Monday, August 13, 2007

A Classic Style on a Budget


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This is from the 1930 film, THE BAT WHISPERS, based on the classic Mary Roberts Rinehart's stage play. It was said to be one of the influences for THE BATMAN and you can see why.

Note how the miniatures are integrated into the camera moves (long before computer-control), and that they add to the shadowy, Caligari- Art Deco -esque style of the scenes. Today, you could do everything they did back in 1930 on your desktop computer.

It isn't meant to be realistic - it's meant to be stylistic - and precisely because it's not realistic is why it works. People tend to forget that when working on a genre show.

This is how you work genre and budget together.

Thanks go to Ted Newsome over at The Retromedia Forum for pointing out this footage.

4 comments:

Michael said...

Wow, "Influence" or "Direct Source Material?"

I would say the latter.

And the "innovative" camera work of Citizen Kane came out 11 years after this?

Amazing.

Bill Cunningham said...

Amazing isn't it?

Just this small sequence pulls me in to see more. I am going to find the DVD this weekend and study it.

wcdixon said...

Reminds me a little of 'Sanctuary'...

Bill Cunningham said...

Yes, only these folks were shooting 65mm film...

I love the way the shadows hide things in the frame, only to reveal them a moment later.