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Interview with Brian Crewe, Part 2

June 29, 2006

On Tuesday, I posted the first part of an interview with Brian Crewe, who’s been working in editing in Hollywood since the late ’90s. 

Here’s part two:

You note that it’s very hard to guage the quality of an editor’s work. Do you think the DVD era is changing that, what with director’s cuts, deleted scenes, alternate endings, making-of docs, etc., etc.?

I think DVD has changed a lot about how much the public knows about the process of filmmaking. I think the documentaries and commentary tracks offer a great insight into the process of filmmaking.

Take the Ridley Scott film, Kingdom of Heaven. He and editor Dody Dorn had to take what was supposed to be a four hour film and cut it down to under three hours because the studio wanted to make sure theaters could get an extra screening time. The result was a film that was reviewed some what poorly and flopped at the box office.

On DVD you can now watch the four hour director approved edition and by all reports it’s magnificent.

That’s really more film business related, the new Mallrats DVD offers a great window into the creative process. Admittedly, the film by writer /director Kevin Smith is not exactly high brow cinema but it is something of a cult classic. Smith and producer Scott Mossier have cut all of their film except for Mallrats, which was their first studio film.

Despite the film costing seven million dollars Smith chose to shoot the film in wide shots, rarely shooting any close-ups. He had done this on Clerks for budget reasons and picked it up as a style. For the 10th Anniversary DVD he and Mossier decided they would try to take a crack at reediting the film to restore some deleted material and offer fans a look at what might have if they had been the editors.

Now seasoned filmmakers with six features to their credit they discovered to their horror that there was nothing they could do. Because everything was shot in those wide shots the choices made by the original editor were the only ones to be made. So while the DVD does contain a new cut of the film, that cut is essential all those really long master shots strung together.

By watching the two cuts you can start to see what a good editor brings to the table. The longer cut meanders along with no pacing or purpose, while the original has a fun brisk pace.

Also could you go into more detail, if it’s possible, what makes someone like Walter Murch or Michael Kahn so good? Do they have signature styles, like directors and actors? Can you tell the work of a particular editor just by watching some footage?

Alas, you can’t, or at least I find it very hard. I think being a good editor is like being a great musician in an orchestra. They have to be able to play their instrument in a variety of different ways depending on what the composer and the conductor demand. For an editor the story will dictate a pace and momentum that has to followed.

Someone like Michael Kahn is interesting because he’s worked almost exclusively with Steven Spielberg since Close Encounters of The Third Kind in 1977. As Spielberg’s style has evolved, I think you are also watching his chemistry with his editor evolve. The more they know about each other, the bolder choices they can make. Watch the first scene of Minority Report, which is an amazing piece of editing cutting between a murder that hasn’t happened yet and the Cruise simultaneously reviewing the future evidence. That kind of scene can only be executed by people who have been working together for years and have a great understanding of what they are capable of.

Walter Murch, if anyone has read his book, In the Blink of Eye, you know that he is some thing of film philosopher.

I know he’s not credited as the editor on The Godfather but I believe he did some of the sound design. I could be mistaken but I believe it was his idea to cross cut the murders of the five families with the baptism of Michael’s niece. Coppola had shot each of the scenes as separate elements but hadn’t any idea of how they went together. It was in the edit room that the idea came to have Michael taking these vows renouncing Satan and his works as we watch the murders he ordered play out.

Think about the impact of watching those scenes as separate elements rather than all inter-cut. Different movie.

Editor’s note: Wow.

And how much of good editing is piecing together a series of quick shots, knowing exactly when to start a shot and when to end it, pacing and sequencing, etc. and how much of it is just taking a whole pile of film and remaking the narrative?

Good editing is as much about knowing when to make a series of quick cuts and when not to make any edits at all.

This is why many people are harsh with filmmakers like Michael Bay or Simon West who started in music videos. They use numerous quick shots in nearly every scene, never holding in an image for more than a few seconds. They do this in the action scenes and in the more intimate dialog scenes. Critics say this constant rapid fire approach robs a film of any pacing because the edits are always on ten and the audience never gets a chance to slow down and take in the characters.

