Magazine article American Cinematographer

Letters

Magazine article American Cinematographer

Letters

Article excerpt

Wolfman

Frank Taylor's article on makeup wizard Jack Pierce was enjoyable; I almost hesitate to make some corrections. In the 1941 The Wolfman, there was no head-on transformation of man into werewolf, as Taylor stated. Director George Waggner preferred instead to suggest the transformation with shots of Lon Chaney Jr.'s feet traversing the woods. Grisly head-on transformations came later in the sequels, the most remarkable occurring in House of Dracula (1945) as Chaney's eyeballs rolled in a moonlit jail cell. Also, these were not "stop-motion" shots but rather a series of articulate lap-dissolves.

Hand-tests were developed immediately in the darkroom and placed in the finder as lineup clips, allowing the cameraman to match the position of Chaney's eyes as he bristled during the various stages of makeup. A head brace insured stability. Effects department head John P. Fulton did not photograph these scenes before 1943-they were done by the regular DOP under the supervision of Fulton's optical foreman, David S. Horsley, ASC.

-Paul Mandell

New York, NY

Credit

I am a friend and supporter of Wilmer Butler ASC, having been responsible for a number of his better photographic achievements.

However, the Cinematographer should check the records on who was the director of photography on Cuckoo's Nest.

-Haskell Wexler, ASC

Malibu, CA

Wexler and Butler were both credited as directors of photography on One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. Both were nominated for Academy awards for the picture, according to records at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

The Roster

Congratulations on your recent articles about productions of yesteryear. I especially enjoyed the Karloff-Lugosi story on The Black Cat. Fascinating and brilliant.

I would also like to make comment on the recent attention being paid to the problems of getting into a union in your "Letters" column. Until recently I was a member of Local 644 (Cameramen) in New York City (whose parent union is the IATSE.) I would also like to state that I am an American citizen, fought for my country when called, pay my taxes, and am a law abiding person. Yet, because I was denied admittance into the "roster system" I was prohibited from shooting a feature film on a stage or nearby locations for any major studio in the city of Los Angeles.

In effect, all directors of photography who are not on the roster (no matter how talented or qualified) are prohibited from working in the largest motion picture producing area in the world. …

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