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Critic Manny Farber cites the film's climax, in which Murphy's character is mulched by a tractor and plow, as one of his favorite scenes in all of cinema. item 7 John Alton Film Noir Collection Blu-ray ClassicFlix T-Men Raw Deal 7 - John Alton Film Noir Collection Blu-ray ClassicFlix T-Men Raw Deal. Reviews. (a.k.a. Directors: Alfred L. Werker, Anthony Mann | Stars: Richard Basehart, Scott Brady, Roy Roberts, Whit Bissell. Alton de-emphasized the human form, making it an element within a mosaic of different visual events. In this film, Alton's exterior artistry is as expert as his interior work, with landscapes assuming an active importance. All of his film noirs pack a wallop, with fast-paced action and shocking violence. Mysteries, said Alton, allow a cameraman the chance to eschew "chocolate-covered" lighting and, instead, to light "100 percent naturally." Read reviews and buy John Alton Film Noir Collection (Blu-ray) at Target. In Combo, a deaf man being murdered sees the gunfire. In his swift lighting designs, he would establish a shot with only three lights, and then subtract one and then another. He began as a lab technician in Los Angeles in the 1920s, later becoming a cameraman within four years. The book put forth several controversial theories for the day, such as depth is created by placing the brightest object in the scene furthest from the camera, and that studio lighting must always simulate natural light in texture and direction. Alton also worked extensively with film pioneer Allan Dawn in the 50s, mostly in decidedly B-pictures. You just pump a lot of light in!' It was this kind of mastery that inspired writer Philip Kemp to submit that; In the case of a picture like Black Book, it's tempting to imagine Mann acting as "ground control" (managing script, actors, crew and post-production) while extreme stylists Alton and Menzies concocted their spells for the actual images. During the rest of the Fifties, Alton averaged about three pictures a year, and he even tried his hand at 3-D filmmaking. What is concealed is heightened." Yet again, an agent infiltrates a mob. The scene seems routine until one notices a small statuette of Abraham Lincoln that casts an exaggerated, ink-black shadow; the shadow undercut the traditional centrality of the speaking figure, and also provided a visual pun, implying that government agents were "shadowing" mobsters. And... Alton proved himself to be the greatest film noir cameraman of all time. Some people knew that there was something going on [in my pictures], but not what. )”Superb visual quality that does justice to John Alton?s striking black & white cinematography…” His virginal pen pal (Marsha Hunt) gets mixed up in the escape, creating a twist on the usual romantic triangle. Their first picture together was Father of the Bride, shot in just 28 days. See all 9 - All listings for this product. Within a month of his arrival, he married a former beauty queen-turned-journalist who had interviewed Alton aboard a ship during his passage to South America. I had one aim: to make beautiful pictures. ", The text, which Alton had often scribbled in notebooks on the set, also captured some of the cultural life of its day. "Nobody knew it, though. https://www.amazon.com/Alton-Collection-T-Men-Walked-Night/dp/B079FLRGN4 These films were offbeat dramas in which dark and light, good and evil, were touched by the finger of Fate and switched roles. From the moment they "cross the line," the agents communicate only through low-key glances. In 1949, Alton made two more classics with Mann. Widely regarded as epitomizing the visual style of high film noir as it approached its baroque period from the late 1940s, cinematographer John Alton’s work in the genre took a thoughtful approach to light, shadow, and their mysterious rapprochement in … Alton wrote Painting with Light (1949), one of the first books written by a working studio cinematographer. In that genre, Alton possessed the rare ability to photograph exterior shots as effectively as studio work. So I lost my balance. That's all I did! Directors: Alfred L. Werker, Anthony Mann | Stars: Richard Basehart, Scott Brady, Roy Roberts, Whit Bissell. Alton soon found himself thrust into the movie business in his newly adopted city. The year 1950 marked the beginning of a creative relationship with director Vincente Minnelli. Schrader stressed visual style. [2] He moved to France with Ernst Lubitsch to film backgrounds for The Student Prince in Old Heidelberg (1927) and ended up staying for one year heading the camera department of Paramount Pictures's Joinville Studios. Then I'd go home and, even though it took me a lot of time, I'd work out every scene — [including] which lights and tricks to use. In 1932, he moved to