Karl Struss

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bill schwab

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Karl Struss remains one of the bigger influences on my work as a photographer. Working in the pictorial genre of the late 19th and early 20th centuries and connected to the Photo Secession movement, the complex simplicity of his work is extraordinary in my eyes. He was also an inventor of sorts and developed the Struss Pictorial Lens that is very rare and sought after today. Later working as a Hollywood cinematographer, by the 50's ...he was relegated to B movies. Most notably "Creature from the Black Lagoon". But in 1927 he won an Oscar for cinematography on this film often considered the "silent Citizen Kane". Having heard of, but never seen it, I was pleased to find it on YouTube. It is without a doubt one of the most beautifully photographed films I've ever seen. It's in nine parts if you want to see the whole thing. I know... it's "silent", but give it a try and you'll soon forget. Enjoy!
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m6t0DCtIOBA[/youtube]
 
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David A. Goldfarb

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Incredible. I've also been curious about that one for a long time. I think it may be on Netflix, but I seem to be having some login trouble over there at the moment.
 
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Beautiful indeed! I don't have time right now to watch the whole thing, but will definitely come back to it this evening. Thank you Bill, I was not familiar with this film–it's gorgeous.
 

athanasius80

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Sunrise is one of my favorite silent films. (And Janet Gaynor wasn't a bad looker either.) It really deserves to be seen on something bigger than a computer screen. Netflix it.

Just for trivia's sake: The village set was built on the shore of Lake Arrowhead, CA. Apparently every cameraman in Hollywood tramped around on it absorbing the plan and the style of the set because it felt so "European."
 

David A. Goldfarb

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Watched the U.S. Movietone release today. The flipside of the DVD is a longer European version (with titles in Czech!). Incredible cinematography and editing.
 

David A. Goldfarb

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Just another note that I watched it again a week or so ago with the commentary by cinematographer John Bailey, and there is quite a lot of discussion of Struss as a still photographer, pictorialist, and his place in the New York photography scene. Struss was responsible for the composite shots and multiple exposures, which were done by running the film two or more times through the camera with a matte box masking various parts of the frame.

It's also interesting to hear how sets were designed to create perspective illusions with slanting floors, walls and windows that tapered toward the background, and miniatures. The outdoor scenes were done with miniature buildings built to scale and crowds of midgets in the background.
 

Curt

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