In his book, Walter Murch says you should think of an edit as the conclusion of a thought. A shot should have a beginning, middle, and end, basically its own mini-story. If someone picks something up, their hand will enter the frame, grab the object in question, and leave a frame, that’s a quick shot.

Let’s take a long shot from Good Will Hunting. Robin Williams and Mat Damon are sitting on the side of the river. Williams has a long speech to give. Rather than cutting to Matt Damon to get a reaction the editor stays on Williams. Because there are no edits the audience stays in the same headspace as Williams. Every word he says takes on added meaning because we are holding on the shot for so long never finishing the line of thought that has been started. It even becomes more engrossing as the camera slowly pushes into a close-up; all that great energy would have been lost if the editor had chosen to cut to Damon’s reaction mid-speech.

You can even give an edit a literary comparison (although with my spelling and grammar I may not be the best at it).

Think of a long edit as a big run on sentence that just keeps going and going never coming to the point but just being drawn out by the author never giving the audience the satisfaction of pointing a period at the end of the sentence to give the audience the satisfaction of moving on to a new topic.

Of course, some edits are short. The editor doesn’t linger on a shot.

Hopefully, that all makes sense.

You brought up the much-maligned music video style, but you seemed to take a neutral stand on it. Do you have a strong feeling about this style of constant cuts? I feel like it gets a bad name, but some of the best movies of the last decade or so have come from former video directors: Seven and Fight Club by David Fincher, Being John Malkovich and Adaptation by Spike Jonze and especially Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind by Michel Gondry, which I consider one of the greatest movies ever made. Granted, some terrible hacks like McG have come out of the music video business, but just those five movies I mentioned are a pretty impressive collection of some of the most daring and interesting Hollywood movies of the last 10 years. (With the caveat that Charlie Kauffman wrote three of them.) I’m not sure if I really have a question so much as a general curiosity about your thoughts on the music video style and if there are things that that style can do that the more lingering style of a previous era cannot (besides give you more shots of boobs and explosions in 30 seconds than you ever could before).

I was taking a more academic approach to my answer. Besides I find it hard to be overly critical of films in a public setting, there are so many opinions being expressed on web pages these days and it’s so easy to be negative and ignore what good is present in a work. I’m not trying to present myself as the end all be all expert of the editing world and I’d rather the audience go with their own opinion than take mine as gospel.

Having said that, I think the music video style is great when used to service the story. I think something like The Rock is a fantastic movie. Now take that same style and put it into a film like Pearl Harbor and you have some major problems!

And yeah there are filmmakers like McG who to date has shown no understanding of the balance between style and story.

I really don’t think the style is as inventive as it’s been given credit for. The concept of a quick montage is decades old. Look at Sergei M. Eisenstein’s Bronenosets Potyomkin (1925). The film is practically the birth place of montage.

Flash forward to A Hard’s Night by Richard Lester. The movie is everything MTV was trying to do in the 1980s.

The only difference is the modern directors have the ability to pull off what used to be impossible shots and cut them a little faster. However, I find they often they are so focused on the style and trying to do shots that will make the audience go, “How did they do that?” That they forget the story they are telling.

I do like much of David Fincher’s films but you can’t tell me he was thinking about the story when he decide to move the camera through the handle of the coffee pot in Panic Room! That’s just a filmmaker jerking off.

Once you finish this question, I’d be awfully interested to see your list of the top 10 flicks from 2005, and then, maybe if you’re feeling ambitious, your top 10 movies ever. Since it’s such a ridiculous request, I’ll get the ball rolling with my top 10 of all-time*, which I will spend no more than the next five minutes coming up with:

1) The Godfather

2) Pulp Fiction

3) Eternal Sunshine of a Spotless Mind

4) Vertigo

5) Casablanca

6) Dr. Strangelove

7) Citizen Kane

8) Kundun

9) Unforgiven

10) Dog Day Afternoon

*This list subject to change on a daily basis.

You know I’ve been so busy with various projects that I don’t think I saw enough films to do a good top 10 of 2005, so how about a top 5 of films I enjoyed.

1. Munich

2. Capote

3. Good Night and Good Luck

4. Sin City

5. Batman Begins

As for a top 10 of all time, well, like you, my list changes; honestly, let’s call it a list of the 10 films that have had the greatest impact on me. Top 10 of all time is very hard to qualify. However, these are 10 films that I saw that inspired me and made me want to make movies.

