Archive for January, 2007

January 28th, 2007

A Beautiful Mask

Posted in Images, Quotes by DavidE


Image from Queen Christina (1933)

“Garbo asked me, ‘What do I play in this scene?’ Remember she is standing there for 150 feet of film — 90 feet of them in close-up. I said, ‘Have you heard of tabula rasa? I want your face to be a blank sheet of paper. I want the writing to be done by every member of the audience. I’d like it if you could avoid even blinking your eyes, so that you’re nothing but a beautiful mask.’ So in fact there is nothing on her face: but everyone who has seen the film will tell you what she is thinking and feeling. And always it’s something different. Each one writes his own ending to the film; and it’s interesting that this is the scene everyone remembers most clearly. . . .”

– Rouben Mamoulian, speaking about the final shot in Queen Christina, interviewed for Sight & Sound (Summer 1961)

January 28th, 2007

The Mamoulian Palette

Posted in Quotes by DavidE

“Color cinematography tends to brighten and cheapen natural color. The problem was to counteract that. I realized that color in films is nearer to painting than to the stage. . . . So I treated the color the way a painter would. I devised what came to be known as the Mamoulian Palette. . . . I had a collection of spray guns beside me, so that I could spray color on a costume or set or even an actor. The art director had made me a beautiful chapel; and he was very upset when I sprayed everything with green and gray paint. There were flowers on the table and (naturally) the leaves were green. I think when they saw me painting them black they went and told Mr. Zanuck I’d gone out of my mind. . . .”

– Rouben Mamoulian, speaking about the 1941 film Blood and Sand, interviewed for Sight & Sound (Summer 1961)