Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Black Narcissus - 1947

These amazing images from Black Narcissus (1947) were created by matte paintings under the art direction of Alfred Junge (no CGI here) and the cinematography of Jack Cardiff.

The dizzying image directly above is one of my favorite shots in any film. (Click on the picture to blow it up.)

Go to Only the Cinema to read Ed Howard's review.


Daniel Getahun said...

Wow, you aren't kidding - those are some beautiful shots!

hokahey said...

Thanks for visiting. The thing about matte paintings is that you can see they're not real but they lend an otherworldly quality to a film. The matte paintings in King Kong (1933 - of course) are also very memorable.

Ed Howard said...

Agreed about the way the backdrops contribute to the film's unique atmosphere: it wouldn't be quite the same, somehow, if they'd actually shot on location.

The matte paintings in the film were mostly created by blowing up black and white photos and then coloring them with pastel chalks. These are some of my favorite matte shots, right up there with the best ones that Hitchcock used in The Birds and Marnie.

hokahey said...

Thanks for the comment and for the information about how the mattes were done.

I love the matte shots in Hitchcock films. The matte shot of the mission with the tower added on in Vertigo is chilling. In Marnie I remember the grim harborside set is especially atmospheric.