1. Star Wars (original edition)

2. Clerks

3. Highlander

4. Pulp Fiction

5. Trainspotting

6. Superman The Movie

7. Raiders of The Lost Ark

8. Apocalypse Now (original edition)

9. Star Trek II

10. American Graffiti

Brian, thank you so much for your time. I really have found your answers insightful and interesting. So I have one last question for you, which you can answer any you want: what would be your dream project? (Oh yes, and if you want to plug anything you’re working on now, plug, plug away!)

Thanks for the interview, I really enjoyed it! Great questions. Sorry it took so long for my answers to come in. I hope you got everything you wanted and I’d happy to answer any questions you might have in the future.

My goal for my career is to make films that have can an impact beyond the cinema.

My immediate dream project is “Sara’s Song.” Its a film I wrote with Natalie Plant. We are co-producing for her to play the lead and myself to direct. As you can tell from this interview I’m all about a great story and great characters, I think we’ve got both in this film.

Also, because the film deals with a childhood sexual abuse survivor we’ve decided to dedicate a portion of proceeds to charities that support rape and abuse survivors.

I’m so lucky to have been blessed with the skills to work in a medium I love; I feel its important to use my abilities to send a message of hope and understanding to those who need it.

To learn more about “Sara’s Song” please visit www.FilmCreweProductions.com.

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24 Comments leave one →
  1. Brad Glaser permalink
    July 6, 2006 11:36 pm

    Alright, you got me thinking about my own all-time Top 10, and then because I’ve had some time to kill while waiting for turnaround on a project and because I’m obsessive, I ended up coming with 150+ candidates from which I made a Top 100. I won’t bore you with the whole list, but here are my Top 15, only because it seemed like a more natural cut point on my list than 10:

    1 The Godfather
    2 Citizen Kane
    3 Aguirre, The Wrath of God
    4 Dr. Strangelove
    5 Annie Hall
    6 Casablanca
    7 Apocalypse Now
    8 Chinatown
    9 Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
    10 Crumb
    11 Schindler’s List
    12 The Conversation
    13 Raiders of the Lost Ark
    14 All That Jazz
    15 The Third Man

    Of my Top 100, Kubrik had the most with 5 (4-Dr. Strangelove, 18-The Shining, 59-Spartacus, 61-2001, and 68-A Clockwork Orange.) Seven different directors had three or more on my list: Coppola, The Coen Brothers, Scorsese, Mel Brooks, Kubrik, Spielberg and Woody Allen. This may indicate a lack of breadth in my movie knowledge. I’m especially deficient when it comes to foreign-language films, as only 4 of my 100 were in languages other than English.

  2. Brad Glaser permalink
    July 6, 2006 11:45 pm

    BTW, 6 of your Top 10 are in my Top 100, with 5 of those being in my Top 10. Unforgiven and Vertigo were both near misses. I feel a bit of a heretic for not having the second. I enjoyed Kundun, but it just didn’t have that great an impact on me, and I really need to see Dog Day Afternoon again (I haven’t seen it since probably ’92 or ’93.) So, Pulp Fiction, which I have at #33, is the only one from your Top 10 which is on my list but below the Top 10.

  3. July 7, 2006 2:29 pm

    Brad, wow. I have more to say, but for the moment, I am going to post my revised Top 10, which I changed after some thought:

    1) The Godfather
    2) Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
    3) Pulp Fiction
    4) Vertigo
    5) Casablanca
    6) Dazed and Confused
    7) Kundun
    8) Dr. Strangelove
    9) Swingers
    10) Unforgiven

    That’s right. I kicked out Citizen Kane for Dazed and Confused because D and C passed the simple test: Which one have I seen the most? And which one am I most interested in seeing again?

  4. July 7, 2006 5:19 pm

    Additional comments about Brad’s comments:

    1) I urge you to watch Vertigo again. I don’t know how many times you’ve seen it, but it becomes richer and more powerful with each viewing. Plus, with all the Vertigo-hating going around on this site, I think I should post my paper from 1997 on Vertigo. It may help you recognize its genius.

    2) Watch Dog Day Afternoon again. It’s writing and structure is perfect. Plus, it’s Pacino’s second-best performance after The Godfather II.