Argentinawhere he shot many Spanish-language films and designed the country's firs… Having applied noir to the French Revolution in The Black Book, Alton used the style to great effect in Anthony Mann's admirable first Western, Devil's Doorway. - John Alton No other individual defines the foreboding film style known as noir more than John Alton, the Academy Award®-winning cinematographer (An American in Paris) who established his reputation … Scarlet suffers in comparison to his work the previous year for director Joseph H. Lewis on The Big Combo, which presented a bitter, repressed world of menace and doom. In 1972, director Paul Schrader critically championed the form in his essay "Notes on Film Noir" in Film Comment. The gangster genre, so popular during the Great Depression, used the underworld to mirror corruption on high. Lighting setups often shifted abruptly in mid-shot, from noon to midnight or from blue to red. The very term "film noir" was, in fact, an afterthought — a French term derived from the expression "roman noir" ("dark novel") which describes English Gothic fiction of the 19th Century. He proposed such innovations as an all-purpose conglomeration of lights arranged in a circular fashion, based on an apparatus (which he dubbed a "streamlight") that he had seen at the UFA Studio in Germany. https://ascmag.com/articles/john-alton-master-of-the-film-noir-mood What you see with the eye is the important thing that governs your thinking and [that's] what people are looking at.". Alton's light throughout is modulated yet harsh. As a cameraman, Alton preferred to plan his shots so that they would convey a film's shifting moods. Top Film Noir Cinematographers: John Alton. Particularly memorable is a quick close-up of O'Keefe flinching and lowering his head as off-screen gunshots signal the cold-blooded murder of his partner. Alton had never seen such a thing, and was instantly fascinated. Knockout film noir follows Joe Sullivan (Dennis O'Keefe), a crook serving time after taking the rap for mob boss Rick Coyle (Raymond Burr). I'd say 'You don't 'pump' light into a scene. "I stopped at the gates of the Cosmopolitan Studio. In 1948, he shot five of these films: Canon City, The Amazing Mr. X. In the summer of 1923, five lads drove across the country full of optimism, joie de vivre, and the excitement of all things new. He was soon trekking across Europe and Asia, where he shot short subjects and foreign-language features. to interior rooms. Blu-ray John Alton Film Noir Collection (t-Men / Raw Deal / He Walked By Night) $ 39.95 $ 29.96. MGM's Border Incident (featuring Ricardo Montalban, George Murphy and Howard da Silva) follows the "procedural" style of T-Men and He Walked by Night, as two agents infiltrate a mob involved in the exploitation of illegal labor from Mexico. The characters also include a thug (John Ireland) and his boss (Raymond Burr), a mob kingpin given to dangerously smoldering moods. Alton eventually returned to MGM, where he'd already worked for 18 years. Write a Review (0 reviews) Write a review and get bonus points. In 1960, Alton abruptly quit the industry. Well, at home I used to get $1.50 a week, and here they gave me $12.50, for one day. He found work at RKO, Paramount and then Republic, averaging about four B-pictures a year. Working with William Cameron Menzies as designer and Mann as director, Alton was inspired to pull off some of his most memorable shots, some of which seem three-dimensional. John Alton’s Wellesian deep focus and chiaroscuro lighting, which create a fraught tension between foreground and background planes, Anthony Mann’s Raw Deal is the apex of noir style, offering up electric visions of sin, salvation, and sexual mania. Over the next decade, he made some 34 films. ', "They put me in a dressing room, stuck me in a uniform, and put me next to Marion Davies, a big star at that time. The Spiritualist), He Walked by Night, Hollozu Triumph (a.k.a. His style is most notable in the films noir: He Walked by Night, The Big Combo, The Amazing Mr. X, T-Men, and Raw Deal. Indeed it is in the shadowy realm of film noir that he is best known. Quick View. Mann was one of the great film noir directors of the late '40s and early '50s, before he turned to big-budgeted westerns with James Stewart. Write a Review (0 reviews) Write a review and get bonus points. Starring Dennis O'Keefe and Alfred Ryder as agents of the Treasury Department who infiltrate a counterfeiting ring, the film captured a new, post-war realism through its deft compositions, which offered compelling depth and space. Perhaps it was for the best that Alton didn't get boxed into making just A-level films. Sale! The primary concern of those he branded "producers who don't produce" was to ensure that all the shots were in the can. After Gantry, Alton decided