ASC Cinematographers Behind 11 New National Film Registry Picks

A selection 25 more important and influential films will be preserved in the ongoing Library of Congress program.

Rachael Bosley

Eleven of the 25 motion pictures added to the National Film Registry of the Library of Congress this year were shot by ASC cinematographers: The Big Lebowski (1998), Roger Deakins; Down Argentine Way (1940), Ray Rennahan and Leon Shamroy; Ferris Bueller's Day Off (1986), Tak Fujimoto; The Gang's All Here (1943), Edward Cronjager; House of Wax (1953), J. Peverell Marley and Bert Glennon; Little Big Man (1970), Harry Stradling Jr.; The Power and the Glory (1933), James Wong Howe; Rio Bravo (1959), Russell Harlan; Rosemary's Baby (1968), William A. Fraker; Ruggles of Red Gap (1935), Alfred Gilks; and State Fair (1933), Hal Mohr.

Of these titles, American Cinematographer devoted the most coverage to André de Toth's House of Wax, which is considered the first 3-D feature film produced by a major American studio. The March 1953 issue of AC discussed the Natural-Vision 3-D camera system Warner Bros. was using on the project: "It comprises two Mitchell 35mm cameras mounted on a stereo base having precision adjustments for parallax, convergence, etc. The equipment is completely blimped, a feature not yet incorporated successfully in cameras developed by some of the studios. It is extremely flexible, providing accurate alignment of each camera through individual finders, in addition to the central finder positioned just behind the adjustable reflecting mirrors."

J. Peverell Marley, ASC, pictured with the Natural Vision 3-D camera he used to shoot House of Wax.
J. Peverell Marley, ASC, with the Natural-Vision 3-D camera he used to film House of Wax. 

The May 1953 issue of AC featured a detailed interview with Marley, the primary cinematographer, who stepped in on one day's notice after Glennon fell ill. House of Wax was Marley's first experience with 3-D cinematography. "Curiously enough, our main problem in 3-D filming is not so much mechanical as dramatic," he told AC. "By that I mean that we must be — and are — constantly concerned about directing audience attention where we want it.... The problem is to corral the viewer's attention and make him look at what you want him to look at." As for lighting for 3-D, Marley observed, "It's still a matter of the right light in the right place."

Here is the full list of this year's National Film Registry selections:

13 Lakes (2004)
Bert Williams Lime Kiln Club Field Day (1913)
The Big Lebowski (1998)
Down Argentine Way (1940)
The Dragon Painter (1919)
Felicia (1965)
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986)
The Gang’s All Here (1943)
House of Wax (1953)
Into the Arms of Strangers: Stories of the Kindertransport (2000)
Little Big Man (1970)
Luxo Jr. (1986)
Moon Breath Beat (1980)
Please, Don’t Bury Me Alive! (1976)
The Power and the Glory (1933)
Rio Bravo (1959)
Rosemary’s Baby (1968)
Ruggles of Red Gap (1935)
Saving Private Ryan (1998)
Shoes (1916)
State Fair (1933)
Unmasked (1917)
V-E +1 (1945)
The Way of Peace (1947)
Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971)

Subscribe Today

Act now to receive 12 issues of the award-winning AC magazine — the world’s finest cinematography resource.

July 2024 AC Magazine Cover
June 2024 AC Magazine Cover
May 2024 AC Magazine Cover