Macro-shots of cookies notwithstanding, a great opportunity lurks beneath the fattening waves of Christmas cheer.  Reclaim the TV remote from your nephew, hit the ‘search’ button and let your imagination run free.  Never before have so many worthwhile films been so easily accessible to the curious cinematographer!

            Some odd suggestions I recently caught on TCM: Frankenstein (1931; James Whale\Arthur Edeson, ASC) and its slavish derivative, Bride of Frankenstein (1935; James Whale/John Mescall, ASC).  Shot at Universal Studios in Burbank, these early sound-era relics ironically showcase the best European-style expressionist work you’ll ever see.  Take special notice of the many low-key, candle-sourced lighting effects.  As the actors move from room to room, the perfectly timed hand-offs between dimmer operators will make you forget that the candle appears to cast its own shadow on the background!

            On this day-after-Boxing Day I’m enjoying the time off, though I can’t help but hear a little whisper in the back of my mind.  It’s telling me that periodic indulgence is fun, but I’ll feel a lot better when I’m back on the path in less than a week.

Until then, I’ll have another cookie, please…


4 thoughts on “TOO MUCH FUN”

  1. Totally agree. Master works. Bride is a perfect parody. Little did the filmmakers know they would again be perfectly parodied with Young Frankenstein decades later.

  2. Great suggestions! Those dimmer effects were even harder in old 3-strip Technicolor movies using carbon arcs for lighting — they had to use metal shutters on the arcs!

    I still can’t believe how realistic the “face being lit by a match” lighting effect was in two b&w movies shot by Gregg Toland, “The Grapes of Wrath” and “The Long Voyage Home.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *