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contents Issue Six.

February 2010
BRITISH FILMS 06 / Spotlight
RESCUED FROM Bright Ideas:
OBSCURITY Evocative colour use
AND PRESENTED ‘The transfers on the silver screen
IN HIGH-QUALITY come to Blu-ray 14 / Art & Film
EDITIONS in better shape Dream Catcher:
than many recent Stephen Coates and the
blockbusters’ revival of Dreams That
Kim Newman Money Can Buy

24 / Widescreen
Terror Vision:

New from the BFI A re-appraisal of 3-D’s

latest incarnation

30 / 1000 Words
Beautiful Creatures:
Ray Harryhausen
and stop-motion

30 Regulars
04 / Reel World
Dr. Starngelove

18 / One Sheet
‘I was partial to tragedy Main Attraction
in my youth. That was
before experience taught 34 / On Location
Monument Valley, Utah
me that life was tragical
enough without my 38 / Screengems
Medusa’s Head

cover image gentlemen prefer blondes (courtesy park circus ltd.)

having to write about it.’
Ammon 42 / Parting Shot
Invisible Men

44 / Competition
Steve Shorter, the biggest pop star of In 1960s London, a beautiful When Suzy arrives in London to Who’s that girl?
his day, is loved by millions. But, in continental au pair finds herself visit an old school friend, she is

reality, he is a puppet whose caught up in the affections of three unwittingly plunged into the 46 / Listings
carefully managed popularity is men. But fun and freedom soon ruthless world of the ‘groupie’. Soon
designed to keep the country’s youth turn to shame and despair and she her exciting new world of sex and Films coming to a big
under control. From the must confess a terrible secret. The drugs leads to tragedy. Includes screen near you
controversial director of The War world premiere release for this complete bonus feature, Bread.
Game. previously unseen sixties gem.
The Big Picture ISSN 1759-0922 © 2010 intellect Ltd. Published by Intellect Ltd. The Mill, Parnall Road. Bristol BS16 3JG /
Editorial office Tel. 0117 9589910 / E: Publisher Masoud Yazdani Guest Editor Scott Jordan Harris / Art Direction Gabriel Solomons
Released 25 January Contributors Jez Conolly, Nicholas Page, Emma Simmonds, Daniel Steadman, Alanna Donaldson, Helen Tenant, Chris Barraclough, Tony Nourmand, Alison Elangasinghe
Special thanks to John Letham, Sara Carlsson and all at Park Circus, Jelena Stanovnik, Michael Pierce at Curzon Cinemas and Gabriel Swartland at City Screen
Please send all email enquiries to: / l The Big Picture magazine is published six times a year

Published by intellect | Produced in partnership with Buy on DVD & Blu-ray from
february 2010 3

above slim pickens drops out in dr. strangelove or

how i learned to stop worrying and love the bomb

As spectacles go, it could of nuclear explosions (an

be argued that an atomic idea suggested by master of
explosion, with its ensuing the obscure sight gag, Spike
iconic mushroom cloud, is the Milligan) – incorporated
grandest of them all. Putting stock footage of 19 nuclear
aside the small matter of mass explosions, the ninth of which
destruction, post-apocalyptic is nuclear test “Baker” from
fallout and the eradication of “Operation Crossroads”, the
all known life (save perhaps first post-war nuclear tests on
the odd cockroach or two), the Bikini atoll (see image).
the awesomness of these The genius of this scene is
god-awful explosions is in its choreography and the
undeniable. So much so that blacker than black humour

movies have often exploited elicited by such inspired
their wide-screen-friendly juxstaposition of humanity’s
grandeur to full effect, as
Kubrick harnessed the
demise alongside a rousing
multi-megaton kabooms lay sing-song. With no real
waste to large swathes of
nuclear explosion’s the world’s population. None
option other than to use stock

imagery of real explosions
naked cinematic have been more effective
though than the stock footage
(special digital effects were
still in their infancy), Kubrick
potential to create one of nuclear blasts used in the
finale of Stanley Kubrick’s
harnessed their naked
potential to create one of
of the finest and most ascerbic parody of war Dr.
Strangelove or How I learned
the finest and most apt film

apt film endings ever. to stop worrying and love

endings ever – an ending that
both terrifies us and makes us
the bomb. The final scene – a smile. Go figure. [tbp]
surreal medley in which Vera
Movie moments don’t come any bigger than those that herald the end of above The “Baker” explosion, part of Operation Crossroads Lynn’s “We’ll Meet Again”
Photo by united States Department of Defense is played over several shots
the world. Lucky for us it’s just make believe. Words by Gabriel Solomons

alsosee... The Day After (1983) / Miracle Mile (1988) / Terminator 2 & 3 (1991/2003)

4 february 2010 5

spotlight Images courtesy of Park Circus Limited
far left jane russell and
marilyn monroe go for broke
left pretty spectacular: monroe

on the
screen Gentlemen Prefer
Blondes (1953)
Dir.Howard Hawks

There’s no spectacle in cinema

quite like the sight of Marilyn
Monroe. Here, the epitome of
twentieth-century sex appeal
plays Lorelei Lee, ‘the only
girl in the world who can stand
on a stage with a spotlight in
her eye and still see a diamond
in a man’s pocket’.

Hawks’ mastery of
his musical material
provides for a
delightful whirl of
c ove r fe at u r e golden age glamour

Society of
and whistle-worthy

The Spectacle
Monroe’s fellow siren Jane
Russell plays Lee’s fellow
showgirl Dorothy Shaw, who’s
supposedly chaperoning Lee
on an ocean liner carrying
multiple millionaires, and
the entire US Olympic team,
across the Atlantic. Every
As audiences prepare to welcome Howard Hawks’ classic
man onboard bids for a seat
50s romp Gentlemen Prefer Blondes back into cinemas, the at the girls’ table but when
Big Picture gives you the chance to vote for which of our Lorelei proves she really does
shortlist of spectacular movies you’d most like to see back believe ‘diamonds are a girl’s
on the big screen. Introduction by Scott Jordan Harriss best friend’ she makes a high
society spectacle of herself
and attracts the resolutely un-
amorous attentions of lawyers
and lawmen. Hawks’ mastery
of his musical material ensures
Voting is easy: Voting opens on she’s extricated from her
simply select your favourite title February 14th. troubles in a delightful whirl
from the films featured on the The winning film and of golden age glamour and
whistle-worthy show-stoppers. ➜
following six pages, visit screening venues will be announced on the Gentlemen Prefer Blondes is
and follow the instructions on the back in UK cinemas from 26th of
website on March 30th. February. See page 46 for details.
‘Back in Cinemas’ page.

