directed by: Max Ophüls


IMDB link:

Submitted by Paul Monticone on 2007-10-09

Paul Monticone's comment:
Without the color-coding, an attempt to fill in a bit of what the Salt database doesn't show us about this film-- the progression of ASL over its length & other stuff we can get out of the graph. With the color-coding, it splits shots into four grounds: (1) interior Home / Boathouse; (2) Exterior home & environs; (3) Interior Not-Home (pawn shops, bus stations, etc.); (4) "Exterior" Not-Home (including process shots)-- with this, I mostly wanted to separate the home from other locales to see if it was handled differently and to split Not-home locations into a few groups to avoid a binary.
After checking with Salt's database, it looks like I have nearly 100 additional shots! Given B.S.'s 215 shots, that's not a great average) So... this might not even be useful in its first purpose. Feel free to delete if you think I've overcaffeinated my trigger-finger...

Number of shots:
MSL 9.1 6.6 17.4 6.8
StDev 17.2 14.2 19.5 10.8
Min 0.7 1.4 2.6 0.7
Max 99.8 118.9 104.6 50.7
CV 1.06 1.29 0.9 0.94

Step: Vertical resolution: Height:
Degree of the trendline: Moving average : Color code?

Users' comments:

Author: Yuri Tsivian Date: 2007-10-14

Note that both ASLs for exterior shots are markedly down compared to the interior ones. It may be because as I recall most of the dialogs in this film take place inside (more or less a rule for the period talkies) while the heroine outside is more often alone. We already know (O'Brien's data) that dialog shots are as a rule longer than "action" ones.

If you are not quite sure about the finger (for as debut the advanced mode may prove to be a gard task) it's worth redoing the film in the simple mode -- as a control test. Or do what you did for Crucified lovers -- since Ophuls is as into mobile framing as is Misoguchi.

Author: Paul Monticone Date: 2007-10-15

I just might do that--the mmoving/ not moving thing. Will certainly run a control test when I've got an offline mac version of the program to use.
For now, I'd mention that--yes--exterior shots are briefer because they contain little dialogue, so the distinction is as expected. Also: I didn't include the car as an exterior though I did the boat. There are reasons for that filmy (car stuff shot with rear projection) and not so filmy (cars have roofs)...
The difference between shot lengths in the Interior Home and Interior Not Home can be attributed to the variety of action that takes place within the home, for which Ophuls can utilize pretty quick shot/ reverse shot (the argument between JB and her daughter about Darby) or, more famously, pretty long takes (when JM shows up, for instance). It seems to me that for interior scenes outside of the house Ophuls favors long shots either to (a) establish the setting (the hotel) or (b) to create a more oppressive atmosphere, show JB squirming (as at the loan company or the pawnshop).
Mostly, the generally increasing shot length--until the quickly edited car chase finale--is interesting to me. I've read Max Ophuls in the Hollywood Studios and know that MO battled with Columbia for use of their crane & would shoot more conventionally in some sections in order to appease the studio, thereby securing the equipment for others. But I was curious to see if, despite all that compromise, MO was able to create a particular rhythm.

Author: Yuri Tsivian Date: 2007-10-15

You may know this, but just in case: there is an amusing piece of memoir by John Houseman about Ophuls's crane addiction in Letter from an Unknown Woman published in the book of the same title.

Author: Barry Salt Date: 2007-10-17

The 215 shots total in my camera movement table is the total of the moving camera shots in the film, not the total number of all the shots, which I agree is 314. My ASL in my other table for Closeness of Shot (for the whole film) is 15.5 seconds, which would correspond to Paul's value with the correction for him counting a PAL version of the film, I assume. I was working with a film print on a Steenbeck to get my data, of course.

Author: Paul Monticone Date: 2007-10-23

Ah. That's a relief. While I've always known I can only barely follow your math, I'd been flattering myself to think I could at least click a space bar as well you can... comparing my results to yours was quite the blow to my ego.
I was working with a PAL dvd in an Oppo player connected to a NTSC monitor, yes. Is there a simple conversion for PAL correction?

Author: Yuri Tsivian Date: 2007-10-28

There is a piece of advice on a related matter on our Discussion board, Topic "Projection speed."

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