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Movie Fact #30 - September 16th, 2020


While many forget the 2002 film Road to Perdition is based on a graphic novel of the same name (Written by Max Allan Collins and illustrated by Richard Piers Rayner), director Sam Mendes and cinematographer Conrad Hall didn't. This was why the lighting of scenes drew inspiration from the paintings of Edward Hopper, particularly Hopper's 1939 work New York Movie. Not to mention shots in the film were drawn directly from panels in the original graphic novel. Thus, they applied a "less is more" mantra.

Hall not only shot at wide apertures that retained one point in the depth of field sharply focused, but also used unconventional techniques and materials to create unique lighting effects. One interesting method was to use black silk in daylight exterior scenes to filter the light enough to create an in-shade look. It all paid off. Despite his death beforehand, Hall won a posthumous Academy Award for Best Cinematography. And the film's look itself has become iconic. Stay tuned!

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