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Barry Salt has some sensible remarks about the difficulty of analyzing cinematographer's styles. First he points out that they often use different styles on different films. Secondly, that describing a photographic style with scientific accuracy is very difficult. I cannot pretend to have solved either problem. These are just a few preliminary notes towards these two goals. I have noticed that cinematographer's works do have some common patterns. Often times a cameraman has a series of styles that repeat from film to film. Example: the Chiaroscuro style of Edeson, the Clear style of Shamroy. I can't accurately describe these styles in full detail, but I sure can recognize them on screen. Just naming them, and specifying some of the films in which they occur, will help future scholars to trace down these filmmakers' work. Secondly, we will try to specify in as much detail as possible any insight into these styles.
Joseph MacDonald's photography for Niagara (1953) is incredibly beautiful. The opening shots of the Falls remind one of Frederick Erwin Church's painting of them, and of the fact that there is an immense landscape tradition of painting and photographing the Falls. I was more familiar with MacDonald's black and white work in such earlier movies as Panic in the Streets and Call Northside 777. This was semidocumentary in style, focusing on real places. It did have considerable beauties of its own, especially Panic, which is full of dramatic lighting. Niagara extends this tradition, being shot on location, but it adds color to the mix. MacDonald's color is extraordinary and exquisite. He has found endless delicate but bright pastel shades, from Marilyn Monroe's dresses to walls to the Falls themselves. Even Monroe's red lipsticked lips come across with remarkable vividness. Henry Hathaway, the director, pioneered the tradition in the post war film of location shooting, and his style always shows the backgrounds of building or landscape framed around the characters. MacDonald is quick to pick up on the buildings, especially gold doors and grillwork.
Oftentimes the color photography of Hollywood cameramen seems to have nothing to do with their black and white technique (examples: Seitz, Mellor). With MacDonald it is the exact opposite. His black and white work for My Darling Clementine looks very similar to his color photography on Niagra. He lovingly picks up on each shade of gray in Monument Valley, just as he captured each glowing pastel color on Niagra. The colors seem highlighted and lovingly caressed on screen in both works.
Norman Brodine's post war style is dark, dramatic and full of single highlighted regions standing out in dramatic contrast. In Kiss of Death, the scenes at night where people sneak up on Victor Mature's house in the dark as especially memorable. The characters seem to emerge from a mist, with the elaborate grillwork of the door forming a lattice over them. There is perhaps a brooding quality to Brodine's work, an expressionistic heaviness that recalls Karl Freund and UFA (Freund also loved fog - see Dracula (1931)). Brodine also seems to like curved forms in his compositions, and to like slightly off center angles.
The extreme clarity of Charles Rosher's style is notable. Every detail, every mirror reflection on a floor, stands out with total vividness and razor sharp clarity. Rosher's style, although originating in black and white films, seems to be the ancestor of an "MGM look", one in which its post war films were similarly shot with extreme clarity, one in which every scene is bathed in light that brings out every detail of color. Rosher's work is also breathtakingly beautiful. It is not just technically excellent, it also shows a personal artistic taste. The scene in Rockabye where the heroine is surrounded by balloons is a delightful example of Rosher's beauty of image.
Henry Sharp's photography is best known today for Ministry of Fear and The Crowd. Ministry is full of scenes where light from a doorway spills out into another room, making a sharp perspective angle. Is this Lang or Sharp?
William Daniels' work in color is notable. It seems to bring out broad areas of one color - a shot might have a red region, a green dress, a section of dark colored wood paneling, etc. Each region will have its own very distinctive color. Many of the colors look lightened somehow, made slightly pastelish and less intense, although this is perhaps just an artifact from the aging of the film. It is a very delicate look, as if everything were always in the most careful balance, as if everything had been exquisitely filtered to give the least offense to an audience. There is also a slight graininess or filtered look to everything.
Daniels' black and white work in Personal Property (1937) is virtually shadowless. It emphasizes continuous areas of gray that gently blend into each other. By the time of The Naked City (1948), Daniels' black and white work had evolved into something very close to his color style. The screen is full of distinct areas of gray, each a different, beautiful shade. Just as in his color work, each is distinct and uniform within its region. Each seems to gently, softly glow with its gray tone. There is a harmony of soft grays.
