Storm Scenes

Ireland, especially the South and West thereof, is bracing itself tonight for the arrival of Storm Ellen. It seems likely to reach Maynooth in the early hours of tomorrow morning but will probably have dissipated a bit by then.

Anyway, the thought of a storm battering the Irish coast reminded me of the memorable storm scenes in David Lean’s 1970 film Ryan’s Daughter. The film crew had to wait almost a year near the coast at Dingle for a sufficiently violent storm but when one arrived they caught its elemental power superbly. No CGI in these shots!

I love the long shots of the people scurrying like ants on top of the cliff. Their movement makes them look terrified. I suspect they weren’t acting.

Update: it was indeed a very stormy night. I was woken up a few times by the gales, and there are lots of reports on the radio of fallen trees and debris, but I don’t know of any serious damage here in Maynooth.

13 Responses to “Storm Scenes”

  1. Phillip Helbig Says:

    “The film crew had to wait almost a year near the coast at Dingle for a sufficiently violent storm but when one arrived they caught its elemental power superbly. No CGI in these shots!”

    Yes, the good old days when film crews filmed what was really there.

    One of the most iconic scenes in all of cinema, the dance of death at the end of Bergman’s The Seventh Seal, came about only because of the wonderful sky. The film had been finished, literally in the can, and most of the actors had already gone. Bergman saw the wonderful sky and thought that it should be in the film. So some of the technical crew got into the actors’ costumes and this scene, one of the most famous in all of cinema, was shot on the spur of the moment, in one take, with people who weren’t even actors.

    That was Bergman.

    Another of my favourite directors, also noted for his use of light and composition of scenes, Kubrick, was completely different. He shot some scenes hundreds of times. Bergman usually discussed the scene briefly with his cameraman and then did one or two takes. Despite, or perhaps because of, the intensity of the work, many actors never saw nor even heard from Kubrick again after working with him, whereas Bergman made many films with essentially the same cast. They were also friends in prvate, and Bergman was romantically involved with many of the actresses. He was also married 5 times and had 9 children, and (eventually) married all of the mothers except one, Liv Ullman. All of the children went into film except one, also named Ingmar Bergman, who became an airline pilot.

    • Anton Garrett Says:

      I thought the chess scene was more famous? And famously parodied in De Duva.

      Here is Murray Melvin, who played the Reverend Runt in Barry Lyndon, on Kubrick’s number of retakes:

      • Phillip Helbig Says:

        The chess scene is duly famous; as Roger Ebert wrote it is so good that it has survived countless parodies. Most of Bergman’s scenes are good.

      • Anton Garrett Says:

        He’s a bit weird. I am fond of The Best Intentions, which he wrote but did not direct. It is based loosely on the complex courtship and early years of marriage of his parents, up the point where his mother is pregnant with him. The 3-hour film, cut down from the 5-hour TV version, is outstanding.

    • Anton Garrett Says:

      I tried to think of actors who had been in more than one Kubrick film, and without googling thought of Kirk Douglas (Paths of Glory, Spartacus) and Peter Sellers (Lolita, Dr Strangelove). I also suspected that Leon Vitali, who worked a lot with Kubrick on the other side of the camera, might have played more parts than Lord Bullingdon (in Barry Lyndon), and found that he indeed had a role in Eyes Wide Shut. Anybody else?

      • telescoper Says:

        Leonard Rossiter (2001 and Barry Lyndon)

      • telescoper Says:

        Pretty sure Steven Berkoff was in Barry Lyndon and he was definitely in A Clockwork Orange.

      • Anton Garrett Says:

        Rossiter yes of course – thank you!

        And I am certain that Berkoff was in Barry Lyndon – he played a Lord at the gambling table who got cleaned out by Barry and the Chevalier’s cheating and took off for dinner with two courtesans. Onscreen for little more than a minute but we can add him to the list. I didn’t know he was in Chocolate Orange or whatever.

      • telescoper Says:

        Patrick McGee – I could see his face but not remember his name – was also in Barry Lyndon and A Clockwork Orange.

      • Anton Garrett Says:

        Here’s a list:

        Philip Stone, Norman Gay, Frank Silvera, Joe Turkel, Sterling Hayden, Timothy Carey, Patrick Magee, Peter Sellers, Kirk Douglas, Leonard Rossiter, Steven Berkoff, Godfrey Quigley, Anthony Sharp, Leon Vitali, Pat Roach, Margaret Tyzack, Glenn Beck, Vivian Kubrick.

        I am kicking myself for forgetting Sterling Hayden.

  2. Anton Garrett Says:

    That’s a long scene just to show a storm. Perhaps it inadvertently shows how long they’d waited for it. And it’s a long film.

    • telescoper Says:

      Actually that’s just the storm footage – there is quite a lot going on between the various shots that has been cut out. If you watch closely you can see a tiny bit of other action left in by accident partway through by the edit. Watch without blinking around 1.13…

    • telescoper Says:

      It is a long film and it has many flaws but the cinematography rightly won an Oscar, as it looks sumptuous.

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