Monday, May 23, 2011

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Painting with Light: Cinematography, 1974

I try not to be too focused on the nighttime cinematography, where the play with light is most obvious. That actually helps Orient Express, which has a kind of bright, dreamlike sheen throughout the film, like there's nylons and Vaseline on the lens.


CHINATOWN


John A. Alonzo, director of photography
***
How did they even get that first shot?


EARTHQUAKE


Philip Lathrop, director of photography
*
Honestly, I am very shocked that this was nominated. I think it's one of those special effects nominees whose camera tricks and matching templates just wows us. Which is fair, but this is soooo dulllllll.


LENNY


Bruce Surtees, director of photography
*****

Ugh. So much beauty in every frame.


MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS


Geoffrey Unsworth, director of photography
****
I love love love the kind of bright, dreamlike sheen used throughout the film, like there's nylons and Vaseline on the lens. And then at night, shit like the first shot. Outstanding.


THE TOWERING INFERNO

Fred Koenekamp & Joseph Biroc, directors of photography
***
I'm actually pretty impressed with the cinematography here. A lot of great power outage/night time shots. Some hokey light effects, like shining a big red light on their faces when they open doors. It's clearly not fire, because it's not flickering. But I do love the last section.


--------------------------------------

The Towering Inferno won the Oscar, which is pretty cool, to be honest. It's a little predictable, maybe, but once again, I love that movie with the comedian. The Oscar goes to shoulda gone to...


BRUCE SURTEES
for
LENNY
this movie is so fucking perfect 

2 comments:

Caleb Strul said...

Lenny is a crazy flick... I dig the choice.

TomS said...

Another shocking ommission of Gordon Willis. Traditional Hollywood Cinematographers hated his lighting technique, with much overhead lighting and shadows. It's iconic '70's cinematography. He was passed over for the first "Godfather" as well.

Of the nominees, I would also have marked my ballot for "Lenny". Interesting to note that Unsworth, who did not work with Fosse this time, won his Oscar for "Cabaret" under Fosse's direction.

"Chinatown" would have been a very close second. The work is subtle, but in closer inspection beautifully done, the lighting and color a perfect accompaniment to the mood of each scene. And some elaborate shots, as you mentioned, too.

The nominaitons for the disaster films were more for the "wow" factor, I think.