Wandering through the Shelves has a great theme this week, chosen by Brittani, and I could have chosen so many films, epics alone from Dr. Zhivago to Lawrence of Arabia. There are greats like Billy Bitzer who invented the Iris Shot, back lighting, the fade away plus so much more. Karl Freund is another plus Sven Nykvist and the Great Gregg Toland whose work on Citizen Kane was almost revolutionary. I can’t wait to see what everyone will pick for this theme. Here are my 3..
This is a great western(which I talked about before) directed by John Ford and starring John Wayne who finally made it to the A list stars and away from the Singing Sandy flickers. The film follows a stagecoach with a group of people who all have their issues from the devious banker to the hooker with heart of gold. Along the way they pick up The Ringo Kid( John Wayne) and must deal with the birth of a baby and the Indians. I believe this is the first time we see Monument Valley and certainly, not the last in a John Ford western. Bert Glennon is the cinematographer and he captured the essence of the classic western showing this area to such great effect and making it famous. The fast moving stagecoach and horses during the Indian scene was riveting and you are in awe of the stunts, headed by the great Yakima Canutt. A great western and character study worth seeing.
2. THE THIEF OF BAGDAD-1940
What a great film that is not shown often but, if you get the chance, it is worth looking at. The richness of this film from the art direction to the cinematography, by George Périnal, who captured the magic of this film with some great colour which was not easy at this time. We have a young thief who becomes involved in the romantic adventure of the fair princess and the young man he befriends. We have the great genie, the flying horse and the evil Jaffar played with evil menace by Conrad Veidt. The colour, and special effects are shown to great delight capturing the magic of this film. If you get a chance, watch it.
3. BLACK NARCISSUS-1947
I love this film because of the richness of colour, the setting high up in a remote nunnery(a former Palace) and the sensuousness of this film even though it involves nuns. You have a young Deborah Kerr who is sent to this remote part of the world to run this nunnery set high up in the Himalayas. They are trying to teach the young kids and teens but all around them shows the lust and vibrancy of the land. You have a young, great looking man who questions Kerr’s reason for being a nun and they butt heads but obviously are attracted to one another. You have a nun who succumbs to the passions of the land and you see a young Jean Simmons lure a young boy to enjoy the earthiness of the land. The cinematography is breathtaking and was done by Jack Cardiff who worked on films in England that really showcased the colours and beauty like the film. The Michael Powell/Emeric Pressburger films like this one and others, the most famous being The Red Shoes, are well worth seeing.
I just realized that The Thief of Bagdad and Black Narcissus both star Sabu, an Indian actor who was in many films that showcased mystical style like Jungle Book, Cobra Woman and Arabian Nights. He died in 1963 just before turning 40 by a heart attack. A few days before his doctor said he was the healthiest man he had ever seen.
Which 3 films would you choose?
I've seen the first two although it's been years.ReplyDelete
There are so many movies with great cinematography. I'm going to go with something unusual and say Mad Max: Fury Road. The landscape and setting are so much part of the film and Miller made sure he got everything out of it.
Mad Max is excellent! It really shows how excellent the cinematography can make a film look.Delete
Westerns are not my favorite film genre, but I appreciate films in any category that boast outstanding art direction and cinematography. I studied Stagecoach in my college cinema history course. You are a bigger fan of John Wayne than I, but I always got a kick out of Andy "Jingles" Devine.
I have not seen Thief of Baghdad, but I love rich color in films and have always been fascinated with actor Conrad Veidt who appeared in Casablanca and starred in other creepy flicks I have seen that include The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, The Hands of Orlac, Waxworks and The Man Who Laughs.
I also have not yet watched movie #3 Black Narcissus, but now, after viewing the trailer and reading your review, I want to. I am enamored of Deborah Kerr and Jean Simmons.
A movie that immediately popped into my noggin for having great cinematography is the 1955 Cary Grant - Grace Kelly romance mystery thriller To Catch A Thief which was filmed on the French Riviera.
Happy Thursday, dear friend BB!
