Jump to content


Photo

Wagner


  • Please log in to reply
1 reply to this topic

#1 David Mullen ASC

David Mullen ASC
  • Sustaining Members
  • 19769 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Los Angeles

Posted 23 November 2007 - 12:41 AM

This is the TV movie that Storaro shot around 1982-83. I've seen almost every version of this movie/mini-series, starting with the 10-hour version that played on the Z Channel in the late 1980's, which I had recorded to VHS tape. I also saw the 5-hour version and a 3-hour version. I finally found a PAL DVD of the 5-hour version, though the technical quality of the transfer is mediocre, as have all the TV versions have been.

The movie is so-so as a biopic, though it has a certain dreamlike, hypnotic quality due to a rather obtuse script by Charles Wood, and an overuse of slow zoom-ins by director Tony Palmer. What holds it together is Richard Burton's performance, Storaro's photography, and lots of music by Wagner. So this is the world's longest, slowest, classical music video ever made...

There is one sequence that I've always loved because Storaro's expressiveness is matched to the dialogue and music in perfect harmony. In it, Wagner reads the poem he has written for "Tristan and Isolde" for which he plans on writing the music to. The scene has the love theme from "Tristan and Isolde" playing underneath it, matching the words, and builds into a non-dialogue moment as all the characters look at each other in silence (Wagner at that time having an affair with the wife of his financial backer, while he and his wife are living with them in Switzerland).

It starts out with a medium close shot of Wagner standing in front of his listeners in a drawing room. The first line of the poem he reads is "The Light... The Light..." As he speaks, the camera slowly zooms back to a wide shot, and at the same time, sunlight begins to fade up in the background room behind Wagner's head, as if the late afternoon sun was breaking through a cloud.

Posted Image

Posted Image

Posted Image

After a cutaway to Wagner's wife's reaction, it cuts to Wagner again, pulling back as he crosses the room and kisses the hand of his mistress (as his wife and her husband watch), and then he sits down next to Cosima Von Bulow (daughter of Franz Liszt, wife of Wagner's conductor/arranger, and future mistress and then wife of Wagner). As he moves through the room, the sunlight starts to fade up on the foreground characters too, matching the swelling of the love theme to "Tristan and Isolde".

Posted Image

Posted Image

Posted Image
  • 0

#2 Saul Rodgar

Saul Rodgar
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 1682 posts
  • Cinematographer

Posted 23 November 2007 - 03:48 AM

Wow!

Kudos to David for consistently sharing great info that others would keep to themselves and selfishly exploit, a true class act. Up until recently I considered myself mostly self taught, but lately I suspect I have been inadvertently attending M. David Mullen's Master Cinematography Class!
THANKS!
  • 0


Wooden Camera

Ritter Battery

FJS International, LLC

CineTape

Willys Widgets

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Visual Products

The Slider

Opal

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Tai Audio

CineLab

Technodolly

Paralinx LLC

rebotnix Technologies

Rig Wheels Passport

Glidecam

Metropolis Post

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Abel Cine

Aerial Filmworks

rebotnix Technologies

Willys Widgets

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Wooden Camera

Tai Audio

Aerial Filmworks

Broadcast Solutions Inc

CineTape

FJS International, LLC

Visual Products

Abel Cine

Metropolis Post

Ritter Battery

Rig Wheels Passport

CineLab

Technodolly

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Opal

Paralinx LLC

The Slider

Glidecam