YTMN Presents a Remake Rematch Thread

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Re: YTMN Presents a Remake Rematch Thread

Post by Gort » Sat Jun 09, 2012 5:29 pm

*ahem*


Two? :(

Whoa!


We did it!
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"The wealthy and powerful always remind us that cream rises to the top.
What they fail to acknowledge is that pond scum also rises to the top.
And there is a lot more pond scum in the world than there is cream.
If you become rich and powerful, I hope that you will be cream rather than pond scum." --YTMN

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Re: YTMN Presents a Remake Rematch Thread

Post by YouTookMyName » Sat Jun 09, 2012 5:31 pm

Gort wrote: We did it!
Successs!
Gort/YTMN left the forum due to trolling on August 25, 2018.
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"The wealthy and powerful always remind us that cream rises to the top.
What they fail to acknowledge is that pond scum also rises to the top.
And there is a lot more pond scum in the world than there is cream.
If you become rich and powerful, I hope that you will be cream rather than pond scum." --YTMN

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Re: YTMN Presents a Remake Rematch Thread

Post by Gort » Sat Jun 09, 2012 5:31 pm

Don't waste posts, now. :shifty:
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"The wealthy and powerful always remind us that cream rises to the top.
What they fail to acknowledge is that pond scum also rises to the top.
And there is a lot more pond scum in the world than there is cream.
If you become rich and powerful, I hope that you will be cream rather than pond scum." --YTMN

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Re: YTMN Presents a Remake Rematch Thread

Post by Colonel Kurz » Sat Jun 09, 2012 10:01 pm

So, at which point will this thread feature essays that compare Gort to YTMN?
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Re: YTMN Presents a Remake Rematch Thread

Post by Hank » Sun Jun 10, 2012 2:15 am

Colonel Kurz wrote:So, at which point will this thread feature essays that compare Gort to YTMN?
I wonder if one is considered a remake? Surely YTMN is the original... since he was at RTGD. That would make Gort the remake.

Same writer/director for both though. Guess it's kind of like Michael Haneke and Funny Games.
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Re: YTMN Presents a Remake Rematch Thread

Post by YouTookMyName » Sun Jun 10, 2012 3:55 am

Colonel Kurz wrote:So, at which point will this thread feature essays that compare Gort to YTMN?
A Comparison of YouTookMyName (2007) and Gort (2010)
Image
I guess that about covers it! (And supports Hank's review, as well). ;)
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"The wealthy and powerful always remind us that cream rises to the top.
What they fail to acknowledge is that pond scum also rises to the top.
And there is a lot more pond scum in the world than there is cream.
If you become rich and powerful, I hope that you will be cream rather than pond scum." --YTMN

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Re: YTMN Presents a Remake Rematch Thread

Post by Gort » Sun Jun 10, 2012 4:08 am

Gort has a better haircut.
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"The wealthy and powerful always remind us that cream rises to the top.
What they fail to acknowledge is that pond scum also rises to the top.
And there is a lot more pond scum in the world than there is cream.
If you become rich and powerful, I hope that you will be cream rather than pond scum." --YTMN

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Re: YTMN Presents a Remake Rematch Thread

Post by YouTookMyName » Tue Jun 12, 2012 12:49 pm

A Comparison of The Picture of Dorian Gray (1945) and Dorian Gray (2009)
Oscar Wilde's Analog?

Image
Oscar Wilde, about the novel 'The Picture of Dorian Gray' wrote:“Basil Hallward is what I think I am: Lord Henry what the world thinks me: Dorian what I would like to be—in other ages, perhaps.”
Infamous in his own time, Oscar Wilde wrote that of all the characters in his only novel, Lord Wotton was the closest to how people perceived him to be. This is interesting, because Wotton comes across in precisely the way Wilde came across to the starched denizens of his time. Henry Wotton is an outside agitator. He is the boxing fan at ringside urging his favorite to smash the opposition...from the safety of his comfortable seat. But Wilde says this is not him.

Wotton's outsider status is not as finely revealed in Lewin's film, perhaps because Lewin wanted Lord Henry to be more clearly "evil." The 2009 film gives Basil Hallward a cautionary line for Dorian's ears: "You shouldn't believe everything Henry says. He doesn't." The audience hears the line, but Dorian ignores it. The line sets up Basil as someone who truly is looking out for the kid, but whose genuine concern is brushed off by Dorian, in favor of hedonistic pursuits.

George Sanders plays Lord Henry with a certain arrogance and the appearance of forthrightness gone sligtly askew. Just enough askew to entice Dorian into a life of depraved adventuring. Colin Firth's take on the character allows the inwardly aghast nature of Henry Wotton to shine forth once in a while, as if it were a candle in a cracked jar being rotated in front of the camera. Dorian is Wotton's plaything, and the man simply cannot resist urging the boy into further errant behaviour. This is presented in a straightforward manner in Lewin's film. Sanders is constantly pressuring the youngster to try one more thing, and stands reveling in the boy's stupidity. It is as if Wotton wishes he could do the things that the stupid boy actually does. Almost a nostalghia for lost youth, on the part of the peer.

Firth's Lord Henry urges Dorian on for years, but once he begins to glimpse the beast that his words have unleashed, he shows his regret. He counsels Gray to slow it down a bit. A lot. He also refuses to go on a world-wide excursion into the gutter with Dorian Gray. Instead, Wotton stays home in England and raises a daughter to maturity.

In all three cases, novel, and two films, Henry Wotton never suspects that Dorian has gone so far as to murder anyone, much less Basil Hallward.

Wilde characterized himself as a big talker, but as someone who did not do the things he wrote about. At least not constantly. When writing about the novel, Wilde also admitted that Dorian Gray is how people of his time saw Wilde. Dorian's sins are even less explicit in the revised version of Wilde's novel than they are in the 1945 film. But Henry Wotton is present in both filmed versions of the book to set Dorian onto a damning course of action, and then to refrain from most of the behavior himself.

Perhaps Wilde's theme can be stated as a question, one attempting to fix responsibility for what goes wrong: "If I suggest that you jump over a barrier and run across the turnpike in heavy traffic, and you do it and get hit by a vehicle, who is at fault? Me for suggesting it, or you for actually doing it?" The Picture of Dorian Gray poses the question, but does not answer it.


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"The wealthy and powerful always remind us that cream rises to the top.
What they fail to acknowledge is that pond scum also rises to the top.
And there is a lot more pond scum in the world than there is cream.
If you become rich and powerful, I hope that you will be cream rather than pond scum." --YTMN

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Re: YTMN Presents a Remake Rematch Thread

Post by Colonel Kurz » Tue Jun 12, 2012 1:06 pm

But if YTMN is the original, than where does the person that took the name fit in?
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Re: YTMN Presents a Remake Rematch Thread

Post by Hank » Tue Jun 12, 2012 8:46 pm

Colonel Kurz wrote:But if YTMN is the original, than where does the person that took the name fit in?
If I remember correctly... Nobody actually even took his name at all! :shock:
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Re: YTMN Presents a Remake Rematch Thread

Post by YouTookMyName » Wed Jun 13, 2012 2:28 am

:shifty:
Gort/YTMN left the forum due to trolling on August 25, 2018.
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"The wealthy and powerful always remind us that cream rises to the top.
What they fail to acknowledge is that pond scum also rises to the top.
And there is a lot more pond scum in the world than there is cream.
If you become rich and powerful, I hope that you will be cream rather than pond scum." --YTMN

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Re: YTMN Presents a Remake Rematch Thread

Post by dreiser » Wed Jun 13, 2012 3:03 am

Who does the best screen version of Wotton, Firth or Sanders?
"I hate the dark, the sharks liars. And the stems of cherry..."

Like Someone in Love (Kiarostami, 2012) 4/10
Killing Them Softly (Dominik, 2012) 2/10
The Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm (Pal/Levin, 1962) 6/10
The Dark Past (Mate', 1948) 7/10
New Rose Hotel (Ferrara, 1998) 3/10
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Re: YTMN Presents a Remake Rematch Thread

Post by YouTookMyName » Wed Jun 13, 2012 3:26 am

dreiser wrote:Who does the best screen version of Wotton, Firth or Sanders?
Interesting question. Sanders is certainly slimier. And he doesn't ever seem to repent of urging the boy toward depravity. Firth is more likable, and seems to be the sort of person about whom Hallward could truthfully say, "Don't believe everything Henry says, he doesn't." You'd never think that of Sanders' Wotton! Firth's Wotton actually seems aghast when he realizes what has become of this dear boy, and refuses to go around the world with him. Of course, he's become a father and that changes the way a man sees the whole world.

Of the two performances I enjoy Sanders slightly more, because he is cast as a villain, and that's the part he plays. His niece, not his daughter, gets involved with Dorian. So there is nothing to change him from believing that a man should be rather wayward.

But comparing them head-to-head is difficult if you take into account that the two films seem to have slightly different emphases on the basic themes of responsibility in the novel. Within the context of either film the performance given by the player fits the version of Wotton that the film calls for.
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"The wealthy and powerful always remind us that cream rises to the top.
What they fail to acknowledge is that pond scum also rises to the top.
And there is a lot more pond scum in the world than there is cream.
If you become rich and powerful, I hope that you will be cream rather than pond scum." --YTMN

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Re: YTMN Presents a Remake Rematch Thread

Post by dreiser » Wed Jun 13, 2012 3:59 am

Interesting. I've not seen the latest film, but I've read the book and saw the 1945 picture. Seemed Sanders really nailed how I imagined Wotton.
"I hate the dark, the sharks liars. And the stems of cherry..."

Like Someone in Love (Kiarostami, 2012) 4/10
Killing Them Softly (Dominik, 2012) 2/10
The Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm (Pal/Levin, 1962) 6/10
The Dark Past (Mate', 1948) 7/10
New Rose Hotel (Ferrara, 1998) 3/10
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Re: YTMN Presents a Remake Rematch Thread

Post by YouTookMyName » Sat Jun 16, 2012 4:35 pm

A Comparison of The Picture of Dorian Gray (1945) and Dorian Gray (2009)
The Person Wilde Wished He Could Be?

Image
Oscar Wilde, about the novel 'The Picture of Dorian Gray' wrote:“Basil Hallward is what I think I am: Lord Henry what the world thinks me: Dorian what I would like to be—in other ages, perhaps.”
When Wilde claims that he would want to be like Dorian Gray, does he mean before the exchange of soul for soullessness? Or is he saying he would like to have no moralistic boundaries imposed from within or without? In another essay we'll take a look at that. But who and what is Dorian Gray in these films?