Now go cast your vote for one of the following films you’d like to see Back in Cinemas...
february 2010 7
spotlight Simply Spectacular Kobal Image Courtesy of Park Circus Limited

movie movie
Calamity Jane (1953) champion
Alanna Theatre of Blood (1973) champion
Dir. David Butler Dir. Douglas Hickox simmonds

vote vote
01 02

This Wild West musical is This gem from the golden age Friends, Britons, countrymen, In this cinematic banquet

Everything about it is classical Hollywood cinema at

its most joyously spectacular.
deserves to be back on the big
screen because everything Lionheart’s fellow moving-picture
enthusiasts, I implore
of beastliness, Price plays
Edward Lionheart, a
larger than life: from Doris Day plays Calam’, a
gun-toting, thigh-slapping
about it is larger than life:
from its sweeping love bloodthirsty you to consider Theatre of
Blood. This spine-chilling
Shakespearian ham, presumed
dead after a dramatic plunge
its sweeping love story cowgirl who considers herself
one of the boys – until, that
story to Day’s flamboyant
performance. Whimsical and
schemes, inspired spectacle features wicked
wit and ingenious executions,
into the Thames, returning to
enact revenge on the critics
to Day’s flamboyant is, a glamorous showgirl
blows into town and the two
charming, it is pure reverie,
as cinema ought to be: as one
by the work of his perpetrated by the maverick
– nay, the master – of the
whose reliably dreadful
reviews dogged his career.
performance... it is become rivals in love. The love-struck character sings, ‘I beloved Bard, quite macabre, the incomparable Lionheart’s bloodthirsty

pure reverie, as cinema rollicking soundtrack includes

the classics ‘Whip-Crack-A-
wouldn’t be at all surprised /
If I were only dreamin’ all of simply have to be Vincent Price. Add a
devilish dame (Diana Rigg),
schemes, inspired by the work
of his beloved Bard, quite
ought to be... Way’, ‘Black Hills of Dakota’
and ‘Windy City’, with
this…’ AD
seen to be believed. catastrophically shoddy
coppers and a cast of doomed
simply have to be seen to be
believed: witness death by
delightfully frivolous lyrics British icons and it makes for dog-pie, murderous tramps
above doris day makes a scene in calamity jane such as ‘Men wear sideburns, above gagging for attention: theatre of blood a marvellous medley. and a killer coiffure. People of
and they oughta/ Cos a Britain: vote Theatre of Blood!
haircut costs a quarter’. It’s an absolute ruddy riot. ES

how to vote Go the Big Picture website and follow the instructions on the ‘Back in Cinemas’ page when to vote Voting opens on February 14th, 2010. The winning film will be announced March 30th

8 february 2010 9

spotlight Simply Spectacular Images Courtesy of Park Circus Limited

Electric Dreams (1984) movie

Desperately Seeking Susan (1985)
Dir. Steve Barron steadman Dir. Susan Seidelman
A batty, techno-centric concept, helen Roberta (Rosanna Arquette)
a unique love-triangle plot, tenant is married to a bath salesman,
and a mid-1980s synth-fest lives in suburbia and spends
vote soundtrack, pop-promo-guru vote her boring housewife
03 Barron’s Electric Dreams 04 days imagining the stories
is Reagan-Thatcher era behind personals in the
spectacle at its most glorious. newspapers. Her obsession
Beginning from the yuppiest with Susan (Madonna), a
of concepts – a San Franciscan fascinating freewheeler
property developer buying who communicates with her
an enormous home computer boyfriend through personal
– the film spirals deliriously ads, launches her into an
beyond sense, as the plucky inadvertent adventure
PC acquires a personality. featuring amnesia, mistaken
At first, this represents an identity, a chase with the
unlikely boon for owner Miles mafia and falling in love.
(Lenny Von Dohlen) – Cort,
the computer, synchs with
his household appliances and it’s the spectacle
of Madonna
Italian electro- at her coolest
disco maestro from which its
Giorgio Moroder’s keenest cinematic
‘score’ sets time pleasures come.
and tone perfectly
for an ecstatic The film caught the zeitgeist
snapshot of an age of the New York new wave,
but it’s the spectacle of
of misunderstood Madonna at her coolest from
technical advance... which its keenest cinematic
pleasures come. Madonna
established a new paradigm of
offers romantic assistance a pop-star-as-style-icon, with
when super-hot cellist sheer tops, lacy bras, vintage
Madeline (Virginia Madsen) dresses and the most amazing
moves in next door. But when studded boots in cinema.
Cort develops its own compu- Balmain is doing those
crush on Madeline – using studded boots this season:
Miles’ techno-heavy domestic the 1980s are cool again – and
set-up to sabotage its love Desperately Seeking Susan
rival – Dreams goes all out in definitely deserves a rerun
dayglo, cultish excess. on the big screen as a glimpse
of when we all wanted to be
Italian electro-disco maestro
Madonna. HT
Giorgio Moroder’s ‘score’ sets above girls aloud: rosanna arquette and madonna in desperately seeking susan
above lenny von dohlen in electric dreams
time and tone perfectly for
an ecstatic snapshot of an age
of misunderstood technical
advance and dizzyingly
unchecked overindulgence that
deserves to be re-seen on the
big screen. DS

how to vote Go the Big Picture website and follow the instructions on the ‘back in cinemas’ page when to vote Voting opens on February 14th, 2010. The winning film will be announced March 30th

