We all grew up on the staple diet of L.A's movie factories. From B-movie garbage where plastic piranhas attacked a whole coastal town and rabid rottweilers that turned on their neighbourhood to absolutely brilliant masterpieces that had superb editing work, background scores and, most of all, cinematography.
Growing up in a small town in South India with a leaning towards music, we used to go hunting for movies in which Jerry Goldsmith was the music director. We started looking for Alan Hume's cinematographed movies after watching Eye of the Needle. In fact, movies like Witness and Cassandra Crossing left a deep impression on us and stirred a longing for well-made movies, or well-framed movies, to coin a phrase. "How many of these gifted cinematographers are there, that every movie has a different name with A.S.C after them?" we used to wonder. Because our movies had a handful and their idea was showing lush green scenery and silhouettes against the evening sun. Granted, there were a few good ones but nothing compared to the scores of A.S.Cs that painted soulful pictures on the impressionable minds of first year chemistry students who should have spent the warm weekday mornings in crummy labs instead of in air-conditioned cinema halls.
The movies shaped and changed and coloured our views of a distant land we only saw on the nearest silver screen. The beautiful women who were all too easy, the picture postcard settings, the snazzy cars and bikes, the accent ... man, no wonder many of us wanted to go to the States.
When I went to the US many years later, I was surprised to hear the people speak just the way they did in the movies. 'My god, they sound exactly like they do in the movies', I remember thinking as we took in the sights and sounds of San Francisco, which fortunately didn't include the sound of gunfire.
Wonder what life would have been without the influence of the light and shadow people?