Wednesday, June 02, 2010

RIP William A. Fraker

Six Oscar nominations for the veteran cinematographer...but not for Bullitt? Rosemary's Baby? Did they somehow cancel each other out in 1968? That's Hollywood, which was also disinclined to acknowledge his staggering work on John Boorman's maligned Exorcist II: The Heretic. But he did get two nominations (one for visual effects) for Steven Spielberg's 1941 (1979), a movie of dense, smoky textures, notoriously hard to replicate on DVD (the one that's out doesn't even try) but absolutely stunning at the theater so long ago. And he directed one of the great autumnal Westerns, 1970's Monte Walsh, with Lee Marvin and Jack Palance. Played "The Cellist" and photographed the Seventies cult object Dusty and Sweets McGee. He was also a friend and mentor to many, which more than makes up for Oscar's whims.

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