A Comparison of On the Beach (1959) and These Final Hours (2013) At the Helm
On the Beach(1959
Stanley Kramer's name appeared in many of the magazines I read as a kid and a teenager. Even though he made movies that I wouldn't have been interested in (or allowed to see) when I was younger, he kept turning up at Academy Awards ceremonies as a nominee. He kept getting postive reviews in Time, Look, Life, Newsweek, Saturday Evening Post. He was what would now be called an "Oscar-bait" director. See, nowadays instead of congratulating or admiring someone for consistent work, we tend to denigrate them for playing the system or something. Perhaps Kramer did play the system. He made some films that are still watched and talked about today. They weren't all box-office hits, but some were. The Awards were really no more relevant back then than they are now, but winning one was considered an accomplishment, rather than a flim-flam! Or maybe that's just what I saw through my kid's-eyes.
Because of his reputation and his liberal leanings (I grew up in a conservative household, and later found ways to express my true self) he was not spoken of well at home. But I read about his movies and really wanted to see them. During my youth I saw zero Kramer films at the theater. But in High School I was introduced to Stanley Kramer by the Kingsbury High School Film Society. Among the films we saw were Judgment at Nuremberg (1961) which was only out for 8 years before we got to view it in the school auditorium. Inherit the Wind (1960). High Noon (1952). I was a member of the Society for three years, and we saw one Kramer film each year. The English teachers who formed the society considered his films to be literary and entertaining. I don't know how many others of my fellow students admired him and his work, but I sure did.
If Kramer was playing the system to get awards and nominations, it seemed to work for him, at least as far as the first step. He garnered 33 nominations and 20 wins over the years. But his liberal leanings always kept him in the Oscar noms-only category from 1953 through 1968 when six of his films were nominated for Best Picture. None of them won. Several of his films have "messages" built into them. I didn't see It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World until I was in my 40s. Its only message is that people are nuts, and greedy ones at that.
Kramer produced 40 films, and directed 20. Some of the 20 overlap. His first directorial credit appears on Not as a Stranger (1955), his 20th one on The Runner Stumbles (1979). I am uncertain how Kramer is seen by this generation of people. I have seen only six of his 20 directorial efforts. They are not all great films. Some of them tackle difficult topics, and they did so at a time when talking about these topics wasn't exactly considered polite. Kramer didn't shy away from politically charged subject matter. But he didn't always have a social message the size of a club inside his movies. On the Beach is one of the more blatant examples. Another would be Guess Who's Coming to Dinner (1967) and as a 30-minute TV film, Guess Who's Coming to Dinner (1975). Stanley Kramer (1913-2001) lived to be 87 years old.
These Final Hours(2013)
Zak Hilditch directed his own screenplay. In his short career he has gotten six nominations and three wins in the awards game. The source and place of cinema is vastly different from when Stanley Kramer was making films. Hilditch won a shared award for Directing:Comedy for Henry & Aaron's 7 Steps to Superstardom (2011), which is a web series. He directed three of the six episodes. He works in a time when short films might cost the millions that features used to cost, so many of his directorial gigs have been for shorts. He has Writer, Director & Producer credits on his first feature, Waiting for Naval Base Lilly (2003). He has a total of 12 Writer credits, a total of 12 Director credits and four Producer credits. The producer credits overlap, but not all the Writer and Director credits do. I have seen only These Final Hours from all his works so far. I cannot tell you as much about Hilditch as I can about Kramer because Hiditch is still at the beginning, or in the early middle part of his cinema career.
There is so little on the internet about the man that one of the graphics from this NQRR shows up in a google image search for "zak hilditch the actress dvd cover". None of the images in the search results is the dvd cover for his film The Actress, sadly. It must not have been released on disc. Rather than repeat his banner for Script, I just used a few different photos.
A Comparison of On the Beach (1959) and These Final Hours (2013) Special Effects This is always done by a crew of men and women. They haven't always all gotten credit. But I picked out the two SFX "honchos" or who I think are the honchos from the two films, to look at what sorts of work they've been involved with. Lee Zavitz on the 1959 movie, and Nathan Stone on the 2013 opus.
On the Beach (1959)
Lee Zavitz has 39 "special effects" credits at IMDb. He was born in 1904, and has his earliest special effects credit on Seas Beneath (1931). He worked on explosives, fire effects, French fleet destruction effects, and the like, but wasn't credited on screen until Guest in the House (1944). He worked on Destination Moon (1950), Around the World in Eighty Days (1956), The Alamo (1960), The Pink Panther (1963) and ended his career with Castle Keep (1969). During Zavitz' career "special effects" meant anything that wasn't filmed life-size and at normal cranking. Pyrotechnics were simply called "special effects, along with many other visual effects that now get singled out as a category. Miniatures were special effects back then instead of "miniatures." There weren't any CGI operators. Matting and other processes were special effects. They still are, but compositing is done much more invisibly in this day and age.
These Final Hours (2013)
Nathan Stone is an Australian Writer Director Producer Editor Visual effects guy. He has 12 visual effects credits listed at IMDb. Many of them center on digital effects compositing, although he has some credits for character animation and visual effects supervisor. His earliest credit is for "animator" on House of Flying Daggers (2004). His latest feature credit is for Wyrmwood: Road of the Dead (2014), a zombie apocalypse movie where Stone was a digital compositor. If you remember the movie Stealth (2005) he was not credited on screen, but IMDb says Stone was an animator on that project. It is a tough business to stay in, isn't it? Stone has directed four short films.
A Comparison of On the Beach (1959) and These Final Hours (2013)
Yeah, I wrote 'em, but they never seemed to be worth making graphics and posting as finished, er, posts. Heretofore the number of abandoned essays has been small, usually only one. Two for one of the Rematches, I think. But here we have five that didn't seem worth the effort. It takes a lot of time to proof, rewrite, touch-up, think of graphics, make the graphics, and so forth. Didn't want to spend the time.
But for anyone with terminal curiosity, here are the five essay ideas that I decided not to push any further.
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[url]A Comparison of On the Beach (1959) and These Final Hours (2013)
[img essay comp banner] Everybody Dies in the End
Apart from that phrase being the title of this essay, it is also a true statement about these two films. People sometimes joke about the Shakespearean play Hamlet that "Everybody dies at the end." But that is not literally true. A lot of characters are left stabbed and dead when the final scene of act 5 concludes, but there are still characters alive to react with stunned remorse.
If the title of this essay makes you not want to see the two films in this Rematch, then you might as well bow out now. That's what both films are about, and there is no spoiler tag that could hide that from the discerning reader! In this case the spoilers would be incidents that come before the denoument.
In real life, the very last thing we do as individual, living beings is to die. To leave this world, leave our bodies behind. That doesn't make it the purpose of our existence, though. It is the inevitable ending, but death is not the intentional goal of living.
It's also true that the last thing we will do as a species of earthly animal is something very similar. There might be a last man or woman left alive, who must die, and then our species will be gone. But that isn't the ultimate accomplishment of the human species. It is simply how things are. We aren't meant to like it, but we are destined to reach that time collectively.
In recent years there have been a number of films that have this as the theme, but I won't have an exhaustive list here: 4:44 Last Day on Earth, Last Night, Melancholia, Seeking a Friend for the End of the World, These Final Hours. They focus on what people might do if they knew the world was going to cease to exist (for humans, or totally) at a given time. These are not films where a band of survivors face a bleak existence following some apocalypse, but the apocalypse after which there are no living humans.
Bleak, eh? Yeah. The bleakest.
A 1957 novel by Nevil Shute was adapted for the screen by John Paxton and produced and directed by Stanley Kramer. The 1959 film stars Gregory Peck, Ava Gardner, Fred Astaire, Anthony Perkins and Donna Anderson. The thing that I heard about Nevil Shute's book when I was in Jr High School in the 1960s was that everybody dies at the end. Our teacher explained that she wasn't talking about "like the end of Hamlet," (a play that we read in 9th grade, by the way) but that literally everyone on the planet dies at the end of the novel On the Beach.
How was Hollywood to handle such a downer? Everybody dies at the end. Of a movie?
Well, it's not a spoiler, because it's the point of the movie. Of the novel. It is a philosophical examination of one man's idea of how people might act if they knew the end was near, coupled with the certain knowledge that no one would be left alive to remember them when they were gone. At least not for very long.
It is, as I noted above, an idea that fascinates artists. Once in a while a screenplay or novel will squeak by the "people don't buy depressing stories" crowd, and they get published or made into films. These Final Hours did that.
So the entertainment of these films is watching people carry on while death slides around the curve of the planet toward them. There is no stopping it. But some might hurry it, taking their own lives. Others, like me, afraid to do myself in, would wait until the final moment when inexorable death is upon me; and watching the movies allows me to ponder what I would do to fill up the intervening time.
[aborted at this point because the essay seemed to be going in circles, like water in a toilet bowl...]
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[url]A Comparison of On the Beach (1959) and These Final Hours (2013)
[img essay comp banner] Imagine the Dread
Our real life source of dread is the talk we must have with our spouse/significant other/child/boss/parent/neighbor. That conversation we don't want. But sometimes, we realize, the dread we feel energizes us in the way that stage fright can do, and lets us face this thing that we don't want to do, with a stricter sense of self-discipline.
It's just the having to do it that fills you with dread, as if you were opening one door out of a pair of doors. Behind one is a charming person who might be a lover to you, behind the other is a tiger with an appetite so huge that two of you wouldn't fill it up. And you can only open one door: if it's the potential lover, there is no need to open the other door. If it is the gate to the tiger's lair, then you won't get a chance to open the second door.
So imagine what kind of depressive dread you'd have to face if you knew that another planet was about to smash slowly into the earth. Or that at midnight everything would cease to exist. Or that a cloud of radiation from the rest of the world was closing in on your island country from all directions, killing everything that it touches. Or that an asteroid impact on the other side of the earth had sent a fiery destructive shock front toward your island nation from all directions, and that it would eventually reach this place, and your skin, and burn everything to death.
I'm not sure that dread comes across in the films unless you think about it. The characters mostly spend their final days or hours trying to make everything normal. Pretending that things aren't bad, the way Katie Nolan does for her son and daughter after their father dies on Christmas Day in A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. They read, so that things will go on normally. Except they don't. Johnny Nolan is no longer there. It is just something that they pretend: that everything is still normal.
The people in Australia in the two selected films cannot stop the wave of radiation or destructive fire that has been launched toward them. So, because of the dread, or in spite of it, what do they do? How are they toward one another? What still matters to them in these final days and hours?
But you'll have to imagine the Dread-Surround on your own. There's no way to put that into the film, although it's an important part of what these films intend.
For any horror movie to be successful there is the viewer's role: to let yourself play along, and pretend that you are in the situation on the screen. You aren't, in real life. You are not likely to ever be, in real life. But if you pretend to just the right degree of identification with the main characters....
