John Alton

Essays on the Cinematographer’s Art and Craft

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SKU: 9781476666266 Categories: ,

About the Book

Devoted to his craft—sometimes to the detriment of his reputation—cinematographer John Alton (1901–1996) was sought after by such directors as Vincente Minnelli, Richard Brooks and Anthony Mann but was disdained by others of comparable talent. An auteur in the truest sense, Alton established a landmark body of work described by Variety film critic Todd McCarthy as “The essence, and ultimate example, of film noir … logically created by a cinematographer, not a director.” This collection of new essays by filmmakers and film scholars explores the central role Alton’s distinctive style of “painting with light” played in formulating the aesthetics of noir, as well as his contributions to other genres.

About the Author(s)

Leon Lewis, professor of film and literature at Appalachian State University, founded and directed the English department’s film program for 25 years. He lives in Boone, North Carolina.

Bibliographic Details

Edited by Leon Lewis
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 190
Bibliographic Info: 14 photos, filmography, notes, bibliographies, index
Copyright Date: 2020
pISBN: 978-1-4766-6626-6
eISBN: 978-1-4766-3904-8
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vi
Introduction: The Poetics of the Director of Photography’s Palette
LEON LEWIS 1
John Alton: A Filmography 23
Argentine Period
TODD MCCARTHY 23
American Period
DENNIS JAKOB 24
Women (Good and Bad) in the Later Films of John Alton
TONEY FRAZIER 28
Portrait of an Auteur Framed in Shadow
SARAH E. DAVIS 39
Mimesis, Mode and Method: John Alton’s Film Noir
A.B. ADCOCK 59
The Observer Observed: John Alton and Vincente Minnelli and the Domestic Domain
KC CLEMENS 71
O Master, When Art Thou? The Anemia of Production Memory and the Failed Promise of the Digital Revolution
JEFFREY P. MARTELL 89
Alton and the Western: Re-Mapping the Terrain
TOM WALLIS 107
Farm Noir: Agriculture, Empathy and Genre in The Grapes of Wrath and Border Incident
ZACKARY VERNON and JESSICA L. MARTELL 126
Light is Life, Darkness Death: Light and Darkness in Raw Deal
BRIAN FAUCETTE 148
About the Contributors 171
Index 173