The American Society of Cinematographers Chooses the Top 100 Films of the 20th Century*

Discussion in 'Visual Arts' started by Vidiot, Jan 8, 2019.

  1. the pope ondine

    the pope ondine Forum Resident

    ha, get crackin'! its beautiful, just personal preference for me
  2. Vidiot

    Vidiot Now in 4K HDR! Thread Starter

    Hollywood, USA
    And that was my mastering on that title, supervised by DP Jan DeBont. Mr. DeBont was fairly demanding and was very specific on what he wanted, but he was ultimately very pleased with the film. Zero sense of humor, which I think is a Dutch thing. "Okay... we do it the hard way." (And my family is Dutch, but that broke no ice with him.) Great, great film, brilliant use of widescreen composition, and don't forget that 90% of the film takes place at night.

    This was from the American Society of Cinematographers, so it figures that a lot of it would be Hollywood-specific.

    That's kind of a minor film in the grand scheme of things, but one thing that was great about Open Range is that we used a ton of digital technology to give an 1865 Western a very "period" look. You'd be surprised to know there were about 160 digital VFX in the movie, mostly to erase certain details that might give away when it was really shot. I would put Dean Semler's Dances with Wolves ahead of that, and they were going for that kind of look; coincidentally, I worked on both films within six months of each other, and Costner approved them both.
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2019
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  3. stepeanut

    stepeanut Forum Resident

    Lots of chatter about Blow-Up here, but I’d like to submit another Antonioni film for consideration. If the idea of the list is to recognise cinematographers who have pushed the technical boundaries of the art form, then Luciano Tovoli’s work on The Passenger is surely a worthy contender. That seven-minute, continuous tracking shot at the end of the film is a technical marvel, and was achieved before the introduction of the Steadicam.
  4. daglesj

    daglesj Forum Resident

    Norfolk, UK
    If you watch the 'Making of Bladerunner' feature on the remastered sets you really understand why it's rated so highly by technical film experts. The level of effort to maintain quality, scale and drama is staggering. Even painting the mattes in negative form from the start so they would not lose one level of quality with reprinting and exposure.

    Considering also the fact that it appears everyone hated working on that that movie...amazing result.
  5. Hardy Melville

    Hardy Melville Forum Resident

    New York
    When it comes to what was left out, I would guess many have their favorite candidates to mention. But really any of Antonioni's seven films from L'Avventura on would not have surprised me if they were on the list. He was a master of the visual after all. That none of them were is certainly my candidate for the list's biggest shortcoming.
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  6. Ron Stone

    Ron Stone Offending Member

    Deep Maryland
    I think action and comedy films would generally be underrated, since they are perceived to succeed or fail based on other, non-technical factors.

    One film that should be mentioned on such a list is 48 HOURS, which I believe was the first film shot with entirely natural light. Of course, all anyone remembers is Eddie Murphy's starmaking performance . . .
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  7. carrick doone

    carrick doone Forum Resident

    Vancouver, Canada
    Fantastic list - I could watch the top ten over again in a minute. It is a reminder to me of how film is so much a visual experience over story. Many people have argued over the story logic inside Apocalypse Now but no one can take those visuals away. I would have added Michael Mann's Heat somewhere.
  8. Phantom Thread is another beautifully shot film. Just stunning.
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  9. PhilBorder

    PhilBorder Forum Resident

    Sheboygan, WI
    Who can argue with those guys? I noted there are virtually no 'bad' films on the list. There are mediocre films that arguably are much better filmed than some on the list. I'd have substituted a few with 'Farewell My Lovely' (John Alonzo again) and Jacques Tourner's "Canyon Passage " (Edward Cronjager), a real fever dream of a western.
  10. The Zodiac

    The Zodiac God's Lonely Man

    No "Easy Rider"?
  11. Blair Witch :tiphat:
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  12. chacha

    chacha Forum Resident

    mill valley CA USA
    Wow I had no idea. What an interesting odd choice for that movie. Haven’t seen since it came out.
  13. Tim Lookingbill

    Tim Lookingbill Alfalfa Male

    New Braunfels, TX
    This rare behind the scenes what looks like a promo of the movie supports why it was such a technically challenging movie to be made not only the sets but how the ideas behind creating a unique vision of the future from interviews of Syd Mead and Douglas Trumbull seemed impossible to think up back then. Even a traffic/parking light device was ahead of its time.