As we watch horror films with only a pretense of being threatened, we who watch these two movies are only pretending to be plagued with dread; the actors on the screen are doing the same. We're safe. World's not ending. Not yet.
[aborted at this point because it seemed that all the points were already made in other posts...]
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[url]A Comparison of On the Beach (1959) and These Final Hours (2013)
[img essay comp banner] Religion
Religion plays a role in both of these films. But not as a motive force. Its presence is merely based on the fact that some people have religious beliefs in real life, and as a result we all hear about it. At the end of the world a lot of people would turn to religious beliefs for the reason most people always have: to get the gods or God to do what you want. To protect you. To clear the way for something. To permit or cause something. Always favorable to you. Like so many things in human existence religious belief is, at the base of it, all about me and what I want(which is why, I am told, the ancient Jews were told that they cannot utter the name of God...saying the name of a god was the way you got it to do your bidding in many ancient religions).
In These Final Hours religion is in the background. The filmmakers are no more telling you that you should get religion than they are telling you that you should party with no holds barred. Zak Hilditch makes the point of asking, obliquely, whether it's religiously based or not, what do you want your life to mean in the end? What do you want it to have been about? In On the Beach there are religious people who tell their fellow Australians that it isn't too late, and in their case that means turning to Jesus. Director Stanley Kramer uses this background religion very lightly, and for one thing only: to make a very clever statement to the viewers of his movie at the very end, as a literary trope to set up the impressively ironic final shot of the film.
Because in times of stress the otherwise non-religious often turn to the things that religious practice and belief seem to offer, these normally non-religious types may attend church or do things to "get right with God" for a while. But because ultimately all religious rewards are internal, and the source of those rewards is also internal, many of those don't have the "stuff" with which to believe that they have received what they pray for, and they fall away. If it were the end of all human life it would be a diffferent situation in only one aspect: because everyone would die, some of those half-hearted religious types might die while still in their half-hearted religious phase.
As far as we know, even those of us who profess some sort of faith, religious belief benefits us only while our hearts are still beating. Even though it is a belief that there is something beyond death of the body and mind, we have no firm test of that. It remains a matter of faith. I guess what you receive depends on what you want God to do for you and the amount of faith you have that God has done that for you. For example, if you want to be punished, it is probably very easy to believe that God is punishing you for...whatever. Or, if you desire a gold star or three, that God is rewarding you for whatever.
And that is precisely how religion is used by the writers and filmmakers in these two films. It is something in the background lives of the characters. Something practiced by habit or not practiced on the whole. Something that the characters find will not rescue them from their fates, but perhaps keeping up the practice makes them feel more secure.
[aborted at this point because I didn't think it was all that interesting as a topic...]
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[url]A Comparison of On the Beach (1959) and These Final Hours (2013)
[img essay comp banner] Casting vs. Characters in On the Beach
This essay will incorporate the Australian TV mini-series On the Beach (broadcast on Showtime in the USA) released in 2000. It centers mostly on the ages of the written characters versus the ages of the same characters in the film and TV mini-series.
Nevil Shute bothers to describe his main characters, including their ages, as he tells the story of the end of humankind in his 1957 book On the Beach. Commander Dwight Tower is 33, the woman who tries to win his heart, blond-haired Moira Davidson, is 24. John Osborne is in his late 20s. But Stanley Kramer, undoubtedly because "who would come to see a movie about the end of the world?" banked on the fact that people would come to see Gregory Peck (43 at the time) and Ava Gardner (37) in a film together. They might come to see Fred Astaire. So Commander Tower, Miss Davidson and Dr. Julian Osborne (why is that better than John?) become decades older (Astaire was 60 when he played Julian). The first characters we meet in the novel are Lieutenant Peter Holmes and his wife Mary, along with their infant daughter, Jennifer. The Holmeses are in their 20s. Anthony Perkins, as Peter, and his wife are the only central characters who are young in the novel and remain young in the film. Perkins was 27 years old when he played Peter. Donna Anderson was a year younger, as Mary.
I am unsure whether most of Shute's main characters were made young so that the tragedy of the impending radiation cloud would seem more poignant. When he wrote the novel, there were a great many people in the age range from 20-40, so that might have influenced him. He was 58 years old when the novel was published. Sixty when the film came out. And 60 when he died.
Gardner plays Moira in much the same spirit as the 24-year old woman is written. When I finally got around to watching the film, I was roughly a decade beyond the age Gardner was when she played the role, and I found her quite fetching. If I had seen it 20 or 30 years earlier she would have been merely an older woman.
As one online critic pointed out: Kramer's casting choice dilutes the Aussiness of the film, while the Y2K release uses Australian actresses and actors to play the Aussie roles. The 2000 cast is still, for the most part, older than the characters in Shute's book.
The producers of the 2000 TV series kept pretty much the same increased ages for their versions of the characters. Some were made older, still. Armand Assante (Dwight) was in his early 50s when he played the character. Rachel Ward was in her 40s when she played Moira. Bryan Brown played Dr. Julian Osborne when he was 53 years old. Jacqueline McKenzie and Grant Bowler were in their early 30s when they played Mary and Peter Holmes.
Perhaps the ages of the characters and the actors who bring them into screen life don't matter. Perhaps the age of the person you see or read about is immaterial to the loss the world suffers in the novel and in these films. After all, if you lose everything you have including your life, it doesn't make any real difference how old you are when that happens. But I think that Shute, only 12 years removed from WWII, was thinking about all the young people who had lost their lives in the previous war. I think that's why he made his main characters so young.
Peter and Mary have just had their first child, and now their life will end. Moira has never had any children at all. That was considered a terrible misfortune back then. Dwight has already lost his young wife and their elementary school children, and can't even face the fact directly.
In the films the ages are not material. But I think in the book, there was a reason for Shute to write about the very young at the end of the world of humans. This is still a noticeable irony: the players cast in These Final Hours are also quite young.
[aborted at this point because I didn't find the time to watch the year 2000 remake...]
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On the Beach - Nevil Shute. sparknotes.com. "A nuclear war has destroyed the Northern Hemisphere, and radioactive dust is drifting south at a steady rate. In less than one year, the radioactive cloud will reach those living in southern Australia."
On the Beach (novel). From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. "This article is about the novel. For its film adaptations, see On the Beach (1959 film) and On the Beach (2000 film)."
On the Beach (1959 film) From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. "Unlike the novel, no blame is placed on whoever started the war; it is hinted in the film, that the threat of annihilation may have arisen from an accident (for example, a fault in a few vacuum tubes or transistor circuits, as in the similarly themed 1964 film Fail-Safe)."
On the Beach (2000 film) From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. "The remake of the 1959 film, was also based on the 1957 novel by Nevil Shute but updates the setting of the story to the film's then-future of 2006, starting with placing the crew on the fictional Los Angeles-class USS Charleston (SSN-704) submarine."
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[url][center][box=750][justify]A Comparison of On the Beach (1959) and These Final Hours (2013)
[img essay comp banner] The Influence of Art on Politics
As I read through some of the posts for this Rematch I ran across a statement in the review of the 1959 film. It was about my reluctance to read On the Beach in the 1960s when I was in high school, and the reluctance of TV programming people to schedule such a depressing movie and expect to sell commercials.
And then I wondered: did all the films made and TV shows produced, and novels written about the end of human life or its utter degradation due to a nuclear war have any effect on politicians? Did the sheer mass of those messages change how the Soviet and US politicians acted when the real world approached the brink?
In other words, did art save the world (so far)?
The trouble is, I cannot find any articles or academic papers that bother to speculate on this question. They might speculate on teh role of art in political protest, but no one seems to have analyzed how politicians (who consume artowrks, films, etc.) are affected by what they see and hear.
I have yet to locate any articles taking it a step away from the politicians and seeking to explore the question: did the apocalyptic films made in the Cold War period influence how the people who voted chose their political representatives?
Some articles reflect upon the notion that what we choose to see at the movie theater reflects the prevailing political mood in the US and other countries.
[aborted at this point because I couldn't find any online sources that address the point I was trying to investigate, much less that support it...]
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The Role of Literature during the Cold War. University of South Carolina Press website. "Of the 'familiar titles' of nuclear-themed fiction from the precrisis period listed by Albert E. Stone in his Literary Aftershocks, only the works of two British authors, William Golding’s Lord of the Flies(1954) and Nevil Shute’s On the Beach(1957), generated any stir within critical circles."
The 11 Most Important Political Science Fiction Movies io9.com Charlie Jane Anders 8/08/13 1:04pm. "Just to be clear, this is a list of political science fiction movies that were huge box office hits, and/or had a massive influence on film-makers and pop culture generally. And like I said above, we tried to cover a wide range of eras, so it's not just 1980s films, sorry."
Of pulp fiction and James Bond Quick Study: Olga Sobolev on cold-war literature. The Economist Mar 17th 2014, 17:39 by A.C.B. "So readers on both sides of the Iron Curtain were consuming these ideological patterns and stereotypes? Yes, but in slightly different ways. In the Soviet Union it came from the top down, but in the West the propaganda was regulated by economic means. Left-wing writers were removed from the shelves (Howard Fast, Dalton Trumbo and even Frank Baum, author of “The Wizard of Oz”) though never actually censored. They were not in demand because of media propaganda, so what was in demand was the thrillers and spy fiction."
Why society needs science fiction from The Star Garden 3rd April 2012 Dr Helen Klus. "Thirdly, and perhaps most importantly, science fiction is the only genre that depicts how society could function differently."
The arts and politics From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. "According to Groys, "Art has its own power in the world, and is as much a force in the power play of global politics today as it once was in the arena of cold war politics."
Pertaining to such politically-intractable phenomena as the Modern conflicts in the Middle East, however, some artists and social critics believe that "art is useless as a tool for political change." There are, nevertheless, examples where artists employ art in the service of political change."
Prepositional Phases: The Political Effects of Art on Audience. Timothy J. Lukes International Political Science Review / Revue internationale de science politique Vol. 12, No. 1, The Politics of Art/Art et politique (Jan., 1991), pp. 67-86. Notably, it would cost me $19.00 to download and read this paper, although the abstract is accessible online.
The antinomy of art and politics: A critique of art as “cultural resistance”. Chris Mansour at The Platypus Affiliated Society. This is a bizarre paper that speculates but does not seek to answer my question. Fairly left-wing (for America, anyhow) and not intended for a more midline audience, no doubt. Their about page says, "The Platypus Affiliated Society, established in December 2006, organizes reading groups, public fora, research and journalism focused on problems and tasks inherited from the “Old” (1920s-30s), “New” (1960s-70s) and post-political (1980s-90s) Left for the possibilities of emancipatory politics today." . The introduction to this article says, "At the 2011 Left Forum, held at Pace University between March 18–21, Platypus hosted a conversation on the theme of Aesthetics in Protests."
