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Color and audio in "The Caine Mutiny"


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#1 Tim O'Connor

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Posted 29 July 2007 - 08:08 AM

I just watched "The Caine Mutiny" (1954, Technicolor.)


There is a lot of soundstage work, some location work and some apparently
real World War Two footage.

I was struck by how clean the audio is and how I accepted it as I followed the
story even though the audio is hardly realistic. For example, in the ext. scenes
aboard the ship, under the dialogue there is the musical score, which is
annoying at times as it seems to be a bit too intrusive in that old-fashioned
way, but hardly any realistic background noise, e.g. the wind, the sounds of
the waves, engines, etc.., except maybe for plot points.

In some of the other exterior practical location scenes, there are shots that are
not too wide but wide enough that they would have been tricky to mike and the
dialogue sounds great but there isn't a lot of ambient noise. It seems that a lot
of this dialogue must have been done in post but it certainly doesn't look it.


Also this movie is in Technicolor and there is a credit for a Technicolor
consultant but on the DVD I watched, from a video store, it seems that often
all of the flesh tones are virtually the same extra bright and with a lot of
orange in them. (I watched other programs right after this on the same t.v.
and those colors looked right.)


There's an interesting shot with about three minutes left in the movie. It's
a shot of a street with traffic moving along and in the background are several
parked trucks. They look as if they are a black and white background matte of
some kind. I replayed the shot several times and
concluded that they are real trucks that are grey but that look jumped out at
me in a Technicolor movie.
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#2 Christian Appelt

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Posted 29 July 2007 - 10:14 AM

Director Edward Dmytrik wrote that he did some research for actual WW2 footage of ships in storm and heavy sea but could not find anything usable. 16mm color reversal was quite slow and would not allow for shooting in bad weather.

I like THE CAINE MUTINY because it has all that fine actors, but as the studio wanted and needed the U.S. Navy's cooperation, it was impossible to get closer to the novel. Herman Wouk's book is a classic and still worth a reading, in the original story the "Caine" is the exact opposite of the clean and well-run ship you see in the movie. :)

Oh, and Dmytrik uses many script passages and scenes from CAINE to teach directing and editing in his great book ON FILMMAKING!

Edited by Christian Appelt, 29 July 2007 - 10:15 AM.

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#3 Tim O'Connor

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Posted 29 July 2007 - 11:41 AM

Director Edward Dmytrik wrote that he did some research for actual WW2 footage of ships in storm and heavy sea but could not find anything usable. 16mm color reversal was quite slow and would not allow for shooting in bad weather.

I like THE CAINE MUTINY because it has all that fine actors, but as the studio wanted and needed the U.S. Navy's cooperation, it was impossible to get closer to the novel. Herman Wouk's book is a classic and still worth a reading, in the original story the "Caine" is the exact opposite of the clean and well-run ship you see in the movie. :)

Oh, and Dmytrik uses many script passages and scenes from CAINE to teach directing and editing in his great book ON FILMMAKING!



That's surprising about the footage. Maybe it's simply that for some of their aerial shots of Navy
ships
the production used a different camera/lens/film development than lugging the big Technicolor
set-up onto a plane and that's why some of the shots look different.

I haven't read the book but I've read other stuff by Herman Wouk that is excellent. When I saw the
shots on the carrier I knew that they must have had to have U.S. Navy cooperation and I
wondered what story compromises that caused. Look at "Top Gun" plenty of Department of
Defense cooperation but "Platoon", forget it.

Thanks for the recommmendations. I'll check out both books.
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#4 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 29 July 2007 - 02:21 PM

"Crimson Tide" failed to get U.S. military cooperation because it was about a mutiny too -- the aircraft carrier used for a few scenes was from some other country.

"Caine Mutiny" was near the end of 3-strip photography, and one of the first 3-strip produtions, I think, that was released were the studio tried cropping it to widescreeen during projection (1.66 I think.)
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#5 Tim O'Connor

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Posted 29 July 2007 - 03:34 PM

"Crimson Tide" failed to get U.S. military cooperation because it was about a mutiny too -- the aircraft carrier used for a few scenes was from some other country.

"Caine Mutiny" was near the end of 3-strip photography, and one of the first 3-strip produtions, I think, that was released were the studio tried cropping it to widescreeen during projection (1.66 I think.)


The DVD I watched looked pretty close to 1:66, not much more for sure.
"Crimson Tide" is a great picture.
HBO is running "Twin Falls Idaho". It's fun when it's on cable because when I flick the t.v. on while
I grab a bite I get to see it quite often and it becomes a way to study. Looks cool!
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