Haskell Wexler on Roger Ebert, ‘Days of Heaven’
Haskell Wexler is one of the most influential cinematographers ever - his credits include 'The Conversation', 'In the Heat of the Night', 'The Thomas Crown Affair', 'Bound For Glory' and 'Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?' He's in Champaign Illinois this week to introduce the film 'Days of Heaven' at Ebertfest. We spoke with him about his friendship with Roger Ebert, the switch to digital film, and his own beloved subversive 60s movie, 'Medium Cool'.
Host David Inge spoke with film critic Roger Ebert on the program Focus 580 on March 14, 1997. Ebert was in Champaign-Urbana for a symposium entitled Cyberfest. The night before the interview, Ebert had introduced a showing of a 70 mm print of one of his favorite films of all time, Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey. Ebert discussed Kubrick at length, saying that as hard as critics have tried to find a common thread throughout Kubrick's films, each film is " a completely new departure," and compares his filmmaking to the music of Beethoven. Ebert also discusses the development of the last film Kubrick would direct, Eyes Wide Shut, as well as A.I., which at the time of the interview was under development with Kubrick the presumed director (Steven Spielberg would eventually direct the final film).
Ebert also discusses the role of a smaller opening weekend as a way of building an audience for a film as opposed to depending on a large opening weekend to keep a film in theaters. He takes questions from listeners about Kubrick; silent film; Champaign's Virginia Theater; classic film restoration as a method of promoting home video releases; the differences between Hollywood studios and small independent studios; the difficulty of filming science fiction, and growing up on Washington Street in Urbana.