Dorian the Innocent
The character is an orphan boy who was beaten by his guardian. Beaten to the point of leaving scars. As sole heir he inherits the house in which he lived as a younger boy, and returns to London to possess it. Despite having been abused as a child, Dorian has a wonderfully transparent and charming attitude. He is all wide-eyed and impressionable. He also happens to be an unusually good-looking young man. The combination of looks and charm make him a favorite in the social circles of London, and he draws the attention of an artist, Basil Hallward, who cannot resist painting the boy. After all, we all know that beauty fades with time. Middle age makes broad muscular bodies into round bodies. Skin weathers and sags, and the appearance of youth becomes nothing but a memory.

The painting draws the attention of Lord Henry Wotton, who becomes the voice of bad judgment in the innocent youngster's life. “The only way to get rid of a temptation is to yield to it,” he tells the gullible boy. Corruption eats at the fiber of Dorian's existence, as he does everything that Henry suggests, and more. But because the novel has a theme of concealment, the evil that one cannot see, there has to be a catch. And this is it: while wishing that he could stay young and his painting could grow old, voila! Dorian's wish is granted, and his corruption cannot be seen in his body. But every little errant thing he does, and the big errant things as well, affect how the painting looks.

Once he realizes the connection, although he doesn't understand that connection, Dorian keeps the painting a secret. He locks it away upstairs in his attic, in the room where he used to do his lessons, or get locked in for being bad. For decades he leaves it there, beyond the prying eyes of visitors. While he commits every kind of immorality and even criminality, the painting withers and becomes hideous. But Dorian still looks 19 years old, even twenty years later. He has a kind of immortality, too. Among the world's first literary "super heros" is this twisted, self-centered boy who cannot die as long as his painting survives. Only Basil Hallward ever sees the sequestered artwork, and once Dorian shows him the painting, he has to kill him.
Image
Dorian the Likeable Rogue?
But Dorian is cleverly presented by Oscar Wilde as a sympathetic character. Perhaps the author traded on the general perception that better-looking people are seen as more trustworthy and forthright. That is why we see so many beautiful faces playing the protagonists in movies. It is a clichéd, and short-hand way of making them sympathetic. Not by what they do, but by what we do as viewers (we instinctively presume them to be good). This works well in Albert Lewin's 1945 The Picture of Dorian Gray as Hurd Hatfield mysteriously remains innocent even though we know he is not. 2009's Dorian is played by an actor who has more masculine beauty, so appears slightly less innocent from the start. But Ben Barnes is good at playing friendly naivete, so pulls it off even though the film shows us more of his perverse good-time diversions overall. He remains sympathetic as a character.

The thing to puzzle over is: why does this work? A less beautiful actor would make Dorian a creepy figure. We are being played, ladies and gentlemen. Thematically, we are being told by Wilde, by Lewin, and by Parker not to trust our instincts when it comes to beautiful book covers. What we see does not necessarily match the innards. Beauty is a veneer, Wilde says. We are being told to look at the actions of a person, not how pretty she is or how handsome a figure he casts. We are being told that outward beauty is one thing, but inward beauty is the more desirable thing.

Dorian the Symbol
So, what could Dorian symbolize? What themes might be found in this tale? Dorian is the innocent, corrupted by interaction with others. Is he gullible? There is the theme of lost innocence here, but also the theme of inherent human depravity. If he didn't already "have it in him" Wotton's tutoring would not have the same effect, right? Neither youth, nor innocence, nor beauty can save Dorian Gray from the effects of a lifetime spent removing temptation after temptation with Lord Wotton's technique. Robbed of the "punishment" of senescence, the boy indulges in whatever he wants. But just because the price is not visible, doesn't mean that it is not being paid.

Are the author and the filmmakers cautioning us to become aware of our foolishness, and to give it up, even when our eye is enchanted by someone beautiful? These beauties may not actually be up to no good...yet again, they might be. Dorian Gray is not only a character for our day, when we regularly hear how nice a guy a serial killer or rapist seemed to be (to those besides his victims), but for all time.



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Gort/YTMN left the forum due to trolling on August 25, 2018.
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"The wealthy and powerful always remind us that cream rises to the top.
What they fail to acknowledge is that pond scum also rises to the top.
And there is a lot more pond scum in the world than there is cream.
If you become rich and powerful, I hope that you will be cream rather than pond scum." --YTMN

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Re: YTMN Presents a Remake Rematch Thread

Post by YouTookMyName » Sat Jun 16, 2012 4:57 pm

There are five essays left to finish and post in the original plan for the DG Rematch.

I have eight days left before I have to pack and head for Turkey for nearly 3 weeks.

I also have some extra paid work that I need to get done before I go, though. I haven't been very good at posting that rapidly, but maybe I can complete the Dorian Gray Rematch before I go on vacation.


Maybe.

Or I could scrap the other five essays and declare victory today! :D
Gort/YTMN left the forum due to trolling on August 25, 2018.
I had fun. Thanks for reading!

"The wealthy and powerful always remind us that cream rises to the top.
What they fail to acknowledge is that pond scum also rises to the top.
And there is a lot more pond scum in the world than there is cream.
If you become rich and powerful, I hope that you will be cream rather than pond scum." --YTMN

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Re: YTMN Presents a Remake Rematch Thread

Post by Gort » Sat Jun 16, 2012 4:59 pm

YouTookMyName wrote: Or I could scrap the other five essays and declare victory today! :D
You wouldn't dare!
Gort/YTMN left the forum due to trolling on August 25, 2018.
I had fun. Thanks for reading!

"The wealthy and powerful always remind us that cream rises to the top.
What they fail to acknowledge is that pond scum also rises to the top.
And there is a lot more pond scum in the world than there is cream.
If you become rich and powerful, I hope that you will be cream rather than pond scum." --YTMN

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Re: YTMN Presents a Remake Rematch Thread

Post by YouTookMyName » Sat Jun 16, 2012 4:59 pm

Gort wrote: You wouldn't dare!
You hate all those things hanging over your head as much as I do.
Gort/YTMN left the forum due to trolling on August 25, 2018.
I had fun. Thanks for reading!

"The wealthy and powerful always remind us that cream rises to the top.
What they fail to acknowledge is that pond scum also rises to the top.
And there is a lot more pond scum in the world than there is cream.
If you become rich and powerful, I hope that you will be cream rather than pond scum." --YTMN

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Re: YTMN Presents a Remake Rematch Thread

Post by Gort » Sat Jun 16, 2012 5:00 pm

Do whatever you want. After all, you're the original. :(
Gort/YTMN left the forum due to trolling on August 25, 2018.
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"The wealthy and powerful always remind us that cream rises to the top.
What they fail to acknowledge is that pond scum also rises to the top.
And there is a lot more pond scum in the world than there is cream.
If you become rich and powerful, I hope that you will be cream rather than pond scum." --YTMN

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Re: YTMN Presents a Remake Rematch Thread

Post by YouTookMyName » Mon Jun 18, 2012 2:14 am

A Comparison of The Picture of Dorian Gray (1945) and Dorian Gray (2009)
The Sets

Image

Dorian Gray lives in a world of upper class opulence. A wealthy ancestor's death has made Dorian the owner of a mansion in London. It is in these social circles that Dorian spent part of his childhood years. It is to these heady circles that the boy-as-heir returns.

In order to preserve the illusion of those ancient days, director Albert Lewin had to keep his camera tightly focused when outdoors, because his camera wasn't actually outdoors. By 2009, Oliver Parker could use CGI to completely replace the actual background of 2009 London with an imaginary 1890s background. Both efforts are successful. All of the 1945 film is shot on soundstages. Exteriors are shot toward buildings, or downward from a bird's eye view, so that we don't see any background. For the most part, exteriors in the 2009 version are shot the same way, except for the establishing opening shot where the camera flies in over London, and settles to the ground as young Dorian's carriage drives up in front of his inherited palace.

The interiors of both films are always appointed with the accoutrements of the Victorian Era, and evoke a great deal of the imagined look of the time. No one watching the modern film was alive in the 1890s, but when 1945 rolled around, Lewin's sets were subject to the eyes of some who had been children in the 90s. Even though certain parts of the sets must be fantastic, simply cobbled together to look authentic, other parts are probably authentic. Which is which, I cannot say.

The exteriors evoke a sense of ancient days, even in the soundstage-bound Lewin production. But it is the interior sets that begin to darken as Dorian's perversity controls him. The 'beauty' of the Victorian fruh fruh is still there, but it reflects less and less light as Gray plummets into interior darkness. In the film his surroundings resemble his inward self!


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"The wealthy and powerful always remind us that cream rises to the top.
What they fail to acknowledge is that pond scum also rises to the top.
And there is a lot more pond scum in the world than there is cream.
If you become rich and powerful, I hope that you will be cream rather than pond scum." --YTMN

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Re: YTMN Presents a Remake Rematch Thread

Post by YouTookMyName » Wed Jun 20, 2012 9:15 pm

A Comparison of The Picture of Dorian Gray (1945) and Dorian Gray (2009)
Saving Face

Image

Honor cultures are difficult concepts for modern Westerners to grasp fully. I don't feel comfortable saying that I correctly understand the concept of honor as it is understood in such societies. Possibly the closest modern society to a traditional honor culture is the Japanese society, and I don't hear of many ritual suicides to save face these days. I believe the notion of democracy collides with the idea of honor in such a way that honor becomes a fond memory rather than a driving force.

In the Victorian Era the notion of honor was still present, although greatly diluted. Sybil Vane's situation caused her to view her personal honor as invalidated by her relationship with Dorian Gray. The woman's demise at her own hand still requires the honorific notion of vengeance, so her brother James takes this on. Vengeance requires a target. James Vane's target is Dorian Gray.

Thank You!
By the late 19th century the traditional notion of saying "Thank You" only for something that another did for you that you could not possibly ever repay had been reduced to something similar to what it is today. We say "Thank You" in English-speaking cultures today, simply to be polite. In Roman times, and even since, the way to repay a kindness was to do an equal or superior kindness. From this we get the off-handed modern phrase, "I owe you one." If someone did you a kindness so magnificent that you would never have the ability to repay it in kind, then your only recourse was to admit it publicly, and thank them for the deed, knowing that you could never equal or exceed its scope. In other words, "Thank You" was not a way to be polite, but a way to admit humiliation by a social superior.

