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Dutch tilt/angle

Posted by ESC on March 01, 2004

In Reply to: Dutch tilt/angle posted by Mick Fanning on March 01, 2004

: I'm interested in the origins of the phrase Dutch Tilt or Dutch Angle. It describes putting the camera at an angle to add interest or dramatic impact in cinematography. The best known example of this is Carol Reed's production of Graeme Greene's novel "The Third Man".

: I've been led to believe it comes from when coastal barges were commonly used in trade around and across the English channel. The Dutch barges had keels and the English ones didn't. When moored at low tide, the Dutch barges would lean over.

: Can anyone confirm or deny this?

: Mick Fanning
: Brisbane Qld

I couldn't find "Dutch tilt" or "angle" in a filmmaker's dictionary or regional slang dictionaries. The only Dutch phrase I found with a connection to the sea was "Dutchman's anchor -- 1945 Colcord 'Sea Language' 70 ME, Cape Cod, Long Island, Dutchman's anchor. Something important that has been forgotten or left behind; from the old jest about a Dutch shipmaster who had forgotten to bring his anchor along, and so lost his ship." From "Dictionary of American Regional English," Volume II by Frederic G. Cassidy and Joan Houston Hall (1991, Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Mass., and London, England).