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What Horror and Sc-Fi films have you seen lately?

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CineMaven
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Re: What Horror and Sc-Fi films have you seen lately?

Postby CineMaven » July 31st, 2012, 10:07 am

ChiO wrote:Note: It appears that creativity and imagination died after 1931. Must have been due to that newfangled technological development that ruined movies.

Sound didn't kill movies...Will Hayes killed movies. Can you imagine how much farther we'd be today if Joan Blondell was allowed to be seen in her lingerie in '37, '38 and that banner year: 1939?!!! My mind's reeeeeling!

MichiganJ wrote:Okay, so we'll amend the No Remakes rule to read:
Remake = Rename.

Well...that British writer, Will...Will something, said: "A rose by any other name would smell as sweet."
...so long as nobody covers any of The Beatles' tunes, I'm actually okay with covers.

Seeeeeeeeee...everybody has their own sacred cows. :)
I'm with you on those, but my favorite is: Casablanca...Barb Wire!

Pamela Anderson as Rick???!!! Whew! THAT'S a stretch...
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Re: What Horror and Sc-Fi films have you seen lately?

Postby MichiganJ » July 31st, 2012, 11:16 am

CineMaven wrote:Sound didn't kill movies...Will Hayes killed movies. Can you imagine how much farther we'd be today if Joan Blondell was allowed to be seen in her lingerie in '37, '38 and that banner year: 1939?!!! My mind's reeeeeling

It really is under Breen when the Production Code started to be enforced in mid 1934. Before then, the Hays Office really didn't have much power to enforce the code, and when they tried, it was the studios themselves who got to make the final decisions. That's how we got Joan in her undies from '30 thru '34.

CineMaven wrote:Pamela Anderson as Rick???!!! Whew! THAT'S a stretch...

I Know. And yet the Academy still didn't recognize her!
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Re: What Horror and Sc-Fi films have you seen lately?

Postby RedRiver » July 31st, 2012, 1:32 pm

Webb's The Amazing Spider-man, also an origin story (with some obligatory similar plot points to Raimi's, but a different story)

Different love interest. Different villain. Still very much the story of a teenager bitten by a really weird bug and acquiring really weird talents!

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Re: What Horror and Sc-Fi films have you seen lately?

Postby Mr. Arkadin » July 31st, 2012, 5:39 pm

CineMaven wrote:
ChiO wrote:Note: It appears that creativity and imagination died after 1931. Must have been due to that newfangled technological development that ruined movies.

Sound didn't kill movies...Will Hayes killed movies. Can you imagine how much farther we'd be today if Joan Blondell was allowed to be seen in her lingerie in '37, '38 and that banner year: 1939?!!! My mind's reeeeeling!


Actually, I think the code created more layers and complexity in the fact that directors and writers now had to figure out how to get their point across in more subtle ways. The results were often far more interesting (and taboo) than the original act. Hitchcock's maneuvering around the three second kiss in Notorious (1946) is one example, where the whole scene is charged with eroticism instead of a fleeting moment of passion.

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Re: What Horror and Sc-Fi films have you seen lately?

Postby kingrat » July 31st, 2012, 7:04 pm

Please, everyone, there is no such thing as a remake. Now we call it a re-boot. The two have nothing whatever in common. Right?

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Re: What Horror and Sc-Fi films have you seen lately?

Postby MichiganJ » August 1st, 2012, 8:45 am

Mr. Arkadin wrote:
CineMaven wrote:
ChiO wrote:Note: It appears that creativity and imagination died after 1931. Must have been due to that newfangled technological development that ruined movies.

Sound didn't kill movies...Will Hayes killed movies. Can you imagine how much farther we'd be today if Joan Blondell was allowed to be seen in her lingerie in '37, '38 and that banner year: 1939?!!! My mind's reeeeeling!


Actually, I think the code created more layers and complexity in the fact that directors and writers now had to figure out how to get their point across in more subtle ways. The results were often far more interesting (and taboo) than the original act. Hitchcock's maneuvering around the three second kiss in Notorious (1946) is one example, where the whole scene is charged with eroticism instead of a fleeting moment of passion.

I'm not sure I agree. While Hitchcock was able to subvert the inane three second kiss rule, Breen's office had already altered Hecht's script numerous times, most notably by not allowing Bergman to be a call-girl but instead, turning her into a gold-digger, completely changing her character, which then altered the film's original ending. These script and plot "suggestions" were all followed, as they had to be in order to pass the Breen office.
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Re: What Horror and Sc-Fi films have you seen lately?

Postby Mr. Arkadin » August 1st, 2012, 6:06 pm

That was done to a lot of films before and after the code. Welles and Riefenstahl are the only people I know that had total creative control over projects. My point was simply that perameters imposed on an artist don't necessarily result in an inferior product. Talented people know how to work around obstacles, or even use them to their advantage. To put it in a horror context (because that's what this thread is supposed to be about), Val Lewton's directors had limits imposed on them and made incredible, intelligent films. On the other hand, a director like Dario Argento has done the same without those restrictions. There is great art made in every era, the question is not when did great film making end, but perhaps Do we recognize genius when we see it?

