Sunday, June 3, 2018

Born Today June 3: Al Liguori


Early, relatively unknown cinematographer Al Liguori was born on this day in Salerno, Italy.  Very little is known about either his early or later life. What is known, is that the first film he is credited with photographing is Sidney Olcott's The Innocent Lie in 1916, where he was credited as Alfonso Ligouri at Famous Players (the film was shot on location in Bermuda).  When he is discussed, for some reason, his name is associated almost exclusively with the Famous Players Film Co.--which is odd, because as of 1918, he had moved on to other production houses, starting with The Grain of Dust, directed by Harry Revier for Ogden Pictures. In all he is credited with 19 films as a cinematographer, but there well could be more that have not been properly recorded (if his one lone writing credit is anything to go by).  His years active spanned between 1916 to 1927. Very few of the films that he shot had any extremely famous actors in them; though he did work with Alice Brady, Matt Moore, Conrad Nagel and Lionel Barrymore.  By 1925, he was back at Famous Players (by then Famous Players-Lasky) and Sidney Olcott. He photographed Salome of the Tenements for him starring Dutch Jewish actress Jetta Goudal. The last film that he photographed was considered a "nothing" at the time of it's release, but has come down to us as a very important piece of cinema from the silent era.  The Scar Of Shame (1927) is an all black production (well, except for the Italians working on the film, which included the director Frank Peregini) made for the Colored Players Film Corp. released into the segregated film houses of Jim Crow.  Liguori does not have any other cinematographer credits after this film, but does have a curious credit for writing dating from 1936. He is credited as one of 4 writers on the Mexican picture María Elena. After this, there are no more film credits for him under any category.  He is listed as having died at the age of 64 in Overbrook Hills, Pennsylvania on the 8th of May, 1951.  A search of grave records yeilds no results on burial. What remains of his work, is often described as "noirish" in nature--ahead of its time.

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