BSC Members Roster – Past Full Accredited

Paul Wilson BSC

Category: Past Full Accredited

Role: Special Effects Cinematographer

Website: IMDb

15/3/1925 – 3/6/2014


With a grandfather as a photographer, it was inevitable that, as a child, Paul became interested in photography. His father was a film and theatre critic for the Star Newspaper and, in 1939, asked Paul if he would like to look around Ealing Studios. It was that visit that got him interested in a film career.

Shortly after, he went to work for Gainsborough Pictures, in Shepherds Bush, London. The first film he worked on as a clapperboy was THE MAN IN GREY [1943], directed by Leslie Arliss and starring James Mason and Margaret Lockwood and photographed by Arthur Crabtree.

At the age of eighteen, he was conscripted into the Royal Navy and became a photographer on the aircraft carrier “Glory”, where he later photographed some of the Japanese surrender. When he came out of the navy he returned to Shepherds Bush and became an assistant cameraman and later, a camera operator working on over 120 films. One of his first credits as operator was THE BOY AND THE BRIDGE [1959] directed by Kevin McClory and photographed by Ted Scaife BSC. Paul was one of the operators on the Beatles film A HARD DAYS NIGHT [1964 Directed by Richard Lester and photographed by Gil Taylor BSC] and worked with them again on HELP [1965 Directed by Richard Lester and photographed by David Watkin Hon BSC] as the main operator.  Talking about A HARD DAYS NIGHT he said, "A lot of shots were handheld, using Arriflex IIC cameras with many sequences on moving trains that were shot at weekends. With real carriages being used it was sometimes difficult to get the shots."

Paul operated for many of Britain’s top DPs among them: Arthur Ibbetson BSC; Gil Taylor BSC; DavidWatkin Hon BSC; and Chris Challis BSC on such iconic films as NEVER LET GO [1960], I COULD GO ON SINGING [1963]; Chaplin’s A COUNTESS FROM HONG KONG [1967]; WHERE EAGLES DARE [1968]; ANNE OF A THOUSAND DAYS [1969]; Hitchcock’s second to last film FRENZY [1972 photographed by Gil Taylor BSC]; THE THREE MUSKETEERS [1973]; and JOSEPH ANDREWS [1977].

By 1978 Paul had started to work in special effects. Asked how he got into that side of the business he said: "I'd been [1st assistant cameraman] on MOBY DICK [1956 directed by John Huston and photographed by Ossie Morris OBE BSC]. On that we had a tremendous amount of model work with the whale. We were over a year on it and I thought at that time that there has to be a better way of doing this. Years later, I worked with Richard Lester on a lot of commercials and a couple of films. I was shooting a commercial with him in Switzerland and he got a phone call asking him to [take over directing SUPERMAN II]. Dick introduced me to the supervisor of special effects, Derek Meddings and I worked with him for several years."

Paul worked on more of the SUPERMAN and SUPERGIRL films and several BOND movies: MOONRAKER [1979]; GOLDENEYE [1995]; TOMORROW NEVER DIES [1997]; THE WORLD IS NOT ENOUGH [1999]. Other special effects work includes THE PRINCESS BRIDE [1987]; BATMAN (1989]; CAPE FEAR [1991] and LABYRINTH [1986]. He retired age 77 after his final BOND film DIE ANOTHER DAY[2002].