Hopper loved to go to the movies, saying when he wasn’t in the mood for painting he would just go to the movies. As a result film became a stylistic inspiration for him, especially in Film Noir, which helped create the world of loneliness, isolation, and quiet anguish found in his work. You can also find images of the film in his work, with early etchings like The Balcony depicting individual spectators waiting for the curtains to go up. His paintings also had an influence on movies, especially his use of light. During production of Force of Evil (1948), director Abraham Polonsky brought his cinematographer George Barnes, one of the greatest at the time, to an exhibition of Hopper’s and told him “That’s what I want this picture to look like”. You can also find his influence in movies such as psycho, where you can see the sinister vertically of his first work House by the Railroad was combined with the horizontality of a number of his motel paintings. Hitchcock as credited the inspiration for the house in Psycho to House by the Railroad. Allusions to his work can be found in numerous other films, including those by cinematography Philip Lathrop in films such as Point Blank, and films shot by Gordon Willis, responsible for the Godfather trilogy. While doing production design for Pennies from Heaven, and Ken Adams (The Spy Who Loved Me, Dr. Strangelove, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang) recreated Nighthawks and New York Movie while trying to move the story to a North American setting.  Undoubtedly, Edward Hopper had a great influence in Cinema.

French, Philip. “Edward Hopper and the Cinema.” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 25 Apr. 2004, www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2004/apr/25/art.
“Gordon Willis, the Man Who Shot The Godfather.” Harvard Film Archive, President and Fellows of Harvard College., 2018, library.harvard.edu/film/films/2009octdec/willis.html.

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CC BY-SA 4.0 The Great American Artist Edward Hopper by Jacob is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

1 Comment
  1. Pamela 3 months ago

    Hi Jacob. My name is Pamela and I am an English teacher in the Bronx. I enjoyed reading your post “The Great American Artist Edward Hopper” because I have always loved Hopper’s paintings and I completely see his influence on movies and how movies influenced him. One sentence you wrote that stands out for me is “As a result film became a stylistic inspiration for him, especially in Film Noir, which helped create the world of loneliness, isolation, and quiet anguish found in his work.” I think this is insightful because all three qualities not only describe Hopper’s work and much noir film, the qualities describe the emotions that draws so many of us to the work. Personally, not only do I identify with the loneliness, isolation, and anguish in the paintings but I want so much to know the stories behind the places depicted. Hopper rarely includes people in his paintings and when he does they are rarely connecting to each other (like the way people in the diner in Nighthawks do not connect) and/or their features are vague. Despite this, the paintings are filled with human feeling and these imply many possibly imagined back stories. Another sentence that I liked was “During production of Force of Evil (1948), director Abraham Polonsky brought his cinematographer George Barnes, one of the greatest at the time, to an exhibition of Hopper’s and told him “That’s what I want this picture to look like”. This stood out for me for two reasons. The first is that I find it exciting when a work of art influences another work of art wether they are the same medium — say, painting — or different mediums — say novels and symphonies. The second reason this stood out for me is that I’ve never seen Force of Evil and now I want to watch it. Your post reminds me of something that happened to me. One time I was in Gloucester, Massachusetts and I saw a big house up on a hill and it reminded me of a Hopper painting. Afterwards I found out that Hopper had spent time in Gloucester and maybe he was inspired by the very house. Thanks for your writing. I look forward to seeing what you write next because I am always interested in the intersection of art forms.

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