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Lindsay Mann

Haskell Wexler on HD

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In the U.S., I think people like Hall and Wexler, again, are part of that "bridge generation" but also people like Richard Kline and William Fraker, people who learned the old way but had their own ideas (they are all very strong personalities, having met them) and were excited by what was going on in European filmmaking.


I admire the cinematography of Richard Kline and William Fraker, but I think people like Wexler and Hall were a bit ahead of them in the transition to a more modern style. Both Kline and Fraker took great risks during their careers (remember those day exterior scenes on the boat in "King Kong"? A big-budget film shot with available light and some bounce cards!), but then their next film would be more conventional and classic looking. Compare Fraker's 1993 "Tombstone" (an overall good looking picture) to Owen Roizman's 1994 "Wyatt Earp" and you definetly will spot different styles and techniques (the later being much softer and natural looking). And Fraker's "1941" looks like an american version of what a much older cameraman like Unsworth was doing those days. Kline and Fraker were no vanguardists in my opinion, just two great cinematographers who had learned the old way and had been influenced in some ways by modern techniques.


Here's a quote from William Fraker regarding Conrad Hall (AC May 2003), which I think is interesting (Fraker was Hall's operator for a few films back in the 60's):


Connie saw much, much further than I did. I grew up in the days when I would watch Ted McCord, Joe McDonald, all these great cinematogrpahers, and I said, "That's what I want to do; I want to do what they do". That was my goal, and when I felt I'd reached that level, when I felt I'd gotten to where they were, I sort of stopped there. Connie never stopped.

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Guest Tim Partridge

Richard Kline did that stuff in CAMELOT, shot wide open anamorphic and flashed, which was just as innovative and outside of the box as Wexler and Hall. Fraker on ROSEMARY'S BABY was forced into using hard light on a William Castle cheapy, but he still managed to get a fill-less look with more European sensibilities (for Polanski).


John Alonzo was another one, Gordon Willis, Bruce Surtees, Vilmos Zsigmond and Lazlo Kovacs, as well as DPs outside of Hollywood like Vittorio Storaro. All of their backgrounds were different, but their agegroup seemed to have an attitude at that time that was collective.

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