What Does Our Obsession With Zombie Stories Tell Us About Our Politics?. Alternet.org. By Kristin Rawls / AlterNet June 6, 2012. "It’s really no wonder that American popular culture has taken a turn toward the grim. Maybe zombies sell these days because, not unlike the sort of nuclear apocalypse tales that resonated throughout the Cold War, they posit an outside threat, a menace beyond the control of regular people. And maybe there are more feelings of futility now than there were then, even as anxieties about nuclear holocaust loomed."
I wonder if anyone will take the time to read my trash. Haha!
After having lunch with Capt. Towers, Peter goes home and breaks the news to Mary that he's invited the Captain to come down for the weekend. She is concerned, because she doesn't want to think about what's to come, and the Americans always get weepy when they think about their families being dusted.
Lt. Peter Holmes: You're starting to get your figure back, aren't you, Charlie? You know, after Jennifer and all. A little here, a little there. By the way, I invited Captain Towers for the weekend.
Mary Holmes: Peter, you didn't.
Lt. Peter Holmes: I had to, really. We had lunch together, and he started asking questions about how we live and all. Mary, I would have looked an awful clod not to have asked him. He'll be all right, I think.
Mary Holmes: Was he married, do you know?
Lt. Peter Holmes: Two kids.
Mary Holmes: And they're gone?
Lt. Peter Holmes: Yes, they were in America.
Mary Holmes: Nappies flying in the breeze, pablum everywhere, they're bound to remind him.
Lt. Peter Holmes: We'll just try to get them out of sight, that's all.
Mary Holmes: He'll get sodden and weep. I can't stand that again, Peter.
Lt. Peter Holmes: He doesn't look the type to me.
Mary Holmes: Your R.A.F. chum didn't either.
Lt. Peter Holmes: Now, Mary...
Mary Holmes: What are we going to do with him for two whole days?
Lt. Peter Holmes: Well, for one thing, I thought a party on Saturday night. Ten or 12 people. We haven't done that for a while.
At the Holmes' party, an inebriated Dr. Julian Osborn gets all political and stuff, and it angers Mary. But we don't get to her tirade in this clip.
Morgan: You mean to tell me this whole damn war was an accident?
Dr. Julian Osborne: No, it wasn't an accident. I didn't say that. It was carefully planned, down to the tiniest mechanical and emotional detail. But it was a mistake, it was a beaut. In the end, somehow granted the time for examination, we shall find that our so-called civilization was gloriously destroyed by a handful of vacuum tubes and transistors. Probably faulty.
Morgan: There you are, Julian. There you are. Now we know where the blame lies. Don't we?
Dr. Julian Osborne: No, you don't. No. No. No. Maybe we were the blind mechanics of disaster, but you don't pin the guilt on the scientists that easily. You might as well pin it on motherhood.
Morgan: Well, it should be pinned on somebody. And you scientists are the likely ones, as far as I can see. You built the bomb. You experimented with it, tested it and exploded it.
Dr. Julian Osborne: Now, just a moment, Morgan.
Morgan: Thanks to you chaps, a moment is about all we have.
Dr. Julian Osborne: Every man who ever worked on this thing told you what would happen. The scientists signed petition after petition.
Mary Holmes: Julian, please.
Dr. Julian Osborne: But nobody listened. There was a choice. It was build the bombs and use them, or risk the United States, the Soviet Union, and the rest of us would find some way to go on living. That's wishful thinking, if ever I heard it. I'm not against wishful thinking, not now. Look, they pushed us too far. They didn't think we'd fight, no matter what they did. And they were wrong. We fought. We expunged them! We didn't do such a bad job on ourselves. With the interesting result that the background level of radiation in this very room is nine times what it was a year ago.
Moira Davidson and Capt. Dwight Towers are sitting on a veranda, outside the house during the party. John Paxton gives them some boring lines of exposition while she drinks liquor and he drinks milk.
Moira Davidson: You look married.
Capt. Dwight Towers: I am. My wife's name is Sharon. I have a couple of kids. Richard, eight. Helen, five. Dick is the real sailor of the family. He is going to go to Annapolis.
Moira Davidson: That's to be expected.
Capt. Dwight Towers: He'll probably change his mind.
Moira Davidson: Why is it taking so long? Can you explain it to me? Nobody can explain it to me. And don't tell me about those damn winds again. How the northern hemisphere and the southern hemisphere get all mixed up and overlap. I don't want to hear about that anymore. All I want to know is...if everybody was so smart, why didn't they know what would happen?
Sir Douglas Froude: I think it's absolutely preposterous. How much of this Gould Campbell have we got left, Stevens?
Stevens, the porter: Better than 400 bottles, sir.
Sir Douglas Froude: And in its prime. Shocking. Shocking! Four hundred bottles of vintage port in the cellars and barely five months to go. Five months, mark you! If what these scientist chaps say is right. I think it needs another year, actually. I blame the wine committee very much. Very much, indeed. Should have had more foresight. How can the members be expected to get through 400 bottles of port in five months' time?
James has rescued Rose from two pederasts. The pederasts have been killed by James, and he has let Rose out of a closet where she was locked. They have taken the pederasts' van. He is now driving and also intermittently guzzling beer.
Rose: They said they'd help me find Dad, but they... they went a different way. They said it was a short cut. - He's 42. He's got black hair. - I need some water. - He was looking for some petrol. - Maybe you've seen him.
James: Shush! Can you just...
Rose: ls there any water?
James: There's this.
Rose: You shouldn't drink and drive. It's dangerous.
James: Where do you live?
Rose: Dad burnt our house down. He said he didn't want anyone breaking in and living there.
James: Oh, fuck.
Rose: Said the house memories were our memories, no-one else's.
James: So he set it on fire.
James: Where'd you last see your dad?
Rose: When we ran out of petrol on the way to Aunty Janice's. Told me to hide while he found some more.
James: No, there's gotta be somewhere I can leave ya.
Rose: Everyone's at Aunty Janice's.
James: Where's that?
Rose: In Roleystone.
James: No, no, no, no, no.
Rose: Maybe Dad's back at the car, looking for me. In Malaga.
(a flashback to before James ran away to the party. He's with his girlfriend Zoe at a beach house.)
James: Listen, Zo, I know you're for keeping your wits about you when it happens, but, fuck, you sure you won't take something? Like, something to take the edge off a little? Hey, come on, Zoe. You said...
Zoe: Hey. You said you wouldn't do that.
James: Come on. It was... I just...
Zoe: I just, um...
Zoe: I'm pregnant, James.
James: You took a test or something?
Zoe: I wanted to know. I needed to be sure.
James: I mean, what difference does it make?
Zoe: Ohh! What do you think, huh? A little boy or a little girl? Hey?
James: I don't know. -- Boy.
Zoe: He would have been handsome, just like his dad.
James: This is bullshit. Fuck. This is bullshit. You shouldn't have told me. -- Where the fuck are my keys?
Zoe: Stay here with me, James.
James: Why? And stare out into the fucking ocean waiting for it?
Zoe: There's still time!
James: What fucking difference does it make? We're already fucking dead! We're already fucking dead. It's gonna hurt a lot. And I don't want to feel it. I don't want to feel a thing.
Zoe: Hey. Life is stronger than death, James.
James: I can't. I'm sorry. I'm sorry. I just want to get fucked up.
Zoe: You know, Dad says when it happens, the earth's gonna peel like an orange but the peel is made out of fire.
James drives a stolen cab to his mother's home after he takes Rose away from the party. She is still under the influence of the pill Mandy's Mum gave her in the swimming pool. James hopes that his mother will be able to help the girl.
James: Hold on. Hold on, Rose. -- Mum! -- It's Jimmy, Mum! -- It's OK, Rose. -- Mum, it's Jimmy! Mum! I've got a little girl! She needs help! Mum, she's burning up! Please! Mum, come on!
James' Mum: Don't kick the fuckin' door!
James: OK, Rose. OK. -- Here. -- Thanks.
James' Mum: You little prick. There's no way you were coming back. And now here you are, just like that.
James: I was.
James' Mum: Oh, yeah.
James: I was, alright?
James' Mum: I wondered what I'd say to you if you did somehow magically appear. -- It's funny, you know, I...I don't feel sad, happy. Just numb inside.
James: I was gonna swing by, Mum. What do you want me to say, huh? Do you think I planned for this?
I'm thinking that my long super-busy period will slacken in the next two weeks.
The past three plus years of making this thread has taught me that it might be best to have more than one Rematch going at a time. That way, if I get a hankering to post about one group of films I can do so, and if I have a dry spell with anything to say for one of them, I'll have another to work on. The work seemed oppressive in a completely different way when I was building 8 at once than it did when I went sequentially through 8.
So I'm going to select three (possibly the three below) and work on them as I can, beginning--whenever I get some free time again.
A Comparison of Victim (2010) and The Skin I Live In (2011) Where Can I see It?
Novel The novel Mygale is available in French and English and, as Tarantula, in English. First published in French in 1995. The English translation was first published as Mygale in 2002. Published in the UK as Tarantula in 2005. The edition with the movie poster cover was published in 2011. The main characters are "Richard LaFargue, an eminent plastic surgeon who keeps a mysterious woman thought to be his mistress, Eve, locked up in his mansion while subjecting her to extreme physical and emotional humiliation and degradation; Alex Barney, a petty thief desperate to have his face altered after shooting a police officer; and Vincent Moreau, a young art student kidnapped by a mysterious figure he eventually calls 'Mygale'." (from Wikipedia) There is another character of consequence, Richard's daughter Viviane.
This is the first Rematch that features a film that most people won't be able to see--not easily, anyway. Those with BitTorrent can probably find it. Also, anyone willing to risk the watch free online sites may be able to see the movie. I've never used one of those. Because I don't trust them, I can't recommend them. Both movies are technically available in DVD format. Skin is available in Blu-ray format.
2010Victim (2010) (DVD). Burn on demand from Ezy-DVD, Australia in PAL format only. The price is $24.97 + shipping. Believe me, it isn't worth it.
I got my copy of Victim back when the 2010 film streamed on Netflix, using the PlayOn recording software. So it's 1280x720 resolution, and has a copyright and source frame at the beginning stating that I legally downloaded the copy. That's the copy I got my stills from. I used the DVD of The Skin I Live In that came in my combo pack to get stills for that film.
You can find the music from the Almodóvar film as a CD, and as mp3 downloads. The soundtrack from the 2010 film is apparently unavailable.
A Comparison of The Tingler (1959), Night of the Creeps (1986) & Slither (2006) Where Can I see It?
The three movies are available in DVD format. Night of the Creeps and Slither are available in Blu-ray format, but Slither only as used discs at muchos pesos at this time for the US region. Those of you who have PAL television can get a much lower price. All Slither Blu's are used.
I don't know if you still read or post here very much.
