German cinematographer Theodor Sparkuhl got his start as a projectionist in 1911. The following year, he went to work for Gaumont as a newsreel cameraman and remained with them through WWI. During the war, he chronicled battles in the Middle East and in Russia. He became a lighting director in 1918, and between then and 1921, Sparkuhl worked closely with Ernst Lubitsch. In 1930, Sparkuhl emigrated to England and then France. By 1933, he had made it to Hollywood and began working for Paramount.