Different parts of the honor system have died at various rates over the millennia. From society to society different remants persist. Other parts of honor culture have been debased, as with "Thank You," so that they no longer match their honor counterparts.

But, frankly, what was ruined in Sybil Vane's life when Dorian Gray did not agree to marry her was her honor. And honor once ruined cannot be restored except by quite drastic measures. One way to restore balance is to commit a grievous injury to "the person who sullied your name." Sybil has no way to do that, so she chooses to end her now-worthless life. But, as I said above, vengeance must be had to protect the continued honor of the Vane family name.

We no Longer Understand Honor as They Did
Many customs which we find quaint, or even stupid, arose as ways to protect or to defend honor. Because we no longer value honor, and don't even understand it in the same way people did two centuries ago, we think of duels as silly. We chuckle at a woman thinking that she can no longer marry because she has been deflowered. When "rednecks" indulge in fisticuffs over a real or imagined slight we see it as uncivilized. But in the time when Dorian Gray is set, it was civilized to behave in that way. Civilized to protect this idea of "honor" rather than to simply shurg and walk away because it doesn't exist.

That is why James Vane spends the rest of his life trying to find and to wound or kill Dorian Gray. To us it seems absurd and mentally unbalanced. To those who read the novel in the 1890s the idea was still current, still had value. In fact, it was a normative idea. Dorian Gray behaved in a dishonorable way toward Sybil Vane. Her only recourse was to flee the ignominy. I can't imagine anyone doing that today, at least not by suicide. Yet people become despondent over other things, and take their own lives in the 21st century. Maybe the notion of honor is involved sometimes. Maybe not.


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Re: YTMN Presents a Remake Rematch Thread

Post by YouTookMyName » Sat Jun 23, 2012 6:29 am

A Comparison of The Picture of Dorian Gray (1945) and Dorian Gray (2009)
The Cult of Beauty
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Oscar Wilde, about the novel 'The Picture of Dorian Gray' wrote:“Basil Hallward is what I think I am: Lord Henry what the world thinks me: Dorian what I would like to be—in other ages, perhaps.”
Oscar Wilde was really big-time into "the aesthetic movement." The Cult of Beauty. You know that, don't you? The tagline of this essay is taken from a poetic opening that appeared as a preface to a novel version of The Picture of Dorian Gray. To reveal art and to conceal the artist is Art’s aim. — Oscar Wilde. Now, apart from what it means "to conceal the artist," how would one go about that? Certainly not with performance art. So, another mode of artistic expression must be necessary. If one wishes to hide one's self, wouldn't it be easiest to do with words? That might seem possible.

Certainly, Wilde attempted to do this, since by his own admission that was the purpose of art. Beauty is only a veneer, but beauty is all that persists. If the novel The Picture of Dorian Gray is as beautiful as the young man of the story, then it has persisted. Over a century on and people are still reading the book. They are still watching movies made from the book.

But why would an artist seek to disappear? How would an artist disappear? Is it possible to vanish into the lines of a story so completely that no one can figure out who you are? After all, as the writer aren't you the one selecting the words, and selecting what those words describe? A friend of mine asked which character in one of my novels was closest to me. I suppose that's a natural thing to wonder. My reply was that none of them is close to me, but it still remains that I thought of everything that anyone did or said throughout the novel. To the friend, my response seemed cryptic, rather than being the clear response I thought it was.

The ultimate truth of concealment is that the reader impresses his or her own ideas onto the words. We see the Oscar Wilde that we want to see when we read The Picture of Dorian Gray. We take Ernest to be an earnest disclosure of Oscar Wilde when we watch his play The Importance of Being Ernest. Concealment of the artist is not something that an artist can do when creating art. Oh, maybe it's a fine theory to espouse, but how do you do that? Write the exact opposite of yourself? Well, readers may decide that you are writing about your true self, anyway; about someone you don't usually let out in public!

Deceptive Picture: How Oscar Wilde Painted Over "Dorian Gray", from The New Yorker, August 8, 2011.

If you read the excellent essay linked to above, you will know that Wilde's attempt to conceal the artist with The Picture of Dorian Gray was unsuccessful, at least in the eyes of the court. Did the court fairly use passages from the novel to describe Wilde? It didn't matter. The prosecutor's purpose was to "send this reprobate to jail." The jury and judge believed the idea that The Picture of Dorian Gray concealed nothing of the artist, instead flagrantly waving his true self about as if it were a battle flag. You will also see that Ross and other writers impress their own ideas of Wilde onto his legacy and wave him about like a battle flag.

Did Wilde wish that he lived in a time that was not judgmental? Did he want the freedom to act that his character Dorian Gray had? Well, at some point in his life he apparently decided that he had the power to do whatever he wanted, after all. In some eras that might be possible to "get away with." But in the 1890s it apparently was not a good idea to try it. Not that Wilde was necesarily trying it. But there is that interesting coda to the statement above, "in other ages, perhaps." Did Wilde believe in a simpler, freer time past? Or a simpler, freer time to come?

Today it is a different age. And we not only do not live in Victorian England, several of us do not live in England at all. When we watch the Lewin film or the Parker movie, we see a Dorian Gray far removed from the real Oscar Wilde. Yet, at the same time, the modern screen writers and directors must make an attempt to cause Dorian to represent something. Perhaps the idea of the ideal beauty? Shifted away from focusing on beauty as a purely feminine attribute, in fact making the boy in the story as beautiful to look at as his female playthings, does Dorian Gray conceal anything at all? The Courts in Wilde's age said that it does not. What do you think?
Alex Ross in The New Yorker wrote:Wilde foresaw his posthumous triumph. “I have no doubt we shall win, but the road is long, and red with monstrous martyrdoms,” he wrote to the early gay-rights campaigner George Ives. Even so, the clean-cut categories of contemporary sexuality might have puzzled him. He was attracted to women as well as to men, if not nearly as strongly, and the collapse of his marriage may have had as much to do with temperamental differences as with sexual ones. (You could see him as one more self-entitled Victorian male exercising his right to extramarital recreation.) Furthermore, he might have resisted the tendency toward normalization in gay circles—the drive of an oppositional culture to abolish itself. When he spoke of winning the battle, he probably did not have in mind gaining the right to join the military and marry in church.
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Re: YTMN Presents a Remake Rematch Thread

Post by YouTookMyName » Sat Jun 23, 2012 6:54 am

I'll admit to a bit of sleight of hand in finishing the Dorian Gray Remake Rematch. I scratched out the titles of the last two essays. But, hell, what excitement could come from "Mood and Style" or "Music?"
Image
Now I'm off to a vacation in Turkey on Monday the 25th of June. I won't be back until July 12. So don't expect any other posts until then, K? Feel free to read what's already in here, if you haven't.

Genie thinks lurkers have pushed this thread to a ratio of 35 views per post. I'm sort of partial to the theory that it's search engine bots. But I like Genie's idea best. :D
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Re: YTMN Presents a Remake Rematch Thread

Post by Quite-Gone Genie » Sat Jun 23, 2012 1:34 pm

Best because it is true! Also, as you said earlier, crawling through your intricate web of links adds a view for every click. Have a great vacation.
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Re: YTMN Presents a Remake Rematch Thread

Post by YouTookMyName » Sat Jun 23, 2012 8:22 pm

Quite-Gone Genie wrote:Best because it is true! Also, as you said earlier, crawling through your intricate web of links adds a view for every click. Have a great vacation.
Thanks, Genie. I intend to. Even though it will be hot. Even though there will be jet-lag. But, you know, we'll be there enough days for the jet-lag to subside, and I've read that coming back Westward it won't be nearly as bad. I hope that's true. It will be my first time in Europe, and my first time in Asia. (Probably only for each, so I'm gunning for it!) I'll get to set eyes on places that I've only heard or read about before. I am so very grateful to all the people who are paying for this, because by myself with a 20-hour a week part-time job, I'd never have been able to go.

I have a photo from my parents' and brother's trip to England in 1973 that shows my father touching one of the vertical...what would you call them, "liths"?...at Stonehenge. Nowadays there is a barrier that is removed on certain days. Maybe they just happened to be there on a barrier-free day in '73. I don't know. But I hope I am allowed to touch some things on this trip. If I only get to look, I'll be satisfied with that, then.

We are going to Urfa, and it is said that the site has been continuously occupied by humans for 13,500 years. They are certain people have lived there for over 4,500 years.

Unless I get horribly ill, or become deceased, I think whatever I have to put up with will be well worth it just for the experience. Imagine all the stories I'll have to tell. And I'm taking two camcorders and two still cameras with enough SD storage to record 32 hours of HD video, and enough cards to record 20,000 still images. I won't record that much video or that many frames, I'm pretty sure! But I won't get caught short, either.

As for the clicks in the thread, I've finally learned how to make a new post with only 3 views accumulating! See, I'm interested in other people's views, not my own. ;)
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If you become rich and powerful, I hope that you will be cream rather than pond scum." --YTMN

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Re: YTMN Presents a Remake Rematch Thread

Post by Hank » Sun Jun 24, 2012 1:15 pm

Only two need finished... wow. Surely, you will be doing more and this thread will go on forever...right?
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Re: YTMN Presents a Remake Rematch Thread

Post by YouTookMyName » Sun Jun 24, 2012 1:19 pm

Hank wrote:Only two need finished... wow. Surely, you will be doing more and this thread will go on forever...right?
Most likely. I get ideas for Rematches, or at least Weematches all the time. I just don't want to start another one until I have either TDtESS or TMF finished.

But they're fun, and it's my hobby.

