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August 2000, Week 2


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Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Leo Enticknap <[log in to unmask]>
Tue, 8 Aug 2000 01:17:59 +0100
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Daniel Issac Humphrey writes:

> realize that you yourself have lead us astray in your
> posting.  You suggest that DEATH BY HANGING was directed by
> Yasujiro Ozu.  It was, in fact, a film made by Ozu's former
> apprentice, Nagisa Oshima.  I can't remember what process it
> was shot in, but I do recall it as one of the most moving
> films I've ever seen.

It must have been in SuperVistaVision, surely!  I guess this makes it

Your comment about 'Vertigo' is important - why do you feel that the colour
rendition in the film's photography and printing is not relevant to the way
it depicts misogyny, voyeurism and the cultural construction of feminimity?

The reason why most people concerned with the film would not link the two
is that the cinematographers and lab technicians who produced it, and the
archivists who restored it 40 years later, probably didn't know and almost
certainly didn't care about the latter, but were acutely aware of how the
former had changed as a result of chemical decomposition and unsatisfactory
storage.  As a general rule, humanities scholars who have written about the
latter have either not been aware of the former or have not regarded it as

I wonder how many of the Andre Bazins and Robin Woods of this world have
based their pontifications on viewings of bleached and faded prints without
realising that the experience could be affecting their reaction to  the film?

Dismiss VistaVision if you like, but it is the main reason why we are now
able to see 'Vertigo' in prints which are as dense, sharp and saturated as
those of any film produced today.  The fact that Hitchcock was one of very
few prominent directors of his generation never to make a film in
CinemaScope (most 35mm anamorphic negatives from the 50s and 60s are very
grainy and have a restricted depth of field) but who chose VistaVision (a
better quality image but with a narrower aspect ratio) for several films is
surely relevant to our understanding of the man and his work.

Leo Enticknap
Technical Manager
City Screen Cinemas (York) Ltd..
13-17 Coney St., York YO1 9QL.
United Kingdom
Telephone: 01904 612940 (work); 01904 625823 (home); 07710 417383 (mobile)
e-mail: [log in to unmask] (work); [log in to unmask] (home)

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