Philip Lathrop, DP Russell Metty’s camera operator on one of the most famous boom shots in the history of cinema: the spectacular opening of Orson Welles’ Touch of Evil, goes over the next setup with star-director Orson Welles. Charlton Heston has something to drink.
Jeff Boortz, creative director at 3 ring circus at the time, explained how “everything in the frame has meaning” making a systematic analysis of Orson Welles’ Touch of Evil initial sequence. Boortz explained the parallelism between a film director and a motion graphic artist: The director must tell the actors and camera what to do, the motion graphic artist must do the same, it just that there are no actors, just graphic elements, but the narrative challenges are the same. Each element, frame and camera movement “everything in the frame” must work in harmony to reinforce the cinematographic narrative, and be able to successfully tell the story. This is our take on that analysis. The best way to understand this, is to watch first the original movie sequence and then watch the analysis. Otherwise can be overwhelming and confusing. One of the best motion graphic classes that we have ever received. Thank you Mr. Boortz. —Deconstructing Motion Graphics (Touch Of Evil, 1958)
The following notes were received from Orson Welles after he viewed the re-cut version of the entire picture which included the new close-up shots directed by Harry Keller:
DATE: December 5, 1957
TO: Edward I. Muhl, Vice-President in charge of production Universal-International Pictures
FROM: Orson Welles, writer and director of TOUCH OF EVIL
Touch of Evil, revised final screenplay by Orson Welles [pdf]. (NOTE: For educational purposes only)
I think the enemy of [film] is of course reality, and films are best when they manage poetry by reducing the element of reality and introducing something which is the invention of the filmmaker. —Orson Welles
All the essential documentaries on Orson Welles, including Orson Welles: The Paris Interview (1960), The Complete Citizen Kane (1991, BBC), Filming ‘The Trial’ (1981), The Battle Over Citizen Kane (1996), Shadowing the Third Man (2004), Orson Welles: The One-Man Band (1995), With Orson Welles: Stories from a Life in Film (1990), Filming ‘Othello’ (1978), F for Fake (1973), Orson Welles with French film school students, Orson Welles “Its All True” Citizen Kane and RKO, and seven-minute video of a very young-looking Welles (he was 23 at the time) addressing an onslaught of press members on October 31, 1938, the day after The War of the Worlds broadcast.
Actor Robert De Niro (as Travis Bickle) practicing with his guns in front of the mirror are the most famous shots/scenes from Martin Scorsese’s 1976 masterpiece, “Taxi Driver.” What most people don’t know is that the interiors of Travis’s apartment and Iris’s room/apartment hallways were actually shot in the very same building, 586 Columbus Avenue. The building was condemned and it has long since been demolished. I own a couple of original contact sheets from the film, this one features some great poses of De Niro in front of the mirror in his apartment. —the edit room floor
“Jean-Luc Godard once said that all the great movies are successful for the wrong reasons. There were a lot of wrong reasons why Taxi Driver was successful.” —Paul Schrader: Notes On Taxi Driver
The full oral history story of the making of Stanley Kubrick’s horror masterpiece The Shining.
You may recall we previously brought you news of The Elstree Project, an oral history project designed to record, preserve and share the memories of people who have worked at the studios of Elstree and Borehamwood. Well, one of their interview docs, a 55 minute film on the making of Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining has been uploaded to Vimeo, and we have it for you here. It features contributions from Christiane Kubrick, and nine crew members who worked on the film at Elstree.
Brian Cook – 1st AD
Jan Harlan – Producer
Christiane Kubrick – Wife of Stanley Kubrick
Mick Mason – Camera Technician
Ray Merrin – Post-Production Sound
Doug Milsome – 1st AC and Second Unit Camera
Kelvin Pike – Camera Operator
Ron Punter – Scenic Artist
June Randall – Continuity
Julian Senior – Warner Bros. Publicity
The interviews in this film were recorded over a period of three years, and with eight students getting the chance to gain live work experience as part of their undergraduate degree course in Film and Television in the School of Creative Arts at the University of Hertfordshire. The film has been made as part of The Elstree Project which is a partnership between Howard Berry of the University and Bob Redman and Paul Welsh MBE who run the volunteer group Elstree Screen Heritage. —Staircases To Nowhere: Making Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining
A 1983 Playboy interview with Stephen King, about his young hungry days before he was published. In the same interview with Playboy in 1983, Stephen King stated:
“The real problem is that Kubrick set out to make a horror picture with no apparent understanding of the genre. Everything about it screams that from beginning to end, from plot decision to the final scene — which has been used before on The Twilight Zone.”
A few days ago, I received out-of-print gem The Making of Kubrick’s 2001 (edited wonderfully by Jerome Agel, 1970). I’m still over the moon.
