Peter Lang

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Peter Lang (b. Hammersmith, London 17/08/1915 – d. Kingston upon Thames, Greater London, 26/02/1995) was a cinematographer.


Thomas (Peter) Lang was born not far from the Gaumont Film Studios in Shepherd’s Bush to Thomas Lang and his wife, Martha Brereton. At the time his father was a public power supply worker, but he later established his own business and became a lift engineer. In fact, Peter started out as an apprentice electrical engineer to his father, but later recounted that he was fired and at the time of the 1939 Register he was listed as a photographer/cine technician. He went into films as an extra and became a cameraman with Gaumont-British until the outbreak of the war. He then joined the Royal Air Force and was involved in doing tactical reconnaissance photography on the West Coast of Africa.

He came to South Africa round about 1948 and upon joining African Film Productions soon became one of the company’s senior cameramen. Like everyone else, he worked on the newsreel African Mirror/Ons Nuus, but also shot a number of features for the likes of Pierre de Wet and Hyman Kirstein and together with David Millin was camera operator on the 2nd unit of Zoltan Korda’s film version of Cry, the Beloved Country (1951). In addition he shot various documentaries and directed Outspan Harvest (1958) himself. He was frequently given choice assignments and in 1952 he filmed the S.A.A.F. Cheetah Squadron in South Korea, afterwards joining a South African Press delegation touring Australia. Coming back he was on the second direct flight from Australia to South Africa and recorded the experience for African Mirror. He eventually returned to Great Britain and it is almost certain that the Peter Lang who subsequently worked for Associated-Rediffusion/Thames Television (notably on the popular The World at War series) was the same person.



1949 – Kom Saam Vanaand! (Director: Pierre de Wet), 1950 – Hier’s Ons Weer! (Director: Hyman Kirstein), 1951 – Alles Sal Regkom! (Director: Hyman Kirstein), 1951 – Cry, the Beloved Country (camera operator, 2nd unit with David Millin) (Director: Zoltan Korda), 1952 – Altyd in My Drome (Director: Pierre de Wet), 1953 – Daar Doer in die Stad (with Ronnie Shears) (Director: Jamie Uys), 1955 – Vadertjie Langbeen (lighting) (Director: Pierre de Wet), 1955 – Matieland!(Director: Pierre de Wet), 1958 – Diamond Safari (with David Millin) (Director: Gerald Mayer).


1949 – Arches of Faith / ‘n Volk se Erfenis (with Frank Dixon, David Millin, Italo Bernicchi & J. Wagner) (Director: Kurt Baum), 1954 – ‘n Taal Se Opkoms / Pearl of the Paarl (with Ken Sara, Frank Dixon & Ronnie Shears) (Director: Kurt Baum), 195* - Zebediela: Monument to a Pioneer / Zebediela: Monument vir ‘n Baanbreker (with David Millin & Frank Dixon) (Director: Hyman Kirstein), 195* - South Africa’s Lifeline / Die Slagaar van Suid-Afrika (with Ronnie Shears & Ken Sara) (Director: not credited), 1958 – Outspan Harvest (Director: Peter Lang).


Rand Daily Mail, 16 February 1951

Rand Daily Mail, 19 October 1952

Le Roux, André I. & Fourie, Lilla – Filmverlede: geskiedenis van die Suid-Afrikaanse speelfilm (1982)

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