Monday, December 10, 2012

Production design

TCM is apparently running an irregular series called Academy Conversations, in which Robert Osborn sits down with people in one of the narrower areas that get Oscar nominations, to talk with them about their particular craft and how some classic movies display that specific craft. I don't think I've seen any previous installments if there have been any, which I'm only inferring from the press release. If I've read the release correctly, there are going to be two production designers, each presenting two movies (perhaps not coincidentally, they'll each show one in black and white and one in color). I haven't heard of either designer, but that's not surprising: I've commented a number of times in the past that there are a lot of people necessary in the production of a movie about whom we learn very little. One of the functions of a series like this is to give those people the credit they really deserve.

As for tonight's schedule:
Guy Hendrix Dyas talks about Grand Hotel at 8:00 PM, followed by My Fair Lady at 10:15 PM.
Lily Kilvert will discuss The Grapes of Wrath at 1:15 AM, and The Leopard at 3:30 AM.

The two color films are both period pieces, so it's easy to see the production design there. The Grand Hotel sets are also an obvious candidate for a discussion of production design. The bleakness of the Depression seems at first like an odd choice to discuss production design, but displaying that sort of poverty really is just the other side of the coin from all those opulent sets a lot of movies have.

There ought to be enough time after Grand Hotel (113 min.) to run the AMPAS short on production design, but it's not listed on TCM's schedule.

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