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Author Topic: Leone's cinematographers: Dallamano vs. Delli Colli vs. Ruzzollini  (Read 4548 times)
drinkanddestroy
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« on: March 03, 2013, 07:29:54 PM »

who do you prefer as cinematographer on Leone's films:
A) Massimo Dallamano
B) Tonino Delli Colli?
C)  both/neither/irrelevant, because every shot was decided on by Leone anyway, so you can't see a specific cinematographic effect of one cinematographer over the other, since they were basically just taking orders from Leone
D) Giusseppe Ruzzolini


Dallamano filmed FOD and FAFDM;
Delli Colli filmed GBU, OUATITW, and OUATIA;
Giuseppe Ruzzolini filmed DYS and MNIN

I ask this question cuz I hope to get a discussion going RE: how much specific cinematographers affected the cinematography of a movie, or whether they were just taking very specific orders from Leone. I hope this thread can illuminate -- in addition to individuals' preferences for specific filming techniques -- the general dynamic between director/cinematographer; who's responsible for what; does the "auteur theory affect this? etc etc etc....

have at it!

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« Reply #1 on: March 03, 2013, 10:24:35 PM »

I'd have to go with C.) because while I love Delli Colli's work, especially on TGTBTU and OUATIA, there are shots from FAFDM that I love, especially those in the church duel with Indio and the final duel with Mortimer [that shot where Indio looks at the image on the watch and then up at Mortimer is awesome] and I like how those shots of the circular space blend in well with Delli Colli's shot of the circular space in TGTBTU - which is good consistency.

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« Reply #2 on: March 03, 2013, 10:30:06 PM »

I'll post my favourite shots from FAFDM:


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« Reply #3 on: March 03, 2013, 10:40:55 PM »

http://s1306.beta.photobucket.com/user/Senza1/library/

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« Reply #4 on: March 03, 2013, 11:34:54 PM »

I like Delli Colli's lighting better. The films he shot have more class (but of course you have to remember that those films also had bigger budgets). But beyond that, I think it's rather impossible to say. I like Dallamano's work too.

We can't really know what was their influence on Leone simply because we weren't there. It could be that Leone was like Cameron or Scorsese who practically singlehandedly decide the camera angles, lenses and movements. But of course it could be that the both cinematographers just happened to have a very similar style. Or maybe it was Dallamano who introduced the style to Leone and he went on to employ it also in his later films.

Frankly though, I think Leone was one of those directors who are very camera savvy and basically set up their own shots.

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« Reply #5 on: March 04, 2013, 02:42:19 AM »



We can't really know what was their influence on Leone simply because we weren't there. It could be that Leone was like Cameron or Scorsese who practically singlehandedly decide the camera angles, lenses and movements.

If the director doesn't do that, then the DoP is the co-director.

D&D what about Guiseppe Ruzzolini who shot DYS and half of MNIN? 

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« Reply #6 on: March 04, 2013, 02:43:48 AM »

there are shots from FAFDM that I love, especially those in the church duel with Indio and the final duel with Mortimer [that shot where Indio looks at the image on the watch and then up at Mortimer is awesome] and I like how those shots of the circular space blend in well with Delli Colli's shot of the circular space in TGTBTU - which is good consistency.

For this the director should be responsible.

And I'm pretty sure that this is Leone stuff.

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« Reply #7 on: March 04, 2013, 04:22:39 AM »

I was also referring to the way the shots in the church duel are lit but then again it may also be Leone taking control - we have Indio in the shadows/dark [evil], and the other man in the light, near the altar [good].

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« Reply #8 on: March 04, 2013, 04:30:57 AM »

Delli Colli definitely.

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« Reply #9 on: March 04, 2013, 05:48:34 AM »

For the photography I prefer the Delli Colli  and Ruzzolini films over the Dallamano ones.

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« Reply #10 on: March 04, 2013, 12:17:58 PM »

If the director doesn't do that, then the DoP is the co-director.
If the director doesn't decide every single cut in the movie, is the editor then a co-director also?

Director approves and is, in the end, responsible for every shot and every cut in the film but the process which leads to a certain composition or a certain cut is always, more or less, collaborative. There are directors who practically lens their own films (and some who practically also light them). But there are also directors who practically let the cinematographer cover the scene in the way they see most fit. Most often the reality lies somewhere between these extremes. But the cinematographer is not a "co-director" even if he is permitted totally free hands. And the director is still the director even if he doesn't say anything about the camera placement. That's because directing is much more than just setting up pretty pictures.

I know that this question might make me look like a total asshole, but have you ever been to a film set?

