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KMR

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No doubt some graduate student right now is writing a thesis about how those reflections of the crew on the armor in "Excalibur" is Boorman's method of inscribing the camera's eye and a contemporary perspective into the Arthurian legends.

Don't you just love (not!) all of the wild theories that get written (or spoken in commentaries by a some scholar) about movies. Makes me think also of preachers who will create a whole sermon based on a reading of a Bible verse that has absolutely nothing to do with actual meanings of the words in the original Greek. (My favorite was one who spoke at length about the phrase "Now faith is ..." meaning "faith is now"--with a temporal meaning; whereas the word in the Greek that was translated as "now" was the conjunction "de", which could be translated just as well as "but" or "and so", etc.)

So many of these are ideas that may be interesting to ponder, but should not be taken as having any basis in the creation of the original work. It's one thing to interpret things a certain way--good art should move us to do that. But it's another thing entirely to impute those theories to the creators as actual motives.
 

lark144

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mark gross
Don't you just love (not!) all of the wild theories that get written (or spoken in commentaries by a some scholar) about movies. Makes me think also of preachers who will create a whole sermon based on a reading of a Bible verse that has absolutely nothing to do with actual meanings of the words in the original Greek. (My favorite was one who spoke at length about the phrase "Now faith is ..." meaning "faith is now"--with a temporal meaning; whereas the word in the Greek that was translated as "now" was the conjunction "de", which could be translated just as well as "but" or "and so", etc.)

So many of these are ideas that may be interesting to ponder, but should not be taken as having any basis in the creation of the original work. It's one thing to interpret things a certain way--good art should move us to do that. But it's another thing entirely to impute those theories to the creators as actual motives.
While I was exaggerating, these professors are coming up with those wild theories because that's how they remain employed; the more outlandish the ideas, the more controversy, the more attention, and the more people sign up for their classes and the more books get sold.
 

Josh Steinberg

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Don't you just love (not!) all of the wild theories that get written (or spoken in commentaries by a some scholar) about movies. Makes me think also of preachers who will create a whole sermon based on a reading of a Bible verse that has absolutely nothing to do with actual meanings of the words in the original Greek. (My favorite was one who spoke at length about the phrase "Now faith is ..." meaning "faith is now"--with a temporal meaning; whereas the word in the Greek that was translated as "now" was the conjunction "de", which could be translated just as well as "but" or "and so", etc.)

So many of these are ideas that may be interesting to ponder, but should not be taken as having any basis in the creation of the original work. It's one thing to interpret things a certain way--good art should move us to do that. But it's another thing entirely to impute those theories to the creators as actual motives.

I remember one film school professor explaining to us in a class how the director was emphasizing how far apart two characters were in their personal relationship by cutting back and forth between them rather than framing them in a two shot.

The only problem with this theory was that the film was a 2.40:1 production which had been cropped to 1.33:1 on the VHS we were being shown.

Let’s just say I was not the teacher’s favorite when I pointed out that in the actual film that it was actually one unbroken two shot and that all of the cutting was just home video pan & scan and nothing to do with artistic intent.
 

lark144

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I remember one film school professor explaining to us in a class how the director was emphasizing how far apart two characters were in their personal relationship by cutting back and forth between them rather than framing them in a two shot.

The only problem with this theory was that the film was a 2.40:1 production which had been cropped to 1.33:1 on the VHS we were being shown.

Let’s just say I was not the teacher’s favorite when I pointed out that in the actual film that it was actually one unbroken two shot and that all of the cutting was just home video pan & scan and nothing to do with artistic intent.
Yes! I had a film professor who said the same thing about Leo McCarey's "An Affair To Remember." We were in a bar after class and McCarey's film was on the television. There is one uninterrupted long shot on the boat between Cary Grant & Deborah Kerr which in this pan & scan version was all broken up, and the professor, who obviously had never seen the film before, said, "This was clearly an influence on Jean-Luc Godard's use of jump-cuts in "Breathless". Having seen Mccarey's film in scope a few years before at MOMA, I laughed so hard I almost cried.
 

RichMurphy

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Ah, film professors. I learned from one at U.Va. that some bad process work in a classic film from the 1960s was intentional, so as to reflect the artificiality of a main character.
 

B-ROLL

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Ah, film professors. I learned from one at U.Va. that some bad process work in a classic film from the 1960s was intentional, so as to reflect the artificiality of a main character.
It happens with other intellectuals as well. Apparently I have been misinterpreting a Robert Frost poem all along ...

https://lithub.com/youre-probably-misreading-robert-frosts-most-famous-poem/

1608455245305.png
 

Robert Harris

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There’s a wonderful story that Pat Hitchcock told. One of her daughters was in college, and taking a film class. The professor ran a Hitchcock film, and went on at length about all of the minutia purportedly assigned to the director - it’s all about the auteur theory - and she asked her mom.

She was told that it didn’t sound right, but drive over and ask your grandfather.

Bottom line, she’s was told that he has his hands full telling the actors where to stand and how to read their lines. Everything else comes from different departments.

If I’m recalling the end of the story correctly, she questioned the facts during the following class, and had the professor hurumph and ask where she got her information.

I don‘t think he liked the answer.
 