If you do, I want you to know that I would welcome your participation in the TNS Not-quite a Remake Rematch. It was your idea, which I thought was a good one, and I've bought all 3 movies on DVD so that I can pull stills and even started watching them. I watched The Tingler last night. I've seen the middle film, Night of the Creeps. I saw the ending of Slither once, not knowing what I was watching.
I understand that you might not have the time to help out right now. The NQRR will be running for a while. I'm going to put up a batch and work on them the way I did the first year of this thread.
The auto and manual grabs from all the films for this upcoming batch are finally done. Backed up the entire in-progress Rematch folder for Round 4 to a 50GB BD-ROM this afternoon, while I watched The Experiment (2010)
So, now I can resume building the Find-it posts for the Rematches, and then put up all the IP blocks, and then...start writing essays and reviews and such stuff.
I've seen The Stanford Prison Experiment (2015), Das Experiment (2000) and The Experiment (2010). That turns out to be in descending order of believability and quality. There will be no Rematch of these. The best one is the most recent. The 2010 remake was just...well, they couldn't add in enough extra violence to satisfy themselves, apparently. And the producers must have recognized their baby as a piece of crap, too. It was released direct to video. It seemed like an NQRR possibility, but the test was in the watching of all three, and I just don't want to write about those films.
All the sets of films I selected for Round Four seem to have a certain amount of darkness to them! But it seems that there has been darkness all along. Even in Peter Pan!
If you're still reading, thanks for sticking with me. I hope there are a few of you who, after March 31, will still read me, when I'm 64.
A Comparison of Bicycle Thieves (1948) & Beijing Bicycle (2001) How Can I see It?
The movies are available in DVD format. The 1948 film is available in Blu-ray format from The Criterion Collection in the US. The Google search links will make it easier for you to find a source if you are outside the US.
A Comparison of Battle Royale (2000) & The Hunger Games (2012) Where Can I see It?
There are two novels that make good background reading for this Not Quite a Remake Rematch. The first is the one that became the 2000 film Battle Royale, which bears the same title, by Koushun Takami. It was originally published in 1999 in Japanese. An English translation by Yuji Oniki was published in 2003. That's what I read. It is available only as a print book, and is currently out of print. There is a "Remastered" new translation by Nathan Collins that has been available since 2014 in paperback.
The second novel is The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, published in English by Scholastic Press in 2008. It is available in print and in eBook versions.
A Comparison of Tom Brown's School Days (1940),Tom Brown's Schooldays (1951),Tom Brown's Schooldays (1971) & Tom Brown's Schooldays (2005) Where Can I see It?
Novels The novel Tom Brown's School Days was published in 1857 by Thomas Hughes, himself a former student at the Rugby School for Boys. The novel is set during the 1830's, which is the time period during which Hughes was a student at the school. If you love the Harry Potter stories and films you need to understand that without Tom Brown's School Days the entire genre of English public school tales might not have existed. So, Harry Potter's roots are in the novel and films we are about to explore.
I have read only the opening section of the novel at the time of this posting, so I can't say which episodes are omitted from the adaptations of Tom Brown's School Days. I do know from having watched three of the adaptations that Tom and his companions are not sweet boys, always following the rules and doing nothing to harm other or animals. Instead, they are boy boys, struggling to learn how to behave in a society made up of different personality types. I can say that the character of Tom is generally good-hearted, but his behavior is all over the map.
The movies are available in DVD format. None are available in Blu-ray format at this time. In the future, three of these could potentially be transferred to an HD format, but the 1971 version was produced on PAL videotape, and will forever be standard definition. The 2005 TV movie was shot in Super 16 format, while the 1940 and 1951 films were made in 35mm 4:3 format.
I did not find any soundtrack recordings from the movies or television programs in any Google search. This doesn't mean that they don't exist. The only recording I found associated with the title is an LP of a London West End musical that was staged for 60 days in 1972 starring the then-future lead singer of the pop group Duran Duran, Simon LeBon, as one of the Rugby students.
Other Sources Netflix -- As I build this Find it post, there seems to be no Tom Brown's Schooldays film at Netflix. However, the DVD search algorithm seems to be failing. Yet, other films I know are available only on DVD turn up in the search. Give it a try. Perhaps you'll turn up something. That's where I got the 1951 film on DVD a few weeks before posting this. tom brown's school days netflix
Do You Like Posters? The only non-English language posters I found are for Tomás Brown, which I assume is either Spanish dubbed or subtitled. Also, the results for these search terms overlap a lot, because there just aren't that many posters for these films. You'll see a lot of DVD box covers turning up not too far into the search results.
Well, the broken image links thing is seemingly random. On Friday there were a couple of broken image links when I loaded pg 42 without logging in on the HP laptop using FireFox. At PHCC.
So on Saturday morning I did a trial with my desktop a Chromebook and the Macbook Pro.
For my own use the results notes are behind the spoiler tags.
Loading results 5:42am Sat 26 Mar 2016 pg 42 Black box on Belkin 028 browsers not logged in to Corrie
FF loaded with missing images at first, but I hadn't thought of this experiment, so did not note which were missed
CH loaded clean
FF loaded clean second time after closing Corrie and opening again (not logged in)
SF loaded clean
CD (Comodo Dragon) loaded and issed image links. missed 3d image in BCH quotes missed 4th image in BCH quotes missed 6th image in BCH quotes missed 8th image in BCH quotes (there are 15 images in this post) missed 3d image (SKN TB) in 31 Jan 12:52am post of 3 TBs missed posters image in SKN Find it post missed novels image in BRN Find it post missed discs image in BRN Find it post missed BRN disc image in the first image links problem post 22 Mar at 12:54 pm
CD reload missed a different set of images missed SKN TB in 31 Jan 12:52 am post of 3 TBs missed SKN novels image in Find it post missed TNG posters image in Find it post
CD second reload missed BRH posters image in Find it post
Loading results 6:00am Sat 26 Mar 2016 pg 42 Chromebook on 2 Wire CH loaded clean
Loading results 6:05am Sat 26 Mar 2016 pg 42 MacBook Pro on 2 Wire SF loaded clean
Loading results 6:11am Sat 26 Mar 2016 pg 42 Black box on Belkin 028 SF logged in to Corrie for this post SF loaded clean
So, the inconsistent results are even more puzzling.
A Comparison of Pinocchio (1996) & A.I. Artificial Intelligence (2001) Where Can I see It?
Novel & Short Stories The Adventures of Pinocchio is an 1883 children's novel by Carlo Collodi. The story has been updated over the years, most notably by Walt Disney for the 1940 film version. The Wikipedia article linked in the Weblinks section below has a listing of various adaptations. In the original the "blue fairy" character was called "the fairy with turquoise hair."
Brian Aldiss published a short story in 1969 that caught Stanley Kubrick's eye, leading to the project that became A.I. two years after Kubrick's death in 1999. Meanwhile, Aldiss wrote another pair of short stories that tell the original story of Monica Swinton and her robotic son David, and his electronic teddy bear, Teddy, along with her somewhat distant husband, Henry Swinton. The trio of stories were published in an anthology with the same title as the original short story: "Supertoys Last All Summer Long."
The movies are available in DVD format. One is available in Blu-ray format, but not specifically for Region A (set for Region B). I am not sure which language is on the soundtrack (Germany has a penchant for dubbing films, as we do in the US). Ah, after writing this, I found a German-language website (see Weblinks below) which confirms that the 3D version has both German and English surround tracks. I am foolishly assuming that the 2D Blu-ray version would have the same audio. English language Bluray.com shows that the disc is confirmed for A, B and C regional players.
A Comparison of Tarzan of the Apes (1918), Tarzan the Ape Man (1932) & Greystoke the Legend of Tarzan (1983) Where Can I see It?
Novels Edgar Rice Burroughs wrote 24 novels featuring the character Tarzan. The first was Tarzan of the Apes, first published as a serial beginning in the October 1912 issue of The All Story magazine. It took only six years to make it to the screen as a silent film. By that time there were five Tarzan volumes. The initial series of 24 volumes concluded with Tarzan and the Castaways in 1965. A 25th volume was discovered after ERB's death, and was published as Tarzan and the Madman. Obviously, this Rematch won't consider all the books. The first in the series is available for free at project Gutenberg as an ebook. But you can also follow the other link immediately below to find Google search results if you want a paper version. And there is a Kindle edition for which a link appears below (but it does not contain the posthumus Tarzan book).
If you would like to sample what is out there besides these three versions that we're looking at for this Rematch, follow this link for Google results on tarzan movies! Happy hunting.
Only one of these films is new enough to have had its soundtrack marketed as recordings separate from the movie. Well, if there were any 78's for the music from the 1932 film, they don't show up in a Google search. Not even on ebay!
1983 Soundtrack:greystoke soundtrack. Google Search Results. Available on CD and as YouTube clips. (Not available on iTunes.)
Other Sources Netflix -- 1932 with Tarzan Escapes (1936) DVD. -- 1983 DVD and Blu-ray. (No 1918 film at Netflix)
Now all I have to do is get the top banners in place on page 39, or 40, or wherever they go, and put up the initial posts for each of the eight new Rematches. Oh, and carefully place the correct IP link in the Find it post for each one.
As for the problem with PhotoBucket image links not working (in case someone else faces a similar problem) I have learned to upload the images to PhotoBucket, then immediately test them in my IM messaging box to make sure the bbcode can find them, and the PB will let the image load. No problems since I began doing that. Which means the problem was perhaps the browser. The uploads are now being done with Comodo Dragon, and testing is in FireFox. So, it's cross-browser, and ... well, arcane and the like. So, cool.
And, as always, thank you very much if you are still reading (and you are not a net-crawling bot). If you actually read this, you are not a bot, and I am grateful to you.
I'm quite a bit behind, but apparently you're 64 now, so happy birthday!
_________________ "So, you see, he was condemned to walk in darkness a quadrillion kilometres (we've adopted the metric system, you know)..." ██████████████████████████████████████████The Devil, The Brothers Karamazov
I'm quite a bit behind, but apparently you're 64 now, so happy birthday!
Thank you so much. You got the number exact, man.
Do you still need me, will you still read me, when I'm 64?
(Thanks to the Beatles for the inspiration that led to that last line! I've been waiting ever since I was 15 years old to use that in some way. Fortunately, "read" and "need" provide the required internal rhyme.)
Same day as Jedi??
Yep. And thanks. In fact, the Jedi lad was born on either my 32d or 34th birthday. I don't remember which, now. But I was past 30.
A Comparison of La Guerre des Boutons (1962), The War of the Buttons (1994), La Guerre des Boutons (2011) and La Nouvelle Guerre des Boutons (2011) How Can I see It?
