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What was the First Film To Use the Subjective Camera?


TomJH
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The subjective camera technique, viewing other people in the film through the eyes of a character, with the camera acting as that character's eyes, was used by director/star Robert Montgomery when he made The Lady in the Lake, released in April, 1947. He used that technique for the entire film, the audience only seeing Montgomery's face in a moment or two, such as when he looks into a mirror.

 

Five months later Dark Passage was released, with director Delmer Daves adopting the same technique for portions of earlier sections in the film.

 

Would anyone know the first director to ever adopt the subjective camera technique in any film? And was Montgomery the first one to do it for the entire film?

 

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Lady in the Lady - did the subjective camera technique for the entire film

 

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Delmer Daves did it for sections of Dark Passage

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The first director that I can think of who used the subjective camera was the ever-inventive Rouben Mamoulian, when he filmed Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde in 1931.

 

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Can anyone think of someone who did it before Mamoulian? Can you think of any other instances of the technique being used between Jeyll and Hyde and Lady in the Lake in 1947? Finally, as asked in the original post, was Lady in the Lake the first film to do it for the movie's entire run?

 

I suppose you could say that I'm asking these questions for academic purposes, just out of historical interest. Thanks for any assistance that you can provide.

 

It was the recent broadcast of Dark Passage that inspired these questions.

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I wonder, then, if Mamoulian is the first director to use the subjective camera..

 

I'm probably wrong in what I'm about to say, but I don't think any other director used it until Robert Montgomery in Lady in the Lake.

 

Does anyone know of another film that used it before Mamoulian's Jekyll and Hyde or, if not, then after it but before Montgomery's film?

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I know of no movie earlier than *The Lady in the Lake* (1947) which used the technique during nearly all the movie.

 

There are early examples of the camera standing in for a character during a scene or scenes. In *Napoleon* (1927) it is taking part in a fight. In *Champagne* (1928) it is kissed. In *The Ghost Camera* (1933) it is a character in scenes of flashbacks. In *The Kennel Murder Case* (1933) it is unknown person carrying out murder while Philo Vance narrates the actions.

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