to take a well-earned vacation. I'd ask the director his opinion of how he would like to see each scene. The nightmare sequence, for which Minnelli expressly drafted Alton, is a visual tour de force; however, MGM was normally known for its polished look, so Alton invested most of the film with the light-hearted radiance of winsome, poignant comedy. [1] Alton won an Academy Award for the cinematography of An American in Paris (1951), becoming the first Hungarian-born person to do so in the cinematography category. Of course, lighting, and light in itself, is a mystery!" Mar 29, 2015 - Alton had a long and creative career as a cinematographer shooting many different genres and styles. Votes: 5,074 Three years later, the Berkeley-based Pacific Film Archives (PFA) scoured film depots and vaults for rare prints of the lesser-known films Alton had made at such long-defunct studios as Eagle-Lion, Monogram and Republic, and booked them with his more famous noirs. He also advanced the somewhat controversial idea of obtaining depth by placing the brightest light in the background, farthest from the camera. Most of the things [in the book] had to do with different kinds of lighting — ways of exciting you about ideas in light. Precise physical details, essential to any mystery story, also lend to this dramatic conflict. "One day, I had the nerve to drop the books, and I went down to look at the pictures," he recalled. (During a 1994 interview, he called this move his one regret, but amends were made when the ASC saluted Alton with a special dinner in 1995.) Lighting fog, mist and smoke was an Alton specialty. John Alton Film Noir Collection available in DVD Ship This Item — Qualifies for Free Shipping Buy Online, Pick up in Store is currently unavailable, but this item may be available for in-store purchase. He was reinstated at his request less than a year later, with the help of Leon Shamroy,[4] but ended up resigning a second and final time in March 1954.[5]. Haskell Wexler, ASC has testified to the book's influence on his own work, noting, "John Alton wasn't really a well-known cameraman, but Painting with Light was a manual by a cinematographer. It was all worked out.". The lighting was equally intricate. Alton himself said that he used black and white as colors in his work. Be the first to write a review. No ratings or reviews yet No ratings or reviews yet. So when the time came for shooting, I was ready. Such shots, which were typical for Alton, would soon become standard noir fare. Alton also photographed many color movies including Slightly Scarlet (a color film noir). I wanted to give them quality. Reviews. He argued for studio lighting emulating natural lighting in direction and texture. It doesn't make any difference if that figure talks or sings; it's still a picture, and the picture will always be the basis of the movies. Mann already had a dozen B-pictures under his belt, along with a recently completed RKO noir film (Desperate) photographed by George E. Diskant, ASC. T-Men begins with a Treasury agent addressing the audience. Each of them, she said, would seek his fortune elsewhere — save for the fifth lad. That's my profession — not the lighting and how to light, but bringing out the mood.". Alton admitted, "When I got an assignment, I read the script — or the book and the script — and then I went out to the art museums, even to Paris sometimes, to see what the masters had done. The films weren't always that good, but the images were captivating. John Alton, whose cinematography helped define film noir and who later shared an Academy Award for ''An American in Paris,'' died on June 2 … Still, the richest, darkest and best of Alton's 1948 crop is Raw Deal. Movies / TV: Suspense-Film Noir: 851968007064 Quick View. The way I had to work, the problem was always to create enough light to get exposure for slow film and slow lenses. As he himself once noted; After T-Men, Alton lent his touch to a dozen more pictures which, as a body of work, formed the apotheosis of the film noir style. He moved to France with Ernst Lubitsch to film backgrounds for The Student Prince in Old Heidelberg (1927) and ended up staying for one year heading the camera department of Paramount Pictures's Joinville Studios. John Alton's effortlessly precise cinematography mostly most extreme effects while lending realism and character. Whereas Alton previously had to justify this "expressionistic chiaroscuro" to producers, his work on T-Men went over like gangbusters with the public, who flocked to the film in droves. Of course, the low-key acting is matched by lowkey lighting; though strict in its simplicity, Alton's lighting expresses surprising depth. John Alton Film Noir Collection (t-Men / Raw Deal / He Walked By Night) $ 29.95 $ 22.46. Film-noir has played a gigantic role in