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« Reply #11 on: March 04, 2013, 12:27:55 PM »



D&D what about Guiseppe Ruzzolini who shot DYS and half of MNIN? 

you are right. I changed the title of the thread to "Leone's cinematographers: Dallamano vs. Delli Colli vs. Ruzzollini"

and I added Ruzzolini as a choice D) in the first post. (I couldn't make him choice "C" since some people already chose "C" based on the initial post).

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« Reply #12 on: March 04, 2013, 12:43:37 PM »

@ movie sceleton

what you are saying is interesting, cuz I was also thinking about a similar concept with editing: would any director really throw his art into the hands of an editor to arrange it as he sees fit? i can't imagine he'd do that if he can help it. (Unless they are long-time collaborators who trust each other, like maybe Hitch and Reville).

You are right that there's no way to know this stuff if you are not on set; I presume that it depends on the individual movie. I could imagine that in the days of the studio system, where a director finished working on one film on Friday and started the next one on Monday,  he was basically just one piece in the factory, and was just doing one job, while the editor did his, and the cinematographer did his; but not for the auteurs, or for any director who has creative control. (Maybe it's just the union rules that require a different person credited for each role, including cinematographer and editor?)

I've just recently starting noticing and focusing on filming techniques, on a very basic level (eg. just noticing when a movie has a stationary camera vs. a moving one), but I'm wondering, can you all see a distinct difference in the movies filmed by each of these three cinematographers? We all know about some of the basic Leone techniques (eg. long shots juxtaposed with extreme close-ups) but would you say that you can clearly see a filming style in FOD/FAFDM that is unique from GBU/OUATITW/OUATIA that is unique from DYS/MNIN? I guess the answer would tell you how much of an influence the cinematographer had on Leone's movies

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« Reply #13 on: March 04, 2013, 01:11:57 PM »

@ movie sceleton

what you are saying is interesting, cuz I was also thinking about a similar concept with editing: would any director really throw his art into the hands of an editor to arrange it as he sees fit? i can't imagine he'd do that if he can help it. (Unless they are long-time collaborators who trust each other, like maybe Hitch and Reville).
Frankly I don't think there many if any great directors who wouldn't give a rat's ass about the way their film is shot or edited. Of course achieving a great film requires the director to be at least on some level conscious and involved when it comes to cinematography or editing. It's not really about "throwing your art into the hands of an editor" - it's more about getting another perspective. It's collaboration. And I wouldn't call, for example, leaving the editor to make his first cut on his own "throwing your art into the hands of an editor". I'd call that "getting some distance". There are editors who won't work with a director who wants to be in the editing room with them 24/7. And there are directors who wouldn't have it any other way. Every working relationship is different - but it's always a relationship, and relationships have two participants.

We all know about some of the basic Leone techniques (eg. long shots juxtaposed with extreme close-ups) but would you say that you can clearly see a filming style in FOD/FAFDM that is unique from GBU/OUATITW/OUATIA that is unique from DYS/MNIN? I guess the answer would tell you how much of an influence the cinematographer had on Leone's movies
I can't see any definitive differences (maybe a close study would show some, but I'm afraid that process would ruin the films for me) other than that OUATITW and OUATIA are more pleasing to my eye than the rest of the bunch. The rest have a kind of a B-film aesthetic to them, but as I said, that's most probably a question of money, not artistry. So judging from this I'd say Leone's influence on the cinematography of his films was tremendous.

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« Reply #14 on: March 04, 2013, 02:03:42 PM »

If the director doesn't decide every single cut in the movie, is the editor then a co-director also?

Director approves and is, in the end, responsible for every shot and every cut in the film but the process which leads to a certain composition or a certain cut is always, more or less, collaborative. There are directors who practically lens their own films (and some who practically also light them). But there are also directors who practically let the cinematographer cover the scene in the way they see most fit. Most often the reality lies somewhere between these extremes. But the cinematographer is not a "co-director" even if he is permitted totally free hands. And the director is still the director even if he doesn't say anything about the camera placement. That's because directing is much more than just setting up pretty pictures.

I know that this question might make me look like a total asshole, but have you ever been to a film set?

I haven't meant (and haven't said) that the director makes everything, film is often team-work, but the director (if he wants the film to be his film) should make all the important decisions. He should at least give his ok if the DoP, or the editor, or the producer, or the pope make a proposal.

But if the DoP is the one in a film who decides about all the camera movements, the choice of the used lens etc, if a director says I don''t care about these things, that's the job of the DoP, then the DoP is of course to a certain level a co-director. Then he is one who has an important influence on a film's style.

I think that mostly the directors are the ones behind the films, but there are enough examples where others are the major force behind a movie. Especially in Hollywood things are not always that easy.

Some directors did not do much more than giving the actors advices.

But I assume that Leone is the complete "author" of his films. But even that I can't know for sure.

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