"I could see more in the dark than I could in color," he said. https://ascmag.com/articles/john-alton-master-of-the-film-noir-mood Directors: Alfred L. Werker, Anthony Mann | Stars: Richard Basehart, Scott Brady, Roy Roberts, Whit Bissell. Alton photographed some of the most famous films noir of the classic period. Alton recalled thinking, "At last, here is a director I can really sit down and talk with." Perhaps it was for the best that Alton didn't get boxed into making just A-level films. In his swift lighting designs, he would establish a shot with only three lights, and then subtract one and then another. The man explained, "These are motion pictures, pictures that move." In one scene, the clever placement of 30 extras to look like a mob is a miraculous visual coup. [Audiences] noticed something different. Fate dealt Alton his winning card in 1947 when Republic assigned him to a fairly new director who had just joined the studio: Anthony Mann. Alton himself said that he used black and white as colors in his work. It addresses both conventional and unconventional methods of studio motion-picture lighting. Each of them, she said, would seek his fortune elsewhere — save for the fifth lad. Get it today with Same Day Delivery, Order Pickup or Drive Up. Write a Review (0 reviews) Write a review and get bonus points. [2] He moved to France with Ernst Lubitsch to film backgrounds for The Student Prince in Old Heidelberg (1927) and ended up staying for one year heading the camera department of Paramount Pictures's Joinville Studios. Top Film Noir Cinematographers: John Alton. Despite the vast technical advances achieved within the motion picture industry much of the content is still pertinent. To do this, he would often incorporate dark, negative space that Jakob called "an active aesthetic element in the frame.". Movies / TV: Suspense-Film Noir: 851968007064 John Alton Film Noir Collection available in DVD Ship This Item — Qualifies for Free Shipping Buy Online, Pick up in Store is currently unavailable, but this item may be available for in-store purchase. What you see with the eye is the important thing that governs your thinking and [that's] what people are looking at.". Yet again, an agent infiltrates a mob. His seminal essay singled out Alton as "the greatest master of noir... an Expressionist cinematographer who could re-light Times Square at noon if necessary." ", It helped that Alton wasn't "afraid of the dark," as he put it. Recollected Alton, "The day after the film was finished, the producer, Arthur Freed, said to me, 'John, that's the first time photography saved a picture. In its pages, Alton maintained that films come in one of three categories: comedy, drama, and mystery. - John Alton No other individual defines the foreboding film style known as noir more than John Alton, the Academy Award®-winning cinematographer (An American in Paris) who established his reputation as one of the movie industry's finest by plying his unique talents in the arena of B-movies. Despite his experience, he couldn't find a niche in A-films — perhaps because he appeared cocky to many. The next year, Minnelli tapped Alton for the ballet scenes in An American in Paris (1951). El cine negro o film noir es un género cinematográfico que se desarrolló en Estados Unidos entre la década de 1930 y 1950 (aunque su pleno apogeo ocurre entre las décadas de 1940 y … FOR SALE! There's a meaning, and it establishes a mood.' Though his film work is later represented by such iconic noirs as Border Incident and The Big Combo, the three features in this collection present the incomparable John Alton at the peak of his art.T-MEN (1947, 92 min. Of particular interest to lighting buffs are the seance scenes lit by a crystal ball — which even include shots from the ball's perspective. Add to Wishlist. Critic Manny Farber cites the film's climax, in which Murphy's character is mulched by a tractor and plow, as one of his favorite scenes in all of cinema. Painting with Light (1949) contains essential reading for any budding filmmaker with detailed information and ideas for lighting several difficult interior and exterior setups and situations. - John Alton No other individual defines the foreboding film style known as noir more than John Alton, the Academy Award®-winning cinematographer (An American in Paris) who established his reputation as one of the movie industry's finest by plying his unique talents in the arena of B-movies. They called me back the next day to work. I don't even know where I left the books!". In the summer of 1923, five lads drove across the country full of optimism, joie de vivre, and the excitement of all things new. ', "They put me in a dressing room, stuck me in a uniform, and put me next to Marion Davies, a big star at that time. Be the first to write a review. One subhead is entitled "What is thinking?" Of course, lighting, and light in itself, is a mystery!" In his spare time, he devoured music and books, and absorbed as much as he could of the art flourishing in museums and galleries, on movie screens, and on the streets. A replica of the Place de Concorde (made of translucent plastic) was done up in the style of Dufy, and later serves as the site of the tale's climactic pas de deux. He had already resigned from the ASC in 1944. John Alton Film Noir Collection (t-Men / Raw Deal / He Walked By Night) $ 29.95 $ 22.46. Their first picture together was Father of the Bride, shot in just 28 days. After the freedom he had experienced in Argentina, the idea of changing careers and becoming a Hollywood producer was rather unappealing. Comparing him to such predecessors as Fritz Arno Wagner and Karl Freund, ASC; Schrader observed that Alton transformed Expressionist techniques to a new generation that craved realism. $34.79 +$6.96 shipping. The gangster genre, so popular during the Great Depression, used the underworld to mirror corruption on high. Alton soon found himself thrust into the movie business in his newly adopted city. Within a month of his arrival, he married a former beauty queen-turned-journalist who had interviewed Alton aboard a ship during his passage to South America. Alton was known for unconventional camera angles—especially low camera shots. The coming of sound had left the thriving Argentinean film industry high and dry, and he stayed there for six years. John Alton, whose cinematography helped define film noir and who later shared an Academy Award for ''An American in Paris,'' died on June 2 … From catwalks, up high. Alton attended the premiere and was hailed by dozens of contemporary luminaries of cinematography. Particularly memorable is a quick close-up of O'Keefe flinching and lowering his head as off-screen gunshots signal the cold-blooded murder of his partner. Most of the things [in the book] had to do with different kinds of lighting — ways of exciting you about ideas in light. When the PFA was showcasing Alton's work, their officials didn't even know which continent he lived on. It doesn't make any difference if that figure talks or sings; it's still a picture, and the picture will always be the basis of the movies. Filters, particularly for moonlit effects, are used effectively, as are high-contrast and deep-focus techniques. The characters also include a thug (John Ireland) and his boss (Raymond Burr), a mob kingpin given to dangerously smoldering moods. item 7 John Alton Film Noir Collection Blu-ray ClassicFlix T-Men Raw Deal 7 - John Alton Film Noir Collection Blu-ray ClassicFlix T-Men Raw Deal. "Theirs is an art of knowing what to reveal and what to conceal. Shadowy cinematography by John Alton. to interior rooms. Of particular renown is Slightly Scarlet (1956), the last of six films he made with director Allan Dwan. John Alton Film Noir Collection (T-Men / Raw Deal / He Walked by Night) - The ClassicFlix Restorations on Blu-ray They noticed that one scene was like this, one scene was like that. In 1949, Alton made two more classics with Mann. In the lobby, a Gypsy fortune teller read their palms. Sale! At that time, he decided to "retire" from active work in the film industry. Since 1930, Alton had been a contributor to International Photographer, so Painting was the fruition of both Alton's studio work and his journalism. ", The text, which Alton had often scribbled in notebooks on the set, also captured some of the cultural life of its day. "Nobody knew it, though. Alain Silver and Elizabeth Ward, co-editors of the original Film Noir: An Encyclopedic Reference to the American Style, re-team to offer solid observations about the film's place in the noir cycle. Be the first to write a customer review. "You, I tell different," she said. At 18, he set sail for New York to live with a prosperous uncle, and to take up studies in photochemistry. '", [Editor’s Note: You'll learn much more about Alton's work on An American in Paris — and the controversy around the Oscar win he shared with Al Gilks, ASC — here.]. On He Walked by Night, Anthony Mann took over the directing reins from Alfred Werker near the end of production. Their first title, T-Men, was a crime procedural based on federal records, which the duo rendered in a noir stylization. "In the morning, when many cameramen came in, they didn't have any plans for what they were going to do, so they just lit [everything] up," he said. Such shots, which were typical for Alton, would soon become standard noir fare. From that point onward, he could promise a quickie dressed up to resemble a major production, and command A-picture salaries for his work on B-movies. Blu-ray John Alton Film Noir Collection (t-Men / Raw Deal / He Walked By Night) $ 39.95 $ 29.96. Hard lighting. In the Hollywood of Alton's era, "art" was a dirty word, yet his compositions invariably beg comparison with such master painters as Rembrandt, da Vinci, de la Tour and Caravaggio. Mar 29, 2015 - Alton had a long and creative career as a cinematographer shooting many different genres and styles. Some people knew that there was something going on [in my pictures], but not what. In this case, the criminals are French Revolutionaries engaged in a plot to replace Robespierre with a more politically moderate candidate. The crime angles keep the love triangle dynamic, and