Many of Karl Freund's most memorable scenes involve fog. As the photographer who virtually invented expressionism, it seems almost tautological to say that these scenes seem expressionistic - after all, if Freund is not expressionistic, who is? But the fog scenes in Dracula, and the foggy streets of London sequences in Parnell, are really outstanding. Much of Karl Freund's photography in Green Hell (1940) is just functional, but the party scene is outstanding. It occurs at night, and Freund goes all out with wooden slats, mosquito netting, glamorous shadows. It is very beautiful and complex looking. It is followed by a beautiful trek through the jungle. Plants in the distance are shot with a different look than plants in the foreground; this is a common Freund technique, one that seems to suggest mist or fog.
George Folsey often photographs rooms with great clarity. Each aspect of the set is carefully lit up and displayed, and the whole thing sticks in the memory with great vividness afterwards. His late 50's color work is particularly subtle, with many light and often not noticed gradations of color carefully brought out, and made delightful to look at. Even in his black and white work, Folsey was good at picking up on many different shades of gray in the sets, arranging them into a pretty visual harmony.
Charles Lawton did color photography on a great number of 1950's Westerns. His photography is very clear, with bright, naturalistic colors. Everything somehow looks "normal" in his work. There is little shadow; everything seems evenly, brightly lit. One can completely forget that one is watching a movie; everything looks like real life, only better. His landscape photography is lovely. Similarly, he really photographs the performers well, making them look good. Every subtle details of their clothes comes through clearly. If Lawton lacks flashy "style" and "brilliance", he has very good craftsmanship, and makes everything look good.
Barney McGill did a lot of work for 1930's Warner Brothers films, especially in the first half of the decade. The background of his shots is typically a gray, a fairly dark gray that looks like some deeply colored wall, photographed in black & white, of course. Often the characters in the background seem all gray, too. Then the leading characters have a brighter light shining on them, one that makes them stand out. In Night Nurse, these characters are often in their white medical uniforms, and are the main white in the shot. Their white is a bright contrast to everything around them. The light on them is not an obvious spot light; it is carefully rounded off into the gray background. The leading characters have their faces and hair carefully modeled. There is a three D effect to this, it emphasizes the spherical, curved natures of their heads, rather like early Celtic art and its curvilinear forms. Within the shot, small gleaming areas of metal or water or flowers are also highlighted; these form complex abstract patterns of small, bright circles of light, often arranged into some complex pattern in one small region of the frame. They provide a sense of abstract art to the shot, and form a balance to the emphasis on the leads' faces and bodies in other parts of the shot. See the medical machinery in the amphitheater of Night Nurse, or the flowers by the headwaiter in Svengali. The whole effect is highly stylized, as if the characters were swimming underwater in a gray sea.
Arthur Edeson's work can be divided into three periods. He began his career as photographer for Douglas Fairbanks. In the late silent and early sound era he did a lot of spooky pictures, such as The Bat, Frankenstein, The Old Dark House. Finally, in the later 30's and 40's he worked on Warners Brothers films, notably Casablanca and The Conspirators. The bizarre, expressionist look of The Bat is aided by the sets of William Cameron Menzies, which are large and over powering beyond any sense of realism. The house's giant staircase is particularly over the top. In The Bat, there are many long shots, in which elaborate compositions are built up out of bright sources of light, and extreme darkness. Many of these shots show considerable visual imagination. More routinely throughout the picture, there are medium shots of the characters interacting. The characters have typically an intense light shining on them, which they stand in front of a very shadowy background. These medium shots in the film are less creative than the long shots. But they preserve a common style, of a contrast between intense spot lights and vaster shadowy regions of deep darkness. A third type of shot in the film, and the least common, is the shot with mist in the background. Some of the outdoor shots at the country mansion are of this format. Edeson's third period would emphasize such work, especially The Conspirators. The Edeson mist shot is already present in full form in some of the outdoor scenes in Satan Met a Lady (1936). The early mist shots in The Bat are of slightly different style from the later work. Those in are instantly recognizable as Edeson's work; those in The Bat are not. But they still quite creative. The "dark" look was pushed to an extreme in The Old Dark House, one of the darkest pictures ever shot. Many of the scenes are bathed in blackness. This work and The Bat can be labeled as being in Edeson's Chiaroscuro style. During this period Edeson also worked on All Quiet on the Western Front, which he similarly made full of intensely black scenes. In addition to its spectacular indoor shots, The Old Dark House includes several scenes set in the front of the house in the rain. These are very beautiful, and look forward to later Edeson works as The Conspirators.
