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cigar joe
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« on: July 23, 2013, 05:45:15 PM »

The first one for the trading post in OUATITW the second the triello for GBU Afro

Desperate (1947) Director: Anthony Mann http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s3wfy8ociHU & http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JPAbLYM0W9g

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« Reply #1 on: July 24, 2013, 02:34:19 AM »

Yes, the second one could very well be the inspiration for Leone's duels. And it shows that the academy format is as good as any widescreen format for extreme close-ups. And that Frayling's statement (or who else made it) about the Techniscope inspired close-ups is more a guess than a fact.

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« Reply #2 on: July 24, 2013, 04:36:37 PM »

Possible inspiration for High NoonCool

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« Reply #3 on: July 26, 2013, 12:11:07 PM »

Nice finds, CJ!  Afro

And it shows that the academy format is as good as any widescreen format for extreme close-ups. And that Frayling's statement (or who else made it) about the Techniscope inspired close-ups is more a guess than a fact.

Well I always thought (as a viewer as well as when composing pictures/shots myself) that the wider you get, the easiest it is to get cool looking extreme close-ups (which isn't true for regular close-up). In this example, the eyes close-up would look much better in 2:35. It still works as it is, so you may be right.

Anyway, it's a well known fact that TV (4:3) did much more for the close up than cinema.

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« Reply #4 on: July 26, 2013, 12:25:15 PM »

TV contained a lot of close ups, but not for artistic reasons. And not as extreme as Leone did it, or Mann in this example.

The point is that extreme close ups was an aesthetic element rarely used before the 60s, like so many other important film language things. Film was pretty conservative before the 60s.

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« Reply #5 on: July 26, 2013, 12:50:26 PM »

TV contained a lot of close ups, but not for artistic reasons. And not as extreme as Leone did it, or Mann in this example.

I know, but once you've got a whole industry doing close ups all day long, you make people think about it.

The point is that extreme close ups was an aesthetic element rarely used before the 60s, like so many other important film language things. Film was pretty conservative before the 60s.

Another point to consider is that for a variety of reasons (actors not at ease with a camera just on their nose, blocking the light with the camera...) close ups are easier to do with telephoto lenses, that were rarely used before the 60's. I wouldn't advance it as a fact, but it would be interesting to know if the first telephoto lenses regularly found on sets were the zoom lenses (introduced in the early 60's).

« Last Edit: July 26, 2013, 12:52:18 PM by noodles_leone » Logged


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« Reply #6 on: September 13, 2013, 01:15:34 PM »

I love this too be true...  Cheesy

Oh Mr Porter (1937) vs Once Upon a Time in the West???










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« Reply #7 on: September 13, 2013, 01:24:13 PM »

Also mentioned here, before youtube pulled the link  Angry

A dying Smiler from its mad mad world confessing where the loot is, and Bill Carson fessing up from the wagon (GBU)

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« Reply #8 on: September 14, 2013, 07:09:38 PM »

Yes, the second one could very well be the inspiration for Leone's duels. And it shows that the academy format is as good as any widescreen format for extreme close-ups. And that Frayling's statement (or who else made it) about the Techniscope inspired close-ups is more a guess than a fact.

Frayling has said two basic points about closeups in relation to Techniscope.

1) Techniscope is very good for extreme wide shots and extreme closeups, rather than medium shots. (I specifically remember Richard Schickel made the same point in his dvd commentary to OUATIA; it's right around the dissolve from the scene with Young Noodles & Max on top of the roof with Peggy and Fartface, to the street scene on Pesach.)

2) In Techniscope, the closeup will show from just above the eyes till just above the chin.


Obviously, Frayling never said or implied that closeups don't occur in 4:3 or 1.85:1 movies. Anyone who has watched any classic movies will know that they do. But as to the question of whether Leone would have done as many closeups done if he hadn't had to work in Techniscope due to budget constraints, who knows. But there is no doubt that the tightness of the closeup is definitely very different in Techniscope. In the 4:3 films, a closeup typically is of the entire head taking up just about the whole screen, with almost nothing else on the sides. In Techniscope, besides for the fact that the top and bottom of the head are cut off, you also see lots of the landscape on the sides of the person's head.

And btw, this issue with the closeups affected the aspect ratio of OUATIA:

page 450 of STDWD:

"Originally, (Once Upon a Time in America) was to have been filmed in Cinemascope, but after the first tests with Tonino Delli Colli, Leone changed his mind. One reason, he said, was that a lot of 1980s cinemas were no longer adequately equipped to film scenes in 'scope, and the results could be fuzzy at the edges and ill-defined. Another was that Leone had the misfortune to watch Once Upon a Time in the West on television, in an American hotel room, with Delli Colli. It was a pan and scan print, which made it look like a lot of big faces with no background: 'a total mess', Delli Colli recalls. Since the days of Once Upon a Time in the West, the video revolution had occurred as well -- not to mention the spread of television ownership, and the proliferation of channels across Italy. All in all, Leone felt it was best that America be shot in the standard 1.85:1 aspect ratio instead of his trademark letterbox."


This issue is discussed further in this thread http://www.fistful-of-leone.com/forums/index.php?topic=10178.msg146483#msg146483

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« Reply #9 on: September 15, 2013, 02:38:18 AM »

That Leone started using close ups due to the 2,35:1 format is only a guess. I think it was a matter of style and he would have used them in any format, even in 1.37:1, but this one wasn't used anymore in the 60s anyway. The question was 2,35:1 or (at that time in Europe) 1,66:1, which is still a big difference for the visual composition.

