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March 2004, Week 3


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Harper Cossar <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Tue, 16 Mar 2004 05:49:49 -0800
text/plain (127 lines)

I don't know if these films have been mentioned, but
they both take an interesting approach to the long
take. Josh Becker's RUNNING TIME (1997) basically apes
Hitch's approach on ROPE that Dr. Bordwell spoke of.
Mike Figgis's TIMECODE (2000?) uses a similar approach
albeit a digital one with 4 simultaneous quadrants.
Figgis, also a musician, has said he envisioned the
project like sheet music, and even distributed his
directorial notes to his ADs on sheet music paper.

--- David Bordwell <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> dear colleagues,
> An interesting thread...
> On ROPE: I suggest that we find eyeline cuts in ROPE
> because Hitchcock
> planned the film to be seamless but was defeated by
> the conditions of
> contemporary projection. He shot it in 8 long takes,
> each one within the
> length of a 35mm camera reel--1000 feet (maximally
> 10-11 minutes). But by
> 1948 most theatres were mounting and showing films
> in 2000-foot reels. I
> believe that films were shipped on 2000-foot reels
> as well. So what Hitch,
> cunning devil, did was plan to have his "invisible"
> cuts (tracking into and
> out from a back, or some such) between 1 and 2, 3
> and 4, 5 and 6, and 7 and
> 8--all the camera reels which would be mounted
> adjacently on 2000-foot
> reels. The more obvious cuts, like the eyeline
> matches, fell between reels
> 2 and 3, 4 and 5, and 6 and 7. These, coming at reel
> changeovers in the
> theatre, would have been nearly impossible to match
> unobtrusively. Once
> more, style is constrained by conditions of material
> production.
> By contrast, shooting on high-definition digital
> video allowed Sokurov a
> feature-length take in RUSSIAN ARK. Interestingly,
> when this premiered at
> Cannes, it was shown twice--once digitally
> (preserving continuity) and once
> on film (with the inevitable reel changes).  In 35mm
> projection, it is a
> real challenge to blend the RUSSIAN ARK reels
> seamlessly, but I have seen
> it done more than once--a test of a good
> projectionist!
> For what it's worth: I have a book coming out in
> January on staging in long
> takes, with chapters on Feuillade, Mizoguchi,
> Angelopoulos, and Hou
> Hsiao-hsien.
> best regards,
> David Bordwell
>   08:06 PM 3/15/2004 +0000, you wrote:
> >Donald Larsson writes:
> >
> >>I do need to go look at the film again, but as I
> recall, there are 2
> >>distinct cuts in ROPE, which would mean that there
> are 3 "shots" in the
> >>film.  The interesting thing is that the actual
> cuts seemed far less
> >>obvious than the track to bookshelf device used to
> cover the reel
> >>changes that Leo mentions.
> >
> >I, too, would have to look at the film again (not
> to mention various
> >Hitchcock literature).  But I'm pretty sure that
> those cuts are not
> >supposed to be there, and that they were introduced
> either when some
> >footage was pruned to find the film into a TV
> broadcast slot or due to
> >censorship.  I can remember one of the cuts I think
> you mean, from viewing
> >an off-air tape of the film a couple of years ago.
> After the guests have
> >all gone and James Stewart is trying to extract the
> confession from Farley
> >Granger, there is what almost looks like a cut to a
> reverse shot from his
> >POV.  It would be totally unremarkable in any other
> film, but in that
> >context it sticks out like a sore thumb.
> >
> >L
> >
> >----
> >Online resources for film/TV studies may be found
> at ScreenSite
> >
> ----
> Online resources for film/TV studies may be found at
> ScreenSite

Harper Cossar
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