One thing that defines scripts and films in general is the tittle. Some titles are so iconic that once you mention them you pretty much have a full on breakdown of the story.
One funny thing about titles is that they don’t always start out the way they end up. A classic example of title changes was Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.
Originally the title was Sundance Kid and Butch Cassidy. The title was switched when Paul Newman took over the lead role. The film wouldn’t have been any less successful, or less classic had the title not changed, just really odd to pronounce.
The Star Wars saga is largely considered when thinking up all time great films. While the Star Wars Universe is massive, it’s no doubt centered on the six films that have come out over the last near four decades. The Empire Strikes Back is often referred to as the great piece of the original and later films. In order to get there though, Empire Strikes Back had to navigate some rough waters.
The making of Empire Strikes Back was complicated as expenditures caused the film to go over the original budget. The scenes taking place in Degobah were mostly just Mark Hamill in a swamp set, with a green screen and a puppet. The filming of Empire was so cumbersome that it caused a lot of discomfort for the actors and crew.
I guess Luke’s paternity really was a big deal.
Some performances in film are simply unforgettable. When you see a specific scene or shot you can almost tell what’s going to happen, how it’s going to happen. The magic of a film is at times placed on the shoulders of a single performance.
Whether or not this practice is engage upon intentionally really only depends on the director and performer dynamic. The way to know if it was the performance is being able to understand the story behind the performer. A great example, an all time great example is Gene Kelly.
Everyone thinks of Gene Kelly’s performance in Singing in the Rain. The iconic sequence in Singing in the Rain where Gene Kelly is climbing all over light posts, dancing and singing while in the middle of a downpour is an all time great moment. What makes that moment even greater is the fact that Gene Kelly was suffering from a fever of 103.
All time great indeed!
Peter Sellers immortalized the role of Inspector Clouseau in the Pink Panther. To think of anyone else playing the role of Clouseau is hard only because the role was uniquely Peter Sellers role. When The Pink Panther was re-made starring Steve Martin, there was a collective gasp with good reason.
So what where some of the other choices? The other choices for the role were Mike Myers, and Kevin Spacey. Myers and Spacey are fine actors but it’s fair to assume that neither one was really fit to take the role. There just isn’t anyone like Peter Sellers, no matter how good an actor, there is no Clouseau like the original Clouseau.
When a great film is made the Director is often credited. A director’s job is getting that great story on paper told in a visually stunning way. A director makes the star bring out something that he/she was not previously capable of. So then if you are going to call someone a genius it should show not just on one film, it should be reflected by an entire body film. A true genius was Sydney Lumet.
Lumet’s work was the kind that would bring you into the fold emotionally in ways that were nearly impossible to imagine or duplicate. The film 12 Angry Men was a clear example of Lumet’s ability to take dialogue and turn it into deeply personal, emotional angst. 12 Angry Men was set inside a jury room and it takes the audience into a place deep inside every character. Lumet was also responsible for classics like Serpico and The Veredict.
The genius of Lumet was making the characters so gritty that you would either love them or hate them, but without regard you would understand their motives. Emotion was Lumet’s signature, emotion unlike any other.
Alfred Hitchcock was a master filmmaker whose active career spanned over 55 years. Hitchcock’s thrillers were largely considered unparalleled in the sense that they gave his audiences an uneasy feeling and kept them guessing what was next from beginning to end. The majority of Hitchcock’s films as well as the body of work in his show were suspense. Hitchcock defined suspense and mystery in an interesting way.
To Hitchcock mystery was an intellectual process that made the audience wonder who was the culprit. Mystery engaged the audience in that exercise of silent participation and guessing. Hitchcock defined suspense differently; to him it was an emotional driver.
Suspense was about guessing until the end and having the payout leave you stunned. Hitchcock was a master at suspense and his obvious skill in terms of story telling was what made suspense decidedly emotional.
Talk about a master at work.
Silence of the Lambs is considered one of the greatest films of all time. The story of Hannibal Lecter was simply incredible. A deranged but cool Psychiatrist helps a newbie agent catch a criminal that was making suits with the skins of his female victims. The whole premise is creepy and still puts you on the edge of your seat.
The funny thing about Silence of the Lambs is that it was somewhat influenced by a schlocky horror film titled Deranged. The film Deranged was a low budget movie based on the case of Ed Gein, a serial killer that skinned his victims. The film itself was extremely cheesy but it was that type of subject that influenced a masterpiece.
Let’s hear it for bad films with good intentions!