Owen Roizmanfive-time Oscar-nominated cinematographer who collaborated with director William Friedkin on the fascinating classic movie Connect France and The Exorcist, has died. He was 86.
Roizmanwho has also collaborated with director Sydney Pollack on five films, including Three Days of Condor (1975), No Malice (1981) and Shorty (1982) – when he somehow made Dustin Hoffman look good as a woman – died Friday night at his home in Encino, his wife of 58 years, Mona, told hollywood reporter. He has been in hospice care since August, she said.
He received an honorary Oscar at the Governor’s Awards in November 2017. “The film is made up of many tiny silver beads and each of them is represented by each filmmaker,” Roizman said in his acceptance speech. “If you change any one of them on any movie, the movie will look different.”
Roizman had a decent career, also filming the stressful subway set The Take of Pelham One Two Three (1974), starring Walter Matthau; disturbing suburbs Science Fiction story The Stepford Wives (1975); and Sidney by Lumet excellent media satire Network (1976).
The Brooklyn native with a background in TV commercials also knows his way around comedies, as evidenced by his work on the mafia story Gangs can’t shoot straight (1971); Herbert Ross’ Let’s play again Sam (1972), starring Woody Allen; Lost child (1972), directed by Elaine May; and Barry by Sonnenfeld The Addams . family (1991).
And he served as the cinematographer on Liza Minnelli’s Emmy-winning 1972 NBC special. Liza with the letter Z.
by Roizman Oscar nom came for his work on the best picture winner Connect France (1971), The Exorcist (1973), Network, Shorty and Tai Wyatt (1994), the third of four films he shot for director Larry Kasdan.
“My hobby is magic, and I am the best audience in the world for a magician because I want to be fooled. I’m always curious about how someone did something,” he said in a podcast on the Association of Cinematographers’ website. “So I wanted to fool people about how I light something.”
Connect France just the second movie Roizman shot (and the first to hit theaters). Friedkinafter firing his original cinematographer, saw something in by Roizman made a low-budget TV series in 1970 Stop and seek him out for the gritty story revolving around New York City drug cop Popeye Doyle (Gene Hackman).
“Friedkin say, ‘I like your work in it; what I want to do… what I want it to be a realistic street photography,’” Roizman recalls in a 2011 interview with LA time. “I said, ‘Why not? I will be able to do whatever you tell me. I’m a cinematographer.’ He likes my attitude.
“I was just trying to give it a look, something that would enhance it. We talked about camera movement and how we wanted to feel uncomfortable in certain scenes and made sure that realism was always present.”
Connect France famous, of course, for its six-minute car chase through the streets (and under Still good Avenue subway line) in Brooklyn. Roizman said the whole shoot took about five weeks (they could only shoot from 10am to 3pm).
“It’s done in two different ways,” Roizman say in time interview. “Three cameras are used inside the car, including a camera on the dashboard that can be seen through the windshield and a camera on the driver’s shoulder. From the outside, we have five cameras. We’ve broken it down into five stunts, and the rest are just pieces.”
A little simpler, Roizman spray paint a light bulb in a bar scene to create a seedy atmosphere.
Heartbreaking exorcism scene in The Exorcist was also filmed in New York, in a studio on 10th Main street. Friedkin wanted Regan (Linda Blair)’s dimly lit bedroom to be cold enough to see the actors’ breathing, and the crew turned the temperature down to 20 degrees Celsius every morning.
“The room must be cooled by the air conditioner, but because air conditioning extremely noisy, we had to turn them off during the lighting, turn them back on to cool the room, and turn them off again while we were actually filming.” Roizman said in 2011 when he was honored at the Ojai Film Festival. “Needless to say, this scene took a long time to shoot.”
In 1976, Roizman left New York for Los Angeles, where he founded his own television commercial production company. He took a six-year break to head that business before returning to making feature films in 1989.
Born September 22, 1936, Roizman grew up surrounded by cameras. His father, Sol, is a television series photographer for Fox Phimtone News and a camera operator on TV sergeant major Bilkoand his uncle teacher served as a film editor for several documentaries.
During the summers away from Gettysburg College in Pennsylvania, Roizman worked at a camera rental company in New York, and he learned about lenses and filmmaking. After graduation, he supported the Hungarian cinematographer akos Farkas and shot an advertisement for a company in New York that also used the future godfather cinematographer Gordon Willis. This leads to the above work Stopwas filmed in Puerto Rico on a budget of just $300,000.
Above Shortyabout an actor (Hoffman) who impersonates a woman to star in a soap opera, Roizman jokingly said, “Dustin wants to look cool [co-star] Jessica Lange.”
“I tried to design the lighting for each scene where Dustin was involved with Jessica so that when I lit him for a soft effect, I did the same lighting for her so it didn’t look like I was cheat. this or that,” he explains in a story for American cinematographer magazine. “I used the same amount of diffusion for both, so it should intersect well. And it was successful.
His collaboration with Pollack also includes electric knight (1979) and Havana (1990).
Roizman also shoot The return of a man called a horse (1976), directed by Irvin Kershnerand the bad guys Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (1978), and he also worked with Kasdan above I love you to death (1990), Grand Canyon (1991) and french kiss (1995).
He paired with the director Ulu Grosbard for Hoffman the main character straight time (1978) and true confession (1981) and with Harold Becker for black marble (1980), faucet (1981) and vision mission (1985).
In 1997, Roizman served as ASCENDING President and received the organization’s Lifetime Achievement Award.
In addition to his wife, survivors include his son, Eric, who served as his father’s second assistant cameraman on Tai Wyatt and has operated the camera on several television series, including Monks, justifiable and The last man on earthand sister Frankie.