10 february 2010 11

spotlight Simply Spectacular Images Courtesy of Park Circus Limited

movie movie
Sexy Beast (2000) champion
Zelig (1983) champion
Dir. Jonathan Glazer Dir. Woody Allen harris

vote vote
05 06

From the opening moments, performance as the psychotic The world’s wittiest man is and visual effects – which

Even when standing when bronzed bank robber

Gal (Ray Winstone) is almost
Don Logan. Here is a
character so depraved that Newsreels were a more usually associated with
spectacles than spectacle,
position Allen alongside
famous figures from the film’s
in just his Y-fronts, crushed by a runaway boulder,
Sexy Beast is obviously far
even Ray Winstone is afraid
of him! Even when standing uniquely cinematic but his 1983 masterpiece
of mockumentary-making
1920s setting in otherwise
genuine newsreel footage
Kingsley evokes more from a typical cockney crime
caper. Director Jonathan
in just his Y-fronts, Kingsley
evokes more menace with a
medium and so, to be is different. Zelig is an
astonishing satire on our need
– that provide the true
spectacle. Newsreels were a
menace with a single Glazer is immediately bold
enough to plaster the titles
single piercing glare than a
million Travis Bickles ever
appreciated properly, to conform that showcases
the talents of ‘The Human
uniquely cinematic medium
and so, to be appreciated
piercing glare than a over Winstone’s speedo-clad could. Zelig must be seen in Chameleon’ Leonard properly, Zelig must be seen

million Travis Bickles crotch, and drops tender

moments right alongside
A vote for Sexy Beast is
a vote for thrilling and
a cinema. Zelig – a man so keen to
fit in he shifts shape, size,
in a cinema. As Allen argues,
conformity isn’t always
ever could. disturbingly surreal images of
an Uzi-toting monster rabbit.
provocative cinema. Just
don’t take your granny. CB
personality and profession
in order to resemble those
ideal. But it is here: Do The
Chameleon. Vote Zelig. SJH
The result is a tense and above same again please: zelig around him. While Allen’s
hilarious spectacle from start physical transformations are
above ben kingsley sees red in sexy beast
to blood-soaked finale, pushed sufficiently spectacular to link
into sheer freneticism by Zelig to our theme here, it is
Ben Kingsley’s mesmerising the film’s ingenious editing

how to vote Go the Big Picture website and follow the instructions on the ‘back in cinemas’ page when to vote Voting opens on February 14th, 2010. The winning film will be announced March 30th

12 february 2010 13


Long before the current crop for the film. Coates was a about cinema and cinema
of artists, headed notably perfect choice; his self-termed audiences. Marcel Duchamp
by Steve McQueen (Hunger,
2008) and Sam Taylor
This pre-Lynchian ‘antique beat’ style is an
attempt to capture the way
provided ‘Discs’: a poetic
dream of spinning ellipses
satire of Hollywood is a

Wood (Nowhere Boy, he heard music when he was interspersed with shots
2009), switched career a child – the strange and that recall his earlier
paths towards filmmaking,
a loose collection of art- surrealist portmanteau haunting sounds of old songs
floating from radios in the
painting Nude Descending
a Staircase. Alexander
world creatives were
persuaded to commit their featuring seven pieces late afternoon. ‘I remember
playing and singing along to
Calder, noted mainly for his
sculptures, contributes two

linked by the story of

ideas to celluloid. The result old 78s on a portable record segments, ‘Ballet’, a dance
was Dreams That Money player even when I was of floating mobiles of various
Can Buy (1947): a film that very small,’ he says. ‘And I shapes and sizes, and ‘Circus’,
continues to play to full
houses on its rare outings,
Joe, a self-confessed would be totally transported
by songs like White Horses
a parade of wire figures,
mechanisms, moving parts
Jez Conolly revisits a classic crossover between
art and film, and talks with the musician
enhanced by a new musical
soundtrack. bum, who tries to and Somewhere over the
and springs. Finally Hans
Richter, the mastermind
responsible for its recent revival. This pre-Lynchian satire
of Hollywood (the great
make a living out of The new score, blended
with Joe’s original rhyming
behind the whole project,
caps the film with Joe’s own

selling dreams.
dream, ‘Narcissus’, in which
dream factory) is a surrealist voice-over, lends each our narrator turns blue and
portmanteau featuring seven section of the film a fresh experiences alienation.
pieces linked by the story of intrigue and piquancy.
Joe, a self-confessed bum, Max Ernst’s ‘Desire’ is a  Coates’ involvement with
who tries to make a living above & opposite stills from hans richter’s masterpiece fever dream of vivid colour, the re-score dates back
out of selling dreams. More eroticism, lace, velvet and to 2005. ‘Originally it was
than half a century after its dry ice. Fernand Léger’s ‘The conceived as a purely live
original release, the BFI Girl with the Prefabricated performance. Stuart Brown
commissioned the innovative Heart’ features a romance at BFI events introduced me
musician Stephen Coates, between two mannequins. to Marek Pytel of Reality
founder of the group ‘The Man Ray’s visual treat, ‘Ruth, Film who has pioneered the
Real Tuesday Weld’, to Roses and Revolvers’, is production of collaborations
write an alternative score a self-reflective piece between musicians and ➜

14 february 2010 15

art&film Dreams That Money Can’t Buy
sounds, samples and text
from the original.’ Being
a relatively early colour
feature Dreams That Money
Can Buy provided a unique
sensory spectacle for Coates
and his cohort to respond to.
‘There are a lot of flaws in the
film – technical, editing, etc. –
probably budget-related, but
mainly it looks absolutely
gorgeous and of course the
new restoration by the BFI
brought that out. It really
fit with the palette that we
have been working with over
the years in terms of images
and colour, so that was a big
Coates has a clear
connectedness with the work
of the artists that feature in
the film but is less enamoured
with the cinematic efforts of
contemporary practitioners:
‘I’m not interested personally
– I generally prefer HBO
series! I am a fan of movies
but not particularly art
films. Dreams That Money
Can Buy was an exception,
partly because of the era that
it comes from and partly the
films with an existing weight of the content of its
soundtrack. We watched a contributors. There are so
few potential films, one of
which was Dreams That
‘The response is many great filmmakers – I
find the artists now generally
Money Can Buy. I was blown
away; I couldn’t believe it
amazing. We have can’t compete.’
The live performances of
was not better known. I loved
the look of it, and having a played it internationally, the new score accompanying
screenings of the film continue
even in Moscow with
strong interest in dreams
to entertain audiences, most
and psychology it seemed
recently at the Bath Film
an inevitable choice. The
band felt the same way and
we worked out how to do it
Cyrillic subtitles. It’s a Festival, much to Coates’
satisfaction: ‘The response
using narrators – C belle and
David Piper – and performed
wonderful but difficult is amazing. We have played
it internationally, even

