Happy (1948) assistant camera – uncredited
    Kiss the Blood Off My Hands (1948) assistant camera – uncredited
    The Lady Gambles (1949) - camera operator – uncredited
    Peggy (1950) - camera operator – as Philip Lathrop
    The Desert Hawk (1950) - camera operator – uncredited
    Wyoming Mail (1950) - camera operator – uncredited
    Little Egypt (1951) - camera operator – uncredited
    The Raging Tide (1951) - camera operator – uncredited
    Flame of Araby (1951) - camera operator – uncredited
    The Treasure of Lost Canyon (1952) - camera operator
    Scarlet Angel (1952) - camera operator – uncredited
    Yankee Buccaneer (1952) - camera operator – uncredited
    Against All Flags (1952) - camera operator – uncredited
    Seminole (1953) - camera operator – uncredited
    It Happens Every Thursday (1953) - camera operator
    The Man from the Alamo (1953) - camera operator – uncredited
    The Veils of Bagdad (1953) - camera operator
    All That Heaven Allows (1955) - camera operator – uncredited
    Man Afraid (1957) - camera operator
    Touch of Evil (1958) - camera operator – uncredited
    In Harm's Way (1965) - camera operator: second unit – as Philip Lathrop
    Hammett (1982) – cinematographer: other photography – as Philip Lathrop

    Miscellaneous Crew

    Visions of Light (Documentary, 1992) member: ASC Education Committee – as Philip Lathrop


    Philip H. Lathrop Wikipedia