Sunday, August 21, 2011

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This Silver is Gold: Cinematography, 1964 - Part Two

Some movies refuse to be seen. I caught the last fifteen minutes of Fate is the Hunter months and months ago on Turner Classic Movies, and since then I've searched for it in vain. I don't order from Amazon, I get my movies from the library, Netflix or YouTube -- money and all that. But sometimes you just got to admit defeat, and Fate is the Hunter has bested me in this regard. I won't judge an entire film's cinematography based on the fifteen minutes I saw, but the show must go on. Because of this, you'll find only four of the nominees rated here, and one abstention.

But, hey -- look how gorgeous the rest of these films are! This is, after all, the Black-and-White Cinematography category. Let the beauty wash over you...

THE AMERICANIZATION OF EMILY


 Philip H. Lathrop, director of photography
**
Really, except for these stills from the film's climax, I didn't find the work all that remarkable or challenging. Still, what's done is done well, and the film is great, besides.


FATE IS THE HUNTER
ABSTAIN

Milton R. Krasner, director of photography


 HUSH...HUSH, SWEET CHARLOTTE

 Joseph F. Biroc, director of photography
****
Those shadows and candles and silhouettes provide much of the creep factor of Charlotte. Biroc works real magic with this horror piece. God, I love that shot above with Charlotte in light and her cousin (that "vile, sorry little bitch") in shadow. Even when we cut to her coverage, Miriam is still a little...shady? Shall we say?


THE NIGHT OF THE IGUANA

Gabriel Figueroa, director of photography
*****
By day, it is so bright that you feel the heat, the sun and the sand. By night, the moon provides the only illumination as Burton and Kerr engage in some serious soul-searching...and Gardner in some serious sex-dancing. It's so so so so gorgeous.


ZORBA THE GREEK

Walter Lassally, director of photography
****
Goddam I love the technicals of this film. Look at that. It's moody, it's beautiful, it's its own story. The conspirators in shadow, the heroes in light. It's cinematography with meaning, man.

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

Lassally won the Oscar. Of course he won the Oscar. Not only was his a Best Pic nominee but..I mean..look at that. Still, you know that my heart belongs to another.

GABRIEL FIGUEROA
for
THE NIGHT OF THE IGUANA
 so sensual

3 comments:

TomS said...

All of these nominees are examples of black and white cinematography at its finest. It is almost impossible to single one out.

Lathrop, I think was very underrated in his time. Maybe he was stigmatized as a "TV" cinematographer. In spite of a lot of interesting work in movies, his only other nomination was in 1974 for "Earthquake"!

Krasner photographed "All About Eve" in 1950, and won for "Three Coins in the Fountain" a few years later. It's too bad "Fate is the Hunter is not yet readily available.

Biroc has a list of credits a mile long, including 3 from your last Oscar year of 1974 ("Shanks", "Blazing Saddles" and his one Oscar win, "Towering Inferno"). He did everything, from 1950's sci-fi to screwball comedy, to "It's A Wonderful Life"!

Figueroa was well-known in Mexico. He worked with Luis Bunuel among many others. His nomination was well deserved, although somewhat of an anomaly by Academy standards.

Lassally worked magic with "Zorba". I think he may have been the sentimental favorite, having failed to earn a nomination the year before for BP-winner "Tom Jones".

Andrew: Encore Entertainment said...

NIGHT OF THE IGUANA!!!!!!!! Hee. Yup, movie is just so lovely...although I want a remake in colour. Jude Law as our drunken Pastor because...well, just because.

Walter L. Hollmann said...

I don't know, I just don't find Lathrop's work all that outstanding. Which it doesn't have to be, true, it gets the job done and doesn't take me out of the films. But he's getting nominations?

Fate is the Hunter is just one of many examples of Oscar-nominated films doomed to become lost due to lack of concern on the studio's part. I feel like once you're up for Oscar Gold, you should move to the top of the preservation list. It's history, dammit!

Andrew: Oh, you know I'm working on that Casting Coup for future use ;)