Best Cinematography – 1977

Official Nominations: Close Encounters Of The Third Kind. Islands In The Stream. Julia. Looking For Mr. Goodbar. The Turning Point.

Movies about dance, or Musicals and Costume Dramas in general historically tend to do well in this category but I find them often too stage driven rather than using the camera in innovate ways or truly capturing a landscape or a scene – for that reason The Turning Point is out, even it was shot by a guy who knew his stuff, also shooting Ben Hur and The Sting. Julia fares bettershot by the great Douglas Slocombe who worked on everything from The Lavender Hill Mob to Raiders Of The Lost Ark. Looking For Mr Goodbar seems like an odd choice in this category and more of an apology to Fraker for missing out on Bullitt and Rosemary’s Baby. Islands In The Stream (that is what we are) is more in line with what I think of when discussing cinematography, what with it and its protagonist’s obsession with the sea. My winner of course has to be the legendary Vilmos Zsigmond who reunites with Spielberg for Close Encounters Of The Third Kind – that rare sci-fi movie which is both set on Earth yet features stunning visuals and iconic shots.

My Winner: Close Encounters Of The Third Kind

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My Nominations: Close Encounters Of The Third Kind. Star Wars. A Bridge Too Far. Cross Of Iron. The Duellists. Saturday Night Fever. Sorcerer. Suspiria.

Only my winner makes it over to the list and would be a good pick for winner here too, but I think I’ll change it up and spread the love. Star Wars, beyond the scenes in space and on ships, showcases a number of planets and places portraying a varied and vibrant universe. Scenes on Tattooine and beyond have become iconic and often mimicked. A Bridge To Far is a war epic in every sense and Geoffrey Unsworth uses his vast experience of battle work and innovation here. Cross Of Iron takes a more violent approach with John Coquillon’s exterior work being particularly notable. The Duellists is often, justifiably, compared to Barry Lyndon in terms of story and filming look and tone and much of that is due to Frank Tidy’s contribution while Saturday Night Fever paints an accurate depiction of the neon sleaze and pumped up momentary glory of the late 70s Disco scene.

Sorceror relies heavily on its taught direction and tight performances but also on its depiction of overbearing cities, rain and sweat drenched forests, and a camera that never wants to rest. Finally, Dario Argento and Luciano Tovoli create a horror film like no other with his dreamlike Suspiria, a film with a visual palette of extremes which never fails to startle newcomers and continually impress critics.

My Winner: Suspiria

Let us know your thoughts in the comments!

2 thoughts on “Best Cinematography – 1977

  1. John Charet March 11, 2020 / 5:40 pm

    My choice would be Vilmos Zsigmond for Close Encounters of the Third Kind 🙂 Anyway, keep up the great work as always 🙂

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