To catch A Thief is a great movie and the look of the film, not to mention Grace Kelly in some beautiful outfits. I am not one for Wayne’s political views nor some of the things he would say but he reminds me of my dad who also said things that made me shake my head. Anyway, I hope you see Black Narcissus which is excellent.Delete
I haven't seen any of your picks, but I was thinking of checking out that FX series adaptation of Black Narcissus. It looks interestingReplyDelete
I don’t know the FX series but I love the film which I hope you will see.Delete
Great choices!! The cinematography of Stagecoach never made that big an impact on me though its been years since I watched it. But the other two most definitely have their look as one of their strongest elements. Good films too!ReplyDelete
I've returned to the well of the previously used for mine because my three were the first that I thought of when I saw the theme. All vividly beautiful in their different ways.
Legends of the Fall (1994)-Lavish star-studded (Anthony Hopkins, Brad Pitt, Aidan Quinn etc.) familial drama set in Big Sky country with cinematographer John Toll’s breathtaking vistas as the various hardships of the star-crossed Ludlow clan unfurl.
Far From the Madding Crowd (1967)-Set in the rural West Country of Victorian England future director Nicolas Roeg (Don’t Look Now) in his original capacity as director of photography captures gorgeous shots that have a painterly feel of the area and almost equally beautiful performers (Julie Christie, Alan Bates and Terence Stamp).
A River Runs Through It (1992)-Based on the memoir of Norman MacLean and once again starring Brad Pitt this small story of a quiet preacher (Tom Skerritt) and his two son-studious, serious Norman (Craig Sheffer) and feckless Paul (Pitt) in the years between WWI and the Great Depression that posits fly fishing as a metaphor for life captures the beauty of Montana thanks to DP Philippe Rousselot fantastic eye for detail.
Oh and poor Sabu! Just goes to show when your number is up it's UP! Many of his films are silly fluff but almost always entertaining. If you've never seen it you should give Song of India a look. It's his standard picture but his leading lady is Gail Russell, still looking ravishing-this was one of the last group of films she made before her acute alcoholism started to destroy her beauty.Delete
I’m glad you like my picks, well, the last 2...hahahaa. I love Legends of the Fall which is so stunning and I just watched ARiver Runs Through It. A couple of months back and loved it. I actually love Robert Redford films which are quiet films in so many ways. I have not seen the second film yet...so many to see. I think Sabu should be better remembered.Delete
This is a good theme, and I can actually think of a lot of films that go with it. Always fun to see what you pick and to get some ideas of films I need to watch one of these days. Hope you are staying healthy and safe.ReplyDelete
I’m glad you like this and would love to know which films you would choose.Delete
Hi Birgit...my dad favourite film thief of Baghdad...I must have watched it every time it was on tv with him!...take care xxxxReplyDelete
That is so cool that Thief is your dad’s favourite film. I’m glad you saw this one and more than once.Delete
The first thing that came to my mind was Citizen Kane, but that's because it's the film most often cited for cinematography and the one we talked about most in my college film class so many years ago.ReplyDelete
Of your picks I've only seen Stagecoach, but nothing about the film stands out for me as far as cinematography. And though I know I've often been struck by cinematography in a film, this aspect isn't usually what sticks with me.
However here are a few that come to my mind:
The Greatest Showman is a visual spectacle that combines nice camera technique with some excellent visual effects.
Death in Venice is a rather brooding film with a slow story, but the look of the film is pretty great.
The cinematography of Terrence Malick's Badlands captivated me. I've only seen the film once several years ago, but I do recall being struck by the cinematography when I saw it.
And those are the first three that popped into my head though there are so many more.