Thank you for reading, Hank. :up:
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If you become rich and powerful, I hope that you will be cream rather than pond scum." --YTMN

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Re: YTMN Presents a Remake Rematch Thread

Post by YouTookMyName » Sat Jul 14, 2012 6:50 am

A Comparison of The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951) and The Day the Earth Stood Still (2008)
"Farewell to the Master"
Image

The Short Story
"Farewell to the Master" is a science fiction tale that first appeared in the October 1940 issue of Astounding Science Fiction magazine. The story, if translated directly from its pulp magainze origins into a film format would have yielded something worthy of The Twilight Zone, but it is too elaborate to fit within a television budget of any time before the 2000s. It may not be elaborate enough in plot to have become a made-for-TV movie. The author, Harry Bates, is known primarily for this story, although not many have read it. Instead, they have seen his name alongside the title in the credits to the 1951 film The Day the Earth Stood Still. At thenostalgialeague.com Bob Gay wrote a 2004 introduction to an online text of the story in which he says,
Bob Gay at thenostalgialeague.com wrote:Outside of his editorial contributions, it is most likely that Bates would be totally forgotten today if it were not for his short story, "Farewell to the Master." Published in the Oct. 1940 issue of Astounding, the story did not even rate a cover blurb, being overshadowed by A.E. Van Vogt's "Slan." Eventually, the story was made into the film The Day The Earth Stood Still, but the story only formed the basic premise of the film and was changed in many ways.
His last statement is quite true, because the only part of the story that Julian Blaustein, the producer of The Day the Earth Stood Still wanted to retain was the visitation to the earth by a powerful alien being. His main aim was to find a property that could become an anti-nuclear-weapons message without appearing to be too political. (From the DVD commentary to the 2002 DVD release.)

If you want to read the short story, you'll find a link to the post, below.

The Comic Adaptation
Marvel comics made a pretty reasonable stab at adapting the Bates story into a comic book format in 1973.
The Groovy Agent at Diversions of the Groovy Kind blog wrote:In 1973, Roy Thomas read the original Bates short story, located the author to get permission to adapt the story into comicbook form, then teamed with penciller Ross Andru and inker Wayne Howard to create a more faithful adaptation of "Farewell to the Master" for Worlds Unknown #3 (June, 1973).
As does each film version, this graphic adaptation takes liberties, but these writers also keep some aspects tantalizingly accurate to Bates's original idea. New characters are introduced, and plot points are shifted to match the times. It was a long time ago, 1973, and the tone of the day seems as strange to modern eyes as the milieu of the 1951 film. If you want to read it, there is a link below.

I enjoyed seeing a somewhat more "true"-to-the-short-story version of the tale. Thomas, Andru, and Howard seem more in line with Bates than either film version. The linked post went up Saturday, November 29, 2008, before the remake was released.

The original short story at The Nostalgia League.
A brief paragraph about the novella.
The audiobook. For those whose eyes need to be otherwise occupied while experiencing the short story.
A 1973 Marvel comic adaptation available online.
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Re: YTMN Presents a Remake Rematch Thread

Post by Gort » Sat Jul 14, 2012 7:25 am

So, you really are back. :D
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If you become rich and powerful, I hope that you will be cream rather than pond scum." --YTMN

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Re: YTMN Presents a Remake Rematch Thread

Post by YouTookMyName » Mon Jul 16, 2012 3:04 pm

A Comparison of The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951) and The Day the Earth Stood Still (2008)
Gort Was not CGI
Image

In any film project the costumes worn by the protagonists and antagonists help set the tone of the resulting movie as much as anything else does. Imagine Cleopatra played in Victorian garb. Even if the script remained the same as the 1963 Burton-Taylor film, and every shot and set was identical, the anachronistic change from 2000-year old dress to 100-year old dress would change the film into more of a comedy than it already is.

Contemporary Attire Rules the Day
Anachronism is not a problem that has to be dealt with in either Day film. Each one is set in its contemporary time, so contemporary dress of the day is appropriate. We kind of have a feeling (perhaps Hollywood-induced) for how less common occupations trick out their practitioners in duds. Certain occupations even have a flair for futuristic clothing, although if they wear it today it isn't futuristic at all. The 1951 film doesn't go in for exotic costumes. The 2008 film can't seem to function without them.

Think of the contrast: in Wise's telling of the story Gort is a costumed actor, and Klaatu wears a spacesuit when arriving and departing. They are the only exotic-looking characters we see. Although the robot is always his metallic self, Klaatu spends the bulk of the film wearing human garb of the day. Everyone else dresses like a "normal" person for 1951, based on his or her occupation. By and large, all the men wear suits (with hats, if they are out of doors) and the women wear more formal dresses than modern women usually wear.

Are the Costumes the Stars?
The 2008 film immerses us in a world where protective gear is donned as regularly as ordinary folks don pajamas. We see special containment suits, as well as a lot of military dress. In the opening sequence the future Klaatu wears cold-weather explorer gear. Dr. Helen Benson is first seen in a dress teaching a class of casually clad college students. Her colleague is in the universal white lab coat. (Lord, how many of those have I worn in my day?) Suddenly we are plunged into a constant environment of military gear and uniforms, officials and agents dressed in formal attire, and people dressed in anti-everything protective gear.

Benson herself is at the center of all this, even getting splattered by the blood of an unfortunate soul who is offed by the GORT thingie. Then the alien turns out to need a costume, the doctors attending it need costumes. There are unusual attires for almost everyone for the duration of the movie. It's like a super-hero-league program without the supes or the heroes. The style of dress and hairstyles are used to make shorthand of one's political leanings. And it's all Hollywood. The wise old scientist has to appear in his cardigan sweater (just as the wise old scientist in 1951 had to be decked out with a tweed jacket). Urban kid has to appear in an upscale hoodie at one point. The truck driver whose only role is to be driving the misfortunate truck that gets nanoed has to have a dark t-shirt beneath a plaid shirt, and he has to have a hunting cap on his head. (The truck drivers I know wear shorts, sneakers, a t-shirt and no caps!)

So I'd say that the costumes of the 1951 film fade into unnoticeability, while the 2008 costuming is used as political shorthand to establish character. That's a "good thing," probably, since it saves the actors having to do any acting.

There aren't any stories about the 2008 film that rival the story of how the Gort suit was made in two versions, one with zippers on the front side and one with zippers on the back side, depending on which way the robot would be facing in the shot.

As I got ready to post this I wondered: in what year or what decade did characters wearing suits in American films become generally "untrustworthy?" Nowadays the guy in the suit is almost always the villain or a henchman. 2008's The Day the Earth Stood Still is no exception.


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Re: YTMN Presents a Remake Rematch Thread

Post by YouTookMyName » Mon Jul 16, 2012 4:42 pm

A Comparison of The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951) and The Day the Earth Stood Still (2008)
Make it Look Cool
Image

It would be easy to say that the newer film is more impressive in terms of photography and effects. After all, color dazzles the eyes, and computers and green screen can generate some masterful composites. And, the 2008 film looks cool...but to what end? The 1951 film is loaded up with special effects shots, but they aren't easy to spot.

Before Motion Control
There are composited scenes in the 1951 film that don't immediately seem to be studio shots. When Klaatu and Bobby are near the Jefferson Memorial talking about diamonds as money, or at the Lincoln Memorial, the actors were not actually in Washington, D.C. at all. Robert Wise had an A-budget for the movie, so the composites are excellently done for the time. But if you look closely there are tell-tale signs. There was no motion control in those days, so if the background plate isn't rock steady, or if the foreground camera moves slightly, there may not be a corresponding movement in both layers. Still, until I watched the making-of documentary that's on the flip-side of the 2002 DVD release of the film, I never noticed that the Washington, D.C. location scenes are composites!

These are not classical rear projection, but the same type of compositing that later was used for color films in the form of the sodium-vapour process that Hitchcock used in The Birds. Because the process is automatic, with no hand-painted matte layer, the composite is well-registered with no dark lines around the foreground objects.

The scenes around the world showing Times Square, the Kremlin, Paris, and so forth with all vehicles stopped dead in the street are made with matte paintings composited with live-action people. The scenes are on the screen briefly, so there is no time to analyze how it was done. Each effects shot makes the point and moves on to the next location. With the DVD you can freeze the movie and look at things in greater detail.

If You Have CGI...
Of course, the composites for 2008 are all computer-mediated, and in some cases appear to be actual camera shots rather than composites. I'm sure that Robert Wise would have used CGI if he'd had it. He'd have used motion control if he'd had it. He'd probably have used 3D CGI to create backgrounds or objects, if he'd had it. But he didn't. Scott Derrickson did, and he makes abundant use of it in his film. Despite the fact that the film falls flat in terms of story, and possesses very little coherence, the special effects are pretty well-done. What is on the screen is compelling to the eye, if not to the brain.

The trouble is that the writers and others involved in producing the remake seem to have been completely unsure what they wanted to use these good-looking images to do. It's almost as if they sat down and asked themselves how they could improve on the special effects in the 1951 film, without understanding that there is so much more to the 1951 film than special effects. I think I'd have been more satisfied with the remake if they'd done a wide-screen, color, shot for shot remake of Wise's film! Of course, who'd want to do that?

There is a look at cinematography in the tech posts for this Rematch. The DPs for both films did a really good job in telling the story visually, although David Tattersall had less to work with story-wise. It isn't his fault. His part looks very presentable.


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If you become rich and powerful, I hope that you will be cream rather than pond scum." --YTMN

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Re: YTMN Presents a Remake Rematch Thread

Post by YouTookMyName » Thu Jul 19, 2012 3:04 pm

A Comparison of The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951) and The Day the Earth Stood Still (2008)
Is There Any?
Image

I can easily get myself into trouble by writing about the "Underlying Science" in the two films that make up this Rematch. Fortunately, there are better minds than mine, and some of them have addressed the issue of science in the two films. Reel Life: The Day the Earth Stood Still by Michael Shermer on the website of Scientific American magazine. The Day The Earth Stood Science by Stuart Fox on the Popular Science website. Reel Science: THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL by Rick Mullen on the website of Chemical & Engineering News. And Dan Vergano in USA Today, Real science in 'The Day the Earth Stood Still'. Three of these articles use exactly the same promotional image! You should read them, though. They make some good points about these films.

What the Writers Have to Say
Shermer and Fox like the remake far more than I do. The others are rather more lukewarm about it. But as I researched for this essay, it occurred to me that perhaps the science was handled well enough by Scott Derrickson and his team that I didn't notice any glaring and distasteful weirdness. If so, that left me free to nitpick in other areas! These writers have more than half convinced me that actually is the case.

