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Doctor Zhivago


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#1 Gabriel Cortez

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Posted 05 January 2007 - 11:08 AM

I wonder if that kind of lighting concept (hard and patterned - fractured - lighting) would be accepted (liked) by today's soft-light-tamed audiences. Recently, The Black Dahlia echoed the "old style", going back to harsh shadows, thanks to an also old master, Vilmos.

I wonder what your opinions are, regarding the so under-used, nowadays, power of hard lighting? Of course that it's not like everything is softlight in our times, but that's definately the norm, so to speak. Maybe it comes from TV practices, you tell me.

Oh and I don't wanna start a hard vs. soft debate here, just seeking some answers.

Thanks!


P.S. Can you also have your say on Freddie Young's best movies? At least which ones you liked the most.
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#2 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 05 January 2007 - 11:58 AM

The three David Lean movies are probably Young's finest work.

It's not too hard to re-introduce a hard light style when doing a period movie set during that time when cinema used that style (1940's-50') because it can be justified as a homage to Film Noir or old-fashioned gloss, whatever.

It's harder to use it in a contemporary movie unless it is really motivated by believable sources. Soft light, although not always realistically motivated, tends to not call as much attention to itself compared to a hard light. Soft light can be justified as natural ambience, whereas a hard light suggests that it is coming from somewhere.

That doesn't mean that a hard light style can't be used, just that it will come off as stylization. Hence why it tends to work in genre movies that lend themselves to some degree of stylization, like a horror or non-realistic crime movie. Look at "Reservoir Dogs" or "Pulp Fiction", which have a hard light style partially imposed by the fact that both were shot almost entirely on 50 ASA daylight-balanced film stock and lit with a lot of HMI PAR's punching through sets.
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#3 Ignacio Aguilar

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Posted 06 January 2007 - 05:30 PM

P.S. Can you also have your say on Freddie Young's best movies? At least which ones you liked the most.


Young himself once said "Doctor Zhivago" was his favorite work for Lean, as it let him to show his all his lighting skills. It was shot entirely on sets, whereas "Lawrence of Arabia" was pretty much shot on location, and it shows at times (remember those tracking shots in the corridors with a 10K just behind the camera or the multiple shadows of the Cairo interiors?). "Ryan Daughter's" is great, of course (you can't never forget the west coast of Ireland... in Super Panavision), but some of the best work he ever did shows IMHO on "Nicholas and Alexandra" (1971), which is pretty similar to "Doctor Zhivago" but a bit softer and colorful. And as far as I know, he was pretty fond of the B&W "Goodbye, Mr. Chips" (1939).
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#4 Tim Partridge

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Posted 06 January 2007 - 07:19 PM

TREASURE ISLAND is REALLY grand, elegant Technicolor work, LORD JIM is on par with the Lean stuff (obvious he was hired to repeat that look) there's some really ahead of it's time shallow focus long lens stuff in there. BATTLE OF BRITAIN is a good looker too.

I think David is right that Lean brought out the best in Young. Both deserve as much credit as each other for the visual quality of their work together.
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#5 Ignacio Aguilar

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Posted 06 January 2007 - 07:24 PM

LORD JIM is on par with the Lean stuff (obvious he was hired to repeat that look)


The last reel from "Lord Jim" and overall day exteriors are amazing, but I can't stand the middle section, with those lengthy scenes featuring day-for-night stuff.
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#6 Adam Frisch FSF

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Posted 16 January 2007 - 08:24 AM

I actually wouldn't call it that hard. It's not noir in any way. Sure, it was lit with hard sources, but there's a lot of bounced light in Zhivago. Just look at many of the interiors in the country house in Siberia (which I've been trying to remember the name of - it had a name), for example.

I love Young's work in it and I think the compositions and camerawork is amazing - just look at the scene following Steiger's character as he comes to visit Lara and her mother in the seamstress workshop - all shot from outside the frosted windows with very elaborate camera moves on those old bullcranes on railway tracks they tended to use back then. Or all those quite complex reflection shots. Very advanced and quite hitchcockian in style.
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#7 Jason Maeda

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Posted 20 January 2007 - 09:51 PM

check out the new bond film.

jk :ph34r:
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#8 Kenny N Suleimanagich

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Posted 29 January 2007 - 12:32 AM

i think the reason why Lean brought out the best in Young was because of the fact that Lean was an editor, so he knew how he would cut the film all through the shooting, and knew the types of shots he wanted. Lean's vision and Young's talent were a prime example of a perfect collaboration between a director and cinematographer. I think what forged the relationship was working together for 2 years in the deserts of Syria, Jordan, and Morocco.

Edited by Kenny N Suleimanagich, 29 January 2007 - 12:34 AM.

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