There have been countless words written about Stanley Kubrick’s visionary masterpiece 2001: A Space Odyssey — some good, some bad — but after 45 years, this superb book remains the only one you’ll ever really need. It is such a shame that this book is out-of-print. It is filled with everything you ever wanted to know about 2001. It leads off with Arthur C. Clarke’s short story “The Sentinel” and closes with a complete reprint of Stanley Kubrick’s interview with Playboy magazine. In between are profiles, interviews with technical advisors, effects secrets revealed, letters to Stanley from the moviegoing public, as well as reviews of the film, both good and bad. A fascinating snapshot of a moment in history when the world was caught off guard by a motion picture. Search your local used book stores, like I did. If you’re a Kubrick fan, it’s worth the effort.
Now you can join me, I’ll fly you to the moon!
The Making of Kubrick’s 2001
(NOTE: For educational purposes only)
With endless thanks to Matt DeGennaro
Unseen photos from Point Blank part 5
From Michel Ciment’s excellent biography “John Boorman”, the director remembers scouting this location and finding his inspiration for the scene: “While I was out location hunting, I discovered the excavator, an incredible machine used for digging graves. It used to be that, no matter how useless your life had been, it would at least give a gravedigger a day’s work to dig your grave. For me, that summed up American life. It struck me as the greatest of all betrayals: digging a grave in ten minutes with a mechanical spade.” —the edit room floor
Walter Hill just mentioned recently how much Point Blank screenplay by Alex Jacobs influenced him.
A film on the great American film director, Samuel Fuller: The Typewriter, the Rifle & the Movie Camera (1996) is narrated by Tim Robbins, and with the participation of Quentin Tarantino, Jim Jarmusch, and Martin Scorsese, the documentary proves to be a fantastic search into Samuel Fuller’s films, his approach to filmmaking, and the art of cinema itself. Fuller is a machine that drops gem after gem as he speaks about film and how he writes with the camera. Though he may not be well-remembered among recent generations, his influence stretches well across film history. Martin Scorsese even confesses that he used a scene from Fuller’s The Steel Helmet for Raging Bull—and so it is more than worthwhile to see this documentary, especially as it depicts a filmmaker who easily crosses the line between Independent filmmaking and Hollywood studio moviemaking.
The documentary itself is divided in three parts. “The Typewriter” focuses on Fuller’s past, his early career as a copy boy made crime reporter, while “The Rifle” portrays Fuller’s experiences as a soldier in World War II. Finally, “The Movie Camera” follows Fuller the director. Samuel Fuller: The Typewriter, the Rifle & the Movie Camera is a great watch for anyone wanting to learn from a master filmmaker! —Edwin Adrian Nieves, A-BitterSweet-Life
Philip Baker Hall and Paul Thomas Anderson on filmmaking:
Both men break down the 15+ minute Motel scene in Sydney. Philip Baker Hall also talks about the differences and challenges between cinema and theater acting and directing. —filmschoolthrucommentaries
Previously on Cinephilia and Beyond:
- Paul Thomas Anderson on filmmaking — part I, part II
- Hard Eight (also known as Sydney) screenplay by Paul Thomas Anderson
- Hard Eight audio commentary (1996) with director PT Anderson and actor Phillip Baker Hall
- This is an exclusive, it’s never been released on any DVDs of the film, it stayed on the Criterion LD for ages — until it was ripped a while ago. So the only way anyone could ever hear this is if they had a LaserDisc player. Well, not anymore. “You can learn more from John Sturges’ audio track on the ‘Bad Day at Black Rock’ LaserDisc than you can in 4 years of film school.” P.T. Anderson
Cinematographer Stanley Cortez (right) lines up a shot with director Orson Welles for The Magniﬁcent Ambersons at the RKO ranch in 1942. Legendary cinematographer who shot, among other pictures, The Magnificent Ambersons, Since You Went Away, The Night of the Hunter and Shock Corridor.
Cinéma Cinémas — Stanley Cortez ASC — 1984
Let me give you the example of when I shot The Night of the Hunter for Charles Laughton. We did many ﬁlms together with him as an actor before he asked me to do Hunter. We were shooting a particular sequence, and Laughton saw me doing a couple of things. “What in hell are you doing, Cortez?” he said. “None of your goddamn business, Laughton,” I said—in a very nice, lovable way, don’t get me wrong. The respect was there. But he insisted that I tell him what I was doing. “Charles, I’m thinking about a piece of music.” And in his particular way, he said to me, “My God, Stan, how right you are. This sequence needs a waltz tempo.” And so he immediately sent for the composer Walter Schumann so he could see what I was doing visually, so he could interpret it into a waltz tempo. —Stanley Cortez, Conversations with the Great Moviemakers of Hollywood’s Golden Age: At the American Film Institute
Watching the River: Mise en Scène and Safe Space in The Night of the Hunter
Bogart, Stewart and Hitchcock together in the fourties
All the essential documentaries on Alfred Hitchcock, including Hitchcock: Shadow of a Genius (1999), The Men Who Made the Movies: Alfred Hitchcock (1973), Reputations: Alfred Hitchcock (1999), In the Master’s Shadow: Hitchcock’s Legacy (2008), Paul Merton Looks at Alfred Hitchcock (2009), American Masters: Hitchcock, Selznick and the End of Hollywood (1999), Alfred Hitchcock Directs ‘Frenzy’ in 1972, Hitchcock: Alfred the Great (1994), Alfred Hitchcock - Masters of Cinema (Complete Interview in 1972), and A Talk with Hitchcock (1964).
