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Chronicle of a Camera

The Arriflex 35 in North America, 1945-1972

Norris Pope

Publication Year: 2013

This volume provides a history of the most consequential 35mm motion picture camera introduced in North America in the quarter century following the Second World War: the Arriflex 35. It traces the North American history of this camera from 1945 through 1972--when the first lightweight, self-blimped 35mm cameras became available.

Chronicle of a Camera emphasizes theatrical film production, documenting the Arriflex's increasingly important role in expanding the range of production choices, styles, and even content of American motion pictures in this period. The book's exploration culminates most strikingly in examples found in feature films dating from the 1960s and early 1970s, including a number of films associated with what came to be known as the "Hollywood New Wave." The author shows that the Arriflex prompted important innovation in three key areas: it greatly facilitated and encouraged location shooting; it gave cinematographers new options for intensifying visual style and content; and it stimulated low-budget and independent production. Films in which the Arriflex played an absolutely central role include Bullitt, The French Connection, and, most significantly, Easy Rider. Using an Arriflex for car-mounted shots, hand-held shots, and zoom-lens shots led to greater cinematic realism and personal expression.

Published by: University Press of Mississippi

Cover

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pp. 1-7

Contents

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pp. vii-9

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Acknowledgments

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pp. ix-xii

My interest in the Arriflex 35 dates from 2004, when I purchased a and the camera professionally tuned, I ended up with a fine piece and 1970s. My pleasure in using this camera, and my growing rec-ognitions of its capabilities, led directly to my interest in tracing the North American history of the Arriflex 35 from the end of the ...

A Note on Terms

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pp. xiii-17

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1. Introduction: A Thirteen-Pound Wonder

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pp. 3-13

The Arriflex 35 was the most consequential 35mm motion picture camera introduced in North America during the quarter century following the Second World War—and it also became, for filmmakers working outside the studio establishment, the most hip.1 Unveiled by the German firm Arnold & Richter at the Leipzig Trade Fair in 1937, the Arriflex...

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2. Advantages of Portability: The Early Postwar Years

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pp. 14-25

The unveiling of the Arriflex 35 at the 1937 Leipzig Trade Fair does not appear to have had any detectable impact on North American cinematographers or cinematography. During World War II, however, the camera’s international reputation grew as a result of the high-quality wartime and combat footage taken with it by German cameramen...

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3. Increasing Usefulness: The Fifties

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pp. 26-39

During a European trip he took sometime around 1950, Richard Moore, later an important cinematographer and one of the founders of Panavision, managed to meet August Arnold, co-founder of Arnold & Richter. Describing himself as a Hollywood cameraman (but without..

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4. Technical Innovation: The Fifties and Sixties

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pp. 40-51

Arnold and Richter’s pioneering design remained largely intact throughout the entire production run of the Arriflex 35, up through the manufacture of the final Arriflex IIC in 1979—a remarkable testimony to the strengths of the original conception and engineering of the camera. Additional technical development continued, however, improving...

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5. A Secondary Camera of Choice: The Sixties and Early Seventies

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pp. 52-67

By the start of the 1960s, the Hollywood studio system was in increasing disarray, more independent films were being shot, drive-ins were attracting ever larger audiences for low-budget and niche-market films, and television remained in need of compelling dramatic series that could be produced rapidly for weekly broadcast. Although Mitchell...

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6. Shooting Low-Budget Features: The Sixties and Early Seventies

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pp. 68-88

“Y’all a bunch of communists and we know what you’re doin’. You’re trying to start a revolution. . . . Get outta town or go to jail.” This was not film dialogue but what Roger Corman remembered the sheriff of East Prairie, Missouri, telling him and his film crew when they attempted to shoot a scene in a schoolyard...

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7. Mainstream Successes: The Sixties and Early Seventies

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pp. 89-98

Although most Arriflex use as a principal camera for shooting dramatic features occurred on low-budget films, this was not invariably so. This chapter will accordingly examine Arriflex use as a principal camera on various mainstream projects. In this area, television led the way with the popular series I Spy, starring Robert Culp and Bill Cosby, which...

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8. Conclusion: Master Shot

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pp. 99-112

John Boorman’s taut thriller Deliverance (1972) was made shortly before the North American release of the 35mm Arriflex BL. Shot by Vilmos Zsigmond in a remote region of the Appalachian Mountains, mostly along whitewater stretches of the Chattooga River, the film took an approach to its subject matter that required many very difficult shots...

Appendix: Foreign Influences: The Arriflex 35 Overseas

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pp. 113-122

Notes

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pp. 123-156

Photo Credits

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pp. 157-158

Index

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pp. 159-168

Image Plates

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pp. 67-203


E-ISBN-13: 9781621039280
E-ISBN-10: 1621039285
Print-ISBN-13: 9781617037412

Page Count: 202
Illustrations: 43 b&w illustrations
Publication Year: 2013

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Subject Headings

  • Arriflex 35 motion picture cameras -- History -- 20th century.
  • Cinematography -- United States -- History -- 20th century.
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