Monday, November 18, 2013

Gunnar Fischer, 1910-2011

I think I'm giving something away in The Seventh Seal (1957)

Today marks the birth anniversary of cinematographer Gunnar Fischer. Fischer worked with Ingmar Bergman in the 1950s on several famous movies, with The Seventh Seal probably being the most well-known of them here in the USA. Smiles From a Summer Night and Wild Strawberries are also well worth watching, although if we're talking about Fischer and not Bergman I think it's probably better to mention The Seventh Seal just because of some of the images it has.

If only Max von Sydow know how much opening theory advanced since the Middle AgesThere are the scenes of Max von Sydow playing a game of chess against Death, and even some great individual shots of Death himself, in that black outfit where you can only see the face and hands. It something that I don't think would have nearly the effect if the movie had been made in color. Likewise is the famous shot from near the end that is pictured at the top of this post. One of the interesting things about the shot is that those are by and large not the cast members. Either Fischer or Ingmar Bergman, I don't remember which, saw the way the sun lit up the sky at the end of filming one day, and realized it would make a gorgeous shot. However, filming had been completed for the day, so the cast wasn't around, only the crew. They still filmed, using crew members standing in, and there's the memorable shot we got.

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