Casablanca and The Conspirators, show a more complex look, designed to express exoticism in locale. The Conspirators in particular, is beautiful and creative. The last half hour of this film is one of the most beautiful in Hollywood history, in which photography, art direction and costume all come together for an elegant visual mixture.
Guy Green's Technicolor photography for Captain Horatio Hornblower is very good. It emphasizes the pure colors of the characters' clothes: blue or white for the hero, red or pink for the heroine. It also picks up all the browns of the ships. Two shots seem especially memorable. One is of the ships in the harbor, silhouetted against the sky. Another shows the green countryside as a carriage rolls by, reflected in water. Green's photography has a tactile quality. One can see the textures of the wood in the ship, and the fabrics of the characters' clothes. A 45 degree overhead shot of characters walking though water shows the bright blue and rippling patterns made by the water. Stills of The Beggar's Opera show the same sort of intense colors of the costumes.
W. Howard "Duke" Greene
W. Howard Greene was an early color specialist. He often collaborated with other photographers, and it is hard to disentangle his contributions from others, on such important films as The Phantom of the Opera or Cobra Woman. The latter film is one of the most dream like, jaw dropping color experiences in film.
Harold Rosson came out of retirement to film Howard Hawks' El Dorado (1967). The film is full of night scenes. Each scene has many sources of light - windows, doorways, lamps. Each light source adds a splash of light on the screen. Each splash is brilliantly colored, usually in a primary color like yellow or red. Sometimes the color seems to be a patch of painted wall revealed by the light; other times it seems to come from the light itself, through a doorway or window. Beyond these light sources are darker regions, sometimes black, sometimes more faintly, but still colored light. The effect is wonderfully creative and atmospheric. It has an avante garde side; when Johanna Heer did similar things with colored lights in Sugarbaby (198), it seemed to be a pure experimental film technique.
Even in his black and white days, Rosson also painted his sets with splashes of light. A still in Andrew Sarris' The Films of Josef von Sternberg shows a night scene from The Docks of New York (1928). There is one bright light from a street lamp (?) in the upper left, then there are equally bright but diffused lights coming through the mists in the center of the picture. It is a very dramatic, visually striking effect.
Rosson's interiors also show his splash of light paradigm. They seem to be lit in several, sometimes overlapping light regions. Rosson's figure modeling is also distinctive. He uses the same techniques to light up George Bancroft's black leather jacket in Docks as he will James Caan's leather shirt in El Dorado, nearly forty years later. Everything seems to gleam and shine.
No Time For Sergeants (1958) also shows this pool of light approach. The army barracks seems to be lit up with dozens of separate sources. The light sources tend to look circular or spherical. The effect is gentle and soothing looking. It is also appropriate to the comic and dramatic meaning of the scene: the room is a chaos of dozens of soldiers and their bunks, each operating independently of the others, and the many independent light sources centered on each bunk visually express this dramatic chaos. The Sergeant's bed room also has several pools, including some with circular outlines on the wall, supposedly made by a standing lamp in the scene. An early scene outdoors shows some distinctive face modeling, with tree shadows falling only across some characters' faces. The shadows are light, and do not continue across the frame as a whole - they are small shadows that wrap around the characters' faces only.
Rosson used the pools of light approach on color films before El Dorado. For example, look at the famous title song sequence in Singin in the Rain. Gene Kelly dances down a dark street in the rain. If you can take your eyes off Gene Kelly's wonderful dancing, you can see many rectangular regions of light, coming out of the shop windows on the street, just like the night scenes in El Dorado. The shop windows are less brightly colored than those in the later film, but they are not uniformly white either, often looking rather yellow.
