PAUSE IT: What do you see? A drama of light and shadow. In this scene from director Cy Endfield’s film noir classic, Try and Get Me (a.k.a. The Sound of Fury, 1950), two men, Lloyd Bridges and Frank Lovejoy, tussle amid a brooding nightscape. As a genre film noir (1940s – late 1950s) concerned itself with the seedy side humanity. It was in this genre (literally translating to mean black film) where what was not seen, the bad deeds that lurked in the dark, took on great importance. To visualize such sordid behavior, these films often made use of high contrast (chiaroscuro) lighting techniques. Note the grayscale. Every shade–from white to gray to deepest black–is present and accounted for. Examine how the shading of light helps to create a moody atmosphere. Now imagine this same film shot in color. What emotion and visual information might be lost? Would this even be the same movie? Lucky for us Endfield and his cinematographer, Guy Roe, understood the impact a film’s lighting design can have on its final look and feel. The brilliance of their collaboration speaks for itself as in this still they use light to paint a desperate portrait of the dark heart of mankind.

Try and Get Me (a.k.a. The Sound of Fury) 1950
Director: Cy Endfield
Director of Photography: Guy Roe
Cast: Frank Lovejoy, Kathleen Ryan, Richard Carlson, Lloyd Bridges

Available on DVD and Blu-ray.

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