Saturday, May 19, 2012

Speaking of Gregg Toland

I mentioned Gregg Toland about two years ago on his birthday. Toland was one of the outstanding cinematographers of his era before his untimely death in 1948. He's probably best remembered for the almost groundbreaking shots he produced under the direction of Orson Welles in Citizen Kane, although I think he did just as good a job in The Best Years of Our Lives. Anyhow, TCM is spedning a night with Toland, or at least with his movies.

Sadly, The Best Years of Our Lives is not one of them. I was hoping that perhaps this might be because Memorial Day is coming up and The Best Years of Our Lives is a perfect film for Memorial Day. But no, it's not showing up then either. Citizen Kane does show up, concluding the night at 4:15 AM.

In fact the night kicks off at 8:00 PM with this week's TCM Essential, the Laurence Olivier/Merle Oberon version of Wuthering Heights. To be honest, I don't remember anything particularly memorable about the cinematography in this one, although that may be in part because of how retch-worthy I find the story and particularly the finale. But I'm sure there are some peoplw who will love it.

Toland photographs John Wayne taking The Long Voyage Home at 10:00 PM, doing a good job with a story set mostly on board a ship.

It's tough to go wrong with photographing Jane Russell and her assets, and Toland got a chance to do just that (the photography, not the going wrong) in The Outlaw, at midnight. Apparently there's a story behind Jane Russell somewhere.

I don't think I've ever done a full-length blog post on The Grapes of Wrath before, although I've mentioned it a bunch of times in conjunction with other things. Toland photographed this one too, and you can catch it at 2:00 AM.

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