Victor Milner only photographed a few film noirs. One of them was The Strange Love of Martha Ivers (1946), directed by Lewis Milestone. The film opens with a tremendous rainstorm at night, outside the Ivers mansion, a rainstorm that signifies the emotions of the film. Milner has a distinctive technique of photographing interiors. The backgrounds of the room always seem to be in a complex pattern of very light gray shadows. Nothing too deep or dark, no chiaroscuro. The light trace of shadows always lends a gloomy dignity to everything, a sense that distinguished complex people live there. They hallway shots of the mansion in the opening sequence are some of the most elaborate of these. In several shots, the hallway door is standing open in the far rear of the frame. Outside, we see the brilliantly photographed rainstorm. Its gleam attracts and fascinates the eye. The rain seen through the open doorway seems to be part of a different mode of existence from the house, almost a different dimension in sf terms. Leaving the house into the night and rain represents escape for the characters from the Ivers way of life, so the symbolic suggestiveness of the photography is directly expressive of the themes of the film.
Arthur Miller's scenes often show areas of light entering a dark interior from a door or window. Oftentimes the light is broken up into a grid or regular pattern. This grid will shine on the ceiling, on a desk or table where the characters sit, an opposite wall, or directly on their faces. He also likes outdoor scenes where there is a picket fence, or other regular grid to shoot through: see Tobacco Road. Miller often shoots a bright, intense light onto his characters, a beam that cuts across the darkness of the set, and which they step into. Miller's films tend to look extremely serious, even glum. The characters look as if they are caught in some cave, a negative area that has them trapped. The irregular patterns of the light somehow give the effect of an irrational world, one in which there is no logic or reason. The characters are just trapped in some bad universe.
Arthur Miller's style in Gentleman's Agreement (1947) is a little different from his other films. It attempts to convey much more of a sense of upper middle class elegance, appropriate for the New York ambiance of its sophisticated characters. They are fewer cave like scenes or really dark shots. The heroine's house is the most obviously Miller like scene, with light streaming over its ceiling from the small windows, and a lens that gives a strong sense of perspective to the rooms: the cave pattern of his movies. Despite this apparent elegance, the film is consistent with the Miller pattern of being trapped in an irrational, badly designed universe, in this case a society rife with Anti-Semitism. I think Miller's images are helping to convey this feeling.
John F. Seitz
John F. Seitz is best known for his work in black and white, especially on the film noirs he did for Billy Wilder, and This Gun For Hire. But in the 1950's he did some color pictures. His style was distinctive. He tended to like beige or tan backgrounds. Against these would be broad expanses of color, either from the characters' costumes, or regions of the set. The colors were brilliant, but with just a hint of dark tone in them. The whole effect is a little darker than the pastel shaded Hollywood musicals of the era. There is a sense of unusual color harmonies to every scene, that remind one a little of Veronese. Even in the color pictures, he liked lustrous blacks and intense whites. There are also fiery reds.
Seitz' photography for Hail the Conquering Hero (1944) is very beautiful. The images have a harmonious quality of balance. Partly this is due to Sturges' meaningful staging, partly to Seitz' camera. Different regions of Seitz' frames often have different intensities of light. For example, the background might be strongly lit, the middle ground dark, the foreground trees moderately lit. Or Seitz will have one wall of a room strongly illuminated, the others in varying degrees of shade. As a general approach, this allows Seitz to break the screen down into a number of geometric regions, thus helping him create interesting compositions. The sense of visual balance among these regions is strong. Another common Seitz technique: using sharply outlined shadows against one wall. These shadows are not the vague, overlapping (but beautiful) irregular patterns of Stradling. Nor are they the diffused, continuously modulating, almost oceanic background shadows of Victor Milner, that add so much complexity and visual interest to the walls of his sets. By contrast, in Seitz the shadows are well defined marks of a single, complex object, such as a tree or metal grill work. The shadow outline is beautiful in itself. It is plainly visible to the audience, and easily recognized as a tree, etc., by the audience. It adds a nice grace note to one section of Seitz' frame. Unlike Valentine, at least in this movie Seitz is not too interested in having the shadows fall over the characters' faces or bodies. Or even dominate the whole frame, as Valentine's large shadows often do in Saboteur. Instead, Seitz' shadows here tend to be concentrated within one clearly marked off region of the screen, one of several such regions, each clearly demarcated by its own intensity of light. The shadows in Seitz are dark enough to be clearly seen. But they tend not to become the deep black found in Arthur Miller, or even more intensively in the Chiaroscuro style of early Edeson.
