Thursday, June 3, 2010

William A. Fraker (1923-2010)


William A. Fraker one of the greatest cinematographers of the 1960s & 1970s passed away last Monday (May 31, 2010) at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles after a battle with cancer. He was the cinematographer of 60s landmarks like Bullitt and Rosemary's Baby, both from 1968. Among his works, my favorite is an one hour documentary/interview, photographed in black & white, for director William Friedkin in 1974. The interviewie is Fritz Lang and the simple, but very effective camera set ups have been arranged in Lang's home. Inserts and shots from details of Lang's sitting room (a clock, for instance) incarnate the dark world of German director and a sense of doomed fate that was evident in most of his Ameraican films. All the time we only see the back of Friedkin that gives this notion, like Lang is talking to a shadow. Though there are lots of technical innovations and broadening of generic boundaries (horror in Rosemary and action films in Bullit) in Fraker's career, this interview is still the one I remember most.

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