DIRECTOR'S CUT / Shining through: Randa Haines finds inspiration in A Place in the Sun

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The Independent Culture
A PLACE IN THE SUN has the most beautiful close-ups ever shot, of Elizabeth Taylor and Montgomery Clift when they're dancing together, but the most powerful images are where he (the director, George Stevens) stages wide shots and you don't see someone's face. In one scene Montgomery Clift goes to the pay-phone out in the hallway. It's raining, and his life is getting so complicated - Shelley Winters has told him she's pregnant and he's in love with Elizabeth Taylor. The camera stays quite a way back; you only see him from behind. But, just by the little that he says and his body language, you know what's going on. You feel there's a weight on him through the constriction in his body. There are a couple of moments in the film that I like for that reason - the camera doesn't rely on a close-up of somebody's face reacting to tell you what's happening. It's in the whole frame that you get that information. As a director, you're looking for ways to tell the story with the whole image, and not primarily dialogue. I like to look at A Place in the Sun every now and get inspired by it.

Randa Haines' two films, 'Children of a Lesser God' and 'The Doctor', are both playing in the William Hurt retrospective at the Barbican, London (071-638 8891).

(Photograph omitted)