Frank Dixon

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Frank Dixon (b. Cape Town, 23/05/1905 - d. Johannesburg, 30/04/1962) was a cameraman.


Though he photographed director Pierre de Wet’s first three features for African Film Productions, Frank Drew Dixon was primarily a documentary and newsreel cameraman. When, in 1934, he married Constance Clapperton, his profession was given as superintendent with an insurance company, but in August 1940 Stage & Cinema reported that he was now the Bureau of Information’s official cinematographer in East and North Africa, seconded from AFP. The first footage Lieutenant Dixon supplied formed part of the documentaries The Springboks Trek North and General Smuts Up North, shown early November 1940, but after his resignation in January 1941, he was replaced by the American-born Merl LaVoy. Thereafter the material shot by Dixon was incorporated into the weekly issues of African Mirror, including footage of the fall of Addis Ababa in April 1941. Over the years he became one of the newsreel’s senior cameramen and covered a wide variety of subjects and events. He was also a contributing cinematographer on many sponsored documentaries African Film Productions made for government departments and parastatal companies.

Filmography as Cameraman

Two Brothers (Documentary) (Joseph Albrecht/1940), The Flying Angel (Documentary) (1940), Ayihlome (Documentary) (1940), The Springboks Trek North (Documentary) (1940), General Smuts Up North (Documentary) (1940), Oproep! (Documentary) (1942) (with Errol Hinds, G.F. Noble, Leon Schauder & J. Wagner), Reported Missing / Vermis (Documentary) (Joseph Albrecht/194*) (with G.F. Noble), Manne Van die See (Documentary) (194*) (with G.F. Noble & Ken Sara), Over To You (Documentary) (Joseph Albrecht/194*), Wheels Of Life / Wiele Van die Lewe (Documentary) (Hyman Kirstein/194*), In Diens Van die Mensdom (Documentary) (Joseph Albrecht/1944), Back To the Land (Documentary) (1945) (with G.F. Noble, David Millin & Ken Sara), Deep Victory (Documentary) (1946), Geboortegrond (Feature) (Pierre de Wet/1946), Simon Beyers (Feature) (Pierre de Wet/1947), Pondo Story (Documentary) (Ray Getteman/1948), Die Kaskenades van Dokter Kwak (Feature) (Pierre de Wet/1948), Arches of Faith / ‘n Volk Se Erfenis (Documentary) (Kurt Baum/1949) (with Italo Bernicchi, Peter Lang, David Millin & J. Wagner), Save Your Skins / Red Julle Velle (Documentary) (1950), Flocks Of the Veld / Kuddes Op die Veld (Documentary) (Emil Nofal/1950), Zebediela: Monument To a Pioneer / Zebediela: Monument Vir ‘n Baanbreker (Documentary) (Hyman Kirstein/195*) (with Peter Lang & David Millin), Meet the Malans / Aangename Kennis (Documentary) (Kurt Baum/1952) (with Sven Persson & Ken Sara), More Precious Than Gold / Kosbaarder As Goud (Documentary) (Emil Nofal/1953), Lions At Play (Documentary) (with Errol Hinds, Peter Lang & David Millin).


Though his 1934 marriage certificate states that at 29 he was a superintendent with an insurance company, reports in newspapers at the time of his death claimed that he had been with Killarney Film Studios for some 35 years. Which means that he would have started in about 1927, when he was 22. (FO)


The Star. 30 April 1962

Gutsche, Thelma - The history and social significance of motion pictures in South Africa 1895-1940

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