I am really captivated by this photograph. The still photographer for "This Property is Condemned" (I'm guessing it's Bob Willoughby, but haven't confirmed this) has captured an incredible moment, which of course is the set photographer's job, but that doesn't necessarily follow that "incredible" is what they'll come up with. I collect a lot of photography books - especially as they relate to Hollywood.
I've always been a big fan of this film. Having first seen it as a child (which, if you listen closely, you can still hear it whizzing over my head) I didn't come to appreciate its adult themes until, well, I was an adult. I love how intently Natalie is listening to whatever the late great Sydney Pollack is saying. Whether it is "You're right, craft services did a bang up job with the tuna fish" or "I think you should consider playing a beat between your last two lines in this scene" - it really doesn't matter. I would have given anything to have her look at me at all, much less so attentively. Robert Redford also has a very fixed look on his face. Natalie and Redford were very close friends - in fact he credits her with much of his early fame. He narrates a TCM piece "Robert Redford on Natalie Wood" which I include here.
But, perhaps the most interesting portion of the frame is the background. The miles of cable, the tools of the industry, the very stoic looking Charles Bronson - looking every inch a walking billboard of Neo-Marxist proletariat ideology. He is dressed in classic proletariat hammer and sickle attire and seems closer in proximity and aesthetic to the tools of labor than the foregrounded director and lead actors of the film. Yes, it's fair to say that I love this photograph. Hope you find it of interest too.
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