Visual effects legend Douglas Trumbell on working with Kubrick on 2001: A Space Odyssey
The Conversation (1974) screenplay by Francis Ford Coppola [pdf]. (NOTE: For educational purposes only.) With thanks to Matt Degennaro.
Anisse Gross found a way straight to the human being who lies beneath the legend that is Francis Ford Coppola. This interview is so visceral, full of hope and longing, full of the kind of wisdom (and writing tips!) that only a legend could impart. Fabulous piece.
I’m still under impression. What a brilliant interview.
Of all your work, what do you feel the most personal connection to?
Coppola: In my earlier career I liked The Rain People, because that was my first film where I got to do what I wanted to do. I was young; I wrote the story based on something that I had witnessed. Few people know that film. It’s about a young wife who loves her husband but doesn’t want to be a wife, and one day gets in her station wagon and leaves a note with his breakfast and takes off. In a way it preceded the women’s movement. It’s curious for a guy like me to do. Then I made The Conversation, which was an original as well. That’s what I wanted to be doing. The Godfather was an accident. I was broke and we needed the money. We had no way to keep American Zoetrope going. I had no idea it was going to be that successful. It was awful to work on, and then my career took off and I didn’t get to be what I wanted to be.
What did you want to be?
Coppola: I wanted to be a guy who made films like The Rain People and The Conversation. I didn’t want to be a big Hollywood movie director. I was always a starving student and money was always a big problem. Suddenly I had all this money. I bought this building, and I bought a nice house. I didn’t want to ever do a second Godfather. I was so oppressed during The Godfather by the studio that when Mr. Big, who owned the whole conglomerate, said, “What do we have to do to get you to do it?” I had suggested that I would supervise it and pick a director to do the second Godfather. I don’t know why there should be a second Godfather. It’s a drama, it’s the end, it’s over. It’s not a serial. When I went back and told them I had chosen Marty Scorsese to do it they said absolutely not. Finally I told them I’d do it, but I didn’t want any of those guys to have anything to do with it. To see it, to hear the soundtrack, the casting, their ideas, nothing. So I made Godfather 2 because I’d always been thinking about trying to write something about a father and son at the same age, two stories juxtaposed. I had total control and it was a pleasure, I must say. I did that and won all these Oscars and had all this success for doing that. —The Rumpus Interview with Francis Ford Coppola
The whole crazy, Quixotic Coppola/American Zoetrope experience is so important for film geeks to learn about.
Creativity, after all, is the ability to see connections between seemingly dissimilar elements. —Francis Ford Coppola, Zoetrope: All-story, vol.3, no.2
A Legacy of Filmmakers: The Early Years of American Zoetrope, narrated by Richard Dreyfuss. This 63-minute documentary covers the rise and fall of the struggling young studio during the late 1960s and early 1970s, touching on everything from the influence of Easy Rider to the bitter clash between Warner Bros. and American Zoetrope over the film itself. In all fairness, though, it’s great to see Warner Bros. swallow their pride by allowing this documentary to be presented objectively (one might be reminded of the clash between Universal and Terry Gilliam over Brazil, and the wonderful documentary produced for The Criterion Collection). Among other highlights, A Legacy of Filmmakers features short interviews with the likes of Martin Scorsese, Steven Spielberg, and Francis Ford Coppola. Overall, it’s a great piece for anyone interested in film history, and as relevant to THX 1138 as any other bonus feature in recent memory. —Randy Miller III
Select pages from the final shooting script of 2001: A Space Odyssey as exactly reprinted in the original version of the book The Making of Kubrick’s 2001 (edited wonderfully by Jerome Agel 1970—second printing, pg 165.)
With thanks to Matt Degennaro
The complete screenplay of Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey. Typographically designed to read during watching the movie.
I just received this out-of-print gem. I’m over the moon!
It is such a shame that this book is out-of-print. It is filled with everything you ever wanted to know about 2001. It leads off with Arthur C. Clarke’s short story “The Sentinel” and closes with a complete reprint of Stanley Kubrick’s interview with Playboy magazine. In between are profiles, interviews with technical advisors, effects secrets revealed, letters to Stanley from the moviegoing public, as well as reviews of the film, both good and bad. A fascinating snapshot of a moment in history when the world was caught off guard by a motion picture. Search your local used book stores, like I did. If you’re a Kubrick fan, it’s worth the effort.
Coming soon to Cinephilia and Beyond.
With endless thanks to Matt Degennaro