sexta-feira, 8 de abril de 2016

9ª sessão: dia 12 de Abril (Terça-Feira), às 21h30

E, com David and Bathsheba, do grande Henry King, entramos nos anos 50, aventura imensa e gloriosa, das cores mágicas do Technicolor ao formato largo que multiplicava e realçava os sentimentos: o Cinemascope. 

Henry King contou a rodagem do filme em Henry King, Director - From Silents to Scope. Ouçamos:

"I knew people would think of David and Bathsheba as a spectacle but I never intended it to be one. I always thought of it as a love story. There was a cartoon in The New Yorker at that time showing two priests walking by a movie theater and one priest says, "Did you see David and Bathsheba?" and the other priest replies, "No, but I read the book." The story was actually taken from the Bible. Philip Dunne wrote the screenplay and of course there were a few embellishments, the arrangements of bringing them together at different times. None of this was spelled out in the Bible but all the situations are there. 

David and Bathsheba was the story of a man and a woman. Of course there were some things in the Bible that were rather risqué. The first time I was called by the Hays Office was when I filmed the scene where David stands on his balcony watching Bathsheba bathe on the roof of her house. He saw her and finally sent for her and wanted to see her. He was attracted to her nudity — that was David, straight from the Bible. After they got well enough acquainted she confessed to him that she did this to get his attention. That's the way their love story started. 

That was the only time I ever got called to the Hays Office. They had run the picture and wanted to know if she was nude in the picture. I said, "Well, you saw the picture." 

"Well," the man said, "she looked nude to me. Was she? If she was nude, you're going to cut the scene out of the picture." 

I said, "Did you see anything objectionable?" 

"No," he admitted. "But was she nude? We're not going to have a nude woman shown on the screen." 

Finally, I said, "She had on tights." She was wearing flesh colored tights, but from that far away you couldn't see the seam. "That's fine," he said. "You can run it." As long as I would admit that she was wearing tights. The Hays Office was very powerful at that time. If you didn't get approved by them you could not release the picture. Today, we've outgrown those things. I think you can be perfectly honest on the screen, but be perfectly decent. Because it is permitted to use vulgarity and profanity — that's a privilege if you want to. It depends on your taste, whether it fits the situation, your imagination, your character, and your thinking. People that use bad language are sometimes very irresponsible about other things. 

I had agreed to do David and Bathsheba while I was filming I'd Climb the Highest Mountain. Zanuck sent me the script to read. He wanted me to acquaint Susan Hayward with it, too. So we talked about it a little, but not very much. When I completed I'd Climb the Highest Mountain I told the production company to find me some Biblical country. I had an idea. There was a little town in Mexico called Hermosillo, maybe three hundred miles below the border, right in the foothills. Behind Hermosillo there were some little villages that have these square houses made of adobe. I thought that on some of these we could put some mosque covers and the others would look roughly within the period and the location. 

I took my unit manager and we flew down in my airplane to take a look at the place. When we stopped to refuel in Arizona we saw a DC-3 that had just come from Mexico. I went over and asked the captain how the weather was when he left Hermosillo. He said, "111 degrees." I said, 'Thank you very much" went back to my unit manager and said, "I think we're going to look for locations on this side of the border." So we took off and looked around the area where we were in Arizona. We searched for about two days and found all the locations we needed. It ended up that we were going to build Jerusalem within half a mile from the airport. We built our sets out of adobe and glass. I built one wall just to block the airport from view. 

There wasn't a highway there, no motor noise or anything. I had a beautiful camera shot when David and Bathsheba came into the city in their chariot. I think I used eleven camels. Every time we changed the camera angle, we would just move the camels into the shot again. I think I used those same eleven camels five different times in the one sequence - it looked like there were camels everywhere. 

The art department wanted to build a rock and use a painting for the place where Jonathan fought his battle with his back to the wall and killed all that they were fighting. Leon Shamroy, my cameraman, was one of those adept people who believed in realism and getting the best. He was tireless. On some locations, everybody thought I was trying to kill them, but Shamroy was with me every step of the way. We went out at five o'clock in the morning and found this big rock up against a hill. We decided it was the perfect place to shoot our scene. We got up the following morning around four o'clock and went out to the location and we filmed every phase of the sun rising. It put Peck in an absolute silhouette. We didn't have to fool with sound because it was a silent scene — there was narration over it. Once the sun was up, it came square in the middle of the camera lens. We took a little tree and placed it just at the right spot. We panned across and picked up Peck right at that tree and followed him — Peck in the foreground and that rock in the background. It came out as a spectacular, beautiful scene. Other directors would have just shot it in the studio, but this was the real thing. 

I don't know if it's common for directors to seek out their own locations, but it should be. I don't know how anyone else can do it for you. The whole production worked well. We didn't try to make it the biggest picture in the world, it was confined by its own boundaries. In the love scene where David and Bathsheba are lying out in the field with sheep around them, we found the sheep, we found the field — it was real Biblical country. We built the big Jerusalem gate of stone and everything behind that gate was real, a good five or six hundred feet of depth, a corner projecting here and there. When you're looking straight down the street, you can't tell how far it goes. In other words, if you violate the perspective a little, it gives you a great deal of distance. 

Shamroy and I did some varied things just to get the right look. When David is telling the story of his boyhood, we had built a little house on top of the hill and were going to shoot it in the afternoon. I covered the door with white paper, so when the sun went down behind the hill, the white paper was illuminated by the sun and the house was lighted, the walls stood out in black silhouette. It made a perfect night scene, and we were still shooting it in daytime. We had the sheep in the foreground and it was not only pictorial, it had the feeling of reality. I think audiences feel these things. If you need a batch of weeds you can't just bring them here, you need to go where they are. It's just as necessary as an evening gown if you're going to a ball."

Antes do filme, Lembrança Tardia, curta-metragem inédita de Tiago Costa.

Até Terça!

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