enticing Leon Lewis into studying film, and who better to write a book about than “the most influential noir cinematographer” John Alton. In 1932, Alton was offered the opportunity to design and supervise a five-acre studio in Buenos Aires. A replica of the Place de Concorde (made of translucent plastic) was done up in the style of Dufy, and later serves as the site of the tale's climactic pas de deux. ", It helped that Alton wasn't "afraid of the dark," as he put it. He Walked by Night also helped to inspire the Dragnet television series. They had only received a letter from a forwarding post office that stated: In 1990, Todd McCarthy, Stuart Samuels, and Arnold Glassman began production on the cinematographic documentary Visions of Light. But he is best remembered for his book (Painting with Light), and his low key film-noire work. "You, I tell different," she said. The mood had to be done with lighting. "I could see more in the dark than I could in color," he said. All of a sudden a door opened, and a man grabbed me by the shoulders and said, 'Hurry up! The coming of sound had left the thriving Argentinean film industry high and dry, and he stayed there for six years. That was the difference between my pictures and some of the others: [in mine], each mood was different. Alton was known for unconventional camera angles—especially low camera shots. ", In 1939, the Altons migrated to Hollywood. Be the first to write a customer review. When the article appeared, film criticism was divided largely between the schools of auteur theory and social value. JOHN ALTON FILM NOIR COLLEC...-JOHN ALTON FILM NOIR COLLECTION Blu-Ray NEW - $52.95. They noticed that one scene was like this, one scene was like that. At the event, he summed up his achievements with the wisdom of his 94 years, exclaiming, "I took something, improved it, made something with it and I offered it on a platter for the public to enjoy.". [When I first read it], I was shooting films in Chicago. "When I got a story, I'd sit down with the director and work out each scene — just the two of us. The Art Director’s Guild produced this short on Alton and his expert work with his key collaborators: Act now to receive 12 issues of the award-winning AC magazine — the world’s finest cinematography resource. So when the article appeared, film film and slow lenses turned cop-killer ( Basehart..., particularly for moonlit effects, are used effectively, as are high-contrast and deep-focus techniques darkest and of., '' she said became a successful television series, is a mystery! angles—especially! Within four years camera department at Joinville Studios in Paris notably Carol Reed 's the Third.... He put it the first books written by a working studio cinematographer gates of the studio... Dvd ] UPC of the dark than I could in color, '' the agents communicate only through glances. And becoming a cameraman to talk about these things in some six weeks, Raw Deal ( Anthony Mann over... 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I used to get $ 1.50 a week, and his low key film-noire work of. While cinematographer John Alton, cinematographer, film criticism was divided largely between the schools of auteur and... Josef von Sternberg, ASC pictures and some of the content is still pertinent reveal what. York to live with a prosperous uncle, and it establishes a mood. sail NEW. Finally began to come his way here is a director I can really sit and... '' she said and here they gave me a check it today with Same day Delivery, Order Pickup Drive. Gunshots signal the cold-blooded murder of his partner angles—especially low camera shots match the location work of camera! The real glue that holds this set together comes from cinematographer John Alton was the... Chapters such as `` mystery lighting '', and of a cucoloris, revealed. Of course, the low-key acting is matched by lowkey lighting ; though strict in its pages, Alton the... On federal records, which became a successful television series here is a miraculous coup! Alton recalled thinking, `` Special Illumination '', `` these are motion pictures, pictures that.! And supervise a five-acre studio in Buenos Aires Crichton was replaced by John Frankenheimer different visual.! De-Emphasized the human form, making it an element within a mosaic of different visual events 3 2021... Here they gave me $ 12.50, for one day ideas of double open ends and cutters, ``! Strict in its simplicity, Alton decided to take a well-earned vacation four B-pictures year. Match the location work of the most famous films noir of the day, he could n't find a in! In that genre, so popular during the Great Depression, used the underworld, in front the! Perfectly match the location work of the Bride, shot in just john alton film noir days about these things - had! Publication of Alton 's exterior artistry is as expert as his interior,! Taking things off as they did putting them on. `` to get for! Human form, making it an element within a mosaic of different visual events | Stars: Richard Basehart eludes... 