Novels Two of the boys in this story have the surname Gibus, which was also the name of the inventor of a collapsible top hat often worn to the opera. The author of the 1912 novel died three years after it was published. Louis Pergaud was only 33 years old. The novel La Guerre des Boutons is available in many languages, except English. A translation to English was published in 1968, and is now out of print, but the only copy I could find currently for sale is a new copy fluctuatingly priced at over $200.00 US at Amazon.com. Needless to say, I turned to Kindle and the much lower price of $2.99 US, and the built-in French-English dictionary in order to read this one. From, the original French. Struggle? Yes. But a fun one for me, and I need to learn a smattering of at least one more language, anyhow. I have studied French only informally, at the altar of many a French film watched with English subtitles on. It is surprising how much I picked up without knowing it. Low level, and personal, but functional for semi-understanding of printed material. You might be the same...or you might know French. (I plan to find an inter-library loan copy of that English translation that I can borrow through the local library, after I struggle through the original language with the help of Google Translate and the built-in French-English dictionary!)
Graphic Novels This is a very popular French book, still read by many in schools today. It sells in French well enough that Amazon US has several French language editions for sale. They are outfitted to become the long-term foreign-language reading assignment in many a US French language class! Naturally, as a tie-in to the dual 2011 release of a pair of remakes, there were new graphic novelizations of La Guerre des Boutons, and of the movies. Also, and this is important, the original novel passed out of copyright protection in 2010, so there were no fees to pay to heirs or to authors when using this popular story!
The movies since 1962 are all available in DVD format. The three French-language versions are also available in Blu-ray format. The latest are available in combo packs with both DVD and Blu-ray. The French films are mostly available for Region 2 DVD and Region B Blu-ray in PAL format, of course. That thing on the lower right up there is not a video disc. It is the cover of the French novelization of the nouvelle film script. It would be different from the original novel. Above it is the cover for...well, The Weinstein Company distributes the 2011 Nouvelle film in the US as War of the Buttons. It streams, and there is a DVD listed. If you click on the Blu-ray version, though, you see the French language cover. It's a bit déroutant.
The music for these films is available on CD. Some are available as mp3 music downloads. You may be able to find the Philips LP of the 1962 José Berghmans score, at times. The Google searches for the 2011 films are confused, even though the search terms carry the composers' names!
For a type of top hat: gibus Google image search results. -- Top Hat From Wikipedia. "In France, around 1840, Antoine Gibus's design for a spring-loaded collapsible top-hat proved so popular that hats made to it became known as gibus."
Not Quite a Remake Rematch between Pinocchio (1996) and A.I. Artificial Intelligence (2001)
Carlo Collodi published the original story The Adventures of Pinocchio in an Italian magazine in 1881. Nathaniel Rich in his Slate.com article about the story, points out that the original story wasn't at all like the Disney film made half a century later. At the end of Chapter 15, the little puppet dies by hanging. Collodi reportedly hated children, especially boys. As Rich says, "Every boy in Pinocchio is imbecilic, disobedient, greedy, and filthy. But none is worse than Pinocchio himself." The story was later expanded and softened somewhat by resurrecting Pinocchio (a beautiful child with blue hair does this, according to Rich) and there is apparently some general hint at the puppet becoming a real boy. That transition was expanded into the major point of the animated movie by the Disney screenplay.
In fact, Disney changed nearly everything. The character of The Blue Fairy, which figures prominently in the Spielberg film, is a Disney creation. If you want to read the original tale it is available at gutenberg.org in several formats from html to epub and kindle.
I didn't know until I began collecting images to include in the Find it post for this NQRR that A. I. Artificial Intelligence began as a Brian Aldiss short story published in 1969, and entitled "Supertoys Last All Summer Long." Stanley Kubrick read this story and he and Aldiss worked for a decade on making the story into a film without getting anywhere. Meanwhile, Aldiss wrote two sequel short stories ("Supertoys When Winter Comes" and "Supertoys in Other Seasons"). The second and third stories were completed (and published in the anthology Supertoys Last All Summer Long (2001)) before Steven Spielberg pushed Kubrick's idea onto the screen. Spielberg bought the rights to the other two stories. Aldiss writes about all this in the Foreword to the anthology.
The anthology is still in print (but it's 15 years old, and as a result you can basically get a copy by paying for having it sent to you; mine cost me $0.01 with $3.99 for shipping). The Aldiss stories are not available as pdfs online, to my knowledge.
Another source figures into the Spielberg adaptation of the Aldiss stories, a poem by William Butler Yeats, "The Stolen Child," which is quoted in the film. One source I found tells us that the refrain of the poem is "prominently featured" in the movie, and that means several sources feed into the final script produced by Spielberg. The refrain is addressed to a human child ("Come away, O human child!") which is what David understands himself to be in the three short stories, even after he learns that he is a robot in the second one.
I think the reason the Pinocchio movie and A.I. make a good NQRR topic is that among the several sources for the later film, it is clear that Collodi's Pinocchio as filtered by Disney and others had a profound effect on the screenplay for Artificial Intelligence. In a manner similar to what was done by Disney to Collodi's novel, Spielberg's company transformed A.I. into a story quite different from the three Supertoys short stories which Brian Aldiss wrote, while keeping the germ of the trilogy rather faithfully. But the Yeats poem and its ideas, and Pinocchio and its ideas were so much a part of Western culture by 2001 that the presence of the Disney-inspired Pinocchio book that David hears as Monica reads it to Martin, and its subsequent inspiration for David to become a real boy seemed to be a clever plot point by that time. In other words, it made sense that a robot boy might want to become a real boy, and there was literary and cinematic history to support the notion. Further, an automaton would in effect be a puppet without strings, and there is no better parallel to that idea than Disney's Pinocchio.
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Bad Things Happen to Bad Children. From Slate.com, by Nathaniel Rich. "When left to his own devices, Pinocchio is a hero of child loafers and rebels everywhere. But the fun never lasts long. And then the violence begins. Though Collodi may have set out to satisfy his young readers, it is ultimately their parents who have the last, maniacal laugh."
Supertoys Last All Summer Long: And Other Stories of Future Time by Brian W. Aldiss, published June 27, 2001. From Amazon.com. "For more than four decades Brian Aldiss has been confounding the limits of satire, poetry, and science fiction, creating stories from the well of dreamscapes that come up sharp against the cutting edge of our technological society."
The Stolen Child. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. "The refrain is prominently featured in Steven Spielberg's film A.I. Artificial Intelligence."
Pinocchio (1940 film). From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. "Although it became the first animated feature to win a competitive Academy Award – winning two for Best Music, Original Score and for Best Music, Original Song for "When You Wish Upon A Star" – it was initially a box office disaster. It eventually made a profit in its 1945 reissue, and today it is considered the greatest Disney animated feature of all time, and one of the greatest animated films ever made, with a rare 100% rating on the website Rotten Tomatoes."
Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi, 1883. From curiouspages.blogspot.com. "Then some stuff happens and Pinocchio’s feet burn off while his abusive father rots in jail. Pinocchio spends the rest of the book hungry, jailed, lying, fighting, or swindled."
There is one more film, the first 2011 La Guerre des Boutons remake, that I need VLC autograbs from. An NTSC used DVD is on its way to me, but it may be another week before it arrives. Then I'll have all 27 films available in terms of stills needed and stills grabbed.
That means when I get a hankering to write about any of the rematches, I don't have to worry about pulling still frames in order to be able to illustrate the post.
There will still be the need to get web-based images and so forth, but frame-grabbin takes a lot longer.
Not Quite a Remake Rematch between Battle Royale (2000) and The Hunger Games (2012)
Dangerous Games in Fiction and Real Life
Battle Royale and The Hunger Games weren't the first stories to tell of humans purposely hunting other humans. Back when I was in high school our literature anthology included "The Most Dangerous Game" by Richard Connell (1924), and that story prompted a few minutes of intense discussion in an English class. I am unable to find an earlier story of this type.
“The Seventh Victim” by Robert Sheckley (1953) also details a human-hunting story, but this one adds: government run, televised, rewards for the winners, immunity from prosecution for murder. It also features a requirement that any player be both hunter and hunted from session to session. Both stories were made into feature films.
If you go back a few thousand years you can find reports of actual to-the-death combat games in ancient Rome, according to history, anyway. But these were apparently not the most frequent type of gladiatorial games, nor were they persistent throughout the 400 some-odd years of Roman history. Rather, they were something added in the period of decadence near the end of Rome's empire. I have been unable to discover any earlier, known to-the-death combat games with online searches.
Come forward to the Middle America of the 16th century Aztecs and Mayans. A game that has been tempered over the centuries and is now called Ulama, was once a deadly religious ritual for the losing team. But, sacrificing the members of the losing team with the idea being that the sun and moon will continue to rise if these lives are sacrificed, is much different from individuals hunting people down in an arena. Isn't it? Isn't it?
And what exactly is the difference when you draft young men (or women) into the military of a country and send them out to kill and die for honor, or nationalism, or anything else? How is that different from Panem's Hunger Games, really?
All the various threads from the two short stories, and the gladiators, and players of Tlachtli merge into the two stories of Battle Royale and The Hunger Games. Panem tributes, drafted in a lottery, are sacrifices. The BR contestants are chosen at random from middle schools in an unnamed authoritarian Asian nation but an entire middle school class is sacrificed together. The government runs the games in both stories. The purpose of both is punitive and political. The contestants are compelled to hunt down and kill other human beings, and are also offered as the potential targets of other killers. And there is one winner who survives the mayhem as champion. The rest: well, they die.
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The Most Dangerous Game. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. "...first published in Collier's on January 19, 1924. The story features a big-game hunter from New York who falls off a yacht and swims to an isolated island in the Caribbean, where he is hunted by a Cossack aristocrat. The story is inspired by the big-game hunting safaris in Africa and South America that were particularly fashionable among wealthy Americans in the 1920s."
Category:Death games in fiction. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. "This page lists works of fiction that involve competitive events—especially those that involve fighting to the death—as plot elements." also "The following 62 pages are in this category, out of 62 total. This list may not reflect recent changes."
Gladiator. From Ancient History Encyclopedia. by Mark Cartwright, published on 06 November 2012. "Although the first privately organised Roman gladiator contests in 264 BCE were to commemorate the death of a father, the later official contests discarded this element. Vestiges of the religious origins did, however, remain in the act of finishing off fallen gladiators. In this case an attendant would strike a blow to the forehead of the injured. The attendant would wear a costume representing Hermes the messenger god who escorted souls to the underworld or Charun (the Etruscan equivalent)."
Seventh Victim. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. "The inspiration for "Seventh Victim" is the earlier short story, "The Most Dangerous Game". Originally published in 1924, it inspired dozens of movies, radio and television episodes and other adaptations. / It is claimed that it is this story, and not "The Most Dangerous Game", that was the original inspiration for the live-action game Assassin that was popular on university campuses in the 1980s."
