In terms of immaculate black-and-white viewing pleasure, nothing beats Carol Reed‘s Odd Man Out (47). I’ve been re-watching it every three or four years for the last couple of decades, but the Bluray versions (I happen to own an eight-year-old Region 2 Network Bluray) are just breathtaking…every glistening, perfectly lighted frame could and should be hung in an art gallery. It really doesn’t get any better than this.
Robert Krasker (1913-1971), the Australian dp, won an Oscar for his brilliant capturing of Carol Reed‘s The Third Man (’49), but his Odd Man Out cinematography is the grander achievement, I feel… more pictorially transporting on top of sadder and more poignant when you factor in everything else. Krasker was an absolute devotee of film noir and German Expressionism, and I would go so far as to call his work magical in this instance. Each and every shot is on the level of “my God, look at the snowflakes and shadows and the gentle illumination of lamplight…amazing! And look at that! And that!” And it never stops.
The Reed classics aside, Krasker’s other credits include Laurence Olivier‘s Henry V, David Lean‘s Brief Encounter, Irving Rapper‘s Another Man’s Poison, Robert Rossen‘s Alexander the Great, Peter Ustinov‘s Billy Budd and Anthony Mann‘s El Cid and The Fall of the Roman Empire.
Krasker’s Third Man Oscar was historic — he was the first Australian cinematographer to be so honored.