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Best Cinematography You've Seen In A Comedy?


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#1 Macks Fiiod

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Posted 03 September 2016 - 06:22 PM

It's not really a genre people go to for cinematography, but it's interesting to see all aspects of a project fully utilized even if people are only going for one thing. As in COMEDY has to be the primary genre, not "dramedy".

 

I personally enjoyed the look of Crazy Stupid Love.


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#2 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 03 September 2016 - 10:00 PM

My favorites are probably Chris Menges' work on "Local Hero" and "Comfort and Joy", and many Woody Allen movies, but those are all on the lower-key, naturalistic side, not really "lit" for comedy.  Same goes for the comedies shot by David Watkin for Richard Lester, or Roger Deakins' work on the Coen Brothers movies.

 

I'm also a fan of William Fraker's work on comedies like "Heaven Can Wait" and "1941" but those either are romantic comedies (in the first) or period action comedies (in the second.)

 

And there's also the Wes Anderson films, which have some lovely cinematography by Robert Yeoman.


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#3 JB Earl

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Posted 03 September 2016 - 10:38 PM

"The Smell of Success" I think is beautiful.   !


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#4 Tristan Noelle

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Posted 04 September 2016 - 01:47 AM

I'm always impressed by parody films that really nail the look of the genre they're spoofing.  Gerald Hirschfield's work on "Young Frankenstein" is a great example of that, and he has some great stories of finding that look. 

 

Brandon Trost's cinematography in "MacGruber" is great, it looks like a big budget action film.  His comedy work in general has a lower key and edgier feel that stands out from a lot of contemporary comedy work.


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#5 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 06 September 2016 - 12:18 AM

I really enjoy Edgar Wright's movies look.

 

Also I really liked the Cinematography of Bridget Jone's Diary.

 

Death to Smoochy-- though a dark comedy-- i think is also pretty beautiful.


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#6 Bruce Southerland

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Posted 06 September 2016 - 12:00 PM

I really liked the look Caleb Deschanel acheived in "Being There".
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#7 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 06 September 2016 - 12:15 PM

I really liked the look Caleb Deschanel acheived in "Being There".

 

 

Yes, that's great -- very much in the mode of some of the comedies lit by Gordon Willis or Owen Roizman.


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#8 Tyler Purcell

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Posted 07 September 2016 - 12:55 PM

Gordon Willis for sure, those Woody Allen films look amazing.
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#9 joshua gallegos

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Posted 07 September 2016 - 02:21 PM

I really enjoyed the cinematography in 'Some Like It Hot' by Charles Lang, it was Billy Wilder who went against the idea of shooting the film as a comedy, because the opening had to be very gritty and real, so that the audience believed that the characters were really scared. If you really think about how absurd the plot is, you would never have imagined it would've worked so well, that's just the pure genius of Wilder. Also the work done by Robert Elswit on Punch-Drunk Love.


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#10 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 07 September 2016 - 08:44 PM

If you like Charles Lang, ASC, Criterion is putting out a blu-ray of his VistaVision western, "One-Eyed Jacks", partly shot in Monterey, CA.


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#11 George Ebersole

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Posted 07 September 2016 - 08:51 PM

I like the camera work on "It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World", but not the shot design.

 

"Ishtar" was said to have good cinematography way back in the day when it was released.  I thought it was okay.  The movie itself apparently didn't do well, and I've always wondered if that was because it was shot like a drama instead of a comedy.


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#12 joshua gallegos

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Posted 08 September 2016 - 12:42 PM

If you like Charles Lang, ASC, Criterion is putting out a blu-ray of his VistaVision western, "One-Eyed Jacks", partly shot in Monterey, CA.

I've never seen 'One-Eyed Jacks', but I particularly love The Ghost & Mrs Muir, added to the soundtrack by Bernard Herrmann, it's truly a great underrated film. I remember being completely enchanted by it, when I saw it on TCM some years ago. 