10 Things You May Not Know About Roman Gladiators. History.com March 4, 2014 By Evan Andrews. "Hollywood movies and television shows often depict gladiatorial bouts as a bloody free-for-all, but most fights operated under fairly strict rules and regulations. Contests were typically single combat between two men of similar size and experience. Referees oversaw the action, and probably stopped the fight as soon as one of the participants was seriously wounded. A match could even end in a stalemate if the crowd became bored by a long and drawn out battle, and in rare cases, both warriors were allowed to leave the arena with honor if they had put on an exciting show for the crowd."
Mesoamerican ballgame. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. "The rules of ollamaliztli are not known, but judging from its descendant, ulama, they were probably similar to racquetball, where the aim is to keep the ball in play. The stone ballcourt goals are a late addition to the game.... The game had important ritual aspects, and major formal ballgames were held as ritual events, often featuring human sacrifice. The sport was also played casually for recreation by children and perhaps even women."
Ulama, The Mesoamerican Ball Game: Deadly Sport of the Ancient Americas. From Ancient Origins.net, 1 June, 2015 - 03:45 by Bryan Hill. "To the Mayans, it was known as Pok a Tok, to the Aztec it was Tlachtli. Today it is called Ulama. The Mesoamerican ball game was a game where the action reached unimaginable levels of violence even by today’s standards. Serious injury was common as players dove onto stone courts to keep a ball in play and would end the game bloodied and bruised. When the high-speed movement of a heavy flying ball hit a player, it could cause internal bleeding to unprotected body zones and sometimes death." and "When the Spanish arrived in central Mexico in the 16th century, priests and conquistadors recorded their impressions of the game. They found that among the Aztec there was a strong connection between the ball game and beheadings. Hernando Cortez’s ascribed a map of Tenochtitlan and labeled the ball court as Tzompantli (the Aztec word meaning “skull rack”). At this specific court thousands of skulls were found. The Spanish would go on to ban the game due to its pagan connotations ending thousands of years of the sport’s tradition."
A Comparison of Tom Brown's School Days (1940), Tom Brown's Schooldays (1951), Tom Brown's Schooldays (1971) & Tom Brown's Schooldays (2005)
The Boys who Became Tom Brown
To a certain extent, when each of the young men who auditioned for the role of Tom Brown got the role, he was playing a well-known and long-beloved character. Tom is more of an athletic boy than an erudite pixie of a kid, and as such has to be played as someone who isn't stupid, but who tends toward a kind of rustic simplicity in his thought patterns. Yet he is fair, and thinks always of his fellow man. Unless your name is Flashman. And in the novel he is set up to be one of "the Browns," who are described by Hughes in the first chapter as the non-flashy, salt of the earth types who have made England great through the years; the backbone of what was then a global Empire.
Generations of English schoolboys have probably wished they were Tom Brown. Certainly, generations of boys absorbed the story before the Lumiere brothers invented a gadget that enabled people to actually see Tom Brown (or, in the case of the actors, to be Tom Brown).
I can't say for sure that it was the magical equivalent of Daniel Radcliffe getting the role of Harry Potter, especially since there wasn't a series of movies in the offing. There was only one sequel to the original novel, published in 1861, and it was entitled Tom Brown at Oxford. To my knowledge it has never been made into a movie.
The first boy to ever be cast in a motion picture as school-age Tom Brown appeared in a 1916 UK adaptation. Jack Coleman was his name, but there is no easy way to gauge how well he did in the role after a century. There are no available copies for us to view, certainly none in release on home video. There are three clips from the film on the BFI screenonline webpage, but to view them you must be a BFI member which has as its apparent prerequisite British residency. Please let me know if they are any good.
I've spent more money than I should have on some of these rematches, for sure. But moving to the UK is right out of my budgetary range.
In our Rematch, the first youngster to be cast as Tom Brown was Jimmy Lydon. This was a US production. Freddie Bartholomew played East, his friend at school. This was unsurprising casting, because in 1940 America, Bartholomew was British kid-ness. Lydon was a surprise. He was American, so Tom Brown has a mostly American accent in the 1830s at Rugby School, which is potentially a mind-bender. A boy from the ensemble group, The "Dead End" Kids, Billy Halop, also has a role in the film as Flashman, the villain. (You'll see more about him when you read the HEL NQRR featuring The Mayor of Hell, Crime School and Hell's Kitchen.)
Lydon went on to garner 151 screen credits as an actor, headlining the Henry Aldritch series of films, beginning with Henry Aldritch for President in 1941,and capping a series of 9 feature films in 1944. He continued to act, working in a wide range of genres, including what we would call films noirs nowadays, and into television and even some Western roles during that period and also later in life. Lydon became a television producer for a decade between 1963 and 1973. Since 1950 his screen credits have been mostly "James Lydon." He is still living as of this post.
Eleven years later, John Howard Davies stepped into the role of Tom Brown. The 1951 film is reputedly much more like the novel than the 1940 adaptation is. For one thing, Tom is more boy-like (less angelic) than the 1940 representation of him. In the novel he is mischievous, and stays in trouble with people, despite having a good heart. The sweetness and light level has been dimmed quite a bit in the 1951 film, too.
John Howard Davies' first film role was Oliver Twist in the David Lean production in 1948. Davies was a child actor from 1948 to 1958, after which he moved into production and direction of films and TV shows. Among his 31 producer and director credits are: directing some of Monty Python's Flying Circus, and producing and directing all of Steptoe and Son and the original Fawlty Towers series. He was behind the camera for Mr. Bean, as well.
It was another two decades before Anthony Murphy took on the role for British television. This is a 1971 BBC mini-series, with 5 episodes, and covers the original tale in greater detail than anyone had done before. Some say it is the most like the novel of all. Others give that credit to either the 1951 film or the 2005 film. It is certainly the grittiest of the four we will look at in this Rematch. The mini-series begins with Tom making Flashman's father irritated by standing up for a boy who has been bullied by the man. A servant's child, to boot. This is not in the novel.
As for an extended film career, Anthony Murphy has a single film acting credit. His entire IMDb biography reads, "Anthony Murphy was born in 1956 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. He is an actor, known for Tom Brown's Schooldays (1971)." A Wikipedia article says that Murphy became a lawyer and was not happy with that career, so is now a successful painter, living in southern France.
In 2005 British independent television made a broadcast movie of the story, and cast Alex Pettyfer in the role of Tom, the second light-blond actor to play him. Channel 4 created the film, keeping many of the same episodes that were chosen for the 1940 and 1951, plus, they filmed the tale at The Rugby school. It was first broadcast January 1, 2005. This version has most of the sweetness excised, and Pettyfer isn't quite so much a victim because of it, but some have a quarrel with it being too sanguine, nonetheless. Stephen Fry plays Dr. Arnold in this version.
Pettyfer was groomed for stardom but never has quite made it yet. He has acted in 11 titles through 2016. Sometimes he has the lead, sometimes he's the villain, sometimes he's a bit player. He was Adam in Magic Mike, but didn't return for the sequels. Just after he was Tom Brown, Pettyfer was pegged to be Alex Rider (which could have been his Harry Potter-like gig), but the film wasn't successful enough for it to become a series.
Well, all these boys get to play a happy ending. That dollop of sanguinity is likely served up because the book itself has a happy ending, although much unhappiness is generated by earlier events between the covers. Some film versions might show an older Tom Brown, after all the sequel novel follows him to university in Oxford, England. But whether the ending wraps everything up and puts a bow on it, or simply follows Tom back home, it establishes that life goes on.
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Tom Brown's Schooldays (1916). From BFI screenonline.org.uk. "Today the story's Victorian moralising seems extremely dated, but in 1916 it presented a picture of British grit and moral worth that could inspire wartime audiences. Some reviewers took pains to point out that no one employed in the film ought to have been in the fighting forces, and that Jack Hobbs, who played Tom's final incarnation, was now doing his duty in the army."
Anthony Murphy (actor). From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. "Murphy’s first painting exhibition in 1991 in London was a great success, and his colorful Gauguin-esque paintings became highly desirable."
What would happen if teenagers began to totally disregard their elders' commands, and became uncontrollable? What kind of pushback would you see from the grownups? Certainly it would be nothing like the law that is passed in this fictional tale. In Koushun Takami's novel the story is set in The Republic of Greater East Asia. The Battle Experiment No. 68 Program has been going on since 1947. Every junior high student in the RGEA knows about it. Dreads it. Rationalizes that there is only a 1:800 chance that their class will be one of the 50 classes chosen every other year. Naturally, for the protagonists of Takami's novel this small chance catches them all. As 15-year olds they are tossed into a co-ed arena in which they must kill and be the last one standing, or die at the hands of their equally young classmates and friends.
Kinji Fukasawa's movie becomes a near-future dystopian tale of future Japan. In the movie, the Battle Royale Act has been passed to quell the recalcitrance and belligerence of teenagers in the nation. It is fair to say that both the best-selling novel and hit movie are infamous to many, rather than famous (as they are to the rest who know of them).
This is a grim film no matter which way you look at it. The novel itself is grim, but all the images were in my head when I read it, and they weren't quite so graphic and harsh as what Kinji Fukasaku and crew splash up onto the screen. And that was my response to reading the 610 page English translation of the novel after I had watched the movie twice.
Both the film and the novel were targets of unsuccessful Japanese parliamentary attempts to ban them. The film has been banned in some countries, but never the USA. Takami wrote a manga version of Battle Royale that began appearing in 2003, the same year that the Viz Media translation that I read was published. The manga takes several aspects of the story farther, and pushes the boundaries of tastefulness even harder than the novel or the movie.
Before I watched the movie for the first time, on 20 October 2010, I wasn't sure I wanted to see it. Yet, the idea of learning how someone had made such a film, such a free-for-all kill-fest, with a large budget...that drove me to give it a look. I was repulsed by the film on first viewing, of course. The film sets up the expectation of being repelled by what you are about to see, when it shows you a deranged, smiling young female victor who has obviously lost all sense of reality after killing who knows how many of her classmates. Then, you are marched immediately into the next year's Battle Royale event. Within a few moments, there is already one dead girl and one dead boy, and the kids haven't even been issued their battle gear, yet.
Like most people my age, I was aware of no-budget cinematic kill-fests that had been made and released to the kinds of movie theaters that I would never go to. Actually, I couldn't go to those theaters, because I was underage in those days. I would not have been allowed to see the films, even if I had wanted to. They were schlock features with gore and sex, and you could read about them sometimes, and hear about them from people who had seen them; but what they were said to show was just unbelievable. Even more unbelievable, now that I've seen trailers for some of those films! There were even rumors in the 1970s of "snuff films" where the killings on screen were real. The idea was not so unbelievable for a generation who had seen this kind of thing on TV.
But Battle Royale was different, because it was/is a mainstream Japanese feature film. It plays on gore, just as the grind-house movies did, but doesn't use sex or nudity very often. When people are shot or die in The Tenth Victim, there is no blood. The deaths are not real, and the whole thing seems like a satire. The deaths in Battle Royale are also not real, but they are disturbing.
