Watch This: Before Anatomy Of A Murder, Otto Preminger tackled a court martial
Every day, Watch This offers staff recommendations inspired by a new movie coming out that week. This week: The biopics American Sniper and Unbroken have us thinking back on other true stories about soldiers.
The Court-Martial Of Billy Mitchell (1955)
Early anamorphic lenses, like the ones used to make the CinemaScope movies of the mid-1950s, were no good at close-ups. If an actor got too close to the camera, their face would stretch like a toad’s—a flaw in the optics, known in the industry as “the mumps.” Hence the stately, presentational look of classic American widescreen: long takes, disproportionately deep and over-lit sets, and compositions that never get tighter than from the waist up. The screens were literally wider back then, too—about 2.55 times as wide as they were tall.
Plenty of filmmakers hated it; Howard Hawks and Fritz Lang made only one anamorphic production apiece …