the narration (from Trevor's character) adds to the angularities. Upon arriving in California, they parked on Hollywood Boulevard, in front of the Egyptian movie palace. In the March 1979 PFA calendar, filmmaker Dennis Jakob wrote, “Why do we feature John Alton? In 30 days, I became a millionaire [by my standards]. Raw Deal (Anthony Mann, 1948) B lessed with D.P. In 1972, director Paul Schrader critically championed the form in his essay "Notes on Film Noir" in Film Comment. What do you mean? [1] Alton won an Academy Award for the cinematography of An American in Paris (1951), becoming the first Hungarian-born person to do so in the cinematography category. Film noir was a style that registered a certain social discontent before and after World War II. That light has to tell something. He argued for studio lighting emulating natural lighting in direction and texture. From the moment they "cross the line," the agents communicate only through low-key glances. Working with William Cameron Menzies as designer and Mann as director, Alton was inspired to pull off some of his most memorable shots, some of which seem three-dimensional. T-Men begins with a Treasury agent addressing the audience. Another of the film's high points is the slaying of Schemer (Wallace Ford) in a steam room — a scene played out against the spooky strains of a theremin. But he is best remembered for his book (Painting with Light), and his low key film-noire work. JOHN ALTON FILM NOIR COLLEC...-JOHN ALTON FILM NOIR COLLECTION Blu-Ray NEW - $52.95. "I stopped at the gates of the Cosmopolitan Studio. Mysteries, said Alton, allow a cameraman the chance to eschew "chocolate-covered" lighting and, instead, to light "100 percent naturally." Having applied noir to the French Revolution in The Black Book, Alton used the style to great effect in Anthony Mann's admirable first Western, Devil's Doorway. A child prodigy who sketched constantly, he had his own darkroom by the age of five. Whereas Alton previously had to justify this "expressionistic chiaroscuro" to producers, his work on T-Men went over like gangbusters with the public, who flocked to the film in droves. Indeed it is in the shadowy realm of film noir that he is best known. In Combo, a deaf man being murdered sees the gunfire. Alton's cinematography on the picture evoked the work of many famous painters, including Renoir, Utrillo, Rousseau, Van Gogh and Toulouse-Lautrec. The "frame within the frame" motif recurs throughout film, especially in one indoor image of a man and woman engaging in conversation with a gleaming window situated between them. Reviews. Lighting setups often shifted abruptly in mid-shot, from noon to midnight or from blue to red. At the event, he summed up his achievements with the wisdom of his 94 years, exclaiming, "I took something, improved it, made something with it and I offered it on a platter for the public to enjoy.". Alton wrote Painting with Light (1949), one of the first books written by a working studio cinematographer. Alton honed his cinematographic skills shooting Westerns for "Woody" Van Dyke, a man who valued the input of his cameramen and often defended their interests when no one else would. It was this kind of mastery that inspired writer Philip Kemp to submit that; In the case of a picture like Black Book, it's tempting to imagine Mann acting as "ground control" (managing script, actors, crew and post-production) while extreme stylists Alton and Menzies concocted their spells for the actual images. And... Alton proved himself to be the greatest film noir cameraman of all time. Though their attempts to interview him were thwarted (unbeknownst to Alton), the finished film — which included many striking examples of his work — lured the great cameraman out of his long exile. "But when I'd take most any director aside and ask him to sit down with me, he'd look at me as if I were crazy. That's all I did! The scene seems routine until one notices a small statuette of Abraham Lincoln that casts an exaggerated, ink-black shadow; the shadow undercut the traditional centrality of the speaking figure, and also provided a visual pun, implying that government agents were "shadowing" mobsters. That's my profession — not the lighting and how to light, but bringing out the mood.". The mood had to be done with lighting. Reign of Terror), is an entertaining melange of genres — a "historical romantic action thriller." Alton's lighting in these films was often an active, dramatic narrative element, and another striking moment in Mr. X is a quick shot of a character walking into a darkly lit room: the figure is definitely female, but it's difficult to ascertain whether the woman is a gullible widow or her suspicious sister. 