Fox writes:
[Jennifer] Connelly joins the likes of Cary Grant in Bringing Up Baby and Denise Richards in The World Is Not Enough as a scientist way too attractive for her profession. That small point aside, though, the science hits the mark.
Shermer points out (as does Fox) that
Derrickson was also a stickler for scientific accuracy, employing the astronomer and astrobiologist Seth Shostak of the SETI Institute to check the dialogue (and chalkboard equations) for precision.
Shermer does squirm along with me over some points:
Some additions were unnecessary, such as Gort's name as a military acronym for Genetically Organized Robotic Technology; or heavy handed, as in overplaying the environmental destruction theme by turning the spaceship into a species-saving ark. At least the robot wasn't renamed Gore.
Mullin points up a divergence in a pivotal plot moment in the two films:
Both the 1951 and 2008 films pivot on Klaatu's encounter with Barnhardt. In both, the spaceman challenges the eminent earthling scientist at a heavily scrawled chalkboard and wins. Klaatu also gets his urgent message across to Barnhardt in each of the films. But there the plots diverge, with the 1951 Barnhardt inviting Klaatu to address an upcoming international symposium of scientists he happens to be hosting and Cleese's present-day character backing off from science altogether.
On that point, Vergano quotes a CalTech physicist who has a valid quibble:
"I liked the movie, I really had only the slightest criticism," says Caltech physicist Sean Carroll, who spoke on a panel with Derrickson and others last week after a preview of the film — although he confessed to preferring the 1951 original "a tiny bit better."

In the movie, Klaatu meets the Nobel-prize winning physicist, Professor Barnhardt, who "specializes in the study of the evolutionary basis of altruism," as the movie's production notes put it, played by John Cleese. Barnhardt (spoiler alert) tries to persuade the alien to give humanity another chance to fix things on Earth.

"I had to slightly criticize them for having a theoretical physicist win the Nobel for a biological discovery," Carroll says. "Still, I thought it was very intriguing that they held up a scientist as the exemplar of what's right about humanity. I mean, it's an interesting party question isn't it, who would you introduce an alien to in order to convince them to spare Earth?"
Does Having a Science Advisor Validate the 'Science' in a Film?
So, apparently, Derrickson had a science advisor, whereas we don't know whether Wise did or not. Then, again, the 1951 film is less about science and more about politics and panic in the face of technology. The 1951 Klaatu is shown interacting with gadgets aboard his (fashionably) saucer-shaped spacecraft. In the 1950s we were fascinated by gadgets, and didn't really care to know how they worked. Not even in real life.

But the 1951 film script deals with human nature in a way that the 2008 script doesn't. Everyone in the 2008 film is an archetype (remember that I had that same realization about the film 3:10 to Yuma?). It is possible to use the characters in the 1951 film as symbols of individuals or groups of people, but in the 2008 film it seems that everything has been reduced to a character representing an idea, rather than representing a person. And this makes me wonder: has the procession of human discourse from the era of literacy to post-electronic media, in fact an oral culture similar to that of the archetype-inventing Ancient Greeks, changed the way we tell modern stories?

The 1951 film sublimates science, but waves human foibles (correctable foibles) at us like a battle flag. As several of the other writers whose words I read have pointed out, the 1951 film is a story about peace. The lack of war. The purposeful choice offered humanity is to not use power in order to advance ideas, or to squelch them--beyond the earth. The 2008 film is about danger from within, and judgments from without. As much as the 1951 film trumps up the Jesus aspect of Klaatu, the 2008 film goes it one better in mindless embrace of a god's judgment as salvation. Oh, sure, the 2008 film cries out that we don't deserve this, that we can change. But the style nowadays is to leave it open-ended whether we will. Hell, the writers can't tell any more about that than the audience. But the form of the story is still that of judgment by the gods. Much moreso in 2008 than in 1951.

The Day Films Are Not About Science!
So in both films science and technology are present, and they are used in somewhat different ways. But neither film is about science! Both films are about facing our own humanity and making the right choices. God is not the judge in either film. In the 1951 film we are to be the judges of what we do and where we do it. If we judge incorrectly, there is a force waiting to possibly destroy us. In the 2008 film we have gone too far and biological, alien judgment has come upon us. It is not up to us to make a judgement. Too late for that. But we must persuade the god-like entity sent to remove us that we deserve another chance. This "dialogue" does not exist in the first film. And to my mind it does not work well in the second film.

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What they fail to acknowledge is that pond scum also rises to the top.
And there is a lot more pond scum in the world than there is cream.
If you become rich and powerful, I hope that you will be cream rather than pond scum." --YTMN

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Re: YTMN Presents a Remake Rematch Thread

Post by YouTookMyName » Thu Jul 19, 2012 11:24 pm

A Comparison of The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951) and The Day the Earth Stood Still (2008)
Image
in The Day the Earth Stood Still

Characters with a cynical mindset play significant roles in both versions of The Day the Earth Stood Still. In real life a lot of people find the cynical sort to be less than trustworthy. This preconception is used in telling both the 1951 and 2008 stories.

The Salesman, 1951
In the 1951 version the cynical character is Tom Stevens, the man who thinks that Helen Benson is going to marry him. As a salesman he wants to write his own ticket, to be a big man. For exactly zero seconds he considers what it would mean to Helen and Bobby if he turned in this alien about whom they care. Once Helen calls off the marriage, he is free to pursue his own agenda, of course, and he tries to get as much money as possible for the information he has.

He is, of course, a parody of the person who sees a Communist under every bush, and has no compunction about profiting by that particular vision. Stevens has the idea that he will be a hero if he turns in this menace, Klaatu, without having any knowledge about Klaatu's mission. I can't help but wonder what Tom Stevens thought once he heard the radio broadcast of Klaatu's final words to earth!

The Politician, 2008
Secretary of Defense Regina Jackson doesn't trust anyone, apparently. She foresees that this encounter with Klaatu will turn out like a game of Columbus and Indians. With humans as the Indians. As a result, she doesn't trust Klaatu, and will not put him in touch with the United Nations, which means he has to resort to his own rather unlimited means in order to accomplish what he came for. Not that what he came for is all that pretty from a human perspective. But her attempt to be tough backfires. Like many people, when she is up against a thing or person she does not understand, she resorts to bluster while attempting to figure out what she should really be doing.

In this case the cynical character would not have any different options even if she adopted a different tactic. Klaatu has come to nano-bomb the earth anyway.

Different Story Functions
Whereas Tom Stevens's cynical attitude leads him to attempt to profit from knowledge that he thinks he has, but doesn't really, Regina Jackson's cynicism leads her to try to "win" when she doesn't even know what the game is. Both cynical characters act out of ignorance. But they act with the assumption that they know something...even when they don't.

The occupations of the cynics might be a clue to popular attitudes in 1951 and 2008. "The salesman" was not trustworthy in the minds of many people after World War II. I don't think that perception has changed much. I believe politicians were held in somewhat higher esteem in the 1950s, but not by 2008. The person who is to be trusted the least in this remake is "a politician," someone who might have her eye on the Oval Office, someday, and who doesn't mind blowing people up in order to get there.

Stevens and Jackson add interest to the scripts by behaving in ways that we can look down on as audience members. We can look at these two characters and believe that we would act differently. More openly, perhaps. Less greedily, perhaps. Truth is, in a real life situation parallel to that in The Day the Earth Stood Still, we wouldn't know any more about what's going on than they do!

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What they fail to acknowledge is that pond scum also rises to the top.
And there is a lot more pond scum in the world than there is cream.
If you become rich and powerful, I hope that you will be cream rather than pond scum." --YTMN

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Re: YTMN Presents a Remake Rematch Thread

Post by YouTookMyName » Sun Jul 22, 2012 12:21 am

A Comparison of The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951) and The Day the Earth Stood Still (2008)
Four Analytical Comparisons
Image

Let's take four "parallel" incidents in both films and compare them. This should be fun. On this basis the 2008 film may hold up better.

Point One. Helen Benson saves Klaatu.
In the 1951 film Klaatu is rescued from death. He is actually regenerated by a machine into which the robot Gort places him, but Gort wouldn't have known what to do without the intervention of Helen Benson. She learns some alien language that she doesn't even understand, and sneaks by herself, undetected, back to the compound where the robot has just zapped both soldiers who are guarding him. There she utters the famous words that Ash can't quite remember in Army of Darkness. The robot picks her up and takes her into the spaceship before going to get Klaatu from jail. Where he has been locked up even though he is dead. And thus, the alien is regenerated. But it wouldn't have happened without Helen Benson sneaking successfully through the darkness to the park where the spaceship is sitting unguarded.

The 2008 film shows Helen Benson saving Klaatu from a drug-induced coma, early in the film. She pays for this later, of course. Then again, there's no guarantee that the GORT wouldn't have swarmed over everything even if Klaatu hadn't set off the chain of events to sterilize the earth of all humanity. Simply because she doesn't like the way things are being done, Helen secrets a vial of sterile water in her lab coat pocket, and substitutes this for the nasty chemical she is ordered to inject into unsuspecting Klaatu. This allows the alien to keep his senses, and to zap the security people and leave the Biiiiiig compound where he is being detained.

Score: Tie. 1951's Helen Benson is really a gritty woman to step up to something as obviously powerful and unpredictable as the robot and utter the words she does not comprehend, "Gort, Klaatu barada nikto." But 2008's Dr. Helen Benson is also brave to substitute water for the chemical compound she is supposed to inject into the alien, which kindness allows him to escape. How was she to know that this creature has come to destroy the earth? Her salvation offered is not nearly as cinematic as being overshadowed by Gort, but the subtlety of the moment is superb.
Image
Point Two. Gort Goes on a Rampage.
The 1951 film raises the spectre of an out-of control Gort striding across the countryside using his visor-ray to destroy everything. But the movie doesn't show this. In fact, in the world of the story, it never happens. The grisly event is averted by Helen's actions when Klaatu implores her to go and speak to the robot. The entire amazing destruction of the earth plays out in the imagination of the viewer because in the 1950s the power of imagination was still revered by story-tellers. "Show, don't tell," was not a rule yet. The 1951 film neither tells nor shows this potential destruction at the hands of the alien robot. It lets us mentally contrive the entire event from a mere suggestion by the character Klaatu.

The 2008 film is not satisfied with merely implying what the GORT could do if released. In this modern twist on storytelling, everything has to be shown. Lip-service is not enough. So the GORT disassembles itself into countless nanobots, which at first disassemble a hapless worker who is in the containment with the GORT. And then the hungry little insectoid robots (c'mon, these must be made out of smaller things, too, right!?) chomp up the building and escape into the countryside to destroy everything man-made on the face of the planet. They destroy an entire stadium where a football game is in progress, and the people have no chance to escape. They destroy a truck driving down the road before the driver even has time to jump out of their way, and they chew up the very highway on which the truck is...wait. They don't chew up the highway, although it's human-made. In fact, the little critters are incomprehensibly selective. Why not just go after the people? In The War of the Worlds Spielberg got some pretty gruesome mileage out of having the invaders zap people, leaving their swirling garments behind in the air! And the resulting special effects were much more impressive and raised more hackles on me, at least, than Derrickson's stadium chow-down scene.

