February 8, 2023


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Wayne Roizman Dead: ‘The Exorcist’, ‘Network’ Cinematographer Was 86

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Wayne Roizman, a cinematographer who shot many of the premier films of a generation, has died. He was 86.

A representative of the American Society of Cinematographers confirmed the news. Raisman’s death is unknown at this time.

Roizman was Oscar-nominated five times for “The French Connection,” “The Exorcist,” “Network,” “Tootsie” and the 1994 western “Watt Earp.” In 2017, Roizman was awarded an honorary Academy Award for his contributions to the medium.

In addition to her Oscar win, Roizman was nominated for an Emmy for her cinematography (using film, videotape) of the 1972 Liza Minnelli variety special “Liza with a Z” directed by Bob Fosse.

Raisman received the American Society of Cinematographers Lifetime Achievement Award in 1997.

He worked with director Sidney Pollack on five films: “Three Days of the Condor,” “The Electric Horseman,” “Absence of Malice,” “Tootsie” and “Havana.”

In “Making Tootsie: Inside the Classic Film with Dustin Hoffman and Sidney Pollack,” author Susan Dworkin says of Pollack: “Her extraordinarily close working relationship with Wayne Roizman came from a mutual recognition of style.”

But before Pollack, Raisman developed an important working relationship with William Friedkin.

Friedkin’s “The French Connection” (1971) was only Roizman’s second film as a cinematographer, but the way he shot the film’s thrilling, high-speed central car chase earned it legendary status. The playful, documentary-like realism he brings, not just to the chase, but to the entire film, partly shot on location on the streets of New York, makes the cops’ pursuit of heroin traffickers feel more authentic. The same could be said of the chase — it felt like something that could actually happen even though it was the result of careful choreography by both stuntmen and Roizman and his team.

The All Movie Guide stated, “Roizman’s contribution to ‘The French Connection’ could fill a cinematography textbook by itself.”

Working with Friedkin again on “The Exorcist,” Riesman tried to achieve an effect that was, in his words, “believable”—not the documentary style of “The French Connection,” but not with unnecessary cinematographic distractions, so that the audience would believe. What was happening.

An unusual problem for Roizman concerns the extraordinarily famous scene of the ghost eating, in which the temperature was supposed to appear freezing, with the priest’s breath visible. Actually turning the room ice cold proved to be more effective than any simulation of cold apparently.

Riesman drew on his work on “The French Connection” for the New York subway-set “The Taking of Pelham One to Three” (1974), which had a similar tone and atmosphere. The thriller even features a car chase that bears a striking resemblance to the central set piece in “The French Connection.”

On Pollack’s “Three Days of the Condor,” Movietone News says, “Other collaborators mix their potential expressive power and talent: some travel by road, on foot and by car, [which] It’s distinctly visual enough to remind us that Wayne Riseman photographed ‘The French Connection’.

Movietone News, in a very negative review of “The Return of a Man Called Horse” in 1976, said that “the most striking aspect of this gassy enterprise is Wayne Roizman’s 70mm almost three-dimensional landscape photography.”

For the Paddy Shayefsky-scripted, Sidney Lumet-directed television satire, Riseman made sure to introduce as much visible darkness as possible into the brightly lit world of TV newsrooms, studios and boardrooms, especially with faces shrouded in shadow.

ASC’s American Cinematographer magazine called “Network” a high point in the careers of both Riseman and Lumet “which was marked by an extraordinary visual and dramatic combination.”

Roizman has produced films in various genres. Most famous, perhaps, were his crime dramas (“The French Connection,” “The Gang That Couldn’t Shoot Straight,” “The Taking of Pelham One to Three,” “Straight Time,” the slightly comic “The Black Marble”) and horror. film (“The Exorcist,” “The Stepford Wives”), but Raisman is a classic satire (“Network”), thriller (“Three Days of the Condor,” “Absence of Malice,” “Taps”), period drama (” True Confessions,” “Havana”), contemporary drama (“Vision Quest,” “Grand Canyon”), comedy (“Play It Again, Sam,” “The Heartbreak Kid,” “The Electric Horseman,” “Tootsie,” ” I Love You to Death,” “The Addams Family,” “French Kiss”), a musical fantasy (“Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band”) and even a Western (“The Return of a Man Called Horse,” “What Earp?” ).

In addition to his Oscar nom for director Lawrence Kasdan’s Kevin Costner-starring “White Earp,” Roizman was nominated for an ASC Award for the film.

Wayne Roizman was born in Brooklyn; His father, Sol Roizman, was a newsreel photographer, while his uncle, Morrie Roizman, was a film editor. Wayne graduated from Gettysburg College in Pennsylvania in 1958 with degrees in mathematics and physics. Although Wayne Riseman eventually earned a degree in show business, he told an audience at the Ojai Film Festival in 2011 that his education wasn’t wasted. “I learned about things like the angle of incidence equaling the angle of reflection, which is one of the fundamentals of optics.”

He learned about cameras during his college years at a summer job at Camera Equipment Co. in New York.

Roizman worked in advertising before moving into feature films. He was the camera assistant on the classic Cold War thriller “Fail-Safe” (1963).

His first film as a cinematographer was Bill Gunn’s 1970 effort “Stop”. The film was rated X for its sexual content. While Warner Bros. financed it, Nervous Studios shelved it and it was never released.

New York-based Roizman made a switch in 1976 and moved to Hollywood. A few years later, in 1983, he launched his own company, Roizman & Associates, to produce commercials and spent the next six years away from feature film production, instead producing, directing, and shooting what the Internet Encyclopedia of Cinematographers identifies as hundreds of commercials. . .

Riseman was among the great cinematographers featured in the 1991 documentary “Vision of Light: The Art of Cinematography.”

He serves on the Board of Governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, representing the cinematographer branch.

He was Kodak Cinematographer in Residence at the UCLA School of Theatre, Film and Television in 2003.

In 2001 Roizman won the Lifetime Achievement Award from Cameraimage, the International Film Festival of the Art of Cinematography held in Poland.

Roizman was honored at a January 2011 gathering of cinematographers at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in Beverly Hills.

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