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Just Another 70's Film Log

May 6 '11

Mean Streets Shot List

7:40-8:34

1. Glass partition framed in shot-zoom into ECU of dancers’ bodies as they move into frame-partition now out of focus

2. WS-bar in BG, Charlie in MG and patrons in FG-camera tracks right, following Charlie’s movement

3. Camera stops-Charlie walks to FG from right screen to left screen-goes from a MFS to MCS

4. Cut to ECU of dancer’s torso-camera pans up-ECU of her face

5. CS of Charlie’s back and WS of room-creating POV and giving us idea of surroundings-camera tracks behind him as he moves through the bar-he stays centered in the middle of the shot

6. Camera stops-Charlie doesn’t, he moves farther from the camera and gets onstage with dancers-FS 3-shot

Apr 29 '11

Scene Breakdowns

Mean Streets

7:40-8:34

Begins with a wide shot of the red lighted club; patrons are in the foreground, Charlie in the middle ground, and the bar is in the background. The camera is shooting Charlie’s right side as he walks, tracking alongside him. In the same shot, he turns and walks towards the camera, almost making it off screen before it cuts to the glittery torso of one of the dancers and pans up her body, showing her face. It then cuts to the beginning of a long tracking shot wherein the camera follows Charlie through the club as he dances, his back in the middle of the frame. Charlie dances and greets people before getting up on stage with the dancers, leaving the camera filming them all from the floor.

Chinatown

Lemon Grove Scene

The scene begins framing a “Farm Land Sold” sign. The camera pans to the right, framing Nicholson looking at the sign. He walks a bit to the right, the camera tracking behind him, giving us an over the shoulder POV of the dry valley. He turns and walks to his vehicle, the camera pans right to keep him in frame. He begins to get into the car and the camera cuts to continue the action from the front. There is another cut and this time the camera is in the back seat of Nicholson’s now moving car, again giving us an over the shoulder shot, showing his head and back as well as letting us see what he is seeing. Nicholson stops the car and turns his head left to look at a “no trespassing” sign. The camera pans left as he turns his head, following his gaze. It then cuts to a wide shot of the lemon grove and Nicholson’s car moving down the dirt pathway slowly.  There is another cut to a profile of Nicholson in his car as it comes to a complete stop. He turns to look behind him, turning his head back forward just as some lemons on the bush next to his head are shot. He flinches and there is a cut to a wide view of the grove again, this time with a shotgun wielding man on a horse riding towards the camera. It cuts back to an over the shoulder of Nicholson from the backseat of the car as another shot is fired. He accelerates and turns the car down a narrow path in the grove. He continues down this path until another man on a horse appears in his way, whereupon he reverses, turning to look behind him, facing the camera. It cuts to another wide shot, showing his emergence from the narrow pathway and his entrance into another. As he pulls into this new path there is a cut to one of the men on the horses and then back to Nicholson roaring through the grove as well as a flock of geese. The camera pans to follow the car’s movements until the men on horses appear in its path. The camera stays shooting the same spot while Nicholson once again attempts to reverse and escape in a very dusty shot. One of the men fires a shot in Nicholson’s direction and there is a cut to show us the front of the car being struck. Nicholson turns away in a different direction and the camera pans to follow. The camera cuts to another shot of one of the men firing their gun and then to a shot of Nicholson’s tire being struck. Finally there is a cut showing his car hitting a tree. The camera in this shot is placed so that the car is coming from the right side of the screen at an angle.

Apr 3 '11
Annie Hall (1977)
Director: Woody Allen
Director of Photography: Gordon Willis
Stars: Woody Allen, Diane Keaton
I really enjoyed this film, I found it thoroughly funny although some of the references did go over my head. The narrative was interesting, especially with the non-linear structure of the film. I thought the pairing of Woody Allen and Gordon Willis was wonderful, Allen’s storytelling and directing really worked well with Willis’ darker cinematographic techniques. Diane Keaton was also great, I think the only other thing I’d seen her in up until this film was The Godfather(s) and it was interesting to see her in such a different role. I can see why people love this film so much.

Annie Hall (1977)

Director: Woody Allen

Director of Photography: Gordon Willis

Stars: Woody Allen, Diane Keaton

I really enjoyed this film, I found it thoroughly funny although some of the references did go over my head. The narrative was interesting, especially with the non-linear structure of the film. I thought the pairing of Woody Allen and Gordon Willis was wonderful, Allen’s storytelling and directing really worked well with Willis’ darker cinematographic techniques. Diane Keaton was also great, I think the only other thing I’d seen her in up until this film was The Godfather(s) and it was interesting to see her in such a different role. I can see why people love this film so much.

Apr 1 '11
Young Frankenstein (1974)
Director: Mel Brooks
Director of Photography: Gerald Hirschfeld
Stars: Gene Wilder, Peter Boyle, Marty Feldman, Madeline Kahn, Cloris Leachman, Teri Garr
I was so happy when we watched this in class. Young Frankenstein is a movie I grew up watching and yet find funny every time I see it. This is such a good film on so many levels. The writing is hilarious, the performances are spot on, and the references (both visual and written) add a whole other dimension to the film that is a key factor in making it as good as it is. It was interesting and slightly uncomfortable to watch a film I am so familiar with and have such an attachment to in a more analytical way. I became aware of many things that had always been there before but that I hadn’t given much attention to.