Here's how I would have done it: I'd have shown a big crowd at the ape house at a zoo. The nanbots come through and totally eat up all the humans, men, women, children alike, leaving the apes still intact and alive. Okay, so they'd die without humans to tend them, so I'd throw a special bone to the apes and have the nanbots chomp on the bars and glass of the enclosure and allow the apes to escape. Happy now? I don't want the apes to die, as the alien, I only want the people to snuff it.

Score: 1951 hands-down. For subtlety, and for trusting our imaginations.
Image
Point Three. Dr. Barnhardt Meets Klaatu.

In 1951, Bobby Benson knows about Professor Barnhardt. He even knows where the famous scientist lives! So he can take Mr. Carpenter to see him, and he does so with the optimism of a little boy. Bobby doesn't even question Mr. Carpenter's technical prowess with locks, and so they go right on into the great man's workplace. Eventually, Carpenter meets Barnhardt, and arranges the titular standing still of the earth. This convinces scientists that Klaatu's race has some kind of power, and they are willing to meet with him. The result is not much of a conversation, though. Klaatu says, "Behave or we'll send robots to burn you to a cinder," and then he flies away. Nice guy. Basically the idea here is that of someone who has a flyswatter telling the flies, "Stay off my hamburger or I will use this."

In 2008, the trek to Dr. Barnhardt is led by Helen herself. By this time in American history has the sanctity of childhood been preserved so carefully that kids wouldn't know things like this? Do the writers think it somehow fits in with the storytelling better if an adult leads this journey? Once they get there the famous scientist panics and asserts that we can change. Hah. A ruse is a ruse is a ruse. It's basically a ploy to get the guy to put down his flyswatter and walk away slowly. Frankly how this plays out in the film is a bunch of incoherent jabber. I'm not sure what happens, and I've watched the thing four or five times while preparing this Rematch. Suffice it to say that the dramatic situation resolves around the well-known fact that no one, even an emotionless alien bent on human destruction, can stand to see a child suffer.

Score: In this case, although I don't like the presentation, I'll give it to 2008. By a very slim margin. The 1951 version plays better, and is funnier, but the 2008 version admits that scientists are people who think they know things, but they are as much in the dark as the rest of us. It's true that they know things, but when it comes to understanding the meaning of the facts collected, they are making it up just like the religious nutcases among us. So saving the world means convincing the killer to drop his big swatter, out of sheer panic. That seems like people to me, moreso than the 1951 version, which I love, but I wanted to somehow give the 2008 version an edge, and I did so (out of panic, probably).
Image
Point Four. Klaatu is Denied a Meeting with World Leaders, Which Leads to...
The 1951 barricade placed between Klaatu and world leaders is the politics of the world. The president's "Secretary," tells Klaatu that such a meeting is impossible, but he attempts to arrange one. In humble defeat, he brings the responses to Klaatu so that he can see for himself that earth's leaders are suspicious and paranoid, and will not come together. They can't even decide on a place! Klaatu resorts to a second, perhaps better plan. Instead of meeting with politicians he will meet with scientists. But he doesn't concoct that idea until he sneaks out into the midst of real people and reads the daily papers, thus learning about Professor Barnhardt.

In 2008 the barricade to the meeting with United Nations leaders comes in the form of pig-headed, self-important Secretary of Defense Regina Jackson who boldly informs the alien, "I speak for the President of the United States!" Big hairy deal, right? The USA is not the only country. But that's our attitude in the world very often. Klaatu doesn't have to put up with this, at least not after Dr. Benson injects him with a dose of sterile water instead of some dope that the Secretary of Defense has ordered for him. He escapes, not to learn about the people of earth, but to set off the destruction of all things human. "If you live the earth dies. If you die the earth lives." The alien carries out this notion, despite the fact that the statement is poppycock; even if we live the earth will also live, but in an altered state which will become poisonous for us and we will die. Klaatu is merely rushing things. For such a wise alien life form he doesn't know much about simple evolutionary biology. That's kind of a sad thing.

Score: The 1951 film wins because I am a fan of optimism. The 2008 film attempts to inject this "We can change" idea, but they don't run with it. The writers, apparently, would wish us all dead. With us all dead, who would be here to admire the earth? Maybe a few species. But what if we are the only species who can? What then? All the beauty, and no admiration (at least not until some other species evolves to that point). Dolphins can admire the undersea. We can admire all the rest of the world. No humans? Who would catch a breath at the beauty of sunrise over the mountains of Eastern Pennsylvania? Seems a waste if you adopt a certain mindset. So, 1951.

Do We Change at the Precipice?
Honestly, is the idea of the 2008 film that "at the precipice we change" a valid one? Does human history bear this out? It's a poetic notion, but is it real, is what I'm wondering. The idea that a threat from outer space would unite all humans is as old as science fiction, but is it true? I think we can change without someone holding us dangling over a precipice. Rapid change might occur that way, but there was no precipice for women's liberation. There was no precipice for the ending of human slavery. And we changed. If the 2008 film has a point, perhaps it is simply that we don't have to wait for a crushing moment in order to change...we can, and we have changed without a clear threat from the outside. Our history shows this. What it takes is the will, and sometimes a threat from within our own group.

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"The wealthy and powerful always remind us that cream rises to the top.
What they fail to acknowledge is that pond scum also rises to the top.
And there is a lot more pond scum in the world than there is cream.
If you become rich and powerful, I hope that you will be cream rather than pond scum." --YTMN

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Re: YTMN Presents a Remake Rematch Thread

Post by Hank » Mon Jul 23, 2012 6:04 pm

I've enjoyed reading these last couple posts tremendously.
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Re: YTMN Presents a Remake Rematch Thread

Post by YouTookMyName » Mon Jul 23, 2012 8:39 pm

Hank wrote:I've enjoyed reading these last couple posts tremendously.
I wrote them just for people like you. :heart:
Gort/YTMN left the forum due to trolling on August 25, 2018.
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"The wealthy and powerful always remind us that cream rises to the top.
What they fail to acknowledge is that pond scum also rises to the top.
And there is a lot more pond scum in the world than there is cream.
If you become rich and powerful, I hope that you will be cream rather than pond scum." --YTMN

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Re: YTMN Presents a Remake Rematch Thread

Post by Hank » Tue Jul 24, 2012 2:00 am

YouTookMyName wrote: I wrote them just for people like you. :heart:
Keep it up. I found the section on costumes fun... The old Gort had different costumes for the different angles of shooting? That is such a neat little tidbit that I'd never expect but makes perfect sense!
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Re: YTMN Presents a Remake Rematch Thread

Post by YouTookMyName » Tue Jul 24, 2012 3:48 am

Hank wrote: Keep it up. I found the section on costumes fun... The old Gort had different costumes for the different angles of shooting? That is such a neat little tidbit that I'd never expect but makes perfect sense!
I had a blog bookmarked that actually had photos of the two costumes...but it's no longer on line. I probably downloaded the photos at one time, but I have hundreds of DVD and CD backups of data...no telling where the photos are. So, I couldn't include them in the essay. I was disappointed by that. Googling turned up no incidences of those photos beyond the bookmark I already have, that didn't work. :(

I first learned of the existence of the two costumes when I was watching the historical feature on the 2002 DVD release. As soon as I heard it the idea made perfect sense! How else would they have accomplished this? As Wise says, if he had a reverse shot, Gort would wear the suit with zippers up the front. Normally, the actor wore the costume that had zippers on the rear. And often they used a fiberglass statue of Gort, rather than having Lock Martin stand around in that stifling hot costume trying to be perfectly still. Also, Julian Blaustein, the producer, was worried about the knees crinkling when Gort walks away from the camera. But the audiences never laughed or reacted badly about that.
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I had fun. Thanks for reading!

"The wealthy and powerful always remind us that cream rises to the top.
What they fail to acknowledge is that pond scum also rises to the top.
And there is a lot more pond scum in the world than there is cream.
If you become rich and powerful, I hope that you will be cream rather than pond scum." --YTMN

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Re: YTMN Presents a Remake Rematch Thread

Post by YouTookMyName » Wed Jul 25, 2012 4:16 pm

Here come the last two posts for The Day the Earth Stood Still. Getting them fastened into place here will leave me with only 13 essays and tech posts for The Maltese Falcon set of movies, and then the first overly-ambitious batch will be done. I can select a couple of new pairs for brand new Rematches, or Weematches. From now on, no more than two Rematches active at a time. :)

I'll bet it takes me a month to finish the Falcon posts.

If you have any suggestions for a possible Rematch or Weematch, please post them in this thread! MrCarmady's suggestion involved two films that I never intended to watch, but I enjoyed watching them and I enjoyed creating the Weematch about them. Since it was such a good experience, I am willing to repeat it; even if the result this time is less than charming (as far as my entertainment) it would still be a good experience, methinks.

And don't worry, I'll be very picky about what I choose to do, but a broad range of suggestions would help me select the next two.
Gort/YTMN left the forum due to trolling on August 25, 2018.
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"The wealthy and powerful always remind us that cream rises to the top.
What they fail to acknowledge is that pond scum also rises to the top.
And there is a lot more pond scum in the world than there is cream.
If you become rich and powerful, I hope that you will be cream rather than pond scum." --YTMN

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Re: YTMN Presents a Remake Rematch Thread

Post by YouTookMyName » Wed Jul 25, 2012 4:17 pm

A Comparison of The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951) and The Day the Earth Stood Still (2008)

I used up so many of the interesting links in the essays and technical posts that I had to range far and wide in topics to fill this box.

Image Weblinks Related (in some way) to the Films

Brief Tales from The Day the Earth Stood Still. Fan-fic from Daily Kos.

Want one?: Gort Replica. Or maybe you could afford one of these more easily. Maybe your budget, like mine, could at best handle this.

Dioramas, anyone? Kind of lame, but also a bit cool. Lame because small.

Harry Bates who wrote the original short story. An article from teh Wiki.

Posters! Later on I plan to do essay posts about posters for each of the Remakes, but for now, since I haven't gotten to that.... There were a lot of posters generatd for these two movies.