And I still don't know why it should have anything to do with Techniscope in particular. Wide and length of an image is obviously the same in any 2,35:1 format.
And then the theatrical prints were not Techniscope anymore, but CinemaScope or some else anamorphic widescreen format.

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« Reply #10 on: September 15, 2013, 08:58:34 AM »

Using Techniscope was not merely an AR issue; as this excerpt from the Wikipedia article on the topic makes clear, lower image quality was involved:
Quote
During its primary reign, 1960–1980, more than 350 films were photographed in Techniscope;[3] The Pharaoh's Woman (released 10 December 1960) was the first.[4] Given its considerable production cost economy, but lesser image quality, Techniscope was primarily an alternative format used by low-budget film makers, mainly in the horror and western genres. Since it originated in Italy, most Techniscope format films were Italian, generally European.

In the U.S., Techniscope was used in the low budget A.C. Lyles Westerns for Paramount Pictures and Universal Studios briefly used it extensively in the mid to late 1960s. Producer Sid Pink recalled that unlike Europe, the American film studios were charged by the Technicolor company for using Techniscope in their film prints.[5]

Regarding the diminished image quality, film reviewer Roger Ebert wrote about the film Counterpoint (1968): "The movie is shot in Techniscope, a process designed to give a wide-screen picture while saving film and avoiding payment of royalties to the patented processes like Panavision. In this film, as in "Harry Frigg", Techniscope causes washed-out color and a loss of detail. Universal shouldn't be so cheap.

No doubt Leone would have chosen to use close-ups in many of his compositions regardless; nonetheless, the fact that he had to contend with image quality issues--specifically, loss of detail--may have led him to use CUs more liberally than he might have otherwise. The possibility that he made a virtue out of a necessity cannot be gainsaid.

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« Reply #11 on: September 15, 2013, 11:58:21 AM »

Using Techniscope was not merely an AR issue;

No, it was surely merely a money issue as film stock was half as cheap as anamorphic film stock, or even cheaper. But I'm sure the question for Leone was not to use 1,66:1 instead of the 2,35:1 Techniscope, but the question was to use the cheap Techniscope or the usual anamorphic 2,35:1 film stock. And for both the image he works with is the same.

I doubt that a lesser image quality was a big point for him when he was shooting a comparatively cheap film like FOD. But of course one can ask why he did not change to Cinemascope or Panavision or something else when his budgets increased.
 

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« Reply #12 on: September 15, 2013, 12:14:34 PM »



And I still don't know why it should have anything to do with Techniscope in particular. Wide and length of an image is obviously the same in any 2,35:1 format.


Regarding the look of the closeups, I don't know if Frayling means that Techniscope was different than other 2.35:1 formats (like CinemaScope). I assume that when he is distinguishing the Techniscope closeups, he is distinguishing it from the closeups of the 1.85:1 or 1.66:1 formats, rather than the other 2.35:1 formats

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« Reply #13 on: September 15, 2013, 12:22:23 PM »


I doubt that a lesser image quality was a big point for him when he was shooting a comparatively cheap film like FOD. But of course one can ask why he did not change to Cinemascope or Panavision or something else when his budgets increased.
 

there's a lot that you can ask about why Leone didn't change once his budgets increased, besides for the CinemaScope: why did he still use Spanish locations rather than filming in America (other than the brief scenes in Monument Valley in OUATITW)? why did he still use the Spanish/Italian supporting actors rather than Americans?

One possible answer is that even as his budgets increased, maybe they were still small compared to American budgets. So, for example, I think the GBU budget ended up being around $1.3 million US, far more than the $200,000 of FOD, but perhaps that was still a small budget compared with Hollywood budgets.
(Frayling has mentioned the budgets of the Dollars films and OUATIA, but I don't recall that he ever mentioned the budget of OUATITW or DYS - does anyone have that info?)

And another possible reason is that once you get used to something, sometimes, you just stick with it - because you are more comfortable with it, or because it becomes your trademark. So, once Leone had success with a certain cinematographic process (and filming locations, and group of supporting players, etc.) he just stuck with it.

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« Reply #14 on: September 15, 2013, 01:29:48 PM »

there's a lot that you can ask about why Leone didn't change once his budgets increased, besides for the CinemaScope: why did he still use Spanish locations rather than filming in America (other than the brief scenes in Monument Valley in OUATITW)? why did he still use the Spanish/Italian supporting actors rather than Americans?


Cause they were good enough. The blending of USA and Spain locations works very well in OUtW and in MNIN. DYS is situated in Mexico, and for that Spain was a more than good double.
Quote
One possible answer is that even as his budgets increased, maybe they were still small compared to American budgets. So, for example, I think the GBU budget ended up being around $1.3 million US, far more than the $200,000 of FOD, but perhaps that was still a small budget compared with Hollywood budgets.
(Frayling has mentioned the budgets of the Dollars films and OUATIA, but I don't recall that he ever mentioned the budget of OUATITW or DYS - does anyone have that info?)

Frayling says about 3,4 mio Dollars for OUTW, of which Leone said that it is not much for such a film. Which is true.

Btw compared to the 1,2 mio $ for GBU the 200 $ for FOD are a lot of money. Fod was roughly half as long, and with only a few sets, which mostly already existed, and no bigger scenes or mass scenes and for which the than unknown stars and the whole crew surely was much, much less well paid than for GBU.

Filming in Spain or somewhere else in Europe or in Mexico was and is always cheaper than shooting films in Hollywood. And don't forget that also some US directors started shooting their US westerns in Spain.

David Lean shot also some (if not many) of the scenes of Lawrence of Arabia and Dr Zhivago in Spain.


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