By George Stevens Jr.
“This booklet, lovingly prepare from hundreds of thousands of dialogues with the various maximum administrators, writers and technicians who ever labored within the medium is a helpful source for filmmakers in any respect levels. . . . And for those who easily love video clips, it’s a pleasure to read.” —Martin Scorsese
The first booklet to collect those interviews of grasp moviemakers from the yank movie Institute’s popular seminars—a sequence that has been in lifestyles for nearly 40 years, because the founding of the Institute itself.
Here are the mythical administrators, manufacturers, cinematographers and writers—the nice pioneers, the nice artists—whose paintings led the best way within the early days of moviemaking and nonetheless survives from what was once the 20 th century’s artwork shape. The booklet is edited—with commentaries—by George Stevens, Jr., founding father of the yank movie Institute and the AFI heart for complicated movie Studies’ Harold Lloyd grasp Seminar series.
Here conversing approximately their paintings, their art—picture making in general—are administrators from King Vidor, Howard Hawks and Fritz Lang (“I discovered in basic terms from undesirable films”) to William Wyler, George Stevens and David Lean.
Here, too, is Hal Wallis, certainly one of Hollywood’s nice movie manufacturers; mythical cinematographers Stanley Cortez, who shot, between different photos, The tremendous Ambersons, because you Went Away and Shock Corridor and George Folsey, who used to be the cameraman on greater than a hundred and fifty photos, from Animal Crackers and Marie Antoinette to Meet Me in St. Louis and Adam’s Rib; and the both celebrated James Wong Howe.
Here is the screenwriter Ray Bradbury, who wrote the script for John Huston’s Moby Dick, Fahrenheit 451 and The Illustrated Man, and the trendy Ernest Lehman, who wrote the screenplays for Sabrina, Who’s frightened of Virginia Woolf and North through Northwest (“One day Hitchcock acknowledged, ‘I’ve consistently desired to do a chase around the face of Mount Rushmore.’”).
And the following, too, are Ingmar Bergman and Federico Fellini (“Making a film is a mathematical operation. It’s completely very unlikely to improvise”).
These conversations collected together—and released for the 1st time—are filled with knowledge, motion picture historical past and ideas approximately photograph making, approximately operating with actors, approximately find out how to inform a narrative in phrases and move.
A pattern of what the moviemakers need to train us:
Elia Kazan, on translating a play to the screen: “With A Streetcar Named hope we labored demanding to open it up after which went again to the play simply because we’d misplaced all of the compression. within the play, those humans have been trapped in a room with one another. because the tale advanced I took out little apartments, and the set acquired smaller and smaller.”
Ingmar Bergman on writing: “For part a 12 months I had an image within my head of 3 ladies jogging round in a pink room with white outfits. I couldn’t comprehend why those damned girls have been there. i attempted to throw it away . . . discover what they stated to one another simply because they whispered. It got here out that they have been looking at one other girl loss of life. Then the screenplay started—but it took a couple of 12 months. The script continually starts off with an image . . . ”
Jean Renoir on actors: “The fact is, should you discourage an actor you'll by no means locate him back. An actor is an animal, super fragile. You get a bit expression, it isn't precisely what you sought after, yet it’s alive. It’s anything human.”
And Hitchcock—on Hitchcock: “Give [the viewers] excitement, a similar excitement they've got once they get up from a nightmare.”
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Extra resources for Conversations with the Great Moviemakers of Hollywood's Golden Age at the American Film Institute
We just didn’t know what we were doing. We had a screen up there and we’d run the picture with X marks on it and tried to hit those things. Cutters didn’t know too much about cutting them in. I look at the film today and groan, but it worked fine back then because they liked the sound gags. It didn’t turn out to be one of our best pictures, but it has its good points. Did you ever improvise? The way we would ad-lib was that we would have a number of gagmen in our office, as many as four to eight of them.
At the studio they would bring out the big booths with the camera in there at a certain height looking out through a window. What can you do looking out through a pane of glass like that? The only thing you could shoot was two people sitting on a couch like in a stage play, so it was just exactly like being in the theater. I was very conscious of camera movement and perambulating shots—after watching the German films like Metropolis and The Last Laugh, where I think they followed somebody through a lobby and up in an elevator—but then we were being told, “Well, you have to be in the booth” because the cameras were noisy.
We thought we had something. Now, from there we went back and started the picture. But that, as I say, was a gag picture. We tried the same thing with The Freshman. We went out to the Rose Bowl and for two weeks did comedy business. We tried to play a football game and got nowhere at all. All the dailies were just sad. We had to start at the beginning because it’s a character comedy that needed to be built on a particular idea. We knew that the whole picture was really a boy who wanted to go to college with the idea of trying to be very popular.