Monday, April 20, 2015

Jacques Kapralik (1906 - 1960)

Kapralik's illustration for The Philadelphia Story (1940).
Those of you who regularly follow David Bordwell's blog will have already caught up with his latest
post about an unidentified artist who during the 1940s made stylish, elaborate tableaux to promote some top MGM productions. These peculiar works are made with cutout figures of the actors involved and 3D objects as well, creating a nice contrast between the flatness of the formers and the depth of the latters. 

Given that the artist's signature is a "K", I guess we are dealing with the work of Jacques Kapralik, a well-known Romanian caricaturist born in Bucharest in 1906 and emigrated to the US in 1936. In the internet you can find excellent material on the subject; film critic Leonard Maltin even dedicated an article to Kapralik's artistry and career. (Since a copyright infringement is last on my list of priorities, the image above comes straight from Bordwell's blog; it is a scan from an edition of the Hollywood Reporter.)

Friday, April 3, 2015

Chromatic shocks, or the unexpected virtue of black-and-white inserts

What do Disney's 1951 extravagant rendition of Alice in Wonderland and Quentin Tarantino's martial-arts flick Kill Bill have in common? As you'll have guessed, it involves a particular use of black and white. To my knowledge, no other movie has employed it this way  if you know more examples, please let me know. So let's see what it is and why it is so peculiar.