851968007064. Over the years, he remained a figure of mystery, even when critical recognition finally began to come his way. - John Alton No other individual defines the foreboding film style known as noir more than John Alton, the Academy Award®-winning cinematographer (An American in Paris) who established his reputation … The initial pairing of Anthony Mann and John Alton resulted in this classic noir actioner, with a pair of dedicated Treasury agents (Dennis O'Keefe, Alfred Ryder) assigned to infiltrate a … I never went back to the college. The Art Director’s Guild produced this short on Alton and his expert work with his key collaborators: Act now to receive 12 issues of the award-winning AC magazine — the world’s finest cinematography resource. Throughout the picture, the mystery of such locations as telephone booths, steam rooms and midnight waterfronts is heightened by their contrast to such everyday edifices as the offices of the Treasury Department and the Los Angeles Farmers' Market. "Naturalism," or "realism," refers to an experience such as a walk on foggy night that fills one with a certain sense of awe. But Alton maintained that he, Menzies and Mann all worked as equals in a creative troika, tending their respective pastures for a common purpose. In 1932, he moved to Argentinawhere he shot many Spanish-language films and designed the country's firs… The narrative revelation of Gantry's worthlessness is underscored through "concealed lighting." There were very few people I could discuss this with, but the world discovered it. I didn't know anything about gobos. Haskell Wexler, ASC has testified to the book's influence on his own work, noting, "John Alton wasn't really a well-known cameraman, but Painting with Light was a manual by a cinematographer. John Alton's effortlessly precise cinematography mostly most extreme effects while lending realism and character. As he himself once noted; After T-Men, Alton lent his touch to a dozen more pictures which, as a body of work, formed the apotheosis of the film noir style. The book put forth several controversial theories for the day, such as depth is created by placing the brightest object in the scene furthest from the camera, and that studio lighting must always simulate natural light in texture and direction. His style is most notable in the films noir: He Walked by Night, The Big Combo, The Amazing Mr. X, T-Men, and Raw Deal. He moved to France with Ernst Lubitsch to film backgrounds for The Student Prince in Old Heidelberg (1927) and ended up staying for one year heading the camera department of Paramount Pictures's Joinville Studios. And to rough-and-ready American film crews, that could be the greatest affront of all.". See all 9 - All listings for this product. The cinematographer's mobile camera used over 20 different movements during that 17-minute sequence, and actively integrated the choreography. Widely regarded as epitomizing the visual style of high film noir as it approached its baroque period from the late 1940s, cinematographer John Alton’s work in the genre took a thoughtful approach to light, shadow, and their mysterious rapprochement in … What is concealed is heightened." Alton photographed some of the most famous films noir of the classic period. In that genre, Alton possessed the rare ability to photograph exterior shots as effectively as studio work. A groundbreaking look at the camera's role in the making of motion pictures, the book was also the first written by a Hollywood cinematographer. Over the next decade, he made some 34 films. The people making movies had one aim: to make money. All of his film noirs pack a wallop, with fast-paced action and shocking violence. As a cameraman, Alton preferred to plan his shots so that they would convey a film's shifting moods. Van Dyke once said, "You fundamentally still have the old stereoscope as your basis to work from, but somebody's got to get that picture on the wall. Add to Wishlist. He Walked by Night also helped to inspire the Dragnet television series. Be the first to write a customer review. Reflective surfaces — glass-topped tables or puddles in the street — figure prominently in T-Men, and help to make the point that the honest agents are still a gang, just like their targets. In 1966, Alton shot the pilot for Mission: Impossible, which became a successful television series. Alton resigned from the American Society of Cinematographers (ASC) in January 1944, reportedly due to conflicts with ASC founding member and MGM camera department head John Arnold. 70. His virginal pen pal (Marsha Hunt) gets mixed up in the escape, creating a twist on the usual romantic triangle. In the film, a thief turned cop-killer (Richard Basehart) eludes a police dragnet by hiding in the sewers of Los Angeles. Shadowy cinematography by John Alton. During the rest of the Fifties, Alton averaged about three pictures a year, and he even tried his hand at 3-D filmmaking. The latter film is a nightmare journey into the underworld, in which terror is contrasted with idyllic pastoral scenes. Laurel Awards: Golden Laurel, Top Cinematography, Color, This page was last edited on 3 January 2021, at 13:38. We're waiting for you! You're going to make it.". ... Film Noir … Perimeter lighting. It was all worked out.". I didn't realize that the big-time cameramen spent as much time taking things off as they did putting them on. Albert Dekker stars in this fantastic b-movie from 1947. The nightmare sequence, for which Minnelli expressly