For the 33rd Academy Awards this was split into BW and colour nominations.
Official winners: Sons And Lovers. Spartacus. Spartacus is my choice.
Spartacus: For it’s epic look and feel both Russell Metty and Kubrick must be applauded and rewarded here and it is a well known fact that Kubrick and his DP clashed on the film with Kubrick believing his vision superseded that of the official DP. Regardless, the film looks stunning today.
The Alamo: Known primarily for his work on Westerns, The Alamo is probably William H. Clothier’s best film. His experience on Westerns mean that he is on familiar ground here but thanks to the fame of the story he is able to let loose and capture the viewer’s imagination while simultaneously cementing well known images, people, and monuments in the audience’s mind.
Breathless: As unique as Godard’s film is in terms of story telling, it is most often the look of the film which people recall. Raoul Coutard hit his stride in the early 60s, starting with Breathless. Paris has never looked so appealing even with the criminal elements of the plot.
The Brides Of Dracula: Jack Asher gives Hammer’s classic vampire tale a haunting old world feel, with demonic castles and villages perpetually shrouded in night and fog giving the viewer some genuine chills. Having worked on Hammer Horror movies for a few years already, he was a primary force in nailing the atmosphere of each film and making the film company notorious for their tone and feel. The striking contrast between The Castle and the world outside is striking and almost tempts the viewer/characters to escape the grim nature of the world into the beauty and inevitable doom of the Vampire’s Lair.
The Last Voyage: Although the film is known for it’s effects, the cinematography by Hal Mohr is controlled and keeps the audience from becoming sea-sick amongst all the splashing and crashing.
The Magnificent Seven: Charles Lang narrowly misses out on a win here proving that he was equally as strong working with colour as he was with BW. Nominated 18 times, the man is a legend of the craft, and with The Magnificent Seven he gives the impression of a sweeping Western America making an island out of one abandoned, besieged village.
Swiss Family Robinson: Harry Waxman ensures that being shipwrecked on a lost Island has never looked like so much fun. Beautiful shots of the island, the beach, and of course the tree house give the film a lost in time feel and will charm children or years to come.
My Winner: Spartacus