    3) Kundun is a personal thing that I expect few other people to enjoy as much as I do. I own the soundtrack and listen to it on a regular basis. There’s a certain Tibetan instrument in there that occasionally makes me weep.

    4) I feel a little strange about including Unforgiven in my list because unlike the other movies on my list, it’s not an original of its kind. It’s very explicitly a commentary on other movies, and while the same could be said for Pulp Fiction and Swingers, each had an entirely original style or subject matter. Unforgiven has neither; at the same time, I’ve seen most of the great Westerns–The Searchers, Red River, Stagecoach, Shane, Rio Bravo, etc.–and none is as good as Unforgiven. Its vision in some ways is small–deconstructing the Western–but its impact is large, mythic even.

  5. Brad Glaser permalink
    July 7, 2006 9:04 pm

    Doing the list of 100 was really a fun and enlightening excercise, and I plan to keep it updated. It’s definitely still embryonic, as I basically culled my memory, looked over my collection of movies and looked at a few online resources (Sight&Sound, AFI, imdb) so I’m sure there are a number of contenders that I haven’t thought of yet. What I found interesting was that a number of movies rated higher or lower than I might have thought coming in. I was suprised, as much as I loved it, to learn that I deemed Eternal Sunshine a Top 10 and was equally surprised that 2001 was all the way down at 61st. But while there could certainly be day-to-day shuffling, I feel that it’s a good starting point for me, and it’s made me think about how I think about film.

    I like D&C being included. I will say, though, that I think what often gets overlooked about Citizen Kane is that it’s a spectacularly entertaining film. The character performances throughout ellicit smiles and there are some great one-liners (“I did lose a million dollars last year. I expect to lose a million dollars this year. I expect to lose a million dollars next year. You know, Mr. Thatcher, at the rate of a million dollars a year, I’ll have to close this place in… 60 years,”) not to mention the visuals whose slyness is often overlooked in deference to their grandeur.

    Point by point on your last one:

    1) I really do love Vertigo, but I like both Psycho and Rear Window even more. Essentially my whole list of 150 were movies I love, and it probably would’ve ended up about 105. I had a friend of my roomate from about 7 years back who was kind of an ass and was so adament about Vertigo being the best film ever made (a point he would bring up whenever I was trying to watch anything worthwhile) that it soured me a bit, which is unfair. It can be hard to overcome that sorta thing, but a fresh viewing now may well move it on to the list.

    2) I simply need to see Dog Day Afternoon again. I know I liked it but just don’t remember it well enough.

    3) I feel simililarly about Aguirre as you do about Kundun.

    4) Unforgiven was another near miss for me. I’m not a big fan of Westerns, but I have The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, A Fistfull of Dollars and High Noon all above it, though only the first one actually made my list, one of only three sequels that did.

  6. July 8, 2006 3:50 am

    After carefully consideration I’m dropping “Batman Begins” from my top five of 2005. I’d have to put both “Kiss Kiss Bang Bang” and “Shopgirl” in front of it.

  7. Brad Glaser permalink
    July 8, 2006 5:31 am

    I haven’t seen either, Brian, and both are on my short list, so that’ll be another spur to get me to check them out.

  8. July 8, 2006 6:16 am

    A couple things…

    For Brad: I know I’ve heard of and read about Aguirre, Wrath of God, but I’ve never seen it and don’t have a strong sense of what’s it about. I’m curious to hear what makes it so great.

    For Brian: I haven’t seen your two additions either, but I second your deranking of Batman Begins. While I wanted and fully expected to love it, and I really admire the set design, cinematography and thematic exploration of the movie AND I have a soft spot for anything by Christopher Nolan, who not only created a masterpiece with Memento but also is the brother of a very talented writer, Jonah, who I had the privilege of sharing screenwriting classes with, I just found the story to be a rather bloated, incredible mess. Plus any great superhero movie should have a great villain and R’as a’ Ghul (sic) was always one of the weaker recurring Batman villains. Plus I have no idea what Tom Wilkinson was doing there.