YouTube has a posting of the Asylum rip-off release in its entirety. The Day the Earth Stopped. Post if you're brave enough to watch it. (I haven't watched it) Julian Blaustein, the producer of the original film says that the first title offered for the 1951 film (which was nearing release and still had no title, thus, no advance marketing) was The Day the World Stopped. Blaustein says he substituted "Earth" for "World," and "Stood Still" seemed better to him than "Stopped."

Another YouTube post: End Credits Music from the movie "The Day the Earth Stood Still" (2008). This ranges all over the musical spectrum. Post if you like it a lot.

A 1954 English rip-off of The Day the Earth Stood Still also featuring Patricia Neal in a similar role! I had never heard of this and more or less stumbled across the IMDb page for the movie. Post if you watch it at Amazon. Directed by Bob Balaban's cousin Burt.

A review of the '51 film at Moria.co.nz.

Unrelated to my corrie counterpart, on this page you can become a FOG!

Here's a review with analysis from Science and Religion Today at blogspot, of both films.
Science could also claim another virtue. The scientific community crossed national boundaries. Scientists communicated with one another regardless of national loyalties. Could a confederacy of scientists representing different nations do what political leaders could not by themselves do, namely, provide an institution for arms control?
An interesting, very long blog post, about matte process shots. There are a couple of pix from TDtESS, but there is so much more. If you're interested in that tech aspect of movies you might get lost in this page for 10-30 minutes or so. And this is the third post in what appears to be a series!

Ray DiBenedictus once got fascinated by Gort. Now he'sgenerally fascinated by robots. If you are, too, you might enjoy this history page at the General Robtics website.


Image Trivia Links for Both Films

Not only trivia to read, some quizzes to test your retention of worthless informationses!
IMDb Trivia page for the Robert Wise version of The Day the Earth Stood Still
Cinemania Trivia Quiz - The Day the Earth Stood Still
Quiz - "The Day the Earth Stood Still" (1951) "You scored 10 questions correct on your first try."
Trivia Quiz - The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951) "You answered 10 questions out of 10 correctly for a score of 100 points "
The Day The Earth Stood Still Pop Quiz

IMDb Trivia page for the Scott Derrickson version of The Day the Earth Stood Still
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Gort/YTMN left the forum due to trolling on August 25, 2018.
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"The wealthy and powerful always remind us that cream rises to the top.
What they fail to acknowledge is that pond scum also rises to the top.
And there is a lot more pond scum in the world than there is cream.
If you become rich and powerful, I hope that you will be cream rather than pond scum." --YTMN

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Re: YTMN Presents a Remake Rematch Thread

Post by YouTookMyName » Wed Jul 25, 2012 4:20 pm

Hmmm. The YouTube button I've used before wouldn't let the text block above post! Gave me one of those "It was impossible to determine the dimensions of the image" errors. Actually, two of them because it was in there twice. Bizarre!

EDIT: trying it in here to see if I get the same error.
Image

Image YouTube has a posting of the Asylum rip-off release in its entirety. The Day the Earth Stopped. Post if you're brave enough to watch it. (I haven't watched it) Julian Blaustein, the producer of the original film says that the first title offered for the 1951 film (which was nearing release and still had no title, thus, no advance marketing) was The Day the World Stopped. Blaustein says he substituted "Earth" for "World," and "Stood Still" seemed better to him than "Stopped."
Gort/YTMN left the forum due to trolling on August 25, 2018.
I had fun. Thanks for reading!

"The wealthy and powerful always remind us that cream rises to the top.
What they fail to acknowledge is that pond scum also rises to the top.
And there is a lot more pond scum in the world than there is cream.
If you become rich and powerful, I hope that you will be cream rather than pond scum." --YTMN

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Re: YTMN Presents a Remake Rematch Thread

Post by YouTookMyName » Wed Jul 25, 2012 4:22 pm

:?
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"The wealthy and powerful always remind us that cream rises to the top.
What they fail to acknowledge is that pond scum also rises to the top.
And there is a lot more pond scum in the world than there is cream.
If you become rich and powerful, I hope that you will be cream rather than pond scum." --YTMN

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Re: YTMN Presents a Remake Rematch Thread

Post by Gort » Wed Jul 25, 2012 4:23 pm

YouTookMyName wrote::?
It's a computer system, doofus! Works only when it wants to, almost as if it had a mind. :(
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"The wealthy and powerful always remind us that cream rises to the top.
What they fail to acknowledge is that pond scum also rises to the top.
And there is a lot more pond scum in the world than there is cream.
If you become rich and powerful, I hope that you will be cream rather than pond scum." --YTMN

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Re: YTMN Presents a Remake Rematch Thread

Post by YouTookMyName » Wed Jul 25, 2012 4:28 pm

A Comparison of The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951) and The Day the Earth Stood Still (2008)
Music
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The opening theme music for the 1951 film is the kind that gets stuck in your head. Well, my head, anyway. I didn't expect anything from Tyler Bates to do the same, and it hasn't. Even so, I think Bates did a good job with the music in the 2008 film. It's somewhat standard for the orchestral film score. (Thank God John Williams was hired to write an orchestral score for Star Wars! Otherwise we might be stuck with synthesizer constructs for all film music even to this day.) But even though orchestral scores sound different from those generated with synths and samplers, there is a certain sameness to score after score. Just as with the Classical and Romantic eras of music, certain sounds, certain orchestrations come to mean a certain emotional thing, and composers use these again and again in order to evoke the ambiance of a given scene.

Think of country music for a moment, if you can, and how the lyrics often resort to cliche phrases. Why do they do that? Because listeners don't have to have an explanation if a hackneyed phrase is used. Same with a musical phrase. A low note, plummeting in pitch signifies something big and malevolent. A clarinet doodling away at an obligato signifies something light-hearted and directionless; childlike; ape-like.

So the phrases Bates uses, and his orchestrations are standard, but they sound good and they work. They are not memorable in the sense that they become the Ohrwurm, but they sound familiar if you hear them again. In fact, because he uses the standard intonations, the score sounds familiar the first time you hear it.

Bernard Herrmann's 1951 score has the opposite quality. It does not sound familiar. It is mostly non-standard (even for the day) and I hear from Music Historian Steven C Smith that Herrmann sought exactly that effect for this film. Smith points out that Herrmann used backward recording to make a number of the sounds strange to the ear in the segment where the earth is standing still, and all power is cut off. In the clip I just linked to, the section of the score mentiond by Smith is not the one played both forward and backward by the videomaker. The title theme is used. However, even in the opening theme you can still hear that some of the horns were recorded backwards!

Even when Herrmann's choice of musical intonations is fairly standard for the era (a kind of minimalism reigned supreme in the post-WWII period), his choice of no strings and woodwinds leaves the sounds with an eerie quality. People heard that quality in 1951. Not so much today. As Steven Smith points out in the 2002 documentary that the clip above is taken from, the sounds established by Herrmann in The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951) are so appropo that they were borrowed by many composers. The Theremin was very rarely heard in film scores before this film came out, but because its sound quality evokes otherworldliness so well, other composers began to use it for that purpose. Later in his career, Herrmann wrote about cliches used in science fiction scores; these cliches were based on his own earlier work!

A problem with viewing a seminal work, or hearing its music, is that over time the good ideas are borrowed relentlessly...because they work so well. Eventually, the original source material feels as cliched and overworked as its imitators. It takes an act of intellect to imagine what it was like for audiences in 1951 to hear this strange amalgam of sounds. I can vaguely recall how wonderfully different the score sounded to me in 1962 when I first heard it. The Theremin did give me creepy-crawly skin sensations. I remember that. These days I simply love the sound because it is so tenuous, yet forceful. No other instrument that I know of can evoke a sense of power and size, while adding a tremelo of indecision and vulnerability. And it can do this whether basso (like a double string-bass) or alto (like a viola) in pitch. Other instruments must use deep, rumbling tones in order to convey size and mass.

In the tech post about the Soundtrack recordings I posted some links to samples that you can listen to via YouTube.


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Gort/YTMN left the forum due to trolling on August 25, 2018.
I had fun. Thanks for reading!

"The wealthy and powerful always remind us that cream rises to the top.
What they fail to acknowledge is that pond scum also rises to the top.
And there is a lot more pond scum in the world than there is cream.
If you become rich and powerful, I hope that you will be cream rather than pond scum." --YTMN

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Thread Resurrected 21 Jul 2018. Thread abandoned 1 Aug 2017. Thread COMPLETE 25 May 14 (2d time!)


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Re: YTMN Presents a Remake Rematch Thread

Post by Gort » Wed Jul 25, 2012 4:54 pm

YouTookMyName wrote: Unrelated to my corrie counterpart, on this page you can become a FOG!
Even though I couldn't help but notice you didn't sign up as a Friend-of-Gort :x , I'll still post this for you:
Image
Gort/YTMN left the forum due to trolling on August 25, 2018.
I had fun. Thanks for reading!

"The wealthy and powerful always remind us that cream rises to the top.
What they fail to acknowledge is that pond scum also rises to the top.
And there is a lot more pond scum in the world than there is cream.
If you become rich and powerful, I hope that you will be cream rather than pond scum." --YTMN

Rematch Resurrection Catalog for Rounds 1-4 New post 180721 -- YTMN's Remake Rematch Thread.
Thread Resurrected 21 Jul 2018. Thread abandoned 1 Aug 2017. Thread COMPLETE 25 May 14 (2d time!)


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Re: YTMN Presents a Remake Rematch Thread

Post by YouTookMyName » Wed Jul 25, 2012 4:58 pm

Gort wrote: Even though I couldn't help but notice you didn't sign up as a Friend-of-Gort
Image :D
Gort/YTMN left the forum due to trolling on August 25, 2018.
I had fun. Thanks for reading!

"The wealthy and powerful always remind us that cream rises to the top.
What they fail to acknowledge is that pond scum also rises to the top.
And there is a lot more pond scum in the world than there is cream.
If you become rich and powerful, I hope that you will be cream rather than pond scum." --YTMN

Rematch Resurrection Catalog for Rounds 1-4 New post 180721 -- YTMN's Remake Rematch Thread.
Thread Resurrected 21 Jul 2018. Thread abandoned 1 Aug 2017. Thread COMPLETE 25 May 14 (2d time!)


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Re: YTMN Presents a Remake Rematch Thread

Post by Gort » Wed Jul 25, 2012 4:59 pm

:shifty: Uhm, now I feel embarrassed.



Thanks.
Gort/YTMN left the forum due to trolling on August 25, 2018.
I had fun. Thanks for reading!

