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A clapper boy in British films while a teenager, Freddie Francis became a camera assistant and in the mid-1950s was an operator for Oswald Morris, the director of photography on John Huston's Moulin Rouge (1953) and Beat the Devil (1954); he also directed second-unit footage for Huston's Moby Dick (1956). As a director of photography himself, Francis worked for directors Karel Reisz (Saturday Night and Sunday Morning [1961], Night Must Fall [1964]), Jack Cardiff (Sons and Lovers [1960]), and fellow Huston-alumnus Jack Clayton (Room at the Top [1959], The Innocents [1961]). In the early 1960s he began directing but still occasionally shot films for such directors as Reisz and David Lynch. As a director, Francis has specialized in horror films, notably at Hammer, but also for producers Max J. Rosenberg and Milton Subotsky and the anthology films Dr. Terror's House of Horrors [1965], Torture Garden [1967], and Tales from the Crypt [1972]).

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