Wednesday, June 02, 2010

William A. Fraker

Having written about Frank's Place the other day, I'm sad to see that the man who helped create the distinctive look of the show died this Monday: the great cinematographer, Bill Fraker.

Though he didn't shoot as many successful films as some of his contemporaries, Fraker was, in my opinion, one of the best of the new generation of cinematographers that took over Hollywood in the late '60s and early '70s, when nearly all the old-guard cinematographers were forced into retirement around the same time. He combined the new look and new techniques with a bit of that old larger-than-life glamour; that's what made him a great choice for movies with an element of fantasy, whether it was Rosemary's Baby or Heaven Can Wait or 1941 (not a fantasy per se but certainly not at all realistic).

He didn't usually do TV, but he shot the Frank's Place pilot as a favor to Hugh Wilson (they'd worked together on the movie Burglar) while another film was delayed for some reason. He didn't do the other episodes, but the cinematic look of the show -- the "steam and smoke and food" -- followed the template he set in the pilot.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Fraker's use of fog and smoke shooting '1941' was partly to hide the wires used in the extensive miniature work and physical effects. In his hands it helped telegraph mood.