A beer advertisement ran in Britain, in 1980, for ‘Courage Best’. To a boy, it was quirky and funny – especially as the cover song had been a hit for Chas and Dave. An everyday advertisement that could have been sandwiched in between a hurrah for British Leyland’s Mini Metro and a Mars bar.
Except ‘Courage Best’ had been directed by Hugh Hudson, ahead of his ‘Chariots of Fire’; and, it had been lit by Robert Krasker.
Robert Krasker? Robert Krasker was the Australian Director of Cinematography on Carol Reed’s ‘The Third Man’ in 1949.
So, what is German Expressionism?
“German Expressionist painters rejected the naturalistic depiction of objective reality, often portraying distorted figures, buildings, and landscapes in a disorienting manner that disregarded the conventions of perspective and proportion. This approach, combined with jagged, stylized shapes and harsh, unnatural colors, were used to convey subjective emotions.”
“The German silent cinema was arguably far ahead of Hollywood during the same period. The cinema outside Germany benefited both from the emigration of German film makers and from German expressionist developments in style and technique that were apparent on the screen. The new look and techniques impressed other contemporary film makers, artists and cinematographers, and they began to incorporate the new style into their work.”
Which brings me to ‘Peeping Tom’, directed by Michael Powell and with Director of Cinematography – Otto Heller.
Otto Heller was the Director of Cinematography on ‘The Ipcress File’.
Otto worked at Ealing Studios and, in 1955, was the cinematographer for ‘The Ladykillers’:
An Ealing Studios contemporary of Heller was Douglas Slocombe, Director of Cinematography on ‘The Titfield Thunderbolt’:
And, ‘The Italian Job’:
What do you notice about these shots from Heller and Slocombe?
Slocombe was Director of Cinematography on ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark:’
What do you see?
Let’s get back to the ‘Courage Best’ advertisement. It’s not disruptively angled. But, take a look at the lighting in the introductory shot.
Krasker, R. (1980). ‘Gertcha’ [Advertisement]. Retrieved from http://www.rsafilms.com/uk/directors/film-and-tv-directors/hugh-hudson/featured/courage-best-gertcha/
Krasker, R. (1949). ‘The Third Man’ [Film]. Retrieved from http://cinema.cornell.edu/Fall2015/third_man.html
Wikipedia. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German_Expressionism
Heller, O. (1960). ‘Peeping Tom’ [Film]. Retrieved from http://filmstillcatalogue.blogspot.co.uk/2012/02/peeping-tom.html
Heller, O. (1965). ‘The Ipcress File’ [Film]. Retrieved from http://www.homecinemachoice.com/news/article/the-ipcress-file-review/19876
Heller, O. (1955). ‘The Ladykillers’ [Film]. Retrieved from https://mubi.com/films/the-ladykillers-1955
Slocombe, D. (1960). ‘The Titfield Thunderbolt’ [Film]. Retrieved from http://www.themoviescene.co.uk/reviews/the-titfield-thunderbolt/the-titfield-thunderbolt.html
Slocombe, D. (1969). ‘The Italian Job’ [Film]. Retrieved from https://bamfstyle.com/2014/07/01/italianjob69-beigesuit/
Slocombe, D. (1981). ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark’ [Film]. Retrieved from http://www.firstshowing.net/2008/a-look-back-the-iconic-cinematography-of-douglas-Slocombe/