A Hidden History of Film Style: Cinematographers, Directors, and the             Collaborative Process

by Christopher Beach

2015, University of California Press

            Beach was one of two Film Scholars named by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in 2013.  He does perhaps the best job to date of poking holes in the theory of the director as auteur.  His fascinating deconstruction of the political, historical and practical reasons behind the evolution of the way movies look is achieved primarily through examining the work of four notable director-cinematographer teams: D.W. Griffith and Billy Bitzer; William Wyler and Gregg Toland, ASC; Billy Wilder and John Seitz, ASC; and Alfred Hitchcock and Robert Burks, ASC.

            In brilliant, detailed descriptions, Beach shatters past assumptions and casts a new respect upon these celebrated cameramen and their contributions to the canon.  The book is fully annotated, and its chapter on rule-breaking in more recent years – as well as its analysis of trends introduced by the rise of digital technology – are well worth your time.


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