Archive for The Tin Star

Tin Starlight

Posted in FILM with tags , , , , , on August 9, 2010 by dcairns

It’s been an age-old frustration for many filmmakers that the camera eye can’t replicate all the wonders of the human eye. For instance, when we’re in a dim room, we can still look out the window and see the bright daylit world. Our eyes rarely if ever register the kind of overexposed glare seen so often in films (and often used to striking visual effect). The human iris has an amazing latitude, unmatched by any camera even today.

In THE TIN STAR, Anthony Mann and his collaborators tackle the problem, I think, by shooting interiors open to daylight. I may be wrong and they may be blasting vast amounts of electric light at the problem, but what it looks like to me is a roofless set. Must’ve looked pretty funny if you were there.

It does look a little strange to me onscreen, too. Although this shot, where the set has at least part of a ceiling, creates a more plausible contrast between light and shade. It’s often the way that pushing in the direction of realism results in strange stylisation. However, the technique allows a lot more interplay between indoors and out, dramatically useful in a story where Sheriff Tony Perkins feels the prying eyes of townsfolk watching him at all times…