film, which people are

in Moscow with Cyrillic
it initially at BFI Southbank
subtitles. It’s a wonderful
and then at Tate Modern for
but difficult film, which
the first ‘Long Weekend’ in
the Turbine Hall. It worked so generally amazed by...’ people are generally amazed
by and I think what we do
well that the BFI asked us to
makes it easier in some
record the alternative score
ways. We aim to make it an
for the first release of the film
enjoyable theatrical event.’
on DVD.’
A favourite segment? ‘Max
In tune with the nature of the Ernst’s “Desire” is wonderful
original film, the musicians – but I find the final sequence
were able to retain a sense of by Richter himself very
experimentation: ‘There were moving now. I know the text
no prescriptions at all. Stuart inside out and it seems like it
was completely open to what is the thoughts and images,
we came up with in the first reflections and dreams of a
place and it developed in a consciousness at the end of a
above & opposite performing the score at the bfi southbank
series of live improvisations life.’ [tbp]
and then recorded sessions
based around a set of written
themes.  We incorporated
alsosee... [film ] Dadascope (1961) [website ] [film ] Hunger (2008)

16 february 2010 17


deconstructing film posters

Attraction When the emergence of In the space of just three years,
between 1948 and 1951, cinema
television threatened audiences almost halved. This
fall was a direct result of the rise
cinema, movies – and movie of television. People were much
posters – were stretched to happier to sit comfortably at
home watching the new ‘novelty
unprecedented extremes. box’ than venture out to their
dusty local film theatre. The film
Tony Nourmand, of London’s studios’ response was to focus
Reel Poster Gallery, takes on productions that were not
possible with television’s limited
a look at four striking technology. The Big Country,
examples. for example, was a big budget
western told on an epic scale with
an epic cast and an epic story.
Such grand spectaculars were
only possible on the big screen,
and enticed audiences back into
cinemas. Legendary designer
Saul Bass’ ‘style B’ poster for The
Big Country aptly reflects the
epic scale of the movie. ➜

The Big Country (1958) Original us / Art by Saul Bass

gofurther... [matinee idol ] William Castle [artist ] Josk Hinchcliff

onesheet Main Attraction The Fly (1958) Original British / Art by Jock Hinchcliff

Castle scary
Schlockmeister William
Castle was a master of
B-movies. As an independent
producer, Castle recognized
the necessity of having an
edge over his competitors
both in the film and television
industries. He also noted
the growing public interest
in shock-horror and science-
fiction movies and capitalized
on it by developing various
gimmicks to accompany his
films: for The Tingler, Castle
wired-up certain cinemas so
that audiences would be given
mild electric shocks through
their chairs. This feature
was exploited as a major
selling point in the US poster

for The Tingler,

William Castle
wired-up certain
cinemas so that
audiences would be
given mild electric
shocks through Proof positive
their chairs.
Jock Hinchcliff’s kitsch
Likewise, Jock Hinchcliff’s
kitsch British poster for
The Fly used a gimmick
British poster for The Fly that offered cinemagoers
the chance to win £100 (the
used a gimmick that offered equivalent of more than £1500
today) if they could prove
cinemagoers the chance to win its premise was impossible.
Aside from the monetary

money if they could prove its incentive, the ‘prove it can’t

happen’ tagline also played

premise was impossible.

on public anxiety about
the recent discovery of the
structure of DNA, which
made a mutant fly a more
credible scientific possibility
and encouraged the idea that
there was a real threat of
The Tingler (1959) Original US
existing species being altered
by scientific experiments or
nuclear radiation.

20 february 2010 21

AfricAn / nigeriAn
AmericAn – Hollywood
onesheet Main Attraction

AmericAn – independent
AustrAlAsiAn directory of
cAnAdiAn world
eAst europeAn
germAn The Directory of World Cinema aims to bring a
new dimension to the academic study of film.
irAniAn The directory is intended to play a part in the
distribution of academic output, by building a
indiAn forum for the study of film from a disciplined

theoretical base.

www . worldcinemadirectory. org
House of Wax (1953) Original US Proof positive Visit the website where you can:
Another technique used to Just a few months later, Learn more about the project
lure audiences back to the Warner Brothers released
silver screen was 3D. In 1953,
Bwana Devil, the first full-
length colour feature film shot
House of Wax and billed it
as the first major studio 3D
film. The American billboard
turkisH Comment on any of the reviews
Write your own film or director reviews

spAnisH / portuguese
entirely in the 3D process, poster was the perfect size to
was released. Audiences were fully exploit the promotion of Offer to edit a volume of the directory
entranced and the film was this new technology. [tbp]
a sell-out success, grossing
over $1.3 million in the first
month of general release. This
sparked the early-1950s boom
soutH New
AmericAn / brAziliAn
in 3D features.
restq of tHe
Download the free world
volume (including
gofurther... [film ] Bwana Dvil (1953) [film ] Josh Hinchcliff isrAel, koreA,
Directory denmArk,
of World Cimema: Japan

finlAnd, norwAy And icelAnd,
widescreen opposite the early days of 3d cinema / below feeling the force / right old school scares

continued dependence on the

gawkish glasses – too high a
price to pay for effects that
frequently achieve only a
limited impact?
3-D as a spectacle demands
to be noticed and it’s
something of a bore when it’s
not. However, for most films,
repeatedly drawing attention
to the wizardry is contrived
and distracting, siphoning
attention from the narrative.
The horror genre alone
has the advantage of being
looking uniquely and unashamedly
again: manipulative, so can play
3-D up the trickery as another
weapon in its arsenal. Friday

