Who’s Afraid Of Virginia Woolf? Audio Commentary with cinematographer Haskell Wexler. He chats mostly about technical issues like camera techniques, lighting, and various cinematographic choices. Wexler also digs into issues like sets and locations, working with the actors and Nichols, and the tone during the shoot. This track will work best for those with a significant interest in the technical domains.
With thanks to cinematographos
What was it like to work with Kazan on America, America, which is really so much a part of his life, a magnum opus; how much freedom did you have, what kind of experience was it?
HW: That was one of the toughest experiences of my life.
He has very precise ideas about what he wants to do?
HW: He was precise but he gave me quite a bit of freedom-that’s not the right word because it assumes that I have my ideas, he has his, and one wins and one loses. I did not feel visually restrained in working with him and I learned a great deal from him. One of the difficulties was that the film was so personal to him and he was so intense and intent. Also it was just plain physically difficult—a rather primitive situation, a rather low budget for us at the time. Of course Warners came in with money later on. But I greatly enjoyed it-all-Italian crew, I learned to speak Italian. Good spirits, fabulous spirits. Deedee Allan was the cutter, I spent some time in the cutting room with her. She can even make bad photography look good.
Do you like to have a look at the cutting?
HW: Oh yes, I do all the time. Partly, I think, it’s a selfish thing because I’m interested in a shot or a couple of the scenes-always afraid, almost like narcissistic actors whose best performance ends up on the cutting-room floor! I would like to say that it’s my interest in the film but I think it begins with the other… To tell the truth, nothing photographically is too difficult. I think the hard thing for me now is not to show off. I’ve got a good bag of tricks and I am always developing them. What I have to do now is use restraint, trying to concentrate on the story and make sure that what I am doing with the camera is not exhibitionism. You see I would like to make my own film. I want to direct. Everybody wants to direct. But I haven’t found a script. Recently I’ve seen about five scripts, all about hippies, but they are all written by people who don’t know anything about them. —The Danger Is Seduction: An Interview with Haskell Wexler, Film Quarterly, Spring 1968.
In this exclusive interview from Cinema Libre Studio’s release of LATINO, Tim Rhys of MovieMaker Magazine sits down with legendary cinematographer Haskell Wexler.
A portrait of a group of friends who have worked in the film industry, Daniel Raim’s Something’s Gonna Live is a must-see with its intimate presentation of some of filmmaking’s great contributors to production design and cinematography. Travel back to the makings of Alfred Hitchcock’s Birds and North by Northwest, listen to discussions on the question of film, what it is, its place in culture, and how technology affects it. Still, an essential part of the film, and maybe the most important aspect of all, is how the documentary portrays this group of artists. They are above all else, humble friends who support each other with their passions for work and respect for each other and their crafts.
The film is a warm and contemplative portrait of the aging Boyle and his friends as they visit their old stomping grounds at Paramount Studios and converse about ways the industry has changed, and most importantly, the creative values they learned over the years and hope to preserve. Full of indelible clips, it’s an engrossing movie for movie lovers, and it has recently been released on DVD and streaming sites such as Amazon and Netflix. (Filmmaker Magazine)