Thursday, 27 September 2012

Word and picture


"Paul Rotha (The Film till Now)  says 'Dialogue, by very  reason of its realism, represents real time and not the filmic time of the visual image.'

Arnheim's solution was a perceptive one:  'Sound film -- at any rate real sound film -- is not a verbal masterpiece supplemented by pictures, but a homogenous creation of word and picture which cannot be split up into parts that have any meaning separately.'  (Film)

This is the reason why Shakespeare and Shaw, undiluted and unaltered, cannot become more than hundred-per-cent talkies.  Admittedly, you can see the people talking more clearly, but it is a doubtful advantage since the lines were written to be projected orally over a distance, and the broad eloquent phrasing of great drama is lost in the overpowering visual presence of the actor.  Many situations in a Shakespeare play, on the other hand, would make excellent cinema (Lear driven out on to the heath by Fritz Lang, the riots in Rome by Eisenstein, the murder of Duncan by Hitchcock), but Shakespeare's words would be cut to nothing and his rhythms lost among visual silences or natural sounds."

Film  Roger Manvell

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