RichMurphy

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There’s a wonderful story that Pat Hitchcock told. One of her daughters was in college, and taking a film class. The professor ran a Hitchcock film, and went on at length about all of the minutia purportedly assigned to the director - it’s all about the auteur theory - and she asked her mom.

She was told that it didn’t sound right, but drive over and ask your grandfather.

Bottom line, she’s was told that he has his hands full telling the actors where to stand and how to read their lines. Everything else comes from different departments.

If I’m recalling the end of the story correctly, she questioned the facts during the following class, and had the professor hurumph and ask where she got her information.

I don‘t think he liked the answer.
Wow, I wonder if the daughter attended U.Va. The film I was referencing three posts above was Hitchcock's THE BIRDS. I am assuming that, since Ub Iwerks worked on the film, some of admittedly bad process work used Disney's "yellow screen" system, which always looked weird to me.
 

lark144

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mark gross
Wow, I wonder if the daughter attended U.Va. The film I was referencing three posts above was Hitchcock's THE BIRDS. I am assuming that, since Ub Iwerks worked on the film, some of admittedly bad process work used Disney's "yellow screen" system, which always looked weird to me.
Lots of ink has been spilled about how the somewhat ragged matte & process shots in "Marnie" are on purpose. and are Hitchcock's method of letting you know his personal feelings--the lap dissolve on the boat from night to day where for an instant the image in the porthole is blank, which his way, in the words of a professor, "of inscribing himself into the bedroom scene" or to create a "Brechtian mise-en-scene that places the dialogue in quotation marks and opens up deeper meanings"; in particular the scene with the mother at the end, especially that weird matte painting of a church spite in the distance. Robin Wood's two books on Hitchcock go into this speculation in detail in the chapters on "Marnie". Hitchcock has addressed some of this, by stating he probably shouldn't have approved that matte painting, but was a bit stressed for time.
 

Josh Steinberg

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I don’t really think of Hitchcock’s use of process photography and mattes to have any deeper meaning. He just came up at a time when that was how you did things, and never really changed even when new techniques came into vogue.
 

lark144

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I don’t really think of Hitchcock’s use of process photography and mattes to have any deeper meaning. He just came up at a time when that was how you did things, and never really changed even when new techniques came into vogue.
Exactly.
 

Robin9

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I don’t really think of Hitchcock’s use of process photography and mattes to have any deeper meaning. He just came up at a time when that was how you did things, and never really changed even when new techniques came into vogue.
It should however be noted and remembered that when Alfred Hitchcock came across a new and vastly superior matte artist, the now celebrated Albert J. Whitlock, he brought him to Hollywood and spread the word. In other words, Mr. Hitchcock was aware of the limitations of normal matte work.
 

seangood79

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There’s a wonderful story that Pat Hitchcock told. One of her daughters was in college, and taking a film class. The professor ran a Hitchcock film, and went on at length about all of the minutia purportedly assigned to the director - it’s all about the auteur theory - and she asked her mom.

She was told that it didn’t sound right, but drive over and ask your grandfather.

Bottom line, she’s was told that he has his hands full telling the actors where to stand and how to read their lines. Everything else comes from different departments.

If I’m recalling the end of the story correctly, she questioned the facts during the following class, and had the professor hurumph and ask where she got her information.

I don‘t think he liked the answer.
Apparently that professor never heard the story from the set of LIFEBOAT. The one where someone had a complaint about Tallulah Bankhead. Hitchcock said it wasn't his department, that they should take the complaint to hairdressing.
 

Vincent_P

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While perhaps the prints would have looked "better" had Kubrick lived, EYES WIDE SHUT was shot using Kodak's then recently discontinued 500 ASA 5298 filmstock, which was a grainier filmstock even when perfectly exposed and processed. Then, on top of that, they pushed the film TWO STOPS in the processing*. You're going to seriously increase the grain when pushing an already fast, grainy stock 2 stops in the processing, and EYES WIDE SHUT bares that out. I've also seen some images from 35mm prints for sale on eBay, and apparently EWS had a 1.85:1 hard-matte optically applied to the projection prints. The final prints being from an optical vs. contact printed is going to increase the grain yet again. Maybe a contact "show print" from the negative would look nicer, but the graininess of those original prints wasn't down to WB dissing Kubrick after his death by intentionally messing the prints up or something. A big part of it comes down to how the film was shot and processed, period.

Vincent

*The reason they used the discontinued 5298 vs. the newer Kodak 500 ASA stock at the time was based on tests they did pushing the two stocks. As I recall from an old article (probably American Cinematographer), the color shifted on the newer stock when pushed compared to the 5298, so Kodak agreed to supply the production with as much of the discontinued 5298 as needed to complete the shoot.
 
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Josh Steinberg

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Can’t speak to the matting on the prints, but I do have a 35mm trailer that’s not matted.
 

KMR

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Wow, I wonder if the daughter attended U.Va. The film I was referencing three posts above was Hitchcock's THE BIRDS. I am assuming that, since Ub Iwerks worked on the film, some of admittedly bad process work used Disney's "yellow screen" system, which always looked weird to me.
"Admittedly bad"? Admitted by whom? Perhaps if judging by today's standards one could consider them poor, but the optical effects in The Birds were state of the art in 1963. The sodium vapor ("yellow screen") process was used for some effects shots because it minimized or eliminated the fringing that often occurred in the blue screen process.
 

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