An earlier black and white movie shot by Seitz is Poor Little Rich Girl. Outstanding lighting is used on a hall containing a giant staircase in the rich girl's mansion. The back of the hall contains enormous windows, and bright light streams through them, at a different intensity from the rest of the hall. The over all effect is beautiful and striking.
The best shots in Hal Mohr's Destry Rides Again are the early ones of the saloon. These panoramic shots show light coming from dozens of sources around the set. The effect is complex and breathtaking. The highly exuberant crowd and the multiple lights together create the effect of a sea of activity.
Robert De Grasse
Robert De Grasse was associated through much of his career with RKO. His 1930's work tends to break up the frame into a series of rectangular regions, whose boundaries are straight up and down (parallel to the frame boundaries). Each rectangular area has its own light, often either quite bright or dark. One sees a somewhat similar geometric quality in the films of Mikio Naruse. In the late 1940's he worked on some film noirs, notably Crack Up (1946), and Richard Fleischer's Bodyguard (1948) and Follow Me Quietly (1949). He really pulled out all the stops for these, as the noir tradition requires - noir films must have exquisite photography. It's written in the Hollywood production code! The rain scenes in Follow, where rain rippled light from the windows is projected into the police rooms, are very striking. So are the climactic encounters in the villain's den in Crack Up.
Leon Shamroy has a number of different photographic styles. One can be dubbed the "clear style". This he used most often in color films, although it can also be seen in parts of the black and white I Was an Adventuress (1940). In this approach, the entire image looks startlingly, translucently clear. Each object, near and far, glows with immediate, tactile intimacy. It is not quite the same as the razor sharp focus of Rosher. Instead there is a feeling that one can look through and see each detail of everything. Clear style films are awesomely beautiful. They include The King and I, Planet of the Apes, parts of Wilson, and perhaps best of all, the Academy Award winning Leave Her to Heaven. Clear style films include such trademarks as polished, reflecting floors. They are in brilliant color, often rich and full. Flesh tones glow with a special realism. The clear style films sometimes have scenes with curtains in them, such as in The King and I, where the curtains glow with multicolored lights behind them. It is a unique, diaphanous effect.
Other of Shamroy's movies are photographed with completely different approaches. Twelve O'Clock High is full of dark shadows and a rough look, designed to give both some documentary realism and gritty gloom to its wartime airbase setting. In all this darkness, Shamroy never fails to photograph the uniforms with maximum glamour. Shamroy employed a similar style in his other picture Prince of Foxes, done in the same year (1949), and same director (Henry King).
William Miller was a New York based cameraman who mainly worked on low budget, independent movies. He shot two of Edgar G. Ulmer's films, Green Fields and Carnegie Hall. His The Sleeping City (1950) is a mystery thriller shot at Bellevue Hospital. It takes part in the post war tradition of realistic shooting on New York locations, pioneered by director Henry Hathaway. One shot down a stairway shows a tremendous depth of field, with many floors of the stairway twisting in a spiral. Toward the end of the shot, the characters walk down a floor, and their bodies throw rhythmic shadows on the walls, suggesting that the cameraman placed hidden lights on the lower stages of the staircase. Also striking are shots of an operating theater, and a chapel.
Irving Glassberg worked at Universal in the 1940's and 1950's, mainly doing Westerns and adventure movies. The Duel at Silver Creek (1952) shows a striking sense of color. There is also a vividly tactile feeling in both the landscape elements, and the costumes.
