Another example of creative staging by director Orson Welles and deep focus technique by cinematographer Gregg Toland is the scene where Kane’s parents sign over their boy’s guardianship and fortune to Mr. Thatcher (George Coulouris) –Note the shot where Agnes Moorhead as Mrs. Kane (in a memorable short performance) is in close up screen right, Kane’s dad (Harry Shannon) and Thatcher are in progressively medium shots, and very deep into the frame through an open window is the young Charles Forster Kane playing in the snow (perhaps with his prized sled?) while his destiny is being decided in the foreground.
On TCM 9/5/16- The Searchers (1956) – John Ford’s superb direction takes John Wayne and Jeffrey Hunter on a Vista Vision journey to rescue Natalie Wood from the dangerous Chief Scar than spans much territory and many seasons—including snow.
On TCM 9/5/16- the masterpiece Citizen Kane (1941) – When Charles Foster Kane (Orson Welles) breaks his “Declaration of Principles”, admirer Jedediah Leland (played brilliantly by Joseph Cotten) changes his mind about Kane-the scene where the Leland/Kane friendship explodes is creatively staged by Welles and filmed by master cinematographer Gregg Toland with the upset Kane in close up at a typewriter in the foreground and Leland still dressed in evening wear screen right with an empty late night office focused in the background-a perfect example (and there are many in Kane) of utilizing deep focus for dramatic effect and great composition. Catch the way Welles and Toland establish that Joseph Cotton as the older Leland is in a nursing home (with other residents in soft focus) asking: “Could you get me a cigar?”
It is amazing that Robert Walker could play kind sensitive Johannes Brahms enamored with Katharine Hepburn as Clara Wieck Schumann in Song of Love (1947) and then be cast as the insensitive Bruno Anthony by Hitchcock in Strangers on a Train (1951) where he sings a song of murder!!!
On TCM Sun 9/4/16- NOIR masterpiece Out of the Past (1947) – “I sell gasoline, I make a small profit. With that I buy groceries. The grocer makes a profit. We call it earning a living. You may have heard of it somewhere.” Jeff Bailey (The great Robert Mitchum) opens up a gas station in bright pastoral Bridgeport, California attempting to escape from the evil dark Film Noir world populated with the likes of screen greats Jane Greer and Kirk Douglas. As articulate as Mitchum is in his masterful voiceover narration, Jimmy (Dickie Moore), the deaf and mute kid who works for him at this gas station communicates via sign language and facial expressions true respect and admiration for Jeff Bailey.
On TCM 9/3/16- Stagecoach (1939) –Master director John Ford introduces us to two of his future signatures: the Monument Valley location and with a rare very self-conscious zoom in for Ford when his leading man appears for the first time in any Ford film on John Wayne as the Ringo kid. Everyone mistakes the passenger liquor salesman Peacock played by Donald Meek for a preacher. But the joy of Oscar winning here Thomas Mitchell as the heavy drinking Doc Boone discovering this passenger’s true vocation is priceless Fordian humor. I love the performance of Claire Trevor as Dallas and she has great chemistry with the Duke.