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Re: What Horror and Sc-Fi films have you seen lately?

Postby MichiganJ » August 2nd, 2012, 8:27 am

Given that the Supreme Court said that film was a commodity and therefore had no free speech protection, and given that every state and many counties inside the states had their own censor boards, and further that the Legion of Decency was becoming so powerful as to threaten profits, it was clearly in the studio's best interest to have their own production code, and to have that code enforced.

But those restriction came at a price. Sure, there were plenty of writers and directors who had work-arounds to get their "no no" characters and actions across to the public. Hitchcock was chief among them, and, I bet, actually reveled in thinking up ways on how he could subvert the code. (The train in North By Northwest is anything but subtle).

But while artists can work with limitations and constrictions, and often produce masterpieces, putting those restrictions on them means they cannot produce the work they would really want to. If a censor board proclaimed the color red verboten, a painter could still work his/her mojo, but they would either have to: a--alter their conception or b--avoid painting sunsets altogether.

As it is, Notorious is probably my favorite Hitchcock film. But I suspect it would have been even better if Bergman had been a call-girl rather than a gold-digger (which I never bought, anyway). As a call-girl, the relationship between her and Grant is considerably more interesting, and her sacrifice is all the more poignant.

Censorship in film is fascinating to me. To bring the thread back to horror, Breen had altered several things in the script for The Bride of Frankenstein, but finally, and almost against his better judgment, finally gave the film the seal of approval. Nevertheless, despite that seal, states and counties prohibited the showing of the film without certain cuts, and many foreign countries outright banned it.

Until film was seen as speech, the Breen Office was a necessary evil, and there's no doubt that a lot of truly great films came about under the code. That the office was utterly hypocritical and constantly offered "advice" that changed the scope and often the whole plot of a film just makes me wonder what other great films we might have had if the artists could have used red, too.

(For the record, I don't like the current MPAA system either, although some of the hypocrisy and "rules" are downright funny. One use of the "f" word is okay in a PG-13 film, but using two will apparently warp the spines of the young adults in the audience. And can anyone name a film that was rated NC-17 because of violence and not sex? At the very least, we should be able to know the names of those who get to sit in judgement of the films).
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Re: What Horror and Sc-Fi films have you seen lately?

Postby ChiO » August 2nd, 2012, 9:24 am

And can anyone name a film that was rated NC-17 because of violence and not sex?

There are several, but definitely the majority are rated NC-17 (or re-rated NC-17 from X) due to sex. And, don't you know, language and drug use go hand-in-hand with violence and sex. Many were initially rated NC-17 and then edited to get an R. According to Wikipedia (I feel trusting today), some of the NC-17s (or Xs) due to violence (primarily) were:

THE WILD BUNCH
THE EVIL DEAD
THE GODFATHER, PART III
MAN BITES DOG
A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET
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Re: What Horror and Sc-Fi films have you seen lately?

Postby MichiganJ » August 2nd, 2012, 11:10 am

Thanks, I went and checked the Wikipedia list. I had no idea there were so many NC-17 films! But the list shows that for the most part, NC-17 was the rating on the first go-round. After accepting the "recommendations" of the MPAA, many of the studios re-edited the films and those edited films were re-submitted and then theatrically released as rated R.

The Wild Bunch is an interesting example of the wackiness of the MPAA rating system. It's my understanding that The Wild Bunch originally had an R rating and not X in 1969. When it was re-released in 1993, the same film, with the addition of ten minutes of non-sexual of violent material, was given an NC-17. There was an appeal by the studio, and somehow, voila, the good folks at the MPAA re-saw the NC-17 film as an R. (I'll need to check the DVD, but I'm pretty sure the Director's Cut is rated R).

One of the things that really interests me about the rating system is that with the advent of home video, the MPAA rating is almost meaningless. The MPAA doesn't rate home video releases, which explains why there are so many "Director's Cuts" of released R-rated films. I always found it hypocritical of places like Blockbuster which would not carry NC-17 rated films, but had shelves filled with American Pie (Unrated). You can even buy it at Wal-mart for $5. (But you still won't find the latest CD my Eminem.)
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Re: What Horror and Sc-Fi films have you seen lately?

Postby MikeBSG » August 2nd, 2012, 5:07 pm

MichiganJ is right about "The Wild Bunch" and its brief NC-17 rating. To me, it just shows how flexible ratings are. An R is not always an R, and a PG in one era (and from one set of officials) might be more like an R in another era.

Frankly, I'm surprised that the ratings, which were established around 1968 or so, are still with us today. The "Code" lasted only from 1934-68. Of course, the ratings have been flexible. G,M,R,X has become G, PG, PG-13,R, and NC-17. I guess it is the adaptability of the ratings that has let them survive.

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Re: What Horror and Sc-Fi films have you seen lately?

