Long, isn’t it?


The long-take opening shot from E.A. Dupont’s fascinating CAPE FORLORN, about which more imminently.

It’s a remarkable feat — and, given the primitive sound technology of the time, a pretty good job of developing atmosphere.

Alfred Junge did the production design — love the cardboard fern at the start — not sure which of the three cinematographers is responsible, but Jack Cox had worked with Hitchcock.

I’ve thrown in a bit of the following shot too, for context, and because I’m fascinated by the first actress who speaks. Does anyone know who she is? IMDb and the film’s own credits are silent on this matter. The actress on the right is Fay Compton, owner of the house in THE HAUNTING and Emilia in Welles’ OTHELLO, an actress I always enjoy.

Full write-up shortly.

20 Responses to “Long, isn’t it?”

  1. Most remindful of the Copa steadicam scene in Goodfellas. And I’ll bet Marty’s seen this too.

  2. He may well have, though it hasn’t been easy to see. In Hollywood, Mamoulian was attempting similar stuff at the same time, and he’s certainly seen those.

    I Am Cuba could also have been in Marty’s mind.

  3. Well I know he knows that one, but this is a nightclub scene.

  4. That’s great. And I see pith helmets!

    The (lost, I believe) German-language version of this had a stellar cast: Conrad Veidt, Fritz Kortner, Heinrich George. I’m not sure which, if any, sported a pith helmet.

  5. Lots of nightclub action in I Am Cuba!

    Kortner is in the German version of Atlantik also, and I bet he’s a hell of a lot better than the windbag in the Brit flick, Franklin Dyall (father of Valentine), who makes George Arliss look like Jimmy Cagney.

  6. La Faustin Says:

    Also reminiscent, to me, of Marjorie Rambeau’s return to her waterfront stomping grounds early in HER MAN — which, incidentally, has been restored! http://www.moma.org/calendar/film/1620

  7. Ooh, a restored Her Man is going to shake up film history! See a butch Franklin Pangborn! See Phillips Holmes invent John Wayne! Rambeau, First Blood!

  8. Very impressive indeed. It’s not as elaborate, but I was very taken with the extended, very mobile opening shot of Renoir’s Chotard et Cie (1933), a film in which the director seems to have taken very little pride but which is certainly impressive on the technical level. Renoir uses the shot to establish the set where much of the action transpires, peeking around corners and giving us an insight into the personality of the eponymous business owner.

  9. I’d love to see that with subtitles!

    Seems typical that he disparaged a technically impressive film and loved M Lange, which he felt was technically inadequate in some respects.

  10. Randy Cook Says:

    GOODFELLAS, sure. And I’d bet Orson saw it, too : while TOUCH OF EVIL was more-lauded long takes, the first scene in “Grandi’s Rancho Grande” (kind of a joke, get it?) is one longish shot. There’s a travel through a beaded curtain, even…and Welles has an on-screen ACTOR part the curtain, rather than an off-screen technician…mostly off screen, anyway.

  11. I wish I could help you – I saw it without subs, and the hissing on the soundtrack made it hard to understand the dialogue at times.

  12. Welles had been using long takes for some time, of course. An illusionary long take allows him to enter a night club from above in Kane, then he enters the Amberson house through the front, spends a reel on one shot in Macbeth and, before Columbia cut it to pieces, opened Lady from Shanghai with a shot about four minutes long in the park.

    I’m willing to buy parallel development as the explanation here… but I would be fascinated to know if Kalatazov saw it — he at least was making films (in the montage style) when this movie came out, and that was maybe the only time the film was easy to see (in three languages, yet).

  13. Randy Cook Says:

    KANE, as you cite — and earlier : HEART OF DARKNESS was planned as a series of quite long takes, I believe. So Welles, the movie director, was in love with the long take very early in his career, certainly. Was Welles, the movie GOER, in love with the long take even earlier? Could he have seen this picture when it ran? I suspect he paid pretty close attention to the visual aspect of the art, in his youth.

  14. David Bordwell researched the movie posters seen in Magnificent Ambersons and concluded that they showed a very strong awareness of film history…

  15. That’s great. I want more.

  16. Wow. That is something. And Her Man is a hoot!

  17. […] CAPE FORLORN, by E.A. Dupont, (previewed here two days ago) manages to combine the required suspense and close-quarters conflict with a real […]

  18. chris schneider Says:

    Can’t summon up much experience with lighthouse movies. BEAST FROM 20,000 FATHOMS is the best I can manage. THUNDER ROCK sounds good, though. Doesn’t that qualify?

  19. That pan along the bar is a work of art in itself. And the man hiding behind the lamp! Those giant legs came as a bit of a shock though… This is glorious.

  20. Dupont needs raising up a bit in reputation, I feel… Was just chatting to Lenny Borger who feels that Atlantik is unjustly maligned.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: