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Old August 5th, 2007, 10:52 PM   #1
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Greatest continuous takes ever

I was looking for a list of the best scenes ever filmed in which the view is continuously one camera, like the ones where the camera goes through fixtures and up and over walls....etc and never leaves the actors

I saw a few cool ones in Taratino movies, but their must be a list of all the best scenes, so i can go rent this movies. Does anyone have links, or the correct terminology to use as a search on google, or even just ones you recall being very extensive and incredible to watch?
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Old August 6th, 2007, 03:44 AM   #2
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Children Of Men end battle scene pretty much takes the cake for me.

You can find this on youtube

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T61ufvuu5_Y

the first six minutes or so? are a single take. Brilliant.

Last edited by Tyson Perkins; August 6th, 2007 at 03:45 AM. Reason: link added.
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Old August 6th, 2007, 07:49 AM   #3
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From a director who died last week
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Old August 6th, 2007, 09:15 AM   #4
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Thread title changed from "Greatest continuous camera angles ever" to "Greatest continuous takes ever." The very long takes in the recent "Children of Men" and the recently deceased Michelangelo Antonioni are great references. Here are some others:

Opening shot of Touch of Evil, 1958 by Orson Welles: sometimes referred to as the greatest crane shot of all time. Starts with a closeup of a time bomb in a man's hands, follows a car and a couple out for an evening stroll in a busy town as the camera sails up and over buildings, down streets, around corners; comes in close for dialog, flies back out again, etc. Took all night to set up and shoot; required several takes because an extra kept blowing his line at the end of the shot.

A couple of movies that appear to be one long, continuous, unbroken take:

The Russian Ark, 2002, by Aleksandr Sokurov. The whole thing, 96 minutes long, is a single Steadicam take.

Rope, 1948, by Alfred Hitchcock. Entire movie unfolds in real time. Actually a series of several shots due to the 10-minute limit of film magazine loads, but it appears to be a continuous take thanks to some clever in-camera editing. The set is blocked as much as the actors are: out of the frame, walls and furniture have to move to make way for the camera; their actions had to be rehearsed as much as the actors.
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Old August 6th, 2007, 09:24 AM   #5
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Okay, here's a page *full* of examples, complete with clips. Enjoy!

http://dailyfilmdose.blogspot.com/20...long-take.html

There are a ton of choice long takes on this page... I had forgotten about the opening shot of Joss Whedon's "Serenity" from 2005.
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Old August 6th, 2007, 09:40 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Chris Hurd View Post
Rope, 1948, by Alfred Hitchcock.
In the Truffaut bio, Hitchcock said that he did that continuous take as sort of an inside joke because people said it wasn't possible to do a whole movie like that.
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Old August 6th, 2007, 10:13 AM   #7
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The scene in Goodfellas where the Ray Liotta character takes his girlfriend through the back of a restaurant, down the stairs, through the kitchen, along a corridor, all the time greeting people, and then into the main room

The opening scene of Brian DiPalma's Snake Eyes

The opening scene of Robert Altman's The Player


The scene from the Protector where Tony Jaa comes into a restaurant and kicks butt all the way up stairs, thru different rooms, etc

As for Rope, it was a "conceptual" one take. Due to the limitations of how much film could be loaded at one time, they actually had to do takes to accomodate film changes; usually the camera would move behind a chair or something into darkness and there the cut would be .. but still, it was concieved as one take and I think still qualifies
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Old August 6th, 2007, 12:01 PM   #8
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A couple of times in Rope, an actor simply steps in front of the camera, you know, so all you can see is the back of his jacket up close before the frame is completely filled and goes dark because the lens is completely blocked by the actor, and that's where the cut is. It's pretty fluid and seamless. The whole movie is just something like seven or eight continuous shots.
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Old August 6th, 2007, 12:30 PM   #9
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The opening scene in Boogie Nights when they go into the club is a good continuous scene. The actors talk about how difficult it was in the bonus features on the DVD.
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Old August 6th, 2007, 01:12 PM   #10
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I second Russian Ark. I still don't understand how they acheived that take any more than I understand how Michelangelo acheived David. I'm not saying it's something to watch on family night, but for sheer artistry and brilliance you would have a hard time finding a better film to study.
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Old August 6th, 2007, 03:42 PM   #11
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I second Children of Men. One of the most amazing cinematography of the last years.

Snake Eyes (opening shot)

Carlito's Way (in the station there is one, at the climax)

Schindler's List has one very nice steadycam shot, when Schindler in the beginning goes into a ballroom.

Irréversible has one too, but it's pretty sickening (although it works, in the film)

Gerry, from Gus Van Sant, is a pretty amazing movie, to my opinion, where the slooooow continous takes really help you get the same lost and bored feeling as the main characters. (to my opinion, much better then Elephant)
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Old October 6th, 2007, 07:22 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Matt Buys View Post
I second Russian Ark. I still don't understand how they acheived that take any more than I understand how Michelangelo acheived David. I'm not saying it's something to watch on family night, but for sheer artistry and brilliance you would have a hard time finding a better film to study.
Right, maybe for sheer artistry. Well timed and shot, but the acting is substandard. I managed to watch it for only 15 minutes or so. Maybe I just did not get the constant voice-over mumbling or the artistic idea of a spirit or a guide living through centuries, but I found acting -- should I say, acting through talking -- and the script uninteresting, flat and non-rewarding in every aspect. The fact that I am Russian did not help, quite the opposite.

Great photography, so-so as a complete movie.

Another Russian movie to check out: "I am Cuba". From the wikipedia:

"What most amazes cinephile audiences about this movie are the long takes. Initially a three minute aerial shot of rural tropical landscape is disrupted by an infamous jumpcut to the top of a hotel building where a beauty contest is going on accompanied by raucous pop music. The camera, using a wide angle lens, moves among the contestants, goes out of the building, moves downwards for two stories into a club then circles around the bartenders. It then enters the pool and actually goes underwater, where the shot ends. In fact, the original scene went on for longer: the camera actually left the water (special submarine lenses cleaned off water droplets), but Kalatozov decided to cut this scene from the final movie. This scene was appropriated by Paul Thomas Anderson in his film Boogie Nights, when the camera is tracking around a pool, and then goes under water, and the sound changes, just like in I Am Cuba."
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Old October 7th, 2007, 02:40 PM   #13
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The Protector

If you like martial arts films get The Protector with Tony Jaa (Ong-Bak). There is a shot in the movie that's 4 minutes long that Tony is running up four flights of stairs and must fight 30+ guys in the scene. They're running in and out of rooms and all kinds of crazy stuff. There is also a walkthough of the scene on the DVD.

I know it's alot different than the other stuff mentioned, but at the very least you have to admire the time it took to organize a shot like that.
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Old October 10th, 2007, 07:58 PM   #14
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Almost anything by Scorsese, it seems, is pretty great! I need to see Children of Men. Rope, Touch of Evil, The Player, etc., all great choices.

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Old November 13th, 2007, 10:14 PM   #15
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I agree with Boogie Nights. The opening shot manages to introduce all of the main characters in a single take. Great film!
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