    I think the problem with Batman Begins is that Nolan was trying to overreach, trying to completely reimagine the Batman mythos while simultaneously exploring the meaning of justice and the nature of good and evil. But to properly explore the nature of good and evil, he needed to focus heavily on the R’as al Ghoul (sic) character and the heavy simply wasn’t heavy enough to carry his end of the supervillain bargain. Moreover, the big M. Night Shyamalan a-ha moment–Liam Neeson is really Ras al Goyle (sic)! Mother of Mercy!–was visible from 3.2 miles away.

    I think Nolan could have made a better, albeit smaller, movie, if he had made Scarecrow his central villain and dropped his ambition to include an a-ha moment. In many ways, the a-ha moment was a way to inject Ras al Gul (sic) with a power that the character didn’t possess; as Singer did in The Usual Suspects, Nolan used the element of surprise to suggest boundless evil in a seemingly benign character. But that’s a bit of a cheat. Look at Scarecrow; as played by Cillian Murphy, he was diabolical and terrifying without the element of surprise. Like Jack Nicholson as the Joker, his acting–and the nature of the character–was enough to scare me. (Plus I found the visuals surrounding Scarecrow’s fear potion far more arresting than the familiar sights of ninjas and dojos that surrounded Ras al Girl (sic)).

    All that being said, I can’t wait for the sequel, which is supposedly being written by Jonah Nolan, who also wrote the short story–Memento a Mori–on which Memento is based. (And who at some point in his career will become a celebrated character actor.)

  9. Brad Glaser permalink
    July 8, 2006 5:45 pm

    I agree with you on Batman Begins. It’s a shame, too, because I think there was much about it to recommend it, but it just didn’t coalesce into the great movie it perhaps could’ve been and wanted to be. (Maybe you should flesh that out just a bit and make it a post in and of itself.)

    As for Aguirre, on a visceral level, it evokes Heart of Darkness more than even Apocalypse Now. Klaus Kinski’s central performance, in which he journeys from unredeeming asshole to insane unredeeming asshole, is somehow relatable and terrifying at the same time. It’s the story of 16th Century Conquistadors seeking El Dorado and their fortune on a perilous journey in S. America, and it is Hobbsian philosophy writ large, as every obstacle they encounter causes further breakdown in the party, which we feel more visceraly than in most other films of this type, in part because Werner Herzog is very much of the “show me, don’t tell me” school of filmmaking. There are shots in this movie that quite literally haunt me, especially the ending one.

  10. Phil permalink
    July 10, 2006 1:24 pm

    First off, it’s about time a new article was posted on this site. Granted once again it’s nothing I have seen, but seriously what do you expect me to do all day work?

    I think part of the allure of Batman Begins is the fact the movie was going into a new direction after several disappointing sequels.

    I thought it was weird two people had Eternal Sunshine …. on your top 10 lists. I have never had the desire to see this movie, but now my interest is piqued.

    I found it very funny that Brian had Highlander on his top 10. Not that it’s a bad movie or anything but because my friend JB “The God father of Soul” used to rent this movie with his girlfriend in high school, so we always kid him when he was dating people if he had shown the girl Highlander yet. Needless to say I can’t take the movie seriously.

    I am intrigued by Brad’s top 100. I think t would be extremely hard for me to come up with a top 10, let alone the time for a top 100. I also think my Top 10 would include movies others would have in their Worst 10. It’s just amazing how many “bad” movies that I love. I mean where would I slot Prefontaine on my list?

    Now that my basement is wired with surround sound, I am definitely going to have to catch up with some movies I haven’t seen. If you guys have watched VH 1 lately, they ahve a new show the World Series of Pop Culture, which is pretty entertaining. Although, how can a show really call itself the “World Series” when I (a musical idiot of the highest degree) answered 10 of the 12 “Old School Rap” questions correctly?

  11. Brad Glaser permalink
    July 10, 2006 4:20 pm

    Phil, you might be interested in Ebert’s review of Without Limits, where he discussed it in comparison to Prefontaine, both of which he liked. Not sure if the link will post correctly, but just search on his site if not: http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/19981030/REVIEWS/810300305/1023

  12. Phil permalink
    July 10, 2006 6:07 pm

    Thanks Brad. I will have to go home and watch Without Limits again. I always seem to throw in Prefontaine.

