Monday, November 30, 2009

The Men Behind the Cameras

December is obviously the month of directors and cinematographers. Take a peek at the "Birthdays of the week" list in the right column, and you will notice directors Ridley Scott (Alien, Blade Runner, Thelma & Louise), Woody Allen (Annie Hall, Manhattan), Jean-Luc Godard (Breathless, Band of Outsiders, Crazy Pete), Otto Preminger (Laura, Anatomy of a Murder), Walt Disney and Fritz Lang (Metropolis, M, Dr. Mabuse's Testament).
Quite a few birthday children! I will therefore close the month of November on Lolita's Classics with a little tribute to the men behind the cameras, and I plan to do it with some cool pictures that [metaphorically] gather dust on my hard drive. My favorite? A certain Austrian-Hungarian with a monocle and a cigarette holder.

Lo and behold! Feast yours eyes on these marvelous photographs!

Ridley Scott.

Woody Allen.

Fritz Lang.

Walt Disney.

Jean-Luc Godard and cinematographer Raoul Coutard on the set of Crazy Pete (Pierrot le fou, 1965).

Otto Preminger.

Jean-Luc Godard and his then-wife and muse Anna Karina.

Woody Allen and his then-lover and muse Mia Farrow.

There are also two other important behind-the-camera men named in the birthday list, the first of those being Swedish cinematographer Sven Nykvist. Considered by many to be the world's greatest at his work, he worked frequently with director Ingmar Bergman and also with previously mentioned Woody Allen.

Ingmar Bergman and Sven Nykvist.

Sven Nykvist and Ingmar Bergman.

Sven Nykvist and Woody Allen.

Sven Nykvist and Woody Allen.

Among Sven Nykvist's (1922-2006) works we find Ingmar Bergman's most praised cinematic wonders, like The Virgin Spring (1960), Through a Glass Darkly (1961), Winter Light (1962) Persona (1966), Cries and Whispers (1972), Scenes from a Marriage (1973) and Fanny and Alexander (1982).
Nykvist co-operated with Woody Allen in Another Woman (1988), Crimes and Misdemeanors (1989) and the "Oedipus Wrecks" segment of New York Stories (1989), and with Swedish director Lasse Hallström in What's Eating Gilbert Grape (1993) and was also the cinematographer for Sleepless in Seattle from the same year.
With a repertoire like that, it's impossible not to be amazed. Sven Nykvist worked with interpreting directors visions into film for no less than 57 years.

Virgin Spring (Jungfrukällan, 1960).

Through a Glass Darkly (Såsom i en spegel, 1961).

Winter Light (Nattvardsgästerna, 1962).

Persona (1966).

Cries and Whispers (Viskningar och rop, 1972).

Scenes from a Marriage (Scener ur ett äktenskap, 1973).

Fanny and Alexander (Fanny och Alexander, 1982).

Another Woman (1988).

Crimes and Misdemeanors (1989).

What's Eating Gilbert Grape (1993).

Sleepless in Seattle (1993).

The second cinematographer who celebrates his birthday this week is a man called William H. Daniels (1901-1970), a man who intimately captured Hollywood's most glamorous actresses (working several times with Greta Garbo and Norma Shearer) for an amazed audience to view on a big silver screen.

William H. Daniels.

William H. Daniels on the set of Love (1927), directed by Edmund Goulding and starring Greta Garbo and John Gilbert.

William H. Daniels on the set of Grand Hotel (1932), with director Edmund Goulding and actors Wallace Beery and Joan Crawford.

On the set (behind camera) of Queen Christina (1933) with director Rouben Mamoulian and actors Greta Garbo and John Gilbert.

Just like Sven Nykvist, Daniels worked for many, many years. His first project as a cinematographer was for a not totally insignificant Erich von Stroheim picture called Foolish Wives (1922), and then he continued his beloved work until the year of his death, 1970.

Foolish Wives (1922).

The Temptress (1926).

Anna Christie (1930).

A Free Soul (1931).

Mata Hari (1931).

Anna Karenina (1935).

Camille (1936).

Harvey (1950).


Amanda said...

Fantastic post!

Connie said...

I love this post, Lola! Have missed you over on Decades!


Lolita said...

Thank you! I like publishing picture filled posts ;)

Thanks a lot for popping in, Connie! I feel I have too much to do to be able to contribute to DecadesILove, and I'm sorry for that! It's a great community for classic film lovers, though :)

Tom said...

Wow, William H. Daniels worked on all of those films? Amazing career.

Lolita said...

Yes, I was quite surprised when I looked him up! What a job!

Bruce Menin said...

what a great blog- very informed, and nicely written. the things that don't make it out of childhood with us... when i was about 12, i wrote to fritz lang, and asked him a bunch of questions about three of his films- "m", "frau im mond", and "metropolis"... and he wrote back, a three-page typed letter, answering my questions... sadly, gone now (both lang and the letter)...

i'll keep dropping by- thanks for all the effort

Lolita said...

Bruce Menin:
Thank you! Oh, you lost the letter?? I would never forgive myself for that!
I'll look forward to your next visit ;)

Bruce Menin said...

hmmm. not lost- worse than that. also gone is a remarkable 11 x 14 picture of raymond massey as john cabal in things to come, signed by him. i did manage to save a thank you note from boris karloff, after i'd sent him a get well card...

again, some really neat things here. altho most people find their final rest in the cemeteries of hollywood, within walking distance, Elissa Landi is buried- and a short ride up the road, claude rains was laid to rest.

not too morbid, i hope.

Vincent Vega said...

awesome blog!!!
llegue aca por una foto de la hermosa Greta Garbo...
thanks so much!!!
a hug from Santiago de Chile.