Alex Phillips (January 11, 1900 Renfrew, Ontario – June 14, 1977) was a Canadian-born Mexican cinematographer and the father of Alex Phillips, Jr., also a cinematographer.
In his youth, his family moved to Russia, but he returned to Canada because of his dislike with the czarist government. He enlisted in the Canadian Army where he met Mary Pickford who introduced him to Hollywood since he expressed his interest in becoming an actor.
He auditioned with Fox and Paramount Pictures but was unable to obtain a role. He later approached Christie Comedies where he was advised to look for more stable positions in the movie industry and started his career in cinematography and film editing. He received an opportunity when an assistant fell sick and was able to travel to France with the Canadian Official Photography. After Christie Comedies went bankrupt, he was hired by Samuel Goldwyn while he attended evening classes. He received the opportunity of working with Barnes, Edison and Meyer, and learned techniques such as graduations, tridimensional vision and the sense of potential balance. Phillips then began experimenting with lights and camera movements.
He moved to Mexico in 1931 and worked with directors such as Arcady Boytler, Roberto Gavaldón, Julio Bracho and Luis Buñuel. He worked on some of the earliest Mexican movies such as the silent film Santa (1931) where his worked was considered expressionist. He worked in more than 250 movies in Mexico and 150 in the United States including La mujer del puerto (1934), Aventuras de Robinson Crusoe (1952 with Luis Buñuel), La Red (1953 with Emilio Fernández). His last film was El castillo de la pureza (1972 with Arturo Ripstein).