Battle Royale shares certain aspects with The Lord of the Flies: both feature a group of kids who descend into savagery as the major characters. And both movies have some kids who resist the savage instincts, as other major characters. Both are set on a remote island, which is uninhabited, although in Battle Royale a government-mandated evacuation has been made in order to allow the games to proceed.
I once wrote a kind of stunned analysis of this film, but I cannot find it by searching The Corrierino. It might actually be in this thread. But I basically attempted to understand the existence of this film and its source novel as the result of a culture that could willingly face such grisly ideas as that of kids killing kids. Well, this kind of thing happens in the US on a sadly regular basis, although outside the entertainment realm. Suzanne Collins and her publisher dared to tread the same entertainment waters with The Hunger Games. And that became a series of books and films that have done well in the market. But what does that say about us?
At 40 minutes into the movie, there are only 24 of 42 kids left alive. It is not a spoiler to say that at 1;36;10 one of the characters dies, leaving only 3 alive out of the 42 who started. In other words, the government-mandated slaughter is not averted in this movie, but remains the point that drives the entire plot to the bitter end.
Here are some points of the film and and a few words about whether I like them or don't care for them:
Like: The filmmakers took a totally implausible story, with a no-chance-in hell-theme, and made a social commentary from it. The social commentary isn't as obvious when you read the novel. And, thankfully, it isn't totally obvious in this movie.
Like: The use of classical music for most of the score in this film allows some part of the experience to be familiar to the audience, because so much of it is totally outside normal human experience.
Like: In a sense, this is a "normal" survival story with the bizarrity of kids murdering kids, added to it.
Like: The novelist and filmmaker freely admit by what they show the characters doing, that not everyone would go along with such a government mandate.
Like: The death agony of these youngsters is not minimized, and may be a little exaggerated in a few instances. But when showing something disgusting, Fukasaku does not attempt to candy-coat it and make it palatable. We are accustomed to seeing bullets blow people across the room in films (an outcome that is not possible given the state of Physics in our universe), and seeing a person killed by a single shot to the torso. Not true to life at all. And these exaggerations never happen in Battle Royale. Even multiple hits with the bullets from Kiriyama's automatic weapon don't necessarily put a kid (or an adult) totally out of commission. One bullet, or several bullets into the torso does not kill the character. A bullet to the brain does. An axe to the brain doesn't result in immediate death.
Like: There are a few moments of purposeful humor in the film, although these are subverted in their effect on first viewing because of the constant slaughter. For example, as Nanahara is carrying Nakagawa to a clinic on the island they come to a gate; and as he contemplates how to open it with her on his back, he bumps the rusty gate and it falls over. Later, one character who has been shot and is presumed dead, rises to answer a cell phone call.
Like: This is not a feel-good film. Yet, it does not show only the brutal side of human nature. It is a remarkably thoughtful piece of work (if someone half Fukasaka's age had helmed it, the result would probably have been less thoughtful) and it is, thus, a thought-provoking movie. It spurs the audience to think about what they see, yet the gory ambiance will draw in kids who would otherwise avoid almost any film with a "social message."
Like: One person can make a difference even though the odds are overwhelmingly stacked against them. This is a theme of many films, and needs to be part of anything this bloody. But Battle Royale raises the question of whether the idea is valid. Certainly that secondary theme satisfies dramatically, causing the story center in our brains to be reconciled to all the bad that we've seen before this happens. But in this film, the ability to make a difference is reduced to: one person can make a difference for two others. But not for everyone. Which, in a backhanded way, says that helping even one or two is better than helping no one, in a moral sense.
Don't Like: The film requires me to distance myself too much from my emotions in order to watch it. That makes me feel inhuman during the viewing. I prefer to be able to be more emotionally connected to the films that I watch.
Don't Like: The screenplay delves into more melodrama and pushes more sentimentality than I recall from the novel.
Don't Like, but Forgivable: Because of Japanese acting conventions, the characters in this film are sometimes played in an over-the-top way that is just grating to Western sensibilities. But this occurs in intense emotional moments, and not in the rest. In fact, it's almost like watching anime that has live-action instead. Because I don't know that much about Japanese culture and theatrical conventions I must assume that these "excesses" are coming into play because of theatrical conventions stemming from Japanese culture (rather than believing that some of the actors are only competent on days with letter u in their names; and on the other three days of the week they can't act for crap).
Don't Like: This flaw stems from a change to Koushun Takami's concept for the novel. The flaw was generated by the film. The kids in the class that is randomly chosen for the current staging of the Battle Royale are unaware of the law behind it. Totally unaware. Never have heard of The Battle Royal Act. So, what would be the purpose of such a law? Deterrence could not be it. A law that threatens you with death would not be a deterrent if you were ignorant of it. Plus, being chosen randomly with your entire 9th grade class means that whatever you do good or bad, won't have any affect on whether you wind up in the arena.
Don't Like: There are too many characters for the viewer to relate to them all, but only a handful are bystanders who don't do something interesting. That is, it is like this among the 21 boys and 21 girls, plus "Beat" Takeshi Kitano as their 7th grade teacher, "Mr. Kitano." The main characters number only four, but they interact with others from time to time. It is almost as if the Fukasaku writing and directing team are telling us that "these people don't matter." Like: And yet, this might become part of the social commentary. We all live around people who, like these characters, have names, but their names don't matter to us. They don't matter because they are non-persons to us, mere warm bodies in our vicinity for a brief time, and then they are gone. This is part of the cultural fallout from living in a high-population area, such as a city.
Don't Like: The ridiculous speed with which Mimura types code on his laptop. Gah!
Don't Like: The ending is slightly hoky.
Takami's novel probably should never have been written, or at least should not have been published. -- But why not? Gotcha! Reading the book and seeing the film hasn't spurred me to commit murder. One of the fears of the Japanese censors was that the film would do just that -- cause a rise in the murder rate in Japan. In fact, some tried to link the film to a teen crime wave in Japan. I'd never say that people who actually believe the thesis sentence of this paragraph are wrong. It's undoubtedly what they feel when they think of such a fictional piece.
And I wouldn't encourage them to watch the film before making up their minds. They would be very disturbed by what they saw. I would only remind them that they like certain kinds of entertainment that I don't think of as entertainment at all. If I am open-minded enough to watch such a movie, then I think the opportunity should not be removed from me by force. On the other hand, I can't say that the novel or the film are "moral" stories. They are social commentaries. It is difficult to decide whether the novel is a satire. Also, I have learned in the course of my life that many people flat out don't understand satire.
The trouble is that many who revile the story in the novel and film, also don't understand concepts like "social commentary," where an author or filmmaker will hold up a particular social idea to be examined artistically. The selected idea is often ugly. After all, people don't try to ban films that hold up the more beautiful parts of culture to examination, do they?
This story could be seen to ultimately ask the question: where does the boundary lie for saying that capital punishment for a misdeed is going too far? If massive death can be used as a "deterrent" for misbehavior, then what is the value of an individual human life? Pretty damn low. Is this a reflection of the real culture in which we live? I hope not.
When I first heard that The Hunger Games series of novels would be made into films, I had never heard of those novels. Upon learning what they tell about, I couldn't believe that they were about teenagers being forced to kill other teenagers. Then I had to stop and think, "Well, that's almost just like Battle Royale." I read the three novels by Suzanne Collins. I saw the first film, but that was enough for me. When it finally came time for me to think of new pairs of films that I could compare, whether strict remakes or not, Battle Royale and The Hunger Games were among the first that I thought of!
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Battle Royale (film). From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. "For eleven years, the film was never officially released in the United States or Canada, except for screenings at various film festivals. The film was screened to a test audience in the U.S. during the early 2000s, not long after the Columbine High School massacre, resulting in a negative reaction to the film's content. According to the book Japanese Horror Cinema, 'Conscious of the Columbine syndrome, which also influenced the reception of The Matrix (1999), much of the test audience for Battle Royale condemned the film for its "mindless" and gratuitous violence in terms very reminiscent of the British attitude towards Sam Peckinpah's Straw Dogs (1971) on its initial release."
Battle Royale. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. "Battle Royale takes place in a fictional police state version of Japan known as the Republic of Greater East Asia (Dai Toa Kyowakoku). From time to time, fifty randomly selected classes of secondary school students are forced to take arms against one another until only one student in each class remains. The program was created, supposedly, as a form of military research, with the outcome of each battle publicized on local television."
Koushun Takami. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. "After graduating from Osaka University with a degree in literature, he dropped out of Nihon University's liberal arts correspondence course program. From 1991 to 1996, he worked for the news company Shikoku Shimbun, reporting on various fields including politics, police reports, and economics."
Kinji Fukasaku. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. "He focused on historical epics; Shogun's Samurai (1978), The Fall of Ako Castle (1978), Samurai Reincarnation (1981); and science fiction; Message from Space (1978) and Virus (1980). Virus was Japan's most expensive production at the time, and became a financial flop. However, two years after it he directed the highly acclaimed comedy Fall Guy, winning both the Japan Academy Prize for Picture of the Year and Kinema Junpo Award for Best Film of the Year."
Kenta Fukasaku. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. "He made his writing debut in the popular Japanese cult film Battle Royale, which his father directed. He wrote the screenplay to the sequel, Battle Royale II: Requiem, and took over directing when his father died of cancer. The film was released in Japan during the winter of 2003."
Battle Royale - Dan Norman. From Sonder magazine. source of image. Also, review of movie. "As we see a wide range of responses to the Battle, Fukasaku gives nearly every student their own individual subplot, characterising each of them. Not a character is wasted or put on screen to simply be a throwaway body."
Battle Royal manga online at MangaEden. For now you can read this for yourself, and see if you agree that it exhibits less "tastefulness" than either the novel or the film.
A tech post is coming up. These are always deceptively simple in concept. But this one took my entire day to research and make graphics.... I can't leave these out (it would save me an incredible amount of time with each Rematch) because to me the people who worked on each film deserve credit for their hard work, no matter whether the outcome was a great film, a mediocre flick, or a piece of cinematic junk. It's almost as much work to do a terrible film as it is to do a great film.
A Comparison of Tarzan of the Apes (1918), Tarzan the Ape Man (1932) & Greystoke the Legend of Tarzan (1983) The Writers
-- 1912 --------------------
Edgar Rice Burroughs was a very successful pulp fiction writer who invented John Carter of Mars, and Tarzan among his various fictional characters. These both spawned a series of books by Burroughs. But Tarzan was by far the best seller. Burroughs gets credit on all Tarzan films for at least creating the characters (1932) or for creating the story being told, if it is an adaptation of one of his books. The novel Tarzan of the Apes was begun in 1911, and was printed in the October 1912 issue of All Story Magazine. Burroughs reportedly received $700 for it. Burroughs was adept at exploiting public interest in his characters, and made sure people could experience Tarzan in as many different media as he could get going. Comics, movies, books, and merchandising. The 1918 film was the first fruit of the film exploitation angle for the character Tarzan. His heirs still control the use of the Tarzan character.