Young Frankenstein (1974)

Director: Mel Brooks

Director of Photography: Gerald Hirschfeld

Stars: Gene Wilder, Peter Boyle, Marty Feldman, Madeline Kahn, Cloris Leachman, Teri Garr

I was so happy when we watched this in class. Young Frankenstein is a movie I grew up watching and yet find funny every time I see it. This is such a good film on so many levels. The writing is hilarious, the performances are spot on, and the references (both visual and written) add a whole other dimension to the film that is a key factor in making it as good as it is. It was interesting and slightly uncomfortable to watch a film I am so familiar with and have such an attachment to in a more analytical way. I became aware of many things that had always been there before but that I hadn’t given much attention to.

Mar 31 '11
Bananas (1971)
Director: Woody Allen
Director of Photography: Andrew M. Costikyan
Stars: Woody Allen, Louise Lasser 
This was the first Woody Allen movie that I’ve seen and it left a good impression. I thought it was quite funny but a little roughly shot. There was some great physical comedy in addition to Allen’s jokes, although I don’t think some of the jokes translated well to today’s audience-or to me at least. The plot was loose, but I thought worked pretty well for what Allen was trying to accomplish. I really enjoyed the jabs at the media that seemed to be prevalent throughout the film. All in all, it did its job and made me laugh which I think is most important.

Bananas (1971)

Director: Woody Allen

Director of Photography: Andrew M. Costikyan

Stars: Woody Allen, Louise Lasser 

This was the first Woody Allen movie that I’ve seen and it left a good impression. I thought it was quite funny but a little roughly shot. There was some great physical comedy in addition to Allen’s jokes, although I don’t think some of the jokes translated well to today’s audience-or to me at least. The plot was loose, but I thought worked pretty well for what Allen was trying to accomplish. I really enjoyed the jabs at the media that seemed to be prevalent throughout the film. All in all, it did its job and made me laugh which I think is most important.

Mar 31 '11
I Knew It Was You: Rediscovering John Cazale (2009)
Director: Richard Shepard
I wasn’t sure whether or not to put this on my log but hey, it definitely has some bearing on 70’s film and is a documentary worth watching. After seeing some of this documentary in class I immediately added it to my Netflix queue. I’ve only seen three of the five films Cazale made, and I’ve loved all three as well as his performances in each. This documentary about him was very good, although it did kind of leave me wanting for more. It was really interesting to hear more about the man who played Fredo and Sal so wonderfully. Learning about him and his method of acting from the great actors/actresses who were his friends as well as some family members and scholars was great. He was a passionate and thorough man, who executed some great performances in such a short lifetime.

I Knew It Was You: Rediscovering John Cazale (2009)

Director: Richard Shepard

I wasn’t sure whether or not to put this on my log but hey, it definitely has some bearing on 70’s film and is a documentary worth watching. After seeing some of this documentary in class I immediately added it to my Netflix queue. I’ve only seen three of the five films Cazale made, and I’ve loved all three as well as his performances in each. This documentary about him was very good, although it did kind of leave me wanting for more. It was really interesting to hear more about the man who played Fredo and Sal so wonderfully. Learning about him and his method of acting from the great actors/actresses who were his friends as well as some family members and scholars was great. He was a passionate and thorough man, who executed some great performances in such a short lifetime.

Mar 27 '11
The French Connection (1971)
Director: William Friedkin
Director of Photography: Owen Roizman
Stars: Gene Hackman, Fernando Rey, Roy Scheider
This movie was great, I honestly enjoyed it more than I thought I would. The chase scene lived up to its status as a classic, I love the concept of having a chase scene involve a train and a car, and the fact that the chase is happening on two different physical levels definitely added extra intrigue. I think what made the chase scene so notable, and maybe even the entire movie actually, is the fact that it is less about adrenaline and more about the tenseness of the entire situation. Although the chase scene did have plenty of action, it was lacking in terms of today’s chase scene standards. When you think about it, the entire film is kind of like one big chase scene, with Hackman’s obsessive character constantly on the hunt for criminals. The way the scenes are shot and the use of background city noise gave the film an added texture and a sense of realism.

The French Connection (1971)

Director: William Friedkin

Director of Photography: Owen Roizman

Stars: Gene Hackman, Fernando Rey, Roy Scheider

This movie was great, I honestly enjoyed it more than I thought I would. The chase scene lived up to its status as a classic, I love the concept of having a chase scene involve a train and a car, and the fact that the chase is happening on two different physical levels definitely added extra intrigue. I think what made the chase scene so notable, and maybe even the entire movie actually, is the fact that it is less about adrenaline and more about the tenseness of the entire situation. Although the chase scene did have plenty of action, it was lacking in terms of today’s chase scene standards. When you think about it, the entire film is kind of like one big chase scene, with Hackman’s obsessive character constantly on the hunt for criminals. The way the scenes are shot and the use of background city noise gave the film an added texture and a sense of realism.

