Dir: Francis Ford Coppola
DoP: Bill Butler
This entry was posted on August 26, 2010 by DonnachaC. It was filed under 1974, Bill Butler, Francis Ford Coppola and was tagged with Apartment, Audio, Cindy Williams, Gene Hackman, Harrison Ford, Harry Caul, John Cazale, Paranoia, Robert Duvall, San Fransisco, Sax, Saxophone, Surveillance, Tape, Warehouse.
Just watched this the other day. Fantastic looking film. Surprised I hadn’t heard more about it before.
August 26, 2010 at 6:03 pm
Its really brilliant, and teribly underated, i think it only came out on DVD in America a few weeks ago (us fancy Europeans have had it for years)
Its an interesting film, I really think that Coppola was trying to branch out into smaller scale experimental films with this one (somewhat akin to what Soderbergh does between his bigger movies) unfortunately for us all he got distracted… luckily for us he got distracted by two amazing films!!!
August 26, 2010 at 6:34 pm
This was an interesting one from the intentional set ups using linear and circular shots. Gene Hackmans character moves in straight lines and lives in a linear fashion, representing his rationality, and his systematic and technical job. The people he records move in circles (Mark and Anne walking around the square, the circle in the camera viewfinder), and everyone involved with the conspiracies have circular images associated with them (the only circular part of Gene’s day is the wheels on the recorder). Once he actually involves himself emotionally in what is actually being recorded on those wheels his linear and detached life unravels.
Great symbolic sequence when he enters the building which is totally linear on the outside, but all circular on the inside. He literally crosses the threshold, and the circle is complete as he becomes the one who is under surveillance.
August 26, 2010 at 11:06 pm
That’s an excellent observation sir, Im looking back at the stills and now all i can see in lines and circles!!!
16. Reception actually stuck me as a very kubrickian shot, with symetry in the floor,ceiling and walls, but then you have that wonderful sairway at the back. Its a pretty amazing location (I imagine its a found location as opposed to a designed set…but I could be wrong)
August 26, 2010 at 11:25 pm
thanks for pic’s . my friend and i wonder the writings on the phone at picture 60 and we connot see on the video but we have found the picture of the frame on this web site thanks a lot for the answer that we wonder a lot
October 1, 2010 at 12:32 am
This is such an awesomely good idea, your blog, your analyzing films this way, visually! Wow! I learned of your blog on the bulletin board over at IMDB, specifically the one about The Conversation. It happens to be one of my favorite films, also, ever since I saw it in a dingy theater near Times Square back in the 1970s. (8th Ave. and 50th St.?) I have been looking to buy a disk of this film, wish Criterion would put out a special edition. It certainly deserves that treatment.
Anyway, back to the film: The opening scene is one of my favorites, so deliciously creepy and ominous and ambiguous, and all helped a good deal by the audio effects, which to my knowledge sound quite authentic – all that bandpass filtering and mixing of multiple sources to help re-enforce each other. This was in the days of analog, so no easy computer algorithms to play with sound.
Two observations I wish were my own, but I cribbed them from an extra feature on the DVD: 1) FFC says he made a point of shooting the film in apartments and buildings where, through the window, one sees the genuine demolition of old buildings. Lots of that going on in parts of SF, then. Adds a sense of things falling apart, etc. 2) Caul/Hackman’s raincoat, a thin plastic see-through job, is on purpose, symbolizing … um, I think it was his business of peering into people’s lives.
The comment above about circles and straight lines is wonderful. I must go see the movie again! Thanks.
November 17, 2010 at 5:12 pm
Glad you like the site, I sometimes feel the IMDB posts can be a little spammy, but all I really want is for people who would find the site useful to know it exists… and obviously with your glowing comments weve found another!
The opening scene is really wonderful, and is almost a master class in use of lenses and perspective. I must look out for those demolitions!
You’re really lucky to be able to have seen it in the theatres, when I found this movie it was a lot like a lightbulb going off… as much as I love the Godfather movies and Apocalypse Now, I think I prefer this movie the smaller canvas allows for some really interesting touches.
November 17, 2010 at 5:21 pm
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