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| | |-+  Cinematographer Roger Deakins about OUATITW
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: Cinematographer Roger Deakins about OUATITW  ( 258 )
noodles_leone
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« : April 25, 2022, 07:23:46 AM »

American Cinematographer asked Deakins "six films that have inspired him as both a film buff and a cinematographer". Among those 6, a film that we tend to appreciate around here was mentioned:

Quote
Leone?s ambitious, atmospheric Western is memorably presented in glorious, widescreen Techniscope. Introduced by Technicolor Italia in 1960, the format utilized a two-perforation negative pulldown per frame instead of the standard four-perf frame common to 35mm photography. Its 2.32:1 aspect ratio could easily be cropped to the 2.35:1 widescreen ratio because it used half the amount of 35mm film stock and standard spherical lenses. Distribution prints for theatrical venues were made by enlarging the frame from a two-perf flat ratio to a four-perf anamorphic ratio. According to cinematographer Delli Colli, this choice suited Leone?s style and saved the production a lot of raw film stock, despite the director?s penchant for shooting plenty of takes.

The movie?s central theme is the fading of the Old West amid relentless modernization and greed, but the narrative can also be viewed as an elegy for the Western genre itself. Each of the characters symbolizes an aspect of the main theme, and while the picture is a veritable mixtape of homages to other famous Westerns, the classic tropes are often revised and reconfigured in new and unexpected ways ? like casting Henry Fonda, known for his famous roles as Western heroes, as the baddest of black-hat bad guys. ?Thematically, it?s similar to The Assassination of Jesse James [by the Coward Robert Ford], or The Wild Bunch,? Deakins says. ?All are about characters whose time is passing on. They can?t keep up, and they feel disconnected with the way the world has gone.?

Deakins notes that the elements of Leone?s signature style, further magnified by composer Ennio Morricone?s immortal score, transform the story into grand opera: iconic set pieces rendered in spectacular widescreen compositions; extremely dynamic close-ups, many featuring solidly center-framed faces or an intense focus on eyes; meticulous staging and blocking; masterful use of depth of field to marry foregrounds and backgrounds; and compelling use of zoom lenses to reframe scenes on the fly. Above all, the narrative is presented visually, with a bounty of small details and some sequences that play out with minimal dialogue. ?It?s a film ? it?s not a novel, and it?s not a radio play,? Deakins observes. ?A film works best when it?s images and sound ? it doesn?t have to be done with dialogue, or linear narrative storytelling. When I?m working on a film, I?m always looking for ways to remove dialogue ? if it?s not needed ? and do a scene visually. I love that.? Citing one of his favorite moments in the film, Deakins says,

?I?ve always enjoyed the initial reveal of Henry Fonda as the bad guy. I read somewhere that Fonda never understood why Leone chose him for the role until the camera came around in that shot to reveal his face. He had played the hero in Young Mr. Lincoln and many other films, yet now he?s this villain telling one of his henchmen to kill a young kid!"

?I also love the sequence where Claudia Cardinale arrives at the railway station and gets into a wagon, and then the camera cranes up majestically. I don?t usually like those kinds of grand, elaborate shots, but Leone is really creating an opera, so that kind of larger-than-life camera movement works. Throughout the movie, he shoots Monument Valley in such a huge way that it?s nowhere near realism ? it?s almost over-the-top. When you combine that kind of style with the magnificent score, it goes beyond simple narrative storytelling and becomes a kind of poetry. It?s magical what film can do sometimes, and no other medium can do that, really.?

Since I know you guys are fond of lists, the full Deakins list can be found right there:
https://ascmag.com/articles/roger-deakins-asc-bsc-six-favorite-films



dave jenkins
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« #1 : April 25, 2022, 10:00:52 AM »

Nice find! You're all right, noodles, I don't care what D&D says about you.



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drinkanddestroy
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« #2 : April 25, 2022, 11:28:53 AM »

"Throughout the movie, he shoots Monument Valley in such a huge way that it's nowhere near realism ..."

Throughout the movie? Is he aware that Monument Valley was only used in two scenes?


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« #3 : April 25, 2022, 03:58:41 PM »

Give the guy a break. Deakins isn't writing the article. The writer is taking the man's spoken comments and writing them down. Deakins is talking off the top of his head. His language is, in the nature of the case, imprecise. Frank also doesn't tell one of his henchmen to kill the kid, he does it himself. So what? We still get the points Deakins is making.

If only you'd brought this level of bandering to your encounters with Warren Wilhelm Jr. . . .



"McFilms are commodities and, as such, must be QA'd according to industry standards."
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