-- 1918 --------------------
Fred Miller and Lois Weber are credited alongside Edgar Rice Burroughs for the 1918 script. This is Miller's only credit as a writer (he also has four credits for acting from 1919 to 1923).
But the Tarzan of the Apes writing credit is only one of 118 for Lois Weber. Weber was actually better known as a director (137 credits) from 1911 to 1934. She began directing films when she was in her 30s. Her active years for writing were also 1911 to 1934. Her last gig as writer director was White Heat (1934). As if Lois Weber wasn't already involved enough in the industry, between 1911 and 1920 she has 104 acting credits listed at IMDb. Film historians have compared her influence in the early film industry to that of D. W. Griffith in terms of innovation and influence. The Telegraph website credits Weber with directing the 1918 Tarzan. I cannot find a reference to that claim anywhere else.
-- 1932 --------------------
The 1932 film was written by Cyril Hume, credited with the adaptation, and Ivor Novello, credited with dialogue. In this version the Burroughs credit is only for "characters created by." Hume has 49 credits listed at IMDb, some as the writer of the source novel. These range from 1924 to 1996, although his last credit as a living writer was in 1963. Hume adapted the first and wrote the screenplay for the third and fourth MGM Tarzan films, and in 1952 provided the script for a Lex Barker vehicle, Tarzan's Savage Fury. Hume also wrote the 1949 film adaptation of The Great Gatsby, as well as the movie that introduced Robby the Robot to the world, Forbidden Planet (1956) and the film that brought Robby back to the screen, The Invisible Boy (1957). Beginning in 1952 Cyril Hume began to write for TV, and has credits for episodes of some of the most popular and influential programs over the next 11 years.
Ivor Novello was the assumed name of David Ivor Davies. Novello's writing career seems to have begun in 1925 with his 19th writing credit appearing in 1976, although he died in 1951. He often wrote plays that were adapted for the screen by other writers. This explains why he was a good fit for the job of writing the dialogue for the 1932 Tarzan film. Novello was also an actor, playing The Lodger in Hitchcock's 1927 film, and starring as Pierre Boucheron in three films made from Novello's successful play franchise The Rat. He has 22 acting credits. But Novello seems to have spent a large part of his work time composing film scores and selecting the music for soundtracks (7 Composer credits, 42 Soundtrack credits).
-- 1983 --------------------
Robert Towne was credited as P.H. Vazak on Greystoke, which might signal that he was unhappy with the final results. His co-writer Michael Austin worked under his own name. Burroughs receives "novel" credit.
Indeed, the IMDb biography page for Robert Towne has this trivia comment: "Had his name replaced in the final credits of Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes (1984) after he saw the film. The name he substituted, 'P.H. Vazak', was that of his sheepdog." Towne directed four feature films. He has 34 credits as writer at IMDb, but many of them are uncredited on the film. That's because he was known as a script doctor. His earliest writing credit is for Last Woman on Earth (1960). By 1967 he could turn away from writing TV episodes, and make his living mostly by punching up other writers' screenplays. Of all the films he wrote, only 17 bore his name on the screen. The 18th that would have is Greystoke, which he disowned. Towne wrote Drive, He Said (1971), Chinatown (1974), Shampoo (1975), Tequila Sunrise (1988), and the first two Mission Impossible Films (1996 & 2000). He admits that some of the work was undertaken purely to pay bills. In 2014 and 2015 Towne was consulting producer for the TV series Mad Men.
Michael Austin's IMDb bio page bears five writing credits for the man. He is still alive but has no listed credits since 1994. He wrote and directed a pair of movies that came out in 1990 (Killing Dad or How to Love Your Mother) and 1994 (Princess Caraboo).
Edgar Rice Burroughs. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. "Edgar Rice Burroughs (September 1, 1875 – March 19, 1950) was an American writer best known for his creations of the jungle hero Tarzan and the heroic Mars adventurer John Carter, although he produced works in many genres."
Lois Weber. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. "For her contribution to the motion picture industry, on February 8, 1960, Weber was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame."
34 women who changed cinema. Telegraph UK website. About Lois Weber "She was as important to the development of film as D.W. Griffith, pioneering the use of split-screen and full-frontal female nudity. By 1914, she claimed an audience of 5-6 million people a week. She was the first female director to make a full-length film and one of the first directors anywhere to use sound. She also directed the first adaptation of Tarzan and launched many stars of the silent era."
Ivor Novello Welsh Composer, Playwright & Actor (1893-1951). From gayinfluence blogspot, Monday, June 9, 2014. "While Novello continued to write scores to songs, musicals and revues, he developed a career as an actor. His good looks, talent and suave style led to success on both stage and screen; he was considered England’s first great male silent film star, a British 'Rudolph Valentino'." From Trivia: "It was Novello who came up with the phrase, 'Me Tarzan – You Jane.' Novello developed the dialogue for the 1932 film Tarzan the Ape Man."
“It’s just as hard every time.” Robert Towne on Screenwriting. From CreativeScreenwriting. By Daniel Argent, Added on February 25, 2016. "Creative Screenwriting spoke with Towne in his Los Angeles home in 2000, where he discussed the rules of writing action melodramas, building character from action, and how writing never gets any easier, no matter how renowned a writer may be."
Eskandari's career is rather new, so he doesn't have a lot of directorial credits to date. He won an award for a student film, The Taking (2004). Victim premiered at Cannes, according to IMDb. His film The Gauntlet (retitled by Lionsgate to: Game of Assassins) (2013) won six awards in 2013 and 2014 at festivals. Eskandari acted as director and a producer on that film. It was jointly produced in the US and China with money from both nations. The intermingling of money and principle jobs is interesting. The film editor, Ryan Cooper was the primary producer of the film. Lionsgate Entertainment picked it up for distribution and changed the title in the process.
Beginning in 2003, Michael Pierce was a producer up until he both produced and directed Victim. He produced a television documentary film in 2011, but IMDb is silent about his career since that time.
Pedro Almodóvar was the director for The Skin I Live In (2011). He has directed 34 films, all of which he also wrote. His first 11 credits at IMDb are for short films made between 1974 and 1978. Almodóvar has also produced 17 films, including some of those he wrote and directed. He was not the producer for The Skin I Live In. Almodóvar has won a number of awards, internationally, and has had dozens of nominations between 1986 and the present. La piel que habito won 24 awards from its 89 international nominations. The man is a nomination machine, and is good enough at what he does to impress those handing out gilded statuettes and other trophies; IMDb lists 119 wins and 103 nominations. His films are always unusual, never what you might call mainstream. Pedro's brother Agustín Almodóvar is frequently among the writers on the Almodóvar films.
Not Quite a Remake Rematch between The Mayor of Hell (1933), Crime School (1938) and Hell's Kitchen (1939) Behind the Lens
Barney McGill (1890–1942) is credited with photography on The Mayor of Hell. He has 95 photography credits from Breezy Jim (1919) to So Long Mr. Chumps (1941). Examples of his work can be seen in the Vitaphone film Noah's Ark (1928) which shows parallel stories between the biblical epic and soldiers in WWI (Directed by Michael Curtiz and an uncredited Darryl Zanuck). Svengali (1931) for which McGill received an Academy Award nomination. The Cisco Kid (1931), the Mervyn LeRoy/James Cagney film Hard to Handle (1933). Brewster's Millions,(1935). The Phantom Submarine (1940).
Merritt B. Gerstad (1900–1974) is listed at IMDb, but has no screen credit for photography on the movie The Mayor of Hell. He started in 1920 on The Poor Simp, and finished his career with Rhapsody in Blue (1945). He shot silent versions of The Road to Mandalay (1926) and The Bridge of San Luis Rey (1929), and Lon Chaney and Joan Crawford in The Unknown (1927). He shot Freaks (1932) without a screen credit. A Night at the Opera (1935), and The Great Zigfeld (1936) are among his projects.
Arthur L. Todd (1895–1942) who got his first screen credit for The Whip (1917), and who worked on 136 features and shorts through 1942, was the photographer for Crime School. Among his works are Monkey Business (1941) starring the Marx Brothers, William Wellman's 1933 feature Wild Boys of the Road, the Joe E. Brown comedy Earthworm Tractors (1936), Angels Wash Their Faces (1939), and the comedy with Jimmy Durante and Phil Silvers, You're in the Army Now (1941). Many of the titles in his list are unknown to me, but that's often true when half a professional's output was for silent films.
The images for Hell's Kitchen were lit and photographed by Charles Rosher (1885-1974). This man accumulated 139 cinematography credits beginning when he was 27 years old, from 1912 to 1955. Sunrise (1927), The Yearling (1946), Annie Get Your Gun (1950), Show Boat (1951), Kiss Me Kate in 3-D (1953). Rosher won Oscars for Sunrise (1927) and The Yearling (1946), with four other nominations over the years. Born in London, England and died in Lisbon Portugal. He is the only one of these four cinematographers who ever shot film of Pancho Villa.
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Barney McGill. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. "Barney McGill (April 30, 1890 – January 11, 1942) was an American cinematographer who was nominated at the 4th Academy Awards for Best Cinematography for the film Svengali."
Merritt B. Gerstad. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. "After beginning as a cinegrapher on films for Universal, he worked for MGM, working with director Tod Browning on (the lost) London After Midnight (1927) and Freaks (1932), and Sam Wood on the Marx Brothers A Night at the Opera (1935)."
Arthur L. Todd. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. "...an American cinematographer whose work included Hot Saturday (1932), I've Got Your Number (1934) and You're in the Army Now (1941)."
Charles Rosher. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. "His work with Karl Struss on F.W. Murnau's 1927 film Sunrise is viewed as a milestone in cinematography. He shot five films for producer David O. Selznick, including Rockabye (1932), Our Betters (1933) and Little Lord Fauntleroy (1936). / Rosher worked at several studios, but spent the last twelve years of his career exclusively at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, photographing such films as Annie Get Your Gun, Show Boat, Kiss Me Kate, and The Yearling. / Rosher was the father of actress Joan Marsh and cinematographer Charles Rosher, Jr."
Well, on the assumption that I've probably lost my correspondent audience, those who might post, I'm going to have to make space between the graphics-laden posts. I suspect that might be the reason the links began to fail on this page: too many freaking graphics on one page.
Of course, because there are already hundreds of images on this page, which bears the entirety of the initial posts for Round Four, I'll be dealing with the strange behavior for the duration of this Round. Urgh!
And it should soon be clear whether the high number of images is the culprit, or whether something else causes links to fail when phpbb fetches off-site photos.
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