Odds Against Tomorrow 3

For a Hollywood genre film Odds Against Tomorrow, 1959, was experimental and arty. The story hinges on the racial conflict between white man Ryan and black man Harry Belafonte. The opening shot was filmed on infra red film which bleached the skin of the racist character, played by Robert Ryan above. A moment after this shot he racially mocks a little black girl.

The movie’s director Robert Wise said this: I did something in Odds Against Tomorrow I’d been wanting to do in some pictures but hadn’t had the chance. I wanted a certain kind of mood in some sequences, such as the opening when Robert Ryan is walking down West Side Street…I used infra-red film. You have to be very careful with that because it turns green things white, and you can’t get too close on people’s faces. It does distort them but gives that wonderful quality—black skies with white clouds—and it changes the feeling and look of the scenes. -Robert Wise, from wikipedia.

See my other posts on the photography in in this film: Odds Against Tomorrow 1, Odds Against Tomorrow 2, and Odds Against Tomorrow 4

Odds Against Tomorrow 1

Odds Against Tomorrow is a 1959 film noir, a combination heist-movie and message-film (is that three genres?). It was directed by the great Robert Wise and starred Harry Belafonte and Robert Ryan, whose shadows you can see in these photos.

The climax is a chase through an oil refinery at night. Harry Belafonte is chasing down the racist Robert Ryan, to their mutual destruction. The sequence was lit – or perhaps sculpted is a better word – by powerful spot lights. The shots function as tightly composed still photographs. The cinematographer Joseph C. Brun had been nominated for an Oscar in 1953, and seeing these images, you can understand why.

See my other posts on the photography in this movie: Odds Against Tomorrow 2Odds Against Tomorrow 3 and Odds Against Tomorrow 4