13th Part III (1982) is a
landmark example of this.
Its consistently inventive,
sometimes frightening but
often witty use of 3-D is
a powerful contrast to its

general God-awfulness, with
characters conspicuously
holding objects up to the
screen for our dastardly
delectation. It’s an arch
Like that old pest Jason approach but one that’s
Voorhees rising inexplicably entirely appropriate for a
but predictably from his latest franchise horror movie.
demise, 3-D is back. 2009 In addition, the act of
brought with it a slew of high being terrorized – the
profile 3-D releases, amongst heightened, rapt immersion
them: animated features Up
The recent resurgence in 3-D means it’s and Coraline; family-friendly
associated with being held
in nail-nibbling suspense –
time to reappraise just what the format spectacle Journey to the significantly distracts from
adds to the cinematic experience. Center of the Earth; James the cumbersome eyewear
Cameron’s long-awaited
Emma Simmonds argues that only the and often imperfect effects.
horror genre successfully exploits the
Avatar and horror flicks The
Final Destination and My Whether this is the As demonstrated by Friday
13th Part III, it is easy to
technology’s potential, by putting it
brazenly centre stage. ➜
Bloody Valentine. Whether
this is the format of the future format of the future or excuse films of this ilk any
manner of other failings

merely another flight of

or merely another flight of provided they succeed in their
spectacular cinematic whimsy bare bones remit to create
is still very much up for
spectacular cinematic
tension and frights; the skilful
debate. Yet, a more apposite cultivation of such an intense
question may be whether it and diverting experience
was worth making many of
these movies stereoscopic whimsy is still very can temper the detrimental
impact of a multitude of
at all. Is the extra layer of
artifice – epitomized by its much up for debate. inadequacies.

24 february 2010 25

widescreen 3-D technology
left pixar does it again: Up
below making moves down under: journey to the center of the earth 3-D’s ‘in-your-face’
technology has the capacity
to enhance – rather than
distract from – a horror film’s
sinister surprises (usually
only fleetingly glimpsed and
therefore not subjected to
tremendous scrutiny) with
effects that appear to smash
through the fourth wall. In the
guise of a threat, such effects
can meaningfully erode the
line between the big screen
and the audience’s space,
ratcheting up the fear factor

Purely in terms of as audiences are fooled into

dodging images that seem to

visceral impact, can leap off the screen.

Purely in terms of visceral

the three-dimensional
impact, can the three-
dimensional rendering of a
house buoyed by hundreds of
rendering of a house colourful balloons in Up really
compare with the moment
buoyed by hundreds of when a pickaxe comes haring
toward the audience in My

colourful balloons in Up Bloody Valentine 3D? What

other type of movie can use

really compare with the

the extra dimension to prompt
©disney/pixar all rights reserved

a thrilling physical reaction?

To paraphrase the advertising
moment when a pickaxe campaign for The Last House
on the Left, how do we keep
comes haring toward the telling ourselves it’s only
a movie when the skilful
audience in My Bloody utilization of 3-D can conjure
such convincing assaults?

Valentine 3D? While all this may be true

of the big screen experience,
however, the experience
for those viewing at home
Ultimately, the still trails limply behind.
The modern polarization
revitalization technique avoids much of the
of 3-D is less a discolouration and ghosting
associated with the earlier
way to further versions of 3-D technology,
immerse ourselves but the familiar headache-
inducing anaglyph system,
in animated viewed in conjunction with the
poxy coloured-lens glasses,
wonderlands is the only technology that
and more an our beloved telly-boxes will
currently support. So, anyone
opportunity to who found themselves in thrall
inspire shock and to the macabre manipulations
of, say, My Bloody Valentine
awe in seasoned, 3D will – on purchasing the
inured punters... DVD version – find the impact
sadly diminished.
But fear not couch potatoes:
significant developments
in home entertainment are
imminent, with Sony planning
left in the cut: the final destination to start selling 3-D Ready TV ➜

alsosee... Robot Monster (1953) / House of Wax (1953) / Creature From the Black Lagoon (1954)

26 february 2010 27

widescreen 3-D technology
below breaking the 4th wall: avatar bottom an audience watches u2 in 3d
18 TO 28 FEBRUARY 2010
sets in 2010 and Sky launching
a 3-D channel the same year.
Both will use versions of
the polarized system that
so successfully terrorizes
cinemagoers. For now, though,
and until such advances
become commonplace and
affordable, the disparity
between the cinematic and
televisual impact of 3-D gives

©twentieth century fox all rights reserved

us yet another reason to keep
heading to the pictures.
Ultimately, the
revitalization of 3-D is less
a way to further immerse
ourselves in animated
wonderlands and more an GFF10’S RETROSPECTIVE
opportunity to inspire shock
and awe in seasoned, inured
punters after the most
depraved depths have been
plundered. It’s an undeniably
bombastic, knuckle-headed
approach, but it’s a bona fide
hoot and, for a franchise film
like The Final Destination
or a remake like My Bloody
Valentine, it’s a new lease of
life – as these are the perfect,
cynical vehicles for such crass,
but fun, exploitation. [tbp]


Calamity Jane
Desperately Seeking Susan
The disparity between the
cinematic and televisual Theatre of Blood
impact of 3-D gives us yet
another reason to keep
Electric Dreams
heading to the pictures. Sexy Beast / Zelig ✔

alsosee... Find out more information at:

Andy Warhol’s Frankenstein (1973) / T2 3-D: Battle Across Time (1996) / Coraline (2009) ★ ★
28 ★ ★
★ ★
1000words Below The Golden Voyage of Sinbad
for his work in King Kong, splicing creature effects and their destructive assaults
which successfully combined real-life actors: effectively by careless experiments
stop-motion effects with sandwiching the stop-motion or greedy humans keen to
footage of real-life actors. reel between other footage. exploit them: the Rhedosaurus
The result bewildered even This integration soon became that emerged from the ocean
industry experts – with some practically seamless, as in 20,000 Fathoms was
exclaiming that a 50-foot tall shown in 1963’s Jason and awakened by nuclear testing;
gorilla must have actually the Argonauts, in which the just as 20 Million Miles to
existed. titular hero famously, and Earth’s Ymir was torn from
The secret of stop-motion convincingly, battles a horde its habitat at the start of the
was finally revealed to the of skeletons in a four-minute film and immediately set upon
masses by Look magazine, sequence that took four by a dumbfounded nation.
which featured a memorable months to produce. Indeed, the Ymir exhibits a
photograph of actress Fay
Wray shaking hands with
Harryhausen’s creatures
– for we don’t call them
Harryhausen wonderful display of emotion
when – after killing an
an 18-inch high model of the monsters – remain amongst used his enraged elephant – it takes a
giant gorilla. Harryhausen
immediately began
the most lifelike and
expressive ever conceived,
experience lingering look at the animal’s
corpse, and then guiltily slinks
constructing his own models even compared to their to develop a away.
in an attempt to replicate modern day computer- Although Harryhausen
the technique, until a chance generated equivalents. To revolutionary was a master at invoking
meeting with O’Brien led to a
rather bittersweet outcome.
create such convincing beasts,
he invested a lot of time
method of feelings from lumps of
plasticine, he also created
The animator took one look at getting beneath their skin. splicing creature spectacular set pieces that
Harryhausen’s attempt at a
stegosaurus, and immediately
For Mighty Joe Young, he
confessed that ‘I even went so
effects and real- amazed audiences. From
the Rhedosaurus’ rampage
proclaimed it had ‘legs like far as to eat celery and carrots life actors. along North America’s east
sausages’. in my tea break’. Many of his coast, to Clash of the Titans’
Regardless, Harryhausen creatures were sympathetic climactic battle against the
worked hard to perfect characters, provoked into ferocious Kraken, the action ➜
his craft and remained
in constant contact with
O’Brien, eventually becoming Below The master at work: the Kraken from Clash of the Titans
his protégé. The pair first
worked together on Mighty
Joe Young, another film about
humans exploiting a giant
gorilla that ultimately ends
in tragedy. As O’Brien was
overworked, Harryhausen
was responsible for the
m o m e nts that changed film forever majority of the film’s stop-

motion animation and his
Ray Harryhausen was in his efforts so impressed the
early teens when he first saw Academy that the film was
seminal creature feature King awarded an Oscar for Best
Kong. As he watched the Visual Effects in 1949.

famous ape battle terrifying While O’Brien’s career
dinosaurs and ultimately floundered amid promises
wreak terrible destruction on of projects that were never
New York City, he knew for realized, Harryhausen took
certain that his future lay in stop-motion as his own.
cinema. What he didn’t know Each film he worked on,
was how pioneering animator from 1954’s The Beast from
Willis O’Brien had brought a 20,000 Fathoms to 1981’s
50-foot gorilla to life. Clash of the Titans, pushed
the technology further and
Harryhausen & stop-motion photography At the time of the film’s
further to produce evermore
release, in 1933, only a handful
Text by Chris Barraclough of people knew O’Brien’s startling effects. Beast had
secret: he had used stop- a budget of just £200,000 – a
motion photography, in which pittance by modern standards
tiny models are painstakingly even after inflation – and
moved and shot a frame at a yet still delivered a horrific
time. It was a technique he and enormous humanoid
had first implemented eight dinosaur destroying huge
years earlier in The Lost cities and an entire theme
World and, while that film is park. Harryhausen used
undoubtedly still impressive, his experience to develop
it was simply a warm up a revolutionary method of gofurther... Mighty Joe Young (1949) / The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms (1954)

30 february 2010 31


Film Comment celebrates 45 years  
of cinema coverage  
Published bi‐monthly by the internationally renowned  
Film Society of Lincoln Center, Film Comment provides  
global coverage in cinema including exclusive interviews,  
in‐depth reviews, discussions on new releases and classic  
films, authoritative profiles on luminaries in the industry, 
and developments in the art of filmmaking. 

“FILM COMMENT regularly publishes some of the 
  best film writers in world, and they probe and parse 
    cinema in way that deepen our experience of it.” 
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 “I love every aspect of motion  Best Arts Coverage 
pictures, and I’m committed to it 
Above special effects ‘stripped to the bone’: jason and the argonauts for life. FILM COMMENT has that 
same commitment when it comes 
to writing about motion 
scenes in his films are as good
as anything in the biggest Harryhausen’s creatures – for seen. Industry giants such as
Peter Jackson and Tim Burton
pictures.” – Clint Eastwood 
Hollywood blockbusters.
Even more impressive is the we don’t call them monsters – may never have even picked
up a camera were it not for    
way Harryhausen integrated
real-life locales into his films.
remain amongst the most lifelike his work, and his devotion to
stop-motion photography has
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Kong’s New York assault, he adopt the same techniques. use code 2BKFR9 when ordering 
went on to devastate major
global cities from Washington
even compared to modern day Burton had huge hits with a time when films and 
The Nightmare Before filmmakers actually mattered 
DC to Rome. The destruction
of the Washington Monument
computer-generated standards. Christmas and Corpse Bride,
and were treated as being worthy 
in Earth vs. The Flying
while Wes Anderson turned
to stop-motion for his latest of serious discussion. There’s no    
Saucers was a personal ‘In the 1950s, we were the effort, Fantastic Mr Fox. other cinema magazine remotely 
highlight – one that required
only ones doing fantasy,’ he Harryhausen kept the practice like it.”    
a full model reconstruction said in a later interview. ‘Now alive, and, in the process,
of the mighty structure. there are so many companies, gave us the most memorable – Steven Soderbergh  1.888.313.6085 US 
Meticulous stop-motion was collection of creatures ever
used to show the collapse
everything’s been done. There
reaches a point where you seen on the silver screen. In
1.973.627.5162 International 
of every piece of debris as can’t see yourself spending fact, his menagerie has only
the alien craft bulldozed the another year of your life in a ever been upstaged once – by Film Comment 
monument, with Harryhausen darkened room, twisting little Raquel Welch’s infamous PO Box 3000, Denville, NJ 07834 USA 
going so far as to paint each models around. But I still cavewoman costume in One
individual wire out of the love the work and I miss it Million Years B.C. [tbp]  
picture before he took a shot. sometimes.’
The great animator finally Although he’s no longer A remake of Clash of the
retired in the 1980s, after making movies, Harryhausen’s Titans is due out in cinemas
working on almost 20 films. influence on the art can still be March 26th, 2010

alsosee... 20 Million Miles to Earth (1957) / Earth vs. The Flying Saucers (1956) / Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009)

Natural movie locations don’t come more
spectacular than America’s Monument Valley, a
seemingly endless backdrop that has inspired many
a dusty western. Nicholas Page takes a look at
some of this famous valley’s appearances on film.

