With the dazzling 'Hugo' hitting screens, we celebrate the technical wonders of Scorsese's cinema
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3. The cinematography of "Cape Fear" (Freddie Francis, 1991)
I could cite Scorsese’s marvelous, nastily complicated pulp remake in several areas, including its toothy editing and tightly coiled sound design, but it’s the brazenly playful lensing that wins out, and keeps drawing me back: after four films in a row with the aforementioned Michael Ballhaus, Scorsese unexpectedly switched things up with British veteran Freddie Francis, whose own B-list directorial career perhaps touched more on the genre games the director wanted to play than his handsome prestige filmography of a DP. It worked: unafraid of wild tricks like photo-negative flashes or letting De Niro’s imposing loon practically walk into the camera, but formally disciplined in its negotiation of space in the climactic houseboat showdown, it’s expert blood-on-the-lens work.
Photo Credit: Universal Pictures