Many of the scenes in Saboteur involve geometric shadows. They are virtually Constructivist in style, involving circles, straight lines, rectangles, triangles, and grids. The shadows can be elaborately complex, and superimposed in conspicuous ways right over the characters, involving a frame wide pattern of dark shadows that never, however, approaches real chiaroscuro. Even scenes that involve only light shadows against background walls also have this geometric quality. The big charity ball scene is shot in a completely different style, however. It is shadowless, but it is not brightly lit. It has a somber quality, appropriate to the mood of suspense it engenders. Throughout the film, Valentine often puts bright extra light on the lead characters, especially to bring out details of their costumes.
Harry Stradling's I Want You (1951) is largely takes place in the evening. It is full of delicate shadows sweeping over the characters. There is a beautiful shot of the rain seen from a garage, another in which young lovers walk through a tree shadowed park. The shadows seem most harmoniously composed, designed to give gentle, pleasant effects. Rooms are full of shadows in the corners. A man's white collar can be highlighted, the rest of the back of his shirt in partial shade. None of the shadows are dark, or obliterates the outlines of what they cover; there is no chiaroscuro. The shadows just give a complex visual pattern to the scenes, always a gentle, visually interesting and soothing one.
Stradling's cinematography, like that of many others, is very different from much modern art, in that it is not Constructivist. That is, it tends not to be built up out of regular geometric forms such as circles or rectangles. Instead, it involves complex, irregular patterns made out of light and shadow. These patterns are just as geometric, just as purely visual as much modern painting, but they are certainly not regular.
Stradling's late 1950's color work is very pleasing. The colors in a film like Auntie Mame are very bright and distinct looking. Yet the film has a water color look, as if the delicate colors were thinly painted on. Stradling especially picks up on the costumes. Mame's gold colored sari is especially charming looking. And the grown up Patrick's shiny black tuxedo glistens and gleams.
While some photographers seem to use shadows as their visual geometry, Barnes instead seems to be painting the screen with regions of light. Several scenes in both Meet John Doe and Remember the Day have wall lamps, that shine regular areas of light upon the walls. The lighting in Meet John Doe has a fabulous complexity. Even ordinary rooms seem to be lit from dozens of overlapping sources. It is unclear to me why Barnes seems to be working in light rather than shadow. After all, all black and white cinematographers like the screen with lights, and any obstruction to the light is a shadow. Yet in Barnes' work, it is the regions of light which seem to be the conspicuous elements of the grammar, whereas in Stradling or Valentine it is the shadows which stand out. In Barnes, light tends to form small pools, against a screen which has over all either darkness, or a lower level of light.
Barnes' photography for Stanley and Livingstone (1939) shows his ornate complexity. This complexity seems technically difficult, but not especially artistically interesting here, in my judgment. The best scenes are two that involve mosquito netting, one in which the heroine greets Spencer Tracy at the door, the other where people dine outside surrounded by the netting. Barnes' effects here are most remarkable. These scenes anticipate the similar tour de force in Barnes' Rebecca (1940): the scene in which Judith Anderson confronts Joan Fontaine in Rebecca's bedroom also uses elaborate, gauzy curtains. In both films, Barnes shoots people through the curtain. We see them clearly, but there is also a beautiful diffused effect. Barnes also uses his curtains to create elaborate patterns of light, both on the curtains themselves, and in the light and shadows they throw on the rooms beyond.
Mutz Greenbaum photographed many British films of the 1940's and 1950's. Two crowd scenes from The Courtneys of Curzon Street are especially good: the New Year's Eve party that opens the film, and the concert attended by Queen Victoria.
Ernst Laszlo's photography for Impact (1949) has two modes. The indoor scenes are remarkably dark. They are not filled with shadows, however. Instead, Laszlo has done something to the film to make everything have a dark tone. They seem to painted in various dark shades of gray. It is not as if there is low light, as in some modern films shot by candlelight (e.g., Barry Lyndon). There seems to be plenty of light, and everything in the scene is visible with highly clear detail. Also, the light level seems to be even. But somehow everything registers in various shades of deep gray. The gloomy, dramatic effect is very appropriate to film noirs, of which Laszlo photographed many.
The other mode in Impact consists of the outdoor scenes. They are often street scenes, and remind one of similar shots in Laszlo's D.O.A. (1949). The street scenes look very "ordinary life" somehow.