The Stagecoach
Searchers (1939)
(1956) Dir. John Ford
USA, 96 minutes
Dir. John Ford Starring John Wayne,
USA, 119 minutes Claire Trevor, Andy Devine
Starring John Wayne, Vera
Miles, Jeffrey Hunter
John Ford’s Stagecoach may
have taken up a fairly unas-
Often seen as a revisionist suming position in the archives
take on the western genre, The of the western genre, but
Searchers core themes include its importance as a template
inherent racism and fear of for things to come is well
miscegenation. These aspects documented: as is its position
are dealt with in an obvious, yet as the movie that launched the
somewhat tentative fashion, career of John Wayne – one of
by John Ford, and are upheld Hollywood’s biggest icons. The
in the views of his flawed film, which sees Wayne playing
protagonist, Ethan Edwards a fugitive named the ‘Ringo
(Wayne). The surly Ethan, Kid’ as he helps protect a
fuelled by his hatred for all stagecoach against an Apache
things Native American, leads attack, was not only the first
a band of searchers across sound western that Ford made
southern America looking but also his first feature to be
for his nieces, who have been shot in Monument Valley.
captured by Comanche raiders.


above looking for salvation: the searchers
right sweeping statements: stagecoach

• utah,u.s.a•

february 2010 35
Kobal (2)
onlocation Monument Valley

My Darling Easy Rider

Clementine The film, which was (1969)
(1946) nominated for two Dir. Dennis Hopper
USA, 95 minutes
Dir. John Ford Academy Awards, Starring Dennis Hopper, Peter
Fonda, Jack Nicholson
is an extraordinary
USA, 97 minutes
Starring Henry Fonda, Walter

encapsulation of
Brennan, Linda Darnell
Contrary to what this article
may imply, not all films shot,
An extremely loose take on
the legend of the O.K. Corral
American counter- or set, in Monument Val-
ley are westerns. Dennis
shoot-out, John Ford’s My
Darling Clementine follows
culture in the 1960s. Hopper’s Easy Rider, a 1969
road movie that follows two
former lawman Wyatt Earp hippie motorcyclists (played
(Henry Fonda) as he comes by Hopper and Peter Fonda)
out of retirement to capture left henry fonda rides high in my darling clementine above chasing the american dream: easy rider as they make their way across
the notorious Clanton clan, America to Mardi Gras, fea-
simultaneously ridding the tures the location somewhat
small town of Tombstone of briefly as part of the passing
its blight and avenging the landscape. The film, which was
death of his younger brother, nominated for two Academy
James. In his quest for justice, Awards, is an extraordinary
Wyatt encounters many encapsulation of American
shady characters, as well as a counter-culture in the 1960s.
beautiful young lady named
Kobal (1)

alsosee... Once Upon a Time in the West (1968) / Three Amigos! (1986) / Thelma & Louise (1991)

36 february 2010 37


• screengem •

Head Continuing our look at memorable
Medusa’s most memorable
celluloid appearance came
courtesy of Ray Harryhausen
in his 1981 swansong, Clash
of the Titans, when the hero,
Perseus, finds himself hunting the
grotesque gorgon so he can use
her powers to destroy the Kraken.
The eventual confrontation
objects in film, this issue’s choice was in her lair is both tense and
quite simply too much to look at. terrifying, and made all the more
unbearable by the soundtrack
Words by Chris Barraclough that quickly builds from stony
silence to crashing cacophony.
Perseus finally betters Medusa
by decapitating her and his prize
is her severed head – a trophy as
deadly as it is grisly.
Harryhausen always maintained
that he never made horror films,
but he could certainly conjure up
horrifying moments when needed.
Once you’ve seen that head, the
image remains forever burned in
your brain: a mess of snakes for
hair and eyes so fierce that they
glow green – the same colour
as the disgustingly scaly skin.
Even worse are the teeth, a set
of razor-sharp incisors that could
bite through steel cables or even a
stale Jaffa Cake. The moment that
Perseus victoriously holds the
left Harry Hamlin makes a killing in head aloft is undeniably rousing,
Clash of the Titans (1981) but it’s a relief when that hideous
visage is finally concealed within a
cloth bag.
Medusa’s head somehow retains
its destructive power despite
being separated from her body, as
if it’s an individual, living entity.
While universally recognized as
a symbol of potency as well as
rage, her appearance in Clash of
the Titans has to be her crowning
glory. Take one last, lingering look
at that face, then turn the page –
the next time you’ll see her will be
more screengems visit in your nightmares. [tbp]

38 february 2010 39

Books & Journals
publishers of original thinking |


Do you have an original idea the

Futures of Chinese Cinema Transnational Directors & The Musical Comedy Films Declarations of Independence Beauty and the Beast
world simply needs to know about?
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With the burgeoning interest in Chinese film, Transnational Cinemas has emerged in
this interdisciplinary collection investigates response to a shift in global film cultures
how new technologies, changing production and how we understand them. Dynamic
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shaped perceptions of Chinese screen cultures. being established throughout the world
Futures of Chinese Cinema contains essays and the academic community is responding. NEW
by international scholars considering new Transnational Cinemas aims to break down JourNAlS
directions in Chinese cinema. After the traditional geographical divisions and
devastation of the economic crisis, the welcomes submissions that reflect the
uncertainty of the Hong Kong handover and changing nature of global filmmaking.
the events at Tiananmen Square in 1989,
To view our catalogue or order our the late twentieth century and beyond has A symposium will be held to celebrate
books and journals visit: seen the emergence of a number of fresh the launch of the journal Transnational new works from the region’s film-makers. Cinemas and the inauguration of the Centre Journal of Journal of Studies in Eastern Horror
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Intellect, The Mill, Parnall Road, media studies, history and sociology have University of Portsmouth on the 13th of
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concepts of technology and temporality in book your place, please visit the website
Tel: +44 (0) 117 9589910
these films.
Fax: +44 (0) 117 9589911
left The invisible man (1933)