"The wealthy and powerful always remind us that cream rises to the top.
What they fail to acknowledge is that pond scum also rises to the top.
And there is a lot more pond scum in the world than there is cream.
If you become rich and powerful, I hope that you will be cream rather than pond scum." --YTMN

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Thread Resurrected 21 Jul 2018. Thread abandoned 1 Aug 2017. Thread COMPLETE 25 May 14 (2d time!)


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Re: YTMN Presents a Remake Rematch Thread

Post by YouTookMyName » Wed Jul 25, 2012 8:52 pm

A Comparison of
The Maltese Falcon (1931), Satan Met a Lady (1936) & The Maltese Falcon (1941)

Hammett's "Wilmer Cook"
Image

In a time when movies didn't allow swearing, and books barely ever had anyone use very strong language, Dashiell Hammet imbued a character in one of his novels with a foul mouth. Spade is at the Hotel Belvedere. He has sat down right next to Wilmer, who has been tailing him. Wilmer Cook is described in this way: Seen at this scant distance, he seemed certainly less than twenty years old. His features were small, in keeping with his stature, and regular. His skin was very fair. The whiteness of his cheeks was as little blurred by any considerable growth of beard as by the glow of blood. His clothing was neither new nor of more than ordinary quality, but it, and his manner of wearing it, was marked by a hard masculine neatness.

Spade is looking for Joel Cairo: Spade waited until a bespectacled pudgy man and a thin-legged girl had passed out of hearing. Then he chuckled and said: "That would go over big back on Seventh Avenue. But you're not in Romeville, now. You're in my burg." He inhaled cigarette smoke and blew it out in a long pale cloud. "Well, where is he?"
The boy spoke two words, the first a short gutteral verb, the second "you."
"People lose teeth talking like that." Spade's voice was still amiable though his face had become wooden. "If you want to hang around you'll be polite."
The boy repeated his two words.


Hammett couldn't write precisely what Wilmer Cook uttered. Far from it, but the suggestion is crystal clear, isn't it!? Cook is all bluster, though. He is out of his league when carrying two revolvers in his trenchcoat pockets, which Spade demonstrates later in the story by relieving the boy of his guns in the hallway on the way to visit Gutman. This scene is in the 1941 film, but not in the other two.

In the novel there is actually reference to Cairo's sexuality, and there are scenes where it is demonstrated that he and Wilmer Cook are unusually close. The films of the day couldn't contain any such insinuations, of course. Perhaps the closest that is done in this regard is to show Wilmer Cook weeping when Spade speaks harshly to him in the climactic scene of the 1941 version.

All three actors who play the character based on Wilmer Cook are much older than their teens. Dwight Frye has the youngest appearance. He was 32 years old when the film was released. Maynard Holmes was only 28, but he appears older than Frye. Elisha Cook, Jr. was 38 when he played Wilmer Cook.

Cook is featured more in the novel than in any of the films. It is easy enough to marginalize him, although he cannot be excised altogether the way Rhea Gutman can be. The screen writers of the 1931 film give Frye a very small number of scenes, and hardly any lines to say. Still, Frye does all he can with the role, although his performance remains more surface than anything else. In the 1936 remake, the character has no name, nor is Holmes credited for the role, since he never speaks. [EDIT: On July 28, 2012, I just rewatched Satan Met a Lady and Holmes does have a number of lines.] Even so, Holmes has some good comic business with Warren William, who plays the Spade counterpart, Ted Shane. And Holmes is memorable in his small moments [EDIT: Although, I suppose the lines he says are not memorable after a year]. Elisha Cook has the most expansive role as Wilmer, with lines and business that exceed that of his counterparts. In fact, the role is among those of the 213 that Cook played in his lifetime, for which he is still well-known. He does a grand job of parlaying a small role into one that demonstrates the inward person that he represents. Although he is on screen for only a few minutes, he is noticeable, memorable, and complex.

Frye and Holmes demonstrate that they could have done more with their roles, but they were limited by the screen writers who gave them little to do other than be there. But in the novel there are several well-written scenes such as this one, where Wilmer Cook has been selected to be the fall guy:

Spade grinned at Brigid O'Shaunessy. Her lips smiled feebly in response, but there was no change in her eyes; they did not lose their numb stare. Spade turned to the boy: "Two to one they're selling you out, son."
The boy did not say anything. A trembling in his knees began to shake the knees of his trousers.
Spade addressed Gutman: "I hope you're not letting yourself be influenced by the guns these pocket-edition desperadoes are waving."
Gutman opened his eyes. Cairo stopped whispering and stood erect behind the fat man's chair.
Spade said: "I've practiced taking them away from both of them, so there'll be no trouble there. The punk is--"
In a voice choked horribly by emotion the boy cried, "All right!" and jerked his pistol up in front of his chest.
Gutman flung a fat hand out at the boy's wrist, caught the wrist and bore it and the gun down while Gutman's fat body was rising in haste from the rocking chair. Joel Cairo scurried around to the boy's other side and grasped his other arm. They wrestled with the boy, forcing his arms down, holding them down, while he struggled futilely against them. Words came out of the struggling group: fragments of the boy's incoherent speech--"right...go...bastard...smoke"-- Gutman's "Now, now, Wilmer!" repeated many times; Cairo's "No, please don't" and "Don't do that, Wilmer."
Wooden-faced, dreamy-eyed, Spade got up from the sofa and went over to the group. The boy, unable to cope with the weight against him, had stopped struggling. Cairo, still holding the boy's arm, stood partly in front of him, talking to him smoothly. Spade pushed Cairo aside gently and drove his left fist against the boy's chin. The boy's head snapped back as far as it could while his arms were held, and then came forward. Gutman began a desperate "Here, what--?" Spade drove his right fist against the boy's chin.
Cairo dropped the boy's arm, letting him collapse against Gutman's great round belly. Cairo sprang at Spade, clawing at his face with the curved stiff fingers of both hands. Spade blew his breath out and pushed the Levantine away. Cairo sprang at him again. Tears were in Cairo's eyes and his red lips worked angrily, forming words, but no sound came from between them.
Spade laughed, grunted, "Jesus, you're a pip!" and cuffed the side of Cairo's face with his open hand, knocking him over against the table. Cairo regained his balance and sprang at Spade the third time. Spade stopped him with both palms held out on long rigid arms against his face. Cairo, failing to reach Spade's face with his shorter arms, thumped Spade's arms.
"Stop it," Spade growled. "I'll hurt you."
Cairo cried, "Oh, you big coward!" and backed away from him.


Hammett's characterization is clear and crisp. Of all the film versions, I think Huston's comes the closest to embodying these characters without remaining slavishly true to the plot and dialogue of the novel. It is impossible for me to read the passages quoted above without hearing the voices of the 1941 cast!

[Edit: I suppose the mix up with the lines spoken by Kenneth in Satan Met a Lady is a great substantiation for my need to watch all three films again before writing about them.
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Gort/YTMN left the forum due to trolling on August 25, 2018.
I had fun. Thanks for reading!

"The wealthy and powerful always remind us that cream rises to the top.
What they fail to acknowledge is that pond scum also rises to the top.
And there is a lot more pond scum in the world than there is cream.
If you become rich and powerful, I hope that you will be cream rather than pond scum." --YTMN

Rematch Resurrection Catalog for Rounds 1-4 New post 180721 -- YTMN's Remake Rematch Thread.
Thread Resurrected 21 Jul 2018. Thread abandoned 1 Aug 2017. Thread COMPLETE 25 May 14 (2d time!)


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Re: YTMN Presents a Remake Rematch Thread

Post by Hank » Wed Jul 25, 2012 11:18 pm

Since you asked for suggestions... in no particular order:
Solaris Tarkovsky, 1972/ Solaris Soderbergh, 2002
Rear Window Hitchcock,1954/ Disturbia Caruso, 2007
Yojimbo Kurosawa, 1961/ Fistful of Dollars Leone, 1964/ Last Man Standing Hill, 1996
The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3 Sargent, 1974/ The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3 Scott, 2009


I haven't seen Disturbia, Soderbergh's Solaris or Scott's 1 2 3... but I feel there could be interesting things to talk about in there.
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Re: YTMN Presents a Remake Rematch Thread

Post by YouTookMyName » Thu Jul 26, 2012 12:16 am

Hank wrote:Since you asked for suggestions... in no particular order:
Solaris Tarkovsky, 1972/ Solaris Soderbergh, 2002
Rear Window Hitchcock,1954/ Disturbia Caruso, 2007
Yojimbo Kurosawa, 1961/ Fistful of Dollars Leone, 1964/ Last Man Standing Hill, 1996
The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3 Sargent, 1974/ The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3 Scott, 2009


I haven't seen Disturbia, Soderbergh's Solaris or Scott's 1 2 3... but I feel there could be interesting things to talk about in there.
I have seen Disturbia. In fact, I bought it on Blu-ray because it was on sale for a little bit of money, and I didn't know whether my new computer would actually play Blu's with all the DRM that is on them, so I used the $9 Disturbia disc as my test!

I could acquire Rear Window and have what I needed for one of those Rematches. It would have an interesting angle: it wouldn't be a comparison between an original film and its outright remake, but with a film that is strongly influenced by it. I sort of like that. It would at least make a good Weematch (although the 3:10 to Yuma "Weematch" took an awful lot of work, as it turned out).

The Threematch between the Kurosawa, Leone and Hill would be interesting. The only one I've seen is the Leone.

I have also seen only Tarkovsky's Solaris. And neither of the Pelham films.

Actually, Hank, those are all good suggestions! And I hadn't actively considered any of the four, to be truthful. This is the kind of suggestion I hope some others can make. But if no one else does, I can come up with at least one idea out of your four (even up to four, and it might be a stockpile for future reference).

Appreciated, sir.
Gort/YTMN left the forum due to trolling on August 25, 2018.
I had fun. Thanks for reading!

"The wealthy and powerful always remind us that cream rises to the top.
What they fail to acknowledge is that pond scum also rises to the top.
And there is a lot more pond scum in the world than there is cream.
If you become rich and powerful, I hope that you will be cream rather than pond scum." --YTMN

Rematch Resurrection Catalog for Rounds 1-4 New post 180721 -- YTMN's Remake Rematch Thread.
Thread Resurrected 21 Jul 2018. Thread abandoned 1 Aug 2017. Thread COMPLETE 25 May 14 (2d time!)


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