RARA-AVIS: Musuraca's and Tourneur's Lighting For "Out of the Past"

From: chrisaschneider@earthlink.net
Date: 21 Aug 2004

Mark wrote:
> He found documentation (memos,
> budgets, etc) to back up that the
> lighting style [of "Out of the Past"]
> was due to cost-cutting on the sets.

Doherty wrote:
> it was just a way of making films
> economically

It was in one of his essays, I believe, that W.H. Auden gave, as an example of genius, composer Giacomo Rossini spilling ink on a portion of his score's manuscript, his noticing that the ink landed on a good place for a note, and then his keeping the note in that spot for the final score.

Whether or not the lighting of "Out of the Past" was a result of economics -- although I, myself, would prefer to speak of the quite conscious influence of the Val Lewton unit at R.K.O. and their approach toward atmospherics -- my claim would be that the important factors are (2) what was done in the final movie, and (2) the import of those choices in the film that we view today.

Both director Tourneur and cinematographer Nicholas Musurara had worked together under Lewton, of course -- "The Cat People" (1942).

Here, by the way, is a good article on Tourneur:



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