Saturday, October 6, 2012



This writer had the occasion the other day to peruse some reviews of a new video disc release of a classic film from the 1940s to gauge the general opinion of the overall quality of the product.  One review startled me.  It said, "I will watch an occasional classic movie but I draw the line at black and white."

Goodness.  He draws the line.  At black and white. 

One supposes that this gentleman would ignore a museum exhibition of Rembrandt's charcoal sketches on the premise that he must draw the line somewhere, as these sketches are in black and white.  Ansel Adams' famous photographic studies of the American southwest, photographed in black and white, would elicit no remorse from that gentleman if all the prints and negatives of the man's work were suddenly burned by some zealous guardian of the public, whose job it would presumably be to protect the young and innocent from having to view non-color images.

While such pig-ignorance can be pitied such opinions need not detain us overlong.  For those of my readers who are not afraid to indulge in the glories of rich, lustrous black and white photography allow me to recommend the visual feasting in store for those who are fortunate enough to view the work of Mexico's finest motion picture photographer, the late Gabriel Figueroa.

The Fugitive (1947)

Another illustration, as if one were needed, of the reason why this writer calls film "the oil paint of image capture".  And while these digitized photos look lovely on your computer screen, you should see them projected, on a large screen, in 35mm.  If ever such opportunities to see classic works of cinema on film present themselves in your city, where the digital downgrade steamroller proceeds apace, take them, because if the corporate pirates and media shysters have their way they will soon be unavailable.

The photots above, from John Ford's gorgeous 1947 film THE FUGITIVE, starring Henry Fonda, Dolores del Rio and Pedrom Armendariz, and photographed by a great artist, Gabriel Figueroa.

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