Analyzing Stylistic Patterning in Film to Establish the Cinematographer as a Coauthor: A Case Study of Gregg Toland

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Abstract

Can the authorial contribution of the individual cinematographer to classical, narrative-based film be identified and attributed?

This is the specific question I address, but this has to acknowledge the wider debates about film authorship. I will examine contemporary attitudes to co-authorship in film, highlighting the fact that, in terms of cinematography, most commentators still defer to directors when discussing the creation of meaning within images.

It is my intention to examine the work of Toland and that of Wyler, evaluating authorial attribution by means of a comparison between the films they made together and the films they made separately. In order to do this I will attempt to define a method for establishing authorship within the film image. Toland is a prime historical example of a cinematographer whose authorial contribution has been severely underestimated in the pursuit of glorifying the directors that he worked with (Welles, Ford, and Wyler).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)16-37
Number of pages22
JournalProjections: The Journal for Movies and the Mind
Volume11
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2017

Keywords

  • Bazin
  • The Best Years of Our Lives
  • cinematography
  • film authorship
  • Gregg Toland
  • Orson Welles
  • William Wyler

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