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).

Monday, November 23, 2009

Horrific and Humurous birthday children

Born exactly one year apart, and complete opposite silver screen personas: Happy birthday to Boris Karloff and Harpo Marx!

Don't you just love Al Hirschfeld's caricatures?

Friday, November 20, 2009

Dr. Mabuse: The Gambler (1922)

Dr. Mabuse, der Spieler
Director: Fritz Lang
Germany 1922
237 min
Starring: Rudolf Klein-Rogge, Aud Egede Nissen, Gertrude Welcker, Alfred Abel, Bernhard Goetzke, Paul Richter and Robert Forster-Larrinaga, among others.

Co-written by fritz Lang and Thea von Harbou.

Part one: Ein Bild der Zeit (transl. "A Picture of Time") 123 min.
Part two: Inferno des Verbrechens (transl. "Inferno of Crime") 112 min.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Finally! Honorary Oscar to Ms. Bacall

Colorized by Lolita.

As my first female role model (after my mum, I guess), I have always been pretty frustrated that Lauren Bacall never have received an Academy Award. She has deserved it time and time again, and would have been able to receive an Honorary Award since the 1980's. And now, finally, the time has come! This weekend Lauren Bacall accepted an Honorary Oscar statue at the age of 85.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Freaky Film Posters or: Do they feel all right in Poland? pt. 3

Eyes Wide Shut (1999) was Stanley Kubrick's last film, and yes: it was kind of freaky. But not nearly as freaky as this poster.
When I'm done with the Polish film posters, I think I will move on to presenting some from former Czechoslovakia. I bet the reason why they divided that country had something to do with mentally ill people designing film posters there too.