James Whale’s 1933

adaptation of H.G. Wells’ The
Invisible Man was one of
the great Hollywood horror
films of its era and led to
numerous sequels, spin-offs
and spoofs. The film launched
the career of Claude Rains
(chosen for his distinctive,
‘intellectual’ voice), despite
the fact that his face is only
seen in the film’s final shot.
Until that point, it is obscured
by the tightly wrapped
bandages the invisible man
wears to give himself the
appearance of substance. His
completely bandaged face is
a strikingly disturbing image
that has been echoed in dark
i m i tat i o n i s t h e s i n c e r e s t f o r m o f f l at t e ry psychological thrillers such
as Hiroshi Teshigahara’s

The Face of Another (1966),
Roman Polanski’s The Tenant
(1976), and Scott McGehee
and David Siegel’s Suture

In the early days of cinema,
the development of the
close-up (or ‘big head’ as
it was called) meant that
film could dispense with the A film character’s
exaggerated acting style
it had inherited from the face tells us who
theatre, and the face became
the expressive surface of
they are, but for
cinema. A film character’s these faceless
Mel Gibson wasn’t film’s first man without a face. face tells us who they are, but
characters who
for these faceless characters
Alanna Donaldson explores how, after The Invisible who they are becomes they are becomes
Man, the fully bandaged head became a recurrent unfathomable. Each of these
adam sandler and emily morton (punch drunk love)
films deals with the fragility
image in generations of thrillers. of identity and each character
has suffered a traumatic
loss of their sense of self: a top The face of another (1966) / above suture (1993)
sinister implication of their
bandages is that, as with the
invisible man, there is no one go further The Face of Another (1966) / Darkman (1990) / Time Crimes (2007)
left inside. [tbp]

42 january/february 2009 43

Competition Backpages

Picture Go Further Getting involved with...

Question: What’s the connection between the
film Pretty Woman and the opera La Traviata?
Answers to for
a chance to win a copy of an intellect film book
of your choice. To see what’s available, visit the would you like to
intellect website to view all recent and past titles: contribute to The Big
Picture magazine?
We’re always on the lookout
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The writing’s on the wall simply send us a few
our latest
Read some of the finest
writing on film by our growing examples of your writing
articles team of ridiculously talented
contributors, with regular posts along with a short personal
satiating even the most avid of
film-loving appetites. bio to Gabriel Solomons:

‘Welcome to Hollywood!
What’s your dream?
Everybody comes here;
Deadline for entries is:
this is Hollywood, land of join
February 21st, 2010
dreams. Some dreams come the big
Email answers to: picture
true, some don’t; but keep A complete back issue archive
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on dreamin...’ issues you get snapped up pretty fast, so if
may have you missed out - simply visit the
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past issues.

44 visit: february 2009 45


Film Index Back in Cinemas

So you’ve read about the films, now go watch ‘em! Putting the movies back where they belong...

Dr. Strangelove (1964)

Dirs. Stanley Kubrick
Avatar (2009)
Dir. James Cameron
This edition of The Big Picture has been
g see page 4/5 g see page 28 produced in partnership with Park
Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953) Journey to the Center Circus, who are committed to bringing
Dir. Howard Hawks of the Earth (2008)
g see page 6/7 Dir. Eric Brevig classic films back to the big screen.
g see page 27
Calamity Jane (1953)
Dir. David Butler The Golden Voyage of Sinbad (1973)
Have a perfect Valentine’s Day by
g see page 8 Dir. Gordon Hessler
g see page 30
sharing a romantic movie with your
Theatre of Blood (1973)
Dir. Douglas Hickox Clash of the Titans (1981)
loved one. Classics such as Brief
g see page 9 Dir. Desmond Davis
Encounter and Casablanca are back
g see page 32/38
Electric Dreams (1984)
Dir. Steve Barron Th e Searchers (1956)
in cinemas around the country and,
g see page 10 Dir. John Ford
as a special treat this year celebrating
g see page 34
Desperately Seeking Susan (1985)
Dir. Susan Seidelman Stagecoach (1939)
its 20th anniversary, the ultimate
g see page 11 Dir. John Ford
rom-com Pretty Woman is screening
g see page 35
Sexy Beast (2000)
Dir. Jonathan Glazer My Darling Clementine (1946)
for one day only, 14 February, at
g see page 12 Dir. John Ford
Cineworld Cinemas nationwide.
g see page 36
Zelig (1983)
Dir. Woody Allen Easy Rider (1969) The glamour continues as the
Dir. Dennis Hopper
g see page 13
g see page 37 magical, musical spectacular
Dreams That Money Can Buy (1947)
Dir. Hans Richter The Invisible Man (1933) Gentlemen Prefer Blondes is being
Dir. James Whale
g see page 14/15
g see page 42 re-released from 26 February at BFI
My Bloody Valentine (2009)
Dir. Patrick Lussier The Face of Another (1966) Southbank and selected cinemas.
g see page 25 Dir. Hiroshi Teshigahara
g see page 43
Up (2009)
Dirs. Pete Docter / Bob Peterson Suture (1993)
g see page 26 Dirs. Scott McGehee / David Siegel
g see page 43
More details of cinema screenings of these
and other classic movies from the Park Circus
catalogue can be accessed via:
big picture thebigpicture disclaimer
issue 7
available The views and opinions of all texts, including
March editorial and regular columns, are those of the
15th, 2010 authors and do not necessarily represent or
reflect those of the editors or publishers.

The Big Picture magazine is published six times a

year by Intellect Ltd.