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  • Writer's pictureMatthew Nothelfer

Let's "Go Between"

Updated: Oct 27, 2021

Do you think New York City as a bustling metropolis? How about an unmolested wilderness stretching along the Hudson?



Well, of course, it's both. It's what it once was and what it is now.


However, "A Gift For All Ages" takes place in between these two times. In fact, our setting is right on the cusp of NYC starting to become the major urban area we know today. So, the question for us became how do we show the nature that was part of the city in 1923? What could we do within our single room set to create that feeling?


The answer was a simple lighting trick that photographers and cinematographers have been using for over a century.


It's the technique of utilizing a "gobo," a phrase assumed to be the shortened version of "go between."


For us, that meant placing two trimmed branches of Borrego Springs oleander half way between the bright "HMI" light we were using as our simulated sunlight and the curtains of Clarke and Catherine's parlor room. These branches and leaves then cast a very organic and natural shadow into the room.


Cool!


Moreover, we set our associate executive producer, Fred Jee, onto the task of swaying the branches back and forth during filming, increasing the illusion even more.


Not only did Mr. Fred help make our charming little movie, but he also got to play the part of Mother Nature. Such a versatile dude.


This gobo technique became wildly prevalent during the 40's and 50's of film making. Look no further than the visual creativity brought forth by the genre of film noir. These movies utilized B&W lighting in extremes. Bright whites and deep blacks. The arty term is called "chiaroscuro," the powerful contrast of light (chiaro) with the elements of darkness and obscurity (oscuro). You can see this style, as well as use of gobo, on display whenever you take a look at the work of Hungarian lenser John Alton.



Now, we decided to make the shadows slightly less intense for most scenes of "A Gift For All Ages", but we were absolutely inspired by the masters of Golden Era cinema. If you like film noir as much as us, check out *this list for some recommended thrillers:



John Alton-T-Men, Raw Deal, The Big Combo

Burnett Guffey-The Reckless Moment, In A Lonely Place, Scandal Sheet

Nicholas Musuraca-Stranger On The Third Floor, Out Of The Past, Roadblock

John F. Seitz-Double Indemnity, The Big Clock, Sunset Blvd.

Harry J. Wild-Murder My Sweet, Pitfall, Cornered

Joseph LaShelle-Laura, Fallen Angel, Where The Sidewalk Ends

James Wong Howe-Body And Soul, He Ran All The Way, The Sweet Smell Of Success

Milton Krasner-The Woman in the Window, Scarlet Street, The Set-Up

George Diskant-Desperate, Kansas City Confidential, The Narrow Margin

Franz F. Planer-Criss Cross, 99 River Street, The Long Wait

Joseph P. Biroc-Cry Danger, The Killer That Stalked New York, World For Ransom

Joseph MacDonald-Pickup On South Street, Panic In The Streets, Street With No Name

Russell Metty-Kiss The Blood Off My Hands, Ride The Pink Horse, Touch Of Evil

Ernest Laszlo-M (1951), DOA, Kiss My Deadly

Lee Garmes-Caught, Nightmare Alley, Detective Story

Woody Bredell-The Killers, Phantom Lady, The Unsuspected


And to be honest, there a few minutes where the lighting for "A Gift For All Ages" gets rather dramatic. Want to see those moments? Be sure to subscribe to our email and follow our film making progress. We need people like you to get interested in our movie! Please share the news with your friends and family and let everyone know about "A Gift For All Ages".


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Peggy Nothelfer
Peggy Nothelfer
14 oct. 2021

Every day brings a new discovery about how A GIFT FOR ALL AGES became a movie. Thank you for sharing these steps with us.


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