    By the way I am surprised no one threw the Shining into their top 10. I recall people being aghast in college when I said I hadn’t seen it, and even more so when I popped it in at 1am when it was dark out.

    Actually I’d be interested to see what people’s Top 10 Horror Movies would be, especially as the genre has reinvented/reinvigorated itself lately.

  13. bro permalink
    July 10, 2006 9:33 pm

    looks like i’m agreeing with brad again. i’ve only seen aguirre once, and it was in a college film class 10 years ago (yikes), but the final shot has always stuck with me.

  14. July 10, 2006 10:04 pm

    First off, sorry about the mini-hiatus. It was a perfect storm of an extended weekend and writer’s block on the movie Bad Education (which I’ll blog about one of these days).

    Second, here’s a quickly generated list of my six favorite horror films:

    1) The Shining
    2) Dawn of the Dead
    3) Night of the Living Dead
    4) The Others
    5) Poltergeist
    6) Blair Witch Project
    7) The Village
    8) Silence of the Lambs
    9) Vertigo (this movie can fill me with more dread than almost any horror movie)
    10) Resident Evil (I’m a sucker for zombies)

    I realized as I was reading a list of classic horror films that I’ve seen more parodies of classic horror movies than I’ve seen actual originals. So I don’t feel hugely qualified to make this kind of list. But hey, what the hell? This is my blog and and I’ll do what I want.

  15. Brad Glaser permalink
    July 10, 2006 11:27 pm

    I’m not a big horror buff, either but a few of my favorites, the first four of which are in my Top 100:

    1) The Shining
    2) Psycho (not really horror, but see Micah’s comment on Vertigo)
    3) The Blair Witch Project
    4) 28 Days Later
    5) Alien (I prefer the first sequel, but the original is more of a horror film)
    6) The Others

  16. bro permalink
    July 11, 2006 9:29 pm

    1. poltergeist- this is the only movie to ever really terrify me. watching it as a preteen suburanite made this hit home in ways almost no other movie could. i couldn’t look at my bedroom closet the same way for years after watching it. even watching the recent family guy spoof i still started to feel the same sense of dread

    the rest in no particular order
    nightmare on elm street 1
    sixth sense (not strictly a horror film, but shamalyan does suspense better then anybode else in hollywood today)
    blair witch
    night of the living dead
    the day after/testament/threads (again not strictly horror, but for a kid growing up in the 80s, there’s nothing more horrifying than nuclear war)

  17. July 11, 2006 10:16 pm

    Bro, great addition of The Day After, Testament and Threads. While it’s hard now to watch Steve Guttenberg in The Day After with a straight face, watching Threads was probably the most soul-deadening experience of my life. The final sequence in that movie–when civilization as we know it has essentially collapsed (with the exception of isolated military compounds), and nuclear winter has descended over Britain, the emaciated child of one of the long-dead original characters finds some very rare edible food in a barn with two other barely verbal survivors, providing a rare moment of brightness in an endlessly dreary epic. As soon as they finish the food, the men rape her. In the final scene, the girl gives birth, hinting at the possibility of a new, brighter future–and what comes out is a mutated stillborn. I get shivers just writing about it.

  18. Phil permalink
    July 12, 2006 5:04 pm

    I was debating on what should be number 1, The Ring or the Shining. While I think The Ring was scarier, The Shining is just an awesome movie which a person really needs to read the book to understand. Also the fact that Tribiani had to put it in the freezer to hide from it when he was scared just shows you how scary it was. I was leaning towards the Shining when I saw Micah mentioned Poltergeist. This is undoubtedly the scariest movie ever. In high school we were screwing around with a Ouija board and it said I would die next time I watched TV, I went home turned on TV, and what was on… Poltergeist! I of course turned off the TV and became an alcoholic instead. Keep in mind this is at the house I lived in in high school that bordered the cemetary which made thsi experience more surreal. (Don’t believe me, google map Dudley lane in Milton and you will see the cemetary.) Anyway the list:

