Black and White Cinema: A Short History by Wheeler Winston Dixon

By Wheeler Winston Dixon

From the smooth monochrome of the vintage Hollywood romance, to the gritty greyscale of the gangster photograph, to movie noir’s moody interaction of sunshine and shadow, black-and-white cinematography has been used to create a remarkably large choice of tones. but this present day, with black-and-white movie inventory approximately very unlikely to discover, those cinematographic innovations are nearly extinct, and filmgoers’ appreciation of them is in a similar fashion waning.  
 
Black and White Cinema is the 1st learn to contemplate using black-and-white as an paintings shape in its personal correct, supplying a complete and worldwide evaluate of the period while it flourished, from the 1900s to the Nineteen Sixties. Acclaimed movie student Wheeler Winston Dixon introduces us to the masters of this artwork, discussing the signature types and technical concepts of award-winning cinematographers like James Wong Howe, Gregg Toland, Freddie Francis, and Sven Nykvist. Giving us a special glimpse behind the curtain, Dixon additionally finds the inventive teams—from lights technicians to matte painters—whose paintings profoundly formed the glance of black-and-white cinema.  
 
greater than only a learn of movie background, this publication is a rallying cry, intended to encourage a love for the artistry of black-and-white movie, in order that we'd paintings to maintain this significant a part of our cinematic background. Lavishly illustrated with greater than 40 on-the-set stills, Black and White Cinema provides a brilliant and illuminating examine a creatively important era.
 

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Extra resources for Black and White Cinema: A Short History

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Some directors worked exclusively with the actors, while others would design elaborate camera movements, and still others engage in a genuine collaboration. Who was really the author of the image on the screen — the director, the cinematographer, or both?

The grays are especially important for capturing the proper tone in skin and the gradual depth of objects in your scene. That’s why overcast days are some of the best times to shoot landscapes in black and white.  . The real trick is to make sure that the image not only includes a healthy gray level, but pure blacks and pure whites as well. Otherwise, your image will simply look washed out. (“Shooting in Black and White”) But these are just general rules; the image in black and white is always waiting to be “discovered,” as it does not exist in real life.

In fact, Rosher’s long association with Pickford was due in no small measure to his care in lighting Pickford within the shot, essentially employing one strategy for photographing each scene as a whole and yet another for lighting Pickford within it. As Katherine Lipke reported, “This created a depth not accomplished in any other picture.  .  . makes her personality fairly radiate beauty” (Los Angeles Times, January 21, 1925).  W. Murnau’s Sunrise (1927), an award he shared with Karl Struss, who shot the film with him.

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