Mar 25 '11
Chinatown (1974)
Director: Roman Polanski
Director of Photography: John A. Alonzo
Stars: Jack Nicholson, Faye Dunaway, John Huston
This is a film that I would like to re-watch. I enjoyed it but didn’t as much of my attention as I should have because of having the script handy at the same time. It was a very interesting film, however. It’s film noir detective atmosphere was very compelling and the performances were great. I really enjoyed the way the very beginning of the film was constructed. It seamlessly set up who Nicholson’s character was and gave the viewer a clear understanding of the world of the movie. The use of the photographs and the man’s distressed moaning was so great and immediately introduced the film’s themes of voyeurism and sexuality. The acting was great and the plot was very interesting, I definitely did not see the twist coming. 

Chinatown (1974)

Director: Roman Polanski

Director of Photography: John A. Alonzo

Stars: Jack Nicholson, Faye Dunaway, John Huston

This is a film that I would like to re-watch. I enjoyed it but didn’t as much of my attention as I should have because of having the script handy at the same time. It was a very interesting film, however. It’s film noir detective atmosphere was very compelling and the performances were great. I really enjoyed the way the very beginning of the film was constructed. It seamlessly set up who Nicholson’s character was and gave the viewer a clear understanding of the world of the movie. The use of the photographs and the man’s distressed moaning was so great and immediately introduced the film’s themes of voyeurism and sexuality. The acting was great and the plot was very interesting, I definitely did not see the twist coming. 

Mar 24 '11
The Godfather: Part II (1974)
Director: Frances Ford Coppola
Director of Photography: Gordon Willis
Stars: Al Pacino, Robert De Niro
So, of course I enjoyed this film, although I do have to say that I like the first Godfather better. Also, not going to lie, this movie left me feeling pretty depressed, which means it did its job I suppose. Pacino and De Niro were great, Cazale was as well and stood out more in this Godfather than in the previous one I think. Gordon Willis also left his unmistakable mark on this film. There were some really amazing scenes, of course employing shadow and darkness. The boathouse scene with the conversation between Michael and Fredo is one that cannot be passed over. The dark silhouettes of the brothers contrasted by the bright white background and the subject of their conversation paired with some really great acting made for a truly stunning scene. The beginning of that scene is also framed really beautifully and simply.

The Godfather: Part II (1974)

Director: Frances Ford Coppola

Director of Photography: Gordon Willis

Stars: Al Pacino, Robert De Niro

So, of course I enjoyed this film, although I do have to say that I like the first Godfather better. Also, not going to lie, this movie left me feeling pretty depressed, which means it did its job I suppose. Pacino and De Niro were great, Cazale was as well and stood out more in this Godfather than in the previous one I think. Gordon Willis also left his unmistakable mark on this film. There were some really amazing scenes, of course employing shadow and darkness. The boathouse scene with the conversation between Michael and Fredo is one that cannot be passed over. The dark silhouettes of the brothers contrasted by the bright white background and the subject of their conversation paired with some really great acting made for a truly stunning scene. The beginning of that scene is also framed really beautifully and simply.

Mar 22 '11
Marathon Man (1976)
Director: John Schlesinger
Director of Photography: Conrad L. Hall
Stars: Dustin Hoffman, Laurence Oliver, Roy Scheider
This film was very aptly titled, it began with a chase scene and Dustin Hoffman’s character seemed to be constantly on the move.The film also included some shadowy shots and the use of reflection and transparency although the DP was not Gordon Willis. Its effect, as it was in Klute, was creepy and ominous. One shot that I really liked was seeing the diamonds poured onto a glass table from underneath the glass. The shot was beautiful and added texture and meaning to a scene that otherwise could have been not so interesting. I also noticed a lot of very wide spacial shots in Marathon Man. I really liked these as well, they helped to give an idea of the surroundings and added another layer of interest to the scenes. The use of light also seemed pretty symbolic. When these three stylistic choices of wide spacial shots, darkness and reflective /transparent surfaces, and interesting lighting were paired together (as they often seemed to be) they really illustrated the shady, confusing and lonely tone of this movie.

Marathon Man (1976)

Director: John Schlesinger

Director of Photography: Conrad L. Hall

Stars: Dustin Hoffman, Laurence Oliver, Roy Scheider

This film was very aptly titled, it began with a chase scene and Dustin Hoffman’s character seemed to be constantly on the move.The film also included some shadowy shots and the use of reflection and transparency although the DP was not Gordon Willis. Its effect, as it was in Klute, was creepy and ominous. One shot that I really liked was seeing the diamonds poured onto a glass table from underneath the glass. The shot was beautiful and added texture and meaning to a scene that otherwise could have been not so interesting. I also noticed a lot of very wide spacial shots in Marathon Man. I really liked these as well, they helped to give an idea of the surroundings and added another layer of interest to the scenes. The use of light also seemed pretty symbolic. When these three stylistic choices of wide spacial shots, darkness and reflective /transparent surfaces, and interesting lighting were paired together (as they often seemed to be) they really illustrated the shady, confusing and lonely tone of this movie.