Tossing It Out
I almost chose Citizen Kane because Gregg Toland’s cinematography is revolutionary with the deep focus and the whole style of the film. The Greatest Showman is an excellent choice with all the colours and movement. Death in Venice is a film I only saw once but you are so right about choosing it. I still have to see Badlands. So many great choices.Delete
Interesting. I have seen Black Narcissus. And while I've seen Stagecoach and enjoyed it you know I am not a John Wayne fan. I actually ended up googling the Oscar cinematography winners for the last 50 years and found that one of my first thoughts, Avatar, actually won.ReplyDelete
Avatar was a winner and I do love the look of the film even though I am not a fan of the pic. To me, a lot of it was computer generated so I would choose it for set design and special effects.Delete
I've never heard of The Thief of Bagdad but it does look good. I will check it out if I get the chance.ReplyDelete
Hope you get to see it.Delete
Well I've actually seen all your films this week, and watched The Thief of Bagdad just last week, I love all the special effects, Kate x xReplyDelete
That’s great! The special effects are amazing and excellent for the time.Delete
I remember Stagecoach!ReplyDelete
Yeah for Stagecoach!Delete
I've heard of the first one, but not the last two. From your synopses, they all sound quite good, especially considering how challenging the theme seems to be this week.ReplyDelete
I love this theme and could have chosen so many from Citizen Kane, The Magnificent Ambersons to Lawrence of Arabia, Dr. zhivago, heaven’s Gate, Open Range..the list goes on and on.Delete
Struck out on these ones. I think Lord of the Rings would fit though. Sure had quite the views.ReplyDelete
I love....love LOTR! It was so visually striking and many people, me included, wanted to visit New Zealand.Delete
I've seen all 3 of these films. I love them all. In fact, I own a copy of Black Narcissus as it's one of 3 films by Powell/Pressburger that I have in my DVD/Blu-Ray Collection. The other 2 are The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp and my all-time favorite film of theirs in The Red Shoes.ReplyDelete
I do love their films from the few I have seen and The Red Shoes is one of the best films ever.Delete
They sound lovely. I haven't seen them, but I have heard of them.ReplyDelete
They are excellent and hope you do see them one day.Delete
Hope your weekend is filled with good movies and popcorn.ReplyDelete
We watched Poldark yesterday. My hubby loves this series and I still need to buy him season 5 and 6.Delete
PS Can't wait for pictures of your pond.ReplyDelete
Thank goodness, getting those rocks are done. Having to take the QEW and 401 is so stressful. It is a constant backlog on those freeways plus so, so busy never mind the nuts who speed and weave.Delete
John Wayne was a great actor and he seemed like a decent person, too. We heard about his death while on our honeymoon. That was sad news to hear. You mentioned some really old ones. The Thief of Baghdad sounds familiar but I don't think I've seen it. Thanks for sharing. :) Have a good week, dearie!
The Thief of Bagdad is one of those movies I'm pretty sure I saw as a kid (probably in some combination with Sinbad and the Forty Thieves). I just can't remember anything about it. I do want to check all of these out, though.ReplyDelete
Doggone it, dagnabbit, dadgummit, and damn it all to hell! I sure wish I wasn't so late on this one, because cinematography is one of my favorite aspects of cinema.
There are just so many great examples of fantabulous cinematography to choose from. If I were going to select just one single shot, I'd have to go with that very long, intricate, mind-bending opening shot of Orson Welles' 'TOUCH OF EVIL'. The complexity and timing of that one single take is so astounding that I doubt a person who hasn't actually worked in moviemaking can fully understand everything that went into it. Just the cameraman's liquid focusing and the tracking crane work is, alone, enough to boggle the mind!
But to pick three movies for their OVERALL (start to finish) cinematography, the first three that usually come to my mind are...
1) KOYAANISQATSI. I saw it in a theater in Los Angeles when it was first released in 1983, and it literally changed the way I looked at the world around me. Truly revolutionary moviemaking!
Two other massive favorites of mine in the Cinematography department are THE BLACK STALLION and ONE FROM THE HEART.
Although there are many more movies with extremely exceptional cinematography, those three films (and that opening shot from 'Touch Of Evil') are the ones that always come to my mind first and foremost.
Haven't seen Black Narcissus, but it has become a TV series, so I may watch that if it becomes available.ReplyDelete
Hi Birgit - I haven't seen these ... but 'The Passion of Joan of Arc' ... and lots of the silent films ... the 'Trip to the Moon'. A recent one is 'The Artist' ... lots to see and to learn from. Thanks - because I'll enjoy seeing these films at some stage - all the best - HilaryReplyDelete