Posted 20 August 2005 - 11:11 AM
I saw this film at the theatre in the 80s. What struck me about this film seeing it now is that they didn't bother to try and "fancy up" the lighting in any way. They just shot is "straight." When people are outside talking, which happens a lot, there are clearly no lights or bounce cards being used. They just let the harsh light & shadows of full sun do what it does when it falls on people's faces. Every one wears a cowboy hat in the film and they never bothered to try and throw some light under the brims.
In the scene where Eastwood confronts the corupt town boss in his office, it's very dark. Some times you can only see the persons face in a bit of light, no BG.
My wife had never seen this film before and made what I thought was the ultimate comment about the lighting, she said, "is this a Canadian film?" Canadian films are famous for their bad lighting and "cheap" look.
Now on the one hand this was kind of a refreshing look to film making, it wasn't glossy at all, and maybe that's why they chose this sort of lighting? They thought it added to the 1800s feel of the wild west.
Any way if you have not seen Pale Rider, rent it at the video store next time and you'll see what I'm talking about.
Contrast it with the best lit film in the history of the world, "The Natural", with Robert Redford. Any one who can emulate the Natural for it's lighting is guaranteed success as a DOP in Hollywood.
Posted 20 August 2005 - 12:25 PM
Eastwood (as a director) has a reputation for a measured exactness to his filmmaking, so i'm sure the lighting decisions made by Surtees in Pale Rider were entirely in keeping with Eastwoods' vision for the film.
Posted 20 August 2005 - 01:26 PM
A director I know was less than complimentary about "Bridges of Madison County" -- "it looked like they just pulled the van up to the side of a road and shot the scenes with no equipment." So not everyone is as impressed by visual restraint and simplicity as others are...
Posted 22 August 2005 - 01:13 AM