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  14. Vidiot

    Vidiot Now in 4K HDR! Thread Starter

    Hollywood, USA
    That is absolutely not true. Walter Hill is known for being kind of a "run and gun" director, but the film was absolutely lit with motion picture lighting, sometimes reflectors, whatever it took. Especially for the interiors. IMDB lists about a dozen grips and electric department crewmembers, and I don't think they were just sitting around for the two months it took to shoot this film.

    Where did you get the information that it was "lit entirely with natural light?" What I can believe is that they ripped through the movie quickly and didn't spend a lot of time on lighting. There's been tons of movies shot that way, basically going for what I would call a "documentary style." But it's still lit. Even today, with cameras that can shoot at 5000 or even 10,000 ISO, you still need fill and backlight and all the usual stuff just to make the actors look reasonable.
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  15. jwoverho

    jwoverho Forum Resident

    Mobile, AL USA
    An excellent list, although with film lovers there will always be some lamented missing titles.

    If I had to pick my top 10 cinematographers:
  16. drh

    drh Talking Machine

    I was fortunate enough to see it sometime around 1980, when it ran for a few days in the little theater where the university art department showed films under discussion in various classes. If it ever showed in the local commercial theaters, I was not aware of it. I remember it as a gorgeous film, and it turned out to be that rarest of rare birds, a movie adaptation that surpassed the book on which it was based. Be that as it may, after that lucky week when I saw it, the thing just disappeared for ages, as if it had never existed. Didn't it get caught up in some sort of litigation that kept it out of circulation?
  17. Vidiot

    Vidiot Now in 4K HDR! Thread Starter

    Hollywood, USA
    I would add Roger Deakins, Bob Richardson, and Gordon Willis to that list.
  18. Ghostworld

    Ghostworld Forum Resident


    I don’t think blade runner is too high at all. Sure, movies like Day of Heaven are picturebook pretty (Something done thousands of times before) Whereas Blade runner was a highly stylized, a fully conceived look, that was daring and inventive with its oversaturated, dense, deeply noir cinematography. A cinematic original, Moreso than any Malick or Bertolucci film.
  19. harmonica98

    harmonica98 Forum Resident

    London, UK
    Love Blade Runner but isn't much of its visual greatness due to the production design?
  20. the pope ondine

    the pope ondine Forum Resident

    i agree its a brilliant looking film (should be on the list, just a little lower), its more my own tastes and what im more attuned to ......but I get it, and who am I to argue with these dudes
  21. Dave Garrett

    Dave Garrett Forum Resident

    Houston, TX
    The combination of B&W and CinemaScope in the hands of a DOP who knew how to use it is more often than not magical. I note that the last B&W 'Scope film, 1967's IN COLD BLOOD, is also on the list. It was lensed by the great Conrad Hall, and is definitely a high point of the cinematographer's art.
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  22. Solaris

    Solaris a bullet in flight

    New Orleans, LA
    No, the way it was shot showcased that design beautifully. Cronenweth won the BAFTA and should have at least been nominated for the Oscar (Allan Daviau won for ET that year).

    As mentioned above, The Empire Strikes Back and Raiders of the Lost Ark are also gorgeous films, but I would say there are a lot of omissions. Spirit of the Beehive is a luscious visual experience that I would recommend to anyone interested in cinematography. That was the first to come to mind, but there's also A Hard Day's Night, Fight Club, The Seventh Seal, Birdman, Badlands, Cries and Whispers....

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  23. drh

    drh Talking Machine

    Love your avatar. I was with KTRU in '79-'82!

    [Apologies to everyone else for the irrelevancy....]
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  24. budwhite

    budwhite Climb the mountains and get their good tidings.

    Götaland, Sverige
    I also agree that black&white films shot in cinemascope 2.35 is something really special.

    In cold blood
    The Hustler
    The Apartment
    400 blows
  25. GregM

    GregM Senior Member

    Daddyland, CA
    Wish the Deakins films he did for the Coens would have been included, e.g., Barton Fink, O Brother.
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