EYES IN THE DARK

            Hannah and Her Sisters (1986; Woody Allen\Carlo Di Palma) is one of my favorite films of the director’s long career.  The fact that I contributed some day-playing as a young assistant cameraman has no bearing on that.  It’s just a good story told in an interesting way, energized as it is by some terrific … Continue reading “EYES IN THE DARK”

2.3.2023

STYLE IS A SHAPESHIFTER

            The other night I caught an interstitial on TCM in which two of my favorite cinematographers, the late John Alonzo, ASC and the late William A. Fraker, ASC spoke on the notion of personal style.             Neither acknowledged having one.  They maintained that each script should dictate its own way of doing things, as … Continue reading “STYLE IS A SHAPESHIFTER”

1.31.2023

Q&A #6

            Luigi Benvisto of New York City asks:             How did you manage the transition from one job to the next as you ascended the camera department ladder?             Each time I felt I was ready to move up – loader to 2nd AC, then to 1st AC, Operator and finally DP – I simply … Continue reading “Q&A #6”

1.27.2023

ERNIEST HALLER, ASC IN MODERN SCREEN, FEBRUARY 1941

            In this concluding section of William Roberts’ article, Shooting For the Stars, the author encounters ASC legend, Ernest Haller, ASC.  Once again, I’m impressed by the unusual candor with which he speaks about the stars he photographs.             Rudolph Mate had a date with Vivien Leigh, in front of the camera, and I had … Continue reading “ERNIEST HALLER, ASC IN MODERN SCREEN, FEBRUARY 1941”

1.24.2023

RUDOLPH MATE, ASC IN MODERN SCREEN

            Modern Screen was one of the many fan magazines that flooded newsstands during the heyday of the Hollywood studio system.  Filled with propaganda that sold the shiny veneer of Tinseltown to the world, William Roberts’ February 1941 article, Shooting For the Stars, is something of an anomaly.  While maintaining its fawning, somewhat corny tone, … Continue reading “RUDOLPH MATE, ASC IN MODERN SCREEN”

1.20.2023

JAMES WONG HOWE, ASC, continued…

            From William Roberts’ article, Shooting For the Stars.  It appeared in the February 1941 issue of Modern Screen.             Of course, a well-balanced face is another thing.  Oh, I’ve seen so-called perfect faces – those composite photographs showing Lamarr’s eyes, Leigh’s nose, Dietrich’s lips – but the result is always surprisingly vacant!             “Most … Continue reading “JAMES WONG HOWE, ASC, continued…”

1.17.2023

MORE MODERN SCREEN

            Picking up where I left off last Friday, here’s another piece of an article published in the February 1941 issue of Modern Screen.  In this segment, writer William Roberts leaves Gregg Toland, ASC to his glass of beer and drops in on another legendary cinematographer, James Wong Howe, ASC.             If you can get … Continue reading “MORE MODERN SCREEN”

1.13.2023

OWEN ROIZMAN, ASC, 1936-2023

            Sometime during the early morning hours of January 7, we lost perhaps the last giant of American cinematography, Owen Roizman, ASC.  In failing health for quite some time, his passing wasn’t unexpected but it struck home especially hard.             Owen was a close friend for nearly twenty-five years.  When we met, if I was … Continue reading “OWEN ROIZMAN, ASC, 1936-2023”

1.10.2023

MORE FROM MODERN SCREEN

            Writer William Roberts continues to draw Gregg Toland, ASC out in the February 1941 issue of Modern Screen.  His article was titled, Shooting For the Stars.             I inquired about Toland’s most recent and celebrated patient, Orson Welles.             “Shot ‘Citizen Kane’ in sixteen weeks,” explained Toland.  “It’s an unusual picture. For example, we … Continue reading “MORE FROM MODERN SCREEN”

1.6.2023

IN HIS OWN WORDS…

            Gregg Toland, ASC continues to expound in this second excerpt from William Roberts’ February 1941 article, Shooting For the Stars.  In an era during which information was so tightly controlled by the studios, it’s interesting that he spoke with such candor.  Modern Screen was a mass-market fan magazine, but it seems he’s talking a … Continue reading “IN HIS OWN WORDS…”

1.3.2023