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Old January 28th, 2004, 10:49 PM   #1
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Real geeky Scorcese question

Okay, this is kind of a geeky question, but there's a scene in "Goodfellas" that has always bothered me. When Jimmy Conway meets Henry Hill in a diner just after he's been busted for drugs, the camera moves and zooms at the same time. I can't remember if the camera is dollying in and zooming out or the other way around, but you know what I mean -- the foreground stays the same as the background shifts. I think this is one of the most perfect movies I have ever seen, but this part always stops me. If the effect is to create tension, it doesn't work for me. I find myself distracted by the whole shot. So, I'm asking this question of other people with a lot more experience in cinematography -- what do you think Scorcese was trying to accomplish with this, and does the scene work for you? I've heard people complain that the camera work in Scorcese's movies is too showy and gimmicky, and I don't agree, but then there's this bizarre shot, right in the middle of one of my favorite movies. Any thoughts?
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Old January 29th, 2004, 02:01 AM   #2
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I think it's a matter of taste, Marco. As you pointed out, there's a lot of showy camera moves in old Marty's work, and it's a matter of taste which work and which don't. In general, the "zolly" is a hard one to pull off without it seeming a bit cheesy these days--then again, Goodfellas was a few years back!
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Old January 29th, 2004, 10:14 AM   #3
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Re: Real geeky Scorcese question

<<<-- If the effect is to create tension, it doesn't work for me. I find myself distracted by the whole shot. -->>>

The shot frequently also called "The Hitchcock" for its original use in Vertigo, and it seems now to be used as a slavish stylistic choice so often that it loses its meaning.

See also the Die Another Day thread, in which a variety of perspectives are presented on the appropriateness and utility of various cinematographic tricks like this one and the shutter angle effect used in Saving Private Ryan and Gladiator.
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Old January 29th, 2004, 07:10 PM   #4
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Marco,

From a viewer's perspective, I like the effect when it's done well and used "appropriately" (been wanting to try it myself and plan to soon).

Personally, I get enough of a "reality view" from my eyes which see reality as it is whenever they're open. Therefore, I like to see films that are a break from that and that offer some eye candy--something that makes you say "I don't see that every day". That's not sarcasm... just letting you know that a lot of people, IMHO, like the eye candy for the same reasons. To each his own.

One film I've been reading up on lately is "The Man Who Wasn't There." That was pure eye candy to me...and I was surprised to find some negative comments about it. One person said it was "too stylized." Eh?!
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