My Gleanings

Monday, March 09, 2009

From the review of Bob the Gambler published by Cahiers du Cinema in October 1956 and signed Jean-Yves Goute. (page 56, my translation)

"I never cease wondering why [Henri] Decaë is not formally recognized as one of the best directors of photography in France. The reasons given to me for this seem to me to be too petty and abject to be true. Yet it is that Decaë has a lot to do with the success of Bob the Gambler. The imagery is sharp without being lifeless, beautiful without being affected, and alluring without being mannered. Some little strokes are rather pleasing to the eye and to the senses like a beautiful phrase which does not trifle. Exactly suiting an intelligent, poetic and fascinating chronicle such as Bob the Gambler."

Jean-Yves Goute was a pseudonym which Claude Chabrol used on a few occasions. A little more than a year after this review appeared, Chabrol began filming his first feature Le Beau Serge with Decaë as director of photography. Decaë lit Chabrol's first four features, before Jean Rabier, an assistant of Decaë's, would become Chabrol's DP. Rabier would shoot virtually everything that Chabrol directed between Les Godelureaux in 1961 and Madame Bovary in 1991. Decaë would also work with François Truffaut on The Four Hundred Blows and film Godard's sketch for the film The Seven Deadly Sins in 1962, one of only two times in the early 60s when Rauol Coutard was not the DP for Godard. (The other time it was Jean Rabier who shot Godard's sketch for RoGoPaG.) Decaë also shot Louis Malle's first two features, Les Amants and Ascenseur pour l'échafaud and also 3 more films in the 1960s. And he continued to be Jean-Pierre Melville's cinematographer of choice.

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