drafted Alton, is a visual tour de force; however, MGM was normally known for its polished look, so Alton invested most of the film with the light-hearted radiance of winsome, poignant comedy. Sometimes Alton would wrap a scene in ebony blackness (as if there were another frame within the frame of the screen) to invest its minimal patches of light with a higher intensity. In 1932, Alton was offered the opportunity to design and supervise a five-acre studio in Buenos Aires. https://www.amazon.com/Alton-Collection-T-Men-Walked-Night/dp/B079FLRGN4 You just pump a lot of light in!' Another technique that draws the viewer into T-Men is the studied performances of the two actors portraying the story's stylishly dressed heroes, who operate undercover. He continued to read voraciously and took up oil painting; he crafted over 100 small canvasses and then gave them all away. For some, Painting with Light left an indelible impression. Simply because, with the growing appreciation of film noir as the most interesting style/genre of the post-war American cinema, it has become obvious that the director of photography is as important, even in many cases more important, than the director in creating the fatalistic mood and compositional tension which are the hallmarks of film noir expressiveness. The Scar), and Raw Deal. I call it 'work,' but I just stood next to Marion Davies, the star. The Spiritualist), He Walked by Night, Hollozu Triumph (a.k.a. In 1932, he moved to Argentina where he shot many Spanish-language films and designed the country's first sound film studio for Lumiton and Argentina Sono Film. In The Amazing Mr. X, Turhan Bey plays a charismatic psychic who preys on dowagers. Born in a castle in 1901, in a village on the Austrian border of Hungary, Alton lived to a ripe old age before dying on June 2, 1996 in Santa Monica. "I was tired of fighting [with the studios]," he confessed. Noted Alton, "The most interesting things in the world happen at night. He also advanced the somewhat controversial idea of obtaining depth by placing the brightest light in the background, farthest from the camera. Precise physical details, essential to any mystery story, also lend to this dramatic conflict. No other individual defines the foreboding film style known as noir more than John Alton, the Academy Award-winning cinematographer (An American in Paris) who established his reputation as one of the movie industry's finest by plying his unique talents in the arena of B-movies. I'd ask the director his opinion of how he would like to see each scene. Alton had never seen such a thing, and was instantly fascinated. It was time for me to move on.". Write a Review (0 reviews) Write a review and get bonus points. Film-noir has played a gigantic role in enticing Leon Lewis into studying film, and who better to write a book about than “the most influential noir cinematographer” John Alton. Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards, "John Alton: Cinematography's Outlier, Part One", https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=John_Alton&oldid=998034377, Best Cinematographer Academy Award winners, Wikipedia articles with SUDOC identifiers, Wikipedia articles with WORLDCATID identifiers, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License. While T-Men, shot in Detroit and L.A., was made in some six weeks, Raw Deal shaved that production schedule in half. Another classic from 1949, The Black Book (a.k.a. But the real glue that holds this set together comes from cinematographer John Alton, who photographed all three movies. The story's wedding is all the more enchanting because it survives some harrowing detours, such as a series of unexpected late-night phone calls. All of a sudden a door opened, and a man grabbed me by the shoulders and said, 'Hurry up! In the annals of film noir, the collaborations of the cinematographer John Alton and the director Anthony Mann are legendary: T-MEN and RAW DEAL represent high points for these artists. He was reinstated at his request less than a year later, with the help of Leon Shamroy,[4] but ended up resigning a second and final time in March 1954.[5]. The very term "film noir" was, in fact, an afterthought — a French term derived from the expression "roman noir" ("dark novel") which describes English Gothic fiction of the 19th Century. "One day, I had the nerve to drop the books, and I went down to look at the pictures," he recalled. The year 1950 marked the beginning of a creative relationship with director Vincente Minnelli. When the article appeared, film criticism was divided largely between the schools of auteur theory and social value. 851968007071. Quick View. The book later went out of print, but the critical re-evaluation of Alton's work led to its reprinting, and it is now a highly respected tome in cinematography circles.

Sun Right In My Eye And Maximus, Indeed Programming Fundamentals Assessment, Bear School Gear Maps, Esther Perel Books, Shih Tzu Rescue North East, Jameson Irish Whiskey The Distiller's Safe, Band Of Skulls Live 2019, Funny Wine Glass Messages, Kickin' It Season 1 Episode 3,