    1. Poltergeist – The pool, the clown, the weirdo lady, the static on the TV. ‘Nuff said.
    2. The Shining – Everytime I watch this movie I see something I missed before, which makes it a great movie in itself.
    3. The Ring – The girl crawling out of the TV, was just scary. Or maybe I am just afraid of TVs…..
    4. The Others – Thought this one had a great twist in it.
    5. Jaws – um still afraid of the Ocean. I am sure it has nothing to do with almost drowning 15 minutes into my San Diego visit to Micah’s house.
    6. Invasion of the Body Snatchers – Don Siegel’s version, not Phillip Kaufman’s although that was good too.
    7. Deliverance – just knowing there are people like that out there, and that freaky banjo kid, and it’s scary just how good looking Burt Reynolds is, I mean nothing.
    8. Lost Boys – Vampires, the Cories and Bill S. Preston as a vampire, how can this not be a great movie.
    9. Nightmare on Elm Street – that dude is much scarier than Jason.

    Still want to see some of these new wave movies like Hostel & Saw. Maybe when Sue goes away I can rent those instead of great hits like Failure to Launch.

  19. July 14, 2006 4:32 am

    For Phil: I thought some people might think Highlander a funny choice. Like I said these are ten films that had an effect on me for some reason not ones I consider to be the top ten movies of all time. The film is without question 80s cheese. However, I think its an amazingly well put together film. The transitions between time periods are fantastic. The first cases of a music video director making the style work in a narrative feature.

  20. Phil permalink
    July 16, 2006 7:31 pm

    Just caught Hostel and it is going into my top 10, probably to # 3. Eli Roth sure knows how to do a horror movie, lots of gratuitous nudity and some scary/gory scenes.

  21. Brad Glaser permalink
    August 13, 2006 2:32 am

    So, I rewatched Vertigo this week, and while there is no doubt that it is a great film, here is my problem with it. The revelation that Madeleine and Judy are the same person simply comes too early. Why let us know this definitively before Scottie sees the necklace and figures it out? To me, it’s an unusual misstep in suspense management by Hitchcock. This doesn’t make it bad by any means, but I still prefer both Psycho and Rear Window.

  22. August 16, 2006 5:37 pm

    This is a very interesting question, and one that actually came up when I took a Hitchcock class in college and wrote a paper–that I will post on the website some day soon–about Vertigo.

    Like you, when I first saw Vertigo, I was surprised by the revelation that Judy and Madeline were the same person (those makeup artists should have won an Oscar). But when the movie was released in 1958, Kim Novak was a recognizable enough face that most people knew it was the same actress; moreover, the marketing of Vertigo also suggested that the characters were the same. So the early revelation that Judy is Madeline and Madeline is Judy wasn’t a revelation at all for most viewers; Hitchcock probably put it in for two reasons:

    1) In case there were some viewers who didn’t immediately know that Madeline and Judy were the same person.
    2) More importantly, to complicate our identification with Scottie. Because Scottie was played by one of the most beloved and trusted of American stars, and was a detective, perhaps the most reliable of film protagonists, we trust everything Scottie sees and does. But when we learn before Scottie does that Judy is Madeline, our trust in Scottie as a reliable narrator is shaken. But, because we’ve already so strongly identified with Scottie, the period in between the revelation to the audience that Madeline is Judy and the revelation to Scottie that Madeline is Judy allows us to build up some anger and resentment to Judy/Madeline for her deception. So when Scottie has his temper tantrum and shakes Judy/Madeline, his seemingly excessive response seems more natural. So by complicating our identification with Scottie, Hitchcock ends up strengthening it.

    Thoughts?

  23. Brad Glaser permalink
    August 17, 2006 1:38 am

    Maybe this perspective is too post-modern for a wide 1958 audience, but just because we know that Kim Novak plays both roles doesn’t mean that she has to be the same person within the context of the film. This is especially true in that the original mystery is that of a woman who may be possessed by a spirit. With this background, the audience could legitimately wonder whether this same spirit has possessed yet another woman. Witness Meg Ryan’s triple-turn in Joe vs. the Volcano.

    I think the air of mystery would have only heightened the final act, and the moment when he sees the necklace would have played much stronger than it does in the film. I think there still would have been the time of the trip to the mission for the viewers to relate to Scottie’s mounting frustration and rage.

    The decision certainly doesn’t destroy the movie for me, but it does destroy some of the sense of mystery that plays so well throughout the first half.

  24. December 7, 2006 7:46 pm

    Luogo interessante, buon disegno, lo gradisco, signore! =)

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