Griffith 1913

The House of Darkness
R: David W. Griffith. B: Jere F. Looney. K: G.W. Bitzer. D: Lionel Barrymore, Claire McDowell, Charles Hill Mailes, Lillian Gish. P:Biogr aph Company. USA 1913

“The acting, especially by McDowell and Mailes, is top-notch. Some of Billy Bitzer’s camerawork is fairly daring – notably a shot mirroring the famous one in Musketeers of Pig Alley in which actors approach the camera until they are in extreme close-up. In this case, Mailes ‘sneaks’ toward the camera, at times concealing himself behind palm trees, until he emerges in very close range from behind the nearest of them, staring maniacally into space. Bitzer was unable to keep him in focus during the approach (adjusting focal length in the middle of a shot simply wasn’t possible with the technology of the time), but he did manage to set the lens to focus on him at this most frightening final moment. There are also good close-ups of the cat and of hands playing the piano. Griffith makes use of the editing techniques he was known for, especially cross-cutting, to keep the tension high as the pursuit advances.”
Century Film Project

>>> The Musketeers of Pig Alley