Hollywood Lighting from the Silent Era to Film Noir

Patrick Keating

Columbia University Press

Hollywood Lighting from the Silent Era to Film Noir

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Pub Date: December 2009

ISBN: 9780231149037

312 Pages

Format: Paperback

List Price: $34.00£27.00

Pub Date: December 2009

ISBN: 9780231149020

312 Pages

Format: Hardcover

List Price: $105.00£81.00

Pub Date: December 2009

ISBN: 9780231520201

312 Pages

Format: E-book

List Price: $33.99£27.00

Hollywood Lighting from the Silent Era to Film Noir

Patrick Keating

Columbia University Press

Lighting performs essential functions in Hollywood films, enhancing the glamour, clarifying the action, and intensifying the mood. Examining every facet of this understated art form, from the glowing backlights of the silent period to the shaded alleys of film noir, Patrick Keating affirms the role of Hollywood lighting as a distinct, compositional force.

Closely analyzing Girl Shy (1924), Anna Karenina (1935), Only Angels Have Wings (1939), and T-Men (1947), along with other brilliant classics, Keating describes the unique problems posed by these films and the innovative ways cinematographers handled the challenge. Once dismissed as crank-turning laborers, these early cinematographers became skillful professional artists by carefully balancing the competing demands of story, studio, and star. Enhanced by more than one hundred illustrations, this volume counters the notion that style took a backseat to storytelling in Hollywood film, proving that the lighting practices of the studio era were anything but neutral, uniform, and invisible. Cinematographers were masters of multifunctionality and negotiation, honing their craft to achieve not only realistic fantasy but also pictorial artistry.
Hollywood Lighting from the Silent Era to Film Noir should be considered essential reading by all film students and aspiring directors. Midwest Book Review
This readable book provides welcome profiles of eminent cinematographers... and valuable research on the American Society of Cinematographers... Highly recommended. Choice
This book taught my students and me to watch films in a new way. Karla Oeler, Film Quarterly
Acknowledgments
Introduction: The Rhetoric of Light
Part I: Lighting in the Silent Period
1. Mechanics or Artists?
2. From the Portrait to the Close-Up
3. The Drama of Light
4. Organizing the Image
Part II: Classical Hollywood Lighting
5. Inventing the Observer
6. Conventions and Functions
7. The Art of Balance
Part III: Shifting Patterns of Shadow
8. The Promises and Problems of Technicolor
9. The Flow of the River
10. Film Noir and the Limits of Classicism
Conclusion: Epilogue
Notes
Index

Winner, 2011 Best First Book

About the Author

Patrick Keating is an assistant professor in the Department of Communication at Trinity University, where he teaches courses in film and media studies.