The Power of Collaboration in Film

Filed Under (Uncategorized) by btrachtenberg100 on 05-03-2010

I am first and foremost a supporter of the film auteur theory. I believe that a director leaves a unique imprint on the film he creates. Having seen Citizen Kane multiple times as well as Touch of Evil, I can make a distinct connection between the two pieces as works of the same artist. Wells is a very technical director always utilizing new ways to tell his story. Kane is history as it’s the archetypal film. It shows breakthroughs in technical staging as well as profound deep focus photography, yet no one will argue that these two films are variations of the same thing. Whereas some directors such as Dario Argento, produce films that are literally replicas of each other. It has nothing to do with using the same crew. Gregg Tolland was the cinematographer on Kane, while Russell Metty was the director of photography on Touch of Evil. Argento used various cinematographers between films yet the degree of variation is far less. A director cannot make a great movie by himself, or even controlling every aspect of the shooting in a fascist manner. From reading about the relationship between Orson Wells and Gregg Tolland, I realize that the success is in their collaboration.
Tolland had a distinct style that the author traces back to a few of his previous films. Being that Tolland and Wells both were advocates of new technical feats in film, it was only natural that Wells made sure to enlist him in the film. A director must not only have a vision, he must encompass the ability to spot talent he needs to utilize to realize his motion picture. The ability to actually harness that talent, I believe is the key to a successful film. Where like a machine that hums, all its components work harmoniously to create a valuable product.
I have noticed trends in successful directors. David Cronenberg, for one, is known for making “Family” films, in that he works consistently with the same crew that allows him to produce consistently intriguing and disturbing work. Spielberg consistently uses composer John Williams, and editor Michael Kahn, and has consistently good films. (That is with the exception for Munich, and Indiana Jones 4). Not every director off the bat finds a compatible crew they work with this may be a reason that some directors must go from studio to studio, working with countless crews before they make a film that can galvanize his creativity.
Some can make consistently good films with different crews, but I propose that if Gregg Tolland didn’t work on Citizen Kane, we would have a significantly different movie today which might not have surpassed the standards of filmmaking at the time.

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