MCN Blogs
Ray Pride

By Ray Pride Pride@moviecitynews.com

Sydney Pollack, 1934-2008, movies had 'Scope

SP_RIP_500x.jpgAn interview. “For me, the beauty [of widescreen composition] comes out of practicality. I’ve spent my life viewing movies that have at their center, a relationship between a man and a woman. Every single movie. And so the heart of the movies are two-shots. And sometimes I like to be quite close. You can’t work in a close, tight two-shot and have any room for where you are or any sets and environment in a less wide frame. You just can’t. You can’t. A tight two-shot in 1.85 can be in limbo. You can just put up a piece of cardboard and shoot the tight two-shot. You might as well. And if you’re using the environment to tell story—if you take a picture like They Shoot Horses, Don’t They? or Jeremiah Johnson or any of these pictures where where the people are is essential, I mean, the studio kept fighting me with They Shoot Horses, saying, “You’re in one set, for godssake! Why are you using widescreen? It’s not the Grand Canyon. It’s the opposite of the Grand Canyon!” But that was precisely the point. I could shoot Michael Sarazin and Jane Fonda dancing or Bruce Dern and Bonnie Bedelia, whoever, the pairs, and still see this sea of people dancing, or the bleachers, and the people staring at them. So there’s more redolence to each frame. It has a different impact. If I cut the edges off of those frames, and you just have those center people, without a context, I don’t think would be nearly as meaningful. I mean, on an absolutely practical, technical level, I can transmit more information per frame than I can with 1.85. I don’t say it’s more beautiful. I adore those old movies that were 1.33. They’re great. It’s not a question of beauty, it’s a question of… of what is the movie? The one movie I wish I’d done it in, this is when I stopped using ‘Scope, which was Out of Africa. Because I got so sick of it being butchered, y’know, DVDs weren’t in then, they were still doing VHS and they were always panning-and-scanning, chopping the edges off. And I just said, I can’t do this any more. More people see it in the aftermarket now, so they remember it that way. I didn’t frame it that way. I’ve had people come up now, who occasionally have seen a screening of Jeremiah Johnson or a screening of They Shoot Horses and it’s a different movie than what they ever saw. It’s a completely different movie.”

Comments are closed.

Movie City Indie

Quote Unquotesee all »

What about replacing Mr. Spacey with another actor? Mr. Plummer, perhaps.
“That would theoretically be fantastic,” Mr. Rothman said he responded. “But I have supervised 450 movies over the course of my career. And what you are saying is impossible. There is not enough time.”
~ Publicizing Sir Ridley’s Deadline Dash

“Would I like to see Wormwood in a theater on a big screen? You betcha. I’d be disingenuous to argue otherwise. But we’re all part of, like it or not, an industry, and what Netflix offers is an opportunity to do different kinds of films in different ways. Maybe part of what is being sacrificed is that they no longer go into theaters. If the choice is between not doing it at all and having it not go to theaters, it’s an easy choice to make.”
~ Errol Morris