Black and White Cinema: A Short History by Wheeler Winston Dixon

By Wheeler Winston Dixon

From the smooth monochrome of the vintage Hollywood romance, to the gritty greyscale of the gangster photograph, to movie noir’s moody interaction of sunshine and shadow, black-and-white cinematography has been used to create a remarkably wide selection of tones. but at the present time, with black-and-white movie inventory approximately most unlikely to discover, those cinematographic strategies are almost extinct, and filmgoers’ appreciation of them is in a similar way waning.  
 
Black and White Cinema is the 1st research to think about using black-and-white as an artwork shape in its personal correct, delivering a entire and worldwide evaluation of the period whilst it flourished, from the 1900s to the Nineteen Sixties. Acclaimed movie student Wheeler Winston Dixon introduces us to the masters of this paintings, discussing the signature kinds and technical concepts of award-winning cinematographers like James Wong Howe, Gregg Toland, Freddie Francis, and Sven Nykvist. Giving us a distinct glimpse behind the curtain, Dixon additionally unearths the artistic teams—from lights technicians to matte painters—whose paintings profoundly formed the glance of black-and-white cinema.  
 
greater than only a learn of movie background, this publication is a rallying cry, intended to motivate a love for the artistry of black-and-white movie, in order that we would paintings to maintain this crucial a part of our cinematic background. Lavishly illustrated with greater than 40 on-the-set stills, Black and White Cinema provides a bright and illuminating examine a creatively very important era.
 

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Extra info for Black and White Cinema: A Short History

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Edeson wrote about his work on the film in detail from both an artistic and a technical viewpoint: The chief requirements for lenses for wide-film cinematography are, first and foremost, extremely wide covering power; and secondly (and of quite as great importance), extremely great depth of focus. Due to the more natural shape of the Grandeur frame, there is a certain pseudo-stereoscopic effect produced: but this effect is lost unless there is a very considerable depth of focus in the image. The 70 millimeter picture is very nearly the same proportion as the natural field of our vision, which, I suppose, is responsible for this pseudo-stereoscopy.

Although there is now legitimate dispute on the matter, since Alice Guy, head of production at Gaumont from 1896 to 1906, incorporated many of the stylistic Origins H 35 and technical advances Bitzer is routinely credited for in her more than 400 films, Bitzer is considered by many to have created the fade-out, softfocus photography, and other basics of film grammar. Certainly, Bitzer’s work ethic was prodigious, with more than 1,200 credits to his name. He began his career as a DP with a documentary film, William McKinley at Canton, Ohio (1897), and shot nearly 500 films for other directors before his work with Griffith, for which he is best remembered.

As strange as it may sound, awards for cinematography did not exist at that time and, stranger yet, they barely exist today. Cannes, Berlin, Venice and all the other major film festivals of the world have no awards for cinematography. They do have awards Origins H 39 for supporting actors and supporting actresses, for writers and directors, and for a lot of other things, but the cinematographer’s work is often disregarded. Murnau belonged to the school of German Expressionism, perhaps most evident in his direction of the classic vampire film Nosferatu (1922), photographed by Fritz Arno Wagner and an uncredited Günther Krampf.

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