Mellor's black and white technique can be seen in The Great McGinty and Love in the Afternoon. Oftentimes, the back of a room is a of a uniform dimness. It is a medium shade of gray, with all objects clearly distinct and visible, and with no distinct shadows anywhere. The characters and the objects in the foreground are lit with harsh, bright lights. They seem to be standing it spots that are much brighter than anything behind them. The whole effect is somewhat gloomy. The world depicted looks cold, formal, and not to hospitable to the characters in it. The most beautiful scene in McGinty is the opening scene in the US: the park at night. Mellor shines a bright light on dozens of gleaming surfaces. In subsequent scenes, coatings of snow all over the frame are lit up, a very nice effect.
Mellor's color work on Giant is very different. Scenes are evenly and fairly brightly lit. Mellor's photography stresses the delicate variations in color in Texas - all the different shades of brown, for example, and succeeds in bringing them out.
Burnett Guffey did a great deal of black and white photography on noir thrillers. In Human Desire, bright light often comes from the side of the picture. This is true both of the daytime shots, which have sunlight entering through a side window, and of the nighttime scenes, where the illumination tends to be from the side, or from a slightly elevated combination of the side and above. This sidewise lighting causes both strong areas of bright light, and contrasting areas of deep shadow. It especially affects the modeling of the heads of the actors. Half of their faces will be in bright light, the other half darkened. The same is true with their figures and clothes. In one scene Glenn Ford's face is in bright light, whereas Gloria Grahame's face is nothing but a silhouette outline, black shadow with a cloud of light peering around its edge. The effect of all this is for the lighting to continually dramatize each situation; the bright areas and shadows suggesting emotionally intense drama taking place among the actors.
Guffey also likes effects with unusual light sources. In the outdoor train sequences, he loves to photograph clouds of steam coming from the side of the engine. On Bonnie and Clyde, there are somewhat similar effects of light shining through night mists. He also likes the noir standard device of having light shine through slatted blinds, giving a striped effect to the light bathing the screen.
Claude De Vinna
Claude De Vinna did much work with W.S. Van Dyke in the late 1920's and early 1930's. His night time work can involve immensely complex patterns of shadow crisscrossing the screen. The most beautiful shots in Trader Horn (1931) are of the falls. His photography of African animals in this film involves the glamour lighting we are used to seeing in the Hollywood photography of movie stars: faces are unusually modeled, glows of light fall on heads and around silhouettes. There is also a softness to the background gray of the grasslands in the film. A favorite kind of shot in the film: a grassland with trees towering over it.
The use of deep focus in Toland's work is much celebrated: his perspectives veer off deep into their background, and the focus in the distant regions of the shot is as clear as that in the foreground. In addition, Toland seems to light his work to give a maximum 3D effect to objects in the shot. For example, in The Long Voyage Home, numerous boxes on a dock are each modeled to bring out their rectilinear, 3D quality. This shot anticipates the one in Citizen Kane, a year later, where Kane's boxed collections are shown in a similar looking image. The ship interiors in Voyage also emphasize the 3D nature of the sets, with ceiling pipes and other ship machinery highlighted to show off their spatial complexity. These sets recall the even more elaborate sets in Dead End, with their extraordinary cityscapes. In both films, the lighting seems to make the viewer more aware of the 3D nature of the sets.
August began his career as the photographer on numerous silent William S. Hart Westerns. In the sound era, he worked at RKO, and filmed a lot of John Ford movies, as well as Twentieth Century and A Man's Castle.
Harry J. Wild
Harry J. Wild's cinematography for Murder My Sweet (1944) is notable for the complexity of the shadows it includes. These are usually projected on the walls behind the characters. One bar shot has a huge butterfly-like design, showing the shadows of piled chairs. A unique scene in Marlowe's office has the lettering from his windows being displayed across the chest of his visitor. We can the words right across his chest. It is if the words like "investigation" and "Marlowe" had been sprayed across his visitor. This has a unique feel. It is if the visitor has now been labeled with Marlowe's name, and is now part of the web of his investigation.
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