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I Wake Up Screaming


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#1 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 19 December 2006 - 02:25 AM

Following up on our discussion of b&w from the thread on "The Good German", I just saw this B-movie from Fox, shot by Edward Cronjager.

It's a good example of basic film noir, and how it mixes realism with German Expressionism. The story intercuts flashbacks with a police interrogation of a suspect. You see here in these shots of the interrogation that the lighting on the hero (Victor Mature) is fairly motivated and practically achieved -- he is toplit by a hanging lamp, plus he has another lamp shining into his face. The chief detective interrogating him is silhouette because the hero can't make his features out due to the lighting in the room.

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Later on, the detective comes back into the room and the DP cheats a little more light onto him in the darkness, since his identity is not a mystery by this point.

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Victor Mature leaps up to attack the detective, knocking over the standing lamp, causing the two men to be almost silhouette.

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You see how the b&w lighting allows the image to be both simultaneously gritty and realistic yet stylized and theatrical. It would be harder for color to achieve this type of mood.

I would add that the rest of this movie, which is mainly the flashback before the murder, is not really lit in a film noir style, but more of a high key romantic style.
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#2 James Erd

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Posted 19 December 2006 - 02:58 AM

Nice B)

I especially like the composition of the shots. It really gives me that claustrophobic feeling. Nice use of negative space in the last one.
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#3 Jonathan Bowerbank

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Posted 19 December 2006 - 06:26 PM

I really love looking at a lot of those old B-Movies, many of which had very talented DP's who basically used the films to experiment with their craft and really get creative...despite the horrible acting & scripts.

I guess DP's did with B-movies then what most DP's do with commercials today.
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#4 James Erd

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Posted 19 December 2006 - 09:00 PM

I really love looking at a lot of those old B-Movies, many of which had very talented DP's who basically used the films to experiment with their craft and really get creative...despite the horrible acting & scripts.

I guess DP's did with B-movies then what most DP's do with commercials today.


Agreed.

Also Victor Mature is definitely not my favorite actor of the period, but this film looks great. You can see attention to detail in the 2nd and 4th shots David posted, you can see the bulb in the reflector and just enough detail in the background. It's one of those home runs that often go unnoticed when you see it on the tube at home.
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