Wednesday, February 10, 2016
TOD BROWNING FROM A DIFFERENT ANGLE
Tod Browning has been criticized by film historians for years for his "static" camera shots throughout the filming of DRACULA (Universal 1931). The assertion that he "filmed a stage play" can rightly be said in a number of scenes in the movie, but some of the lingering camera shots lend to the eerie atmosphere of the proceedings, in this writer's opinion.
Browning was capable of more than this, and the picture shown below, from MOTION PICTURE MAGAZINE (Feb 1927), proves this out. Here we see the director perched atop a platform with his cameraman, John Arnold, shooting straight down on the actors from above. The movie is THE DAY OF SOULS (released by MGM in 1927 as THE SHOW) and the caption describes the camera angle as being influenced by German filmmakers' penchant for filming in "unusual ways". It is interesting to note that the film was released 4 years before DRACULA.