“The camera I was using in the beginning, a rudimentary affair in which the film would tear or would often refuse to move, produced an unexpected effect one day when I was photographing very prosaically the Place de l’Opera. It took a minute to release the film and get the camera going again. During this minute the people, buses vehicles had of course moved. Projecting the film, having joined the break, I suddenly saw a Madeleine-Bastille omnibus change into a hearse and men into women. The trick of substitution, called the trick of stop-action was discovered…”
Vittorio Storaro recalls the photographic challenges he confronted during the tumultuous production of Francis Ford Coppola’s hallucinatory Vietnam War epic Apocalypse Now. Interview by Stephen Burum, ASC and Stephen Pizzello [pdf].
A cinematographer has to design and write a story, starting at the beginning, through the evolution to the end. That’s why I consider my profession is as a writer of light. —Vittorio Storaro
In 1930, Charlie Chaplin and Sergei Eisenstein got together to “play” tennis, literally. Eisenstein spent considerable time with Charlie Chaplin, who recommended that Eisenstein meet with a sympathetic benefactor in the person of American socialist author Upton Sinclair, who would later arrange for Eisenstein to go to Mexico.
We’re so lucky to have all of his [Robert MItchum’s] performances preserved on film. There was and is no other screen presence like his: dangerous, strong but guarded, ever-unconvinced by the actions of those around him, and that odd sense of someone smoldering on the inside but so damn cool on the outside. Now I just want to go home and watch Out of the Past, or Night of the Hunter, or The Lusty Men, or Macao, or Blood on the Moon and soak in every subtle expression and move, every word spoken by that low, mesmerizing voice; just anything Robert Mitchum ever did. —Jim Jarmusch
December 5, 1890 – August 2, 1976
“I think that certain people overestimate the power of a director. A film is the result of teamwork. But the director has certain powers. Permit me to tell you a story. When Fury was finished, the producer asked me into his office after a private viewing of the film. He accused me of changing the screenplay. I asked him how I could have done that since I didn’t speak a word of English. He demanded a copy of the screenplay, and after reading it he exclaimed, ‘Hell, you’re right. But it seems different on the screen!’ And perhaps it was different—for him!”