Wednesday, January 12, 2011

"That's Roman Polanski"

In the 1992 documentary "Visions of Light," William A. Fraker, ASC discusses his experience as DP on "Rosemary's Baby," a particular favorite of mine.

I found the following anecdote really instructive and entertaining.

“Most pictures were really breaking away from the Hollywood System [in the 1960s]. And you had the influence of the east coast, you had the influence of foreign markets now, and you had directors like Roman Polanski…. Roman had a magnificent background. He went to the Polish film school and he had a magnificent background in photography. He understood photography. He understood images—and also with people and emotions. He was tied with emotions.

There’s a shot in Rosemary’s Baby—[Ruth] says “Where’s the telephone?” And Mia says, “In the bedroom.” And Ruth says, “Oh, good,” and she exits
Roman says, “Billy, give me a POV of Ruth.” And I got them framed perfectly, beautifully—we see her on the phone talking. And I say, “Ok, Roman, we’re ready.”  He comes over and he looks and he says, “Billy, no no no, Billy move move move… move to the left.” So the camera moves and I look through and I see just the back of Ruth Gordon, seated on the bed and you can’t see her face or see the telephone. And I said, “But you can’t see her.” And Roman says… “Exactly.” And I said.. “Oh, ok?”

So now, we go to theater and 800 people in theater all go [mimics someone arching their neck to the right]… to see around the door jam. 

That’s Roman Polanski.”

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