Writings about films, filmmaking and other obsessions by Mark Achtenberg
I always admire when constraints of resources force more creative responses from artists. Given an unlimited David Lean caliber budget, schedule and cast Welles, without a doubt, would have shot this sequence very differently.As he had very limited time, money and people in hand he instead crafted a battle scene that places the viewer in the midst of the action - involving them more directly than if they had been sitting back and watching a spectacle from afar, like priviledged Generals on a hill top, putting them in the boots of the common solider amidst the muck and the blood and the terror of the fight. And it allowed him to use few actors, shoot faster, save time and spend less money.Brilliant.
Interesting to look at compared to other film battle scenes: Alexander Nevsky, El Cid, Olivier's Henry V, Branagh's henry, then Lord of the Rings, the recent Narnia.Usually lots of shots of the charge, anticipation, then the shock of contact, then a confused melee, shots all over, deliberate confused continuity, they tend to follow a pattern.Olivier's stands out. Stylized, but has impact! The arrow discharge is still the best of all. Although it too, melts as soon as the melee begins.can you get the Olivier version up?
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