 


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#13 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 08 September 2016 - 12:47 PM

It's been a long time since I've seen that one but I recall it being very lovely.  Have you ever seen "Portrait of Jennie" (1948)? Lush b&w cinematography by Joseph August, ASC.  The shoot exhausted him (being a Selznick production) and he died right after he finished it.


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#14 George Ebersole

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Posted 08 September 2016 - 04:47 PM

Another one is "My Man Godfrey" with Carole Lombard and William Powell.  A family favorite.

 


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#15 John E Clark

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Posted 08 September 2016 - 05:57 PM

It's been a long time since I've seen that one but I recall it being very lovely.  Have you ever seen "Portrait of Jennie" (1948)? Lush b&w cinematography by Joseph August, ASC.  The shoot exhausted him (being a Selznick production) and he died right after he finished it.

 

Oopps responded to the wrong post...


Edited by John E Clark, 08 September 2016 - 05:57 PM.

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#16 John E Clark

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Posted 08 September 2016 - 06:00 PM

If you like Charles Lang, ASC, Criterion is putting out a blu-ray of his VistaVision western, "One-Eyed Jacks", partly shot in Monterey, CA.

 

It has been a million years since I've seen this film... so I can't comment on the cinematography, but I was so unimpressed by the story/acting, I've not been interested in seeing it again.

 

On the other hand, "Mutiny on the Bounty"(1962) fused in my preadolescent brain the desire to go to the South Pacific... Mumbles Brando notwithstanding...

 

Apropos this forum, Robert Surtees, who was the Bounty cinematographer, had a string of awards and nominations, including an Oscar for "Ben Hur"(1959).

 

Do "The Graduate"(1967) and "The Sting"(1973) count as 'comedies"?


Edited by John E Clark, 08 September 2016 - 06:01 PM.

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#17 Macks Fiiod

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Posted 09 September 2016 - 01:34 AM

My favorites are probably Chris Menges' work on "Local Hero" and "Comfort and Joy", and many Woody Allen movies, but those are all on the lower-key, naturalistic side, not really "lit" for comedy.

 

What exactly do you mean by "lit" for comedy? I understand different genres can have different styles, but is there always a set of guidelines for shooting for humorous tone?

 

Also thanks to everyone for your suggestions.


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#18 Andrew Payne

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Posted 09 September 2016 - 11:07 AM

What exactly do you mean by "lit" for comedy? I understand different genres can have different styles, but is there always a set of guidelines for shooting for humorous tone?
 
Also thanks to everyone for your suggestions.


Comedy often is lit very evenly avoiding shadows and contrast. Compare this to say, a crime drama which might have strong contrast, shadows and subdued or gloomy colors.

The traditional thinking is that shadows and darkness symbolize mystery and danger, and presumably evoke feelings of fear, isolation and sadness. The goal with comedy is normally the opposite. Rather it's to create a cheerful setting, reduce anxiety, and set the mood for laughter.

I don't think there are rules, and there are many great exceptions where comedies have used more dramatic lighting with very funny results. But that's the basic idea.
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#19 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 09 September 2016 - 11:13 AM

Comedies tend to minimize the use of moodier lighting expect for story reasons, otherwise there is a tendency for a more "cheerful" tone, more high-key.  In physical comedy, there is also the rule that you need to see the "gag" clearly.

 

It's a bit of a cliche though.


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#20 John E Clark

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Posted 09 September 2016 - 11:27 AM

 

What exactly do you mean by "lit" for comedy? I understand different genres can have different styles, but is there always a set of guidelines for shooting for humorous tone?

 

Also thanks to everyone for your suggestions.

 

One does see stronger lighting in comedies when the comedy is parodizing a known genre, such as horror. Otherwise comedy tends to be less contrasty.

 

A for example of lighting parody for humor response, the late Gene Wilder and Peter Boyle, in Mel Brooks' "Young Frankenstein"(1974)

 

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Edited by John E Clark, 09 September 2016 - 11:28 AM.

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