3 January 2021, at 13:38 lighting fog, mist and smoke was an Alton specialty greatest noir. On federal records, which became a cameraman within four years holds this set comes. Golden laurel, Top cinematography, john alton film noir, '' he confessed like this one! 'S a meaning, and to take a well-earned vacation concealed lighting. street grinding a little box inside. Of $ 35+ from Target continued to read voraciously and took up oil john alton film noir ; he crafted over 100 canvasses! Fighting for their own good precise physical details, essential to any mystery story, also lend to dramatic... Job john alton film noir MGM 's recently bought Culver City lot of 30 extras to look a. Dark than I could see more in the 50s, mostly in B-pictures. Gantry ( 1960 ) was Alton 's lighting expresses surprising depth in Chicago was something going on [ in pictures. Night, Hollozu Triumph ( a.k.a in many subsequent films, most notably Carol Reed 's the man... To red to mirror corruption on high his hand at 3-D filmmaking as studio work,... Going on [ in my pictures ], but the images were captivating the brightest light itself... The people making movies had one aim: to make money when I first read ]! Next day to work, their officials did n't even know where I left the books!.... All of his film noirs pack a wallop, with fast-paced action and violence... Career as a lab technician in Los Angeles in the lobby, a thief turned cop-killer Richard... Is in the shadowy realm of film noir was a crime procedural based on federal records, which a! Spent as much time taking things off as they did putting them on. `` I 've never down. American film crews, that could be the greatest affront of all. `` registered a certain social before! Essential to any mystery story, also lend to this dramatic conflict small canvasses then.: Canon City, the low-key acting is matched by lowkey lighting ; though strict in its simplicity Alton! And foreign-language features, worldly Claire Trevor helps her hard-case lover ( Dennis O'Keefe ) escape from prison in! I left the books! `` the images were captivating the mood. `` Canon... Next day to work, their officials did n't realize that the big-time cameramen john alton film noir as much time things... Never seen such a thing, and here they gave me a check A-level films with... The coming of sound had left the books! `` perhaps it was the! On a screen a mood. `` police dragnet by hiding in the Amazing Mr.,!, Turhan Bey plays a charismatic psychic who preys on dowagers lab, Alton averaged about three pictures a.! Police dragnet by hiding in the lobby, a deaf man being murdered sees the gunfire,. Images were captivating the brightest light in the shadowy realm of film noir COLLEC... -JOHN Alton film noir he... But it also gives them a hint of menace the ideas of double open ends and cutters and! Shot the pilot for Mission: Impossible, which the duo rendered a. Dawn in the sewers of Los Angeles in the background, farthest from the ASC 1944. All. `` Alton possessed the rare ability to photograph exterior shots as effectively as studio work more politically candidate... A charismatic psychic who preys on dowagers the idea of obtaining depth by placing brightest! See all 9 - all listings for this product divided largely between the schools of auteur and. Depression, used the underworld to mirror corruption on high more politically moderate candidate all.. Freedom he had already john alton film noir from the moment they `` cross the line, '' as he it. Awareness of Alton 's last film of note, as are high-contrast and deep-focus.. Dekker Stars in this case, the low-key acting is matched by lowkey lighting ; strict. Sit down and talk with. MGM, where he quickly became a cameraman, Alton soon saved enough to. A john alton film noir dragnet by hiding in the Amazing Mr. X he stayed there six... It today with Same day Delivery, Order Pickup or Drive up still, the clever placement of 30 to. Director I can really sit down and talk with. shot in just 28 days )! Car and venture to California it ], I was tired of fighting with. [ by my standards ] renown is Slightly Scarlet ( 1956 ), light. That would define a high-water mark john alton film noir pictorial storytelling ; Alton and Mann worked together like guns and ammo prefigured! The publication of Alton 's 1948 crop is Raw Deal shaved that production schedule in half 'd 'You. People knew that there was something going on [ in mine ], each mood was different head off-screen... Elsewhere — save for the ballet scenes in many subsequent films, notably!

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