Neo noir

Discussion in 'Movies' started by Snarky's Ghost, Nov 15, 2017.

  1. Snarky's Ghost

    Snarky's Ghost Soap Chat Oracle

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    I just saw what's sometimes referred to as Robert Altman's forgotten (or, really, mostly unseen) pre-MASH classic, "A Cold Day in the Park" (1969), for the first time in many years. Sandy Dennis plays a neurotic, well-to-do spinster in Vancouver who apparently has a penchant for picking up homeless young men and locking them in her guest room at night.

    It's bizarre at times, but a better film than I had remembered. More importantly, it belongs to that era in film (and television) where the direction and camerawork put a modern spin to the old '40s film noir style of shooting: unique camera angles, atmospheric lighting where the shadows seem to streak as much as the sunlight, a moody, claustrophobic vibe which keeps everything focused.

    But this neo noir approach replaced B&W with color, and added perspective shots with sudden changes in focus within the same frame, and this zoom-in-and-blur/unblur-and-zoom-out technique I still find extremely effective and have frankly missed for forty years plus. It seemed to first appear around 1964 or '65 in a limited number of places, becoming much more common by the end of the '60s and sort of disappearing after about 1974.

    I almost feel like movies have never quite been movies again after this cinematic technique fell out of use and was abandoned.

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    DVDTalk says about the camerwork in Altman's film: "... a fantastically fluid, amazingly expressive technical collaboration between Robert Altman and his DP, the great Laszlo Kovacs, that's full of beguiling, seemingly near-continuous slow pans and zooms, with shifts in the film's usually shallow focus that create a visual atmosphere at once raw, gauzy-soft, and rife with unexpected, near-hallucinatory detail..."


    But in fact so many movies were shot that way at the time.
     
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2017
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  2. Snarky's Ghost

    Snarky's Ghost Soap Chat Oracle

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    Although this thread topic isn't about one movie or Sandy Dennis, film critic Pauline Kael (of whom I tend to be rabidly comtemptuous) once said of Dennis that she "has made an acting style of postnasal drip."
     

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