This was my fifth feature with director and great pal, Michael Corrente.  At this moment, an after hours mob sit-down takes place in the lounge of a deserted bowling alley…

            I just love the anamorphic format.  It’s more akin to the way we see things in life and allows the cinematographer a great swath of real estate to play with.  The graphic possibilities are endless; it seems the dolly can fall off the truck and no matter where it rolls to a stop you’ll find a pleasing composition.  Alright, I might be exaggerating…but only a little. 2.39 aspect ratio offers possibilities no other format is capable of.

            This scene actually goes on much longer than the version of the clip I’ve included.  Tension builds throughout and is aided by the dynamic created by cutting back and forth between wide and tight shots.  The use of negative space in the closer frames also helps torque up the stress levels.  In the world of these characters, you never know who might be lurking there, ready to strike.  These shots would never have had as strong an effect in 1.85 – or any other frame size for that matter.

            After extensive testing I was able to put together a well-matched mix of C- and E- series Panavision anamorphic lenses.  They’re all of an older vintage and delivered a look I thought was right for this movie.  I exposed the C- series at T4, which showed to be the sweet spot for their performance; the longer E- series  and SPC lenses were exposed at T5.6 for the same reason.

            Note that in the close ups the table candles were strategically placed in the deep background so as to counter the weight of the composition.  Also, every close up was kept clean of the other actors; none of them hold a piece of the player over whose shoulder we’re looking.  The reason for this was to keep them somewhat separate from one another.  Though they may be friendly on some level, they’re really not friends.  Everyone here is out for himself – and would just as soon shoot you as look at you.

            I told you ‘Scope was a fun format!



  1. Love this setup! I watched this video four times to focus on each light. These posts are gold!
    The choice of the colors yellow and blue as background colors were chosen for a specific reason? I feel a sort of triadic color combination (blue, yellow and red).
    Thank you!

  2. Luigi – Yes, the BG was purposefully chosen to create some color contrast. All the pieces just seemed to fall into place with this scene.

  3. I really liked the wide shot at the opening to capture the
    setting and the dim lighting expressing the after hours of the
    bowling alley. The faces in half a shadow are really effective.
    Also liked seeing the trophy cases illuminated in the background.
    This was a very powerful scene. Really well done!

  4. Hey Ken – thank you for the kind words! Check out the whole movie if you have the chance. I’d like to hear what you think.

  5. Hello Richard,
    I watched the movie and then had to watch it a second time.
    Your work is brilliant! I really liked the low levels of lighting
    throughout most of the movie and especially the nighttime scenes.
    It completely sets the tone of the dark mob world.
    The slightly distorted night scenes of the high rise buildings and bridges captured the feeling of driving through the city. I liked the powerful night
    scene toward the end with the industrial plant in the background as
    Michael and Carmine lean and sit on the golden glow of the car.
    I also liked the scene on the roof with Michael and Ellen. It appears
    that you had some rain and cold night air to contend with.
    The movie had some great dialogue that was very believable.
    Sometimes it seemed adlibbed and quite comical. The scene where
    the boys found the dead guy in the car almost seemed commonplace.
    I like the way the convertible top was left partially open. He seems to be staring at the boys as they approach the car. They steal
    his smokes, gun, and dog and run off. Just another day in Brooklyn.
    Carmine’s Zoro outfit was hilarious too. Then there was the burnt
    turkey everyone enjoyed on Thanksgiving. I liked the way Michael
    cheated by not turning in his test booklet. Didn’t notice that on the first
    viewing. I also loved the scene when the ear was severed and Caesar
    walks over to the wall and puts on the butcher’s apron prior to doing his
    job. I could go on.
    A great story of three different boys growing up and
    having unconditional love for each other in a dark world.
    The movie entertains and captures you.
    You did a great job! You created something that was very complex
    and yet was expressed in a simple but powerful way.

  6. My goodness, Ken…you should be writing movie reviews! Thank you for all the close attention!

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