Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Crying Wolf

Normally I don't take issue with pedants who criticise production values of films and television, possibly because it's usually me being annoying by shouting at the black box in the corner. But I'm going to make an exception with that renowned cinematographer Alastair Campbell. Yes that one, who presumably directs film photography when he's not Tippexing documents. Missing the point by the length of a focus puller's tape measure, he complains in a 'tweet' about BBC's Wolf Hall that he's: "Not entirely persuaded by the lighting strategy". By which we must take it to mean that he, and the other critics who live their lives in everlasting sunlight, can't see the night interiors properly because they're shot using just candles. Which funnily enough is how it was all those years ago Alastair. Stanley Kubrick did the same thing with NASA lenses to shoot Barry Lyndon interiors, and that probably hasn't been bettered until Peter Kosminsky's production. Wolf Hall is stunning television, one we will remember for years, long after the Broadchurches have been stacked in the remainder bin. Of course it's not faultless, (pity about propane gas fires instead of the real thing), but it very nearly is.

So, having got that out, I may as well tell you two other things that have recently made me shout out intemperately. Over on the other side as it were, I have to look away everytime anyone gets on a train in Downton Abbey. For all the correct cutlery and meticulous positioning of butler's trays they would still like us to believe that they travel southwards from northern Yorkshire by the Southern Railway. Of course we in Unmitigated England know why. It's because the Bluebell Line's Horsted Keynes station is so much nearer to Downton's Highclere Castle location than anything up north. And then, nearly finished, there's that Routemaster bus that kept coming round the corners and passing at the end of streets of late forties 'London' in the otherwise excellent last episodes of Foyle's War. But then, they tried very hard to make us think that Dublin was London as well. 

Photo of the mesmerising Mark Rylance: BBC / Company Productions Ltd    


Anonymous said...

"Its a Wooloff its a Wooloff"
No its not. More like a smug/camp weirdy beardy in fancy dress.
But that's the problem with luvvies isn't it dear boy!

Henry was an Athlete of his day.
Not a ballet dancer!
Well that's my "Beef" anyway!

Peter Ashley said...

Thankyou Anon.

Stephen Barker said...

Peter, I agree that there was a scene in Barry Lyndon shot by candlelight. As I recall there was a very large number of candles used, which seemed inauthentic as wax candles were a luxury item in the Eighteenth Century even in the houses of the nobility. Let alone as I recall a German farmhouse in the scene I am thinking of.
We forget how dark it would have been in the past and how important moonlight would have been for those travelling at night.