I was in my cutting room around 1 in the morning, and he strolls in smoking a cigarette and says, “Can I watch?” I said: “Yeah, you can watch. You wanna see a Jew go down? Stand there.” That was the night I coined the expression, “You cannot polish a turd.” And then Kubrick looked at me and said, “You can if you freeze it.”
– Jerry Lewis, who was editing a film at the same studio Kubrick was editing “2001”
He was obviously always a step ahead of me. He called me one, I remember I was at Warner’s, I think it was around the time he was getting ready to do Lyndon, and he said, ‘Do you have any of those special BNC cameras that we used for rear process?’ I said, ‘Why?’ He said, ‘For sentimental reasons. I started out on them. I’d love to buy one from you if I could get one.’ So I called the camera department and I said, ‘Do you have any of those?’ And they said, ‘We’ve got a couple of those.’ I called Stanley back….He said, ‘I’d love to get those cameras. I admire the workmanship.’ I said, ‘Great,’ and sent him one of those, or maybe two of them, I can’t remember.
About six months later, Gottschalk, who ran Panavision for us, and who was a certified camera and optical genius, called and said: ‘Why are you sending those rear-projection cameras to Stanley Kubrick?’ I said, ‘Because he asked for them. I mean, they sit down there, we don’t use rear-projection anymore. We’re doing front-projection.’ He said, ‘They’re priceless, they are the most fantastic works ever put into a camera. They are brilliantly conceived and brilliantly executed camera works. You could never build a camera like it if your life depended on it. I want to get everyone I can, because I can’t duplicate the work that went into them.’
Stanley had anticipated it and acquired them and built his own cameras!
– John Calley, Former President of Warner Bros., CEO of Sony Pictures
He looked for the old-fashioned Mitchell BNC cameras for a very specific reason. These were the only cameras, to his knowledge, where he had a chance of fitting these big Zeiss lenses.
– Jan Harlan, Executive Producer
And Stanley sent me this lens and said, could I mount it on his BNC camera? I said it’s absolutely impossible because the BNC has two shutters, a thick aperture plate, and all that between the film plane and the rear element of the lens. And so I explained that to Stanley and said we’d have to damn near wreck your camera and make it purely dedicated to do this. And he said, ‘Fine, go ahead and do it.’
It was originally a lens designed, developed, and manufactured by Zeiss for NASA. NASA was planning to use it in satellite photography. For that reason, it’s an extremely fast lens. It’s an f0.7 which is two stops faster than lenses that are even available today. Of course Stanely’s intention for these lenses was to shoot the famous candlelit scenes in Barry Lyndon. That being the case, he shot with the lenses wide open, f0.7. The consequence of that, he had practically no depth of field at all. It was quite a chore to do it, but of course the images were absolutely gorgeous.
– Ed Di Giulio, Cinematographer
A book I will be buying very soon is Steve Schapiro’s Taxi Driver from Taschen Books.
Schaprio is a photojournalist and documentary photographer and has also been the still photographer for many of the seminal films in the seventies including The Godfather, Midnight Cowboy, and The Way We Were.
To view more of his work, visit his site.
To purchase Taxi Driver, click here.
But the cinephile is … a neurotic! (That’s not a pejorative term.) The Bronte sisters were neurotic, and it’s because they were neurotic that they read all those books and became writers. The famous French advertising slogan that says, “When you love life, you go to the movies,” it’s false! It’s exactly the opposite: when you don’t love life, or when life doesn’t give you satisfaction, you go to the movies.
— François Truffaut
Blondes make the best victims. They’re like virgin snow that shows up the bloody footprints.
— Alfred Hitchcock
The scene in Billy Wilder’s Stalag 17 when the fellow prisoners of Barracks Four open up Sefton’s foot locker. Among the goodies are a couple of Leica III’s (with collapsible Elmars) mounted on the inside of the box’s lid.
Identification of the bodies and lenses comes from the invaluable geek resource, Andrew Nemeth’s Leica FAQ
People copy, people steal. Most of the pictures they make nowadays are loaded down with special effects. I couldn’t do that. I quit smoking because I couldn’t reload my Zippo.
Having always loved the circus, I saw the resemblance between movies and the circus. As a boy, my greatest dream would have been to be the director of a circus. I love the fantasy and the sense of improvisation in both.
When I arrived for my first movie, I couldn’t speak a word [of Italian]. I thought I was on the moon. I couldn’t understand what they were talking about. And I was speaking in French; in fact I was dubbed. And Federico Fellini was the first one who used my voice. I think I had a very strange voice.