Postby Mr. Arkadin » August 2nd, 2012, 8:30 pm

MichiganJ wrote:But while artists can work with limitations and constrictions, and often produce masterpieces, putting those restrictions on them means they cannot produce the work they would really want to.


That happened before and after the code and is till going on today. Film (and other art) is often altered for many reasons, not least of which is the idea of commercial appeal. A perfect example of this is Blade Runner (1982), where frightened investors demanded cuts, voice-over, and a new "happy" ending, because they had invested twenty million dollars (an unheard of sum at that time) and wanted to make sure they recouped their returns. In other instances, it's the working with different people who don't share the same goal, or perhaps have a completely opposing view, where the only solution is compromise. While we can discuss the idea of what Notorious might have been, we cannot really say if the result would actually be a better film because it simply does not exist. All the "director cuts" floating around these days give us access to undiluted visions and the results are often mixed for me. In some cases (like my namesake Mr. Arkadin [1955]), they make a disjointed mess watchable and entertaining (as well as coherent), in others (Amadeus [1984] is a good example), I find them excessive and pointless.

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Re: What Horror and Sc-Fi films have you seen lately?

Postby RedRiver » August 3rd, 2012, 12:04 pm

I don't watch director's cuts or additional footage. They may very well be superior to the mainstream release. But I like to experience the project that has been dropped into history. For better or worse.

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Re: What Horror and Sc-Fi films have you seen lately?

Postby MichiganJ » August 3rd, 2012, 3:40 pm

Mr. Arkadin wrote:
MichiganJ wrote:But while artists can work with limitations and constrictions, and often produce masterpieces, putting those restrictions on them means they cannot produce the work they would really want to.


That happened before and after the code and is till going on today. Film (and other art) is often altered for many reasons, not least of which is the idea of commercial appeal. A perfect example of this is Blade Runner (1982), where frightened investors demanded cuts, voice-over, and a new "happy" ending, because they had invested twenty million dollars (an unheard of sum at that time) and wanted to make sure they recouped their returns. In other instances, it's the working with different people who don't share the same goal, or perhaps have a completely opposing view, where the only solution is compromise. While we can discuss the idea of what Notorious might have been, we cannot really say if the result would actually be a better film because it simply does not exist. All the "director cuts" floating around these days give us access to undiluted visions and the results are often mixed for me. In some cases (like my namesake Mr. Arkadin [1955]), they make a disjointed mess watchable and entertaining (as well as coherent), in others (Amadeus [1984] is a good example), I find them excessive and pointless.

I think there is a big difference between an anonymous board censoring and the purse string holders censoring. One has the power to determine what is acceptable and unacceptable for society, while the other is protecting an investment. In the case of the latter, both artist and patron agree on terms; final cut for instance. With Breen and MPAA, there is no agreement. They can rate a film any way they want.

In the case of Blade Runner, Scott did not have final cut and the powers that be thought they had a turkey on their hands, so they re-edited, and created said turkey. Home video had the executives seeing green and created a "Director's Cut." Never sated with Scott's films, the studio saw another chance to make dough and thus, Scott's "Final Cut."

Film history is littered with studios and executives monkeying around with a film to make it "better." There's a whole book about Terry Gilliam's Brazil.

In both Blade Runner and Brazil, it was the money men who demanded the happy endings. That's unfortunate and short-sighted, but it's their money and their film.

It was the Breen office that demanded the happy ending for Notorious.

As I said, to me there is a big difference.
RedRiver wrote:I don't watch director's cuts or additional footage. They may very well be superior to the mainstream release. But I like to experience the project that has been dropped into history. For better or worse.

Most theatrical releases are the director's "approved" cut. The advent of home video begot The Director's Cut, Extended Edition and Special Edition, all generally meaning extra footage has been added to a film, with or without the actual director's participation. Sometimes it simply means an alternate cut of a film. Some are better, some are worse. I prefer the Extended "Bootleg Edition" of Crowe's Almost Famous, but the original theatrical release was Crowe's, approved director's cut.
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Re: What Horror and Sc-Fi films have you seen lately?

Postby Mr. Arkadin » August 3rd, 2012, 10:42 pm

MichiganJ wrote:I think there is a big difference between an anonymous board censoring and the purse string holders censoring. One has the power to determine what is acceptable and unacceptable for society, while the other is protecting an investment.


That's a fair statement. My point is that unless you are a individual artist whose work is not based on monetary means--you will be compromising in one form or another. As for the code and censorship, I was simply saying that genius rises to the top in whatever setting is applied. We all know of plenty of precode and postcode movies that are horrible, so whatever logic one applies to the idea that not having a censor board makes for better films is inherently flawed. Does that mean I agree with the Breen code? No, I simply enjoy each work in the period of time in which they are created and don't concern myself with what could have been (although The Magnificent Ambersons [1942] perhaps deserves its own thread on that subject). Are Citizen Kane (1941) or Out of the Past (1947) lesser films because of when they were made? I don't think so.


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