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“ONE Of thE BESt fIlMS Of thE yEAr”
Issue Ten. September/October 2010
thE GUArdIAN NEWS Of thE WOrld thE dAIly tElEGrAph

0 6 | Spotlight
Going It Alone:
Rebellious Loners and
the Cinema of Discontent

1 4 | Art & Film
Master Strokes:
The Graphic Art of
Neil Kellerhouse

24 | First Person
Under Construction:
Ensemble Casts and the
Art of Improvisation

3 0 | 1000 Words
Kiss Kiss Bang Bang:
Winchester ’73 and the

start of the star system

See it with Orange Wednesdays Regulars

0 4 | Reel World
Miller's Crossing

1 8 | One Sheet
Lone Wolves
‘Well, what am I? I'm
a private no-class 3 4 | On Location
dogface. The way Hawaii, USA
most civilians look at 3 8 | Screengem
that, that's two steps The Cheroot
up from nothin.'

cover image from here to eternity (Courtesy Park Circus / Sony Pictures)
Robert E. Lee Prewitt: 4 2 | Parting Shot
Knowing Me Knowing You

4 4 | Competition
Picture This

4 6 | Listings

38 A roundup of this issue's
featured films

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 Editor-in-chief & Layout Gabriel Solomons Editor Scott Jordan Harris
Contributors Jez Conolly, Nicholas Page, Emma Simmonds, Daniel Steadman, Scott Jordan Harris, Neil Mitchell, Neil Kellerhouse, Gabriel Solomons
Special thanks to John Letham, Sara Carlsson and all at Park Circus, Michael Eckhardt, 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

September/October 2010 3
reel world
f i l m b e yo n d t h e b o r d e r s o f t h e s c r e e n

Just as Dorie Miller’s heroism stood out among
the chaos of the attack on Pearl Harbour, so
Cuba Gooding Jr.’s portrayal of him stands
out among the disorder of Michael Bay’s
filming of it. neil mitchell takes a look.

P r o d u cer Jerry
B r u c k heimer and director
Michael Bay’s Pearl Harbor
(2001) is a disaster movie on
an epic scale – but not for the West Virginia battleship
the reasons its makers hoped. to the safety of a first aid
The bloated screenplay and station and then manned a
bland love triangle that forms .50 calibre machine gun, a
the central narrative thread, weapon of which he had no
combined with a typical previous experience.
Hollywood disregard for Whilst in real life Miller
historical accuracy, ensure the couldn’t confirm that he
film is a failure. Pearl Harbor actually hit any Japanese
does, though, throw up some planes, in the movie he is
interesting characters drawn seen blowing a fighter out of
from real life, and from all the air. Bruckheimer and Bay
ranks of the armed forces. needn't have sensationalised
The most intriguing of Miller’s tale though: this
was a man who willingly
these is Cuba Gooding Jr.’s
portrayal of Petty Officer 2nd served his country in the Whilst in real life Miller
Class Doris ‘Dorie’ Miller,
the first African American to
pre-civil rights era, who
risked his own life to save couldn’t confirm that
receive the Navy Cross, which
is awarded for conspicuous
that of his superior and
who would eventually die he actually hit any
displays of courage under
fire. During the attack on the
aboard the USS Liscome
Bay in November 1943. In Japanese planes, in the
Hawaiian port, Miller carried
the badly wounded Captain of
1973, the US Navy named a
frigate ‘The USS Miller’ in movie he is seen blowing
his honour, a fitting tribute
to the bravery he showed a fighter out of the air.
during the surprise attack
that led to America's entrance
into World War II. [tbp]

left dorris 'dorie' miller receives the navy cross / above cuba gooding jr. as miller in pearl harbour

gofurther [web ] [book ] Liberators: Fighting on Two Fronts in World War II

4 September/October 2010 5
Y spotlight
c i n e m a ' s t h e m at i c s t r a n d s
Going it
From truculent teens to bandit queens, rebellious
loners have made some of cinema’s most enduring
and attractive characters. je z c o n o l ly examines six
of the meanest and the moodiest.

From Here To
Eternity (1953)
Dir. Fred Zinnemann

‘Be All You Can Be’
(popular US army slogan)
‘A man should be what he
can do’.
(Private Robert E. Lee Prewitt)

Set on a US Army base in
Hawaii in the months leading
up to the attack on Pearl
Harbor, From Here To Eternity
features Montgomery Clift as
Private Prewitt, the hollow-
eyed loner, bass bugler and
former boxer who is defined by
what he doesn't do. He won't
box on the regiment's team (a
talented welterweight, he laid
down his gloves after blinding
a sparring partner) and he's
rarely allowed to bugle, despite
being good enough to have
played at Arlington National
Cemetery. Clift threw himself
into the role, working out with
pros in the gym and taking
bugle lessons to get his mouth
and throat movements right.
Later, his co-star Deborah
co-star Deborah Kerr recalled Clift’s obsessive
single-mindedness: ‘He spent
Kerr recalled two days figuring out how to
Clift’s obsessive say “Who’s that?”’
Images Courtesy Park Circus / Sony Pictures

‘He spent two From Here To Eternity is back
days figuring out in UK cinemas from 24

how to say “Who’s September. For more details
see page 46.
montgomery clift
deborah kerr and montgomery clift

6 September/October 2010 7
Kobal (2)
spotlight going it alone

Fight Club (1999) The Wild One (1953)
Dir. David Fincher Dir. Laslo Benedek

‘All the ways you wish you ‘What’re you rebelling
could be, that's me. I look against, Johnny?’
like you wanna look, I fuck ‘Whaddya got?’
like you wanna fuck, I am
smart, capable, and most
Durden is a modern male Marlon Brando’s leather-clad
importantly, I am free in all
the ways that you are not’.
fantasy projection: an Johnny Strabler, leader of
the Black Rebels Motorcycle
(Tyler Durden)
The split character of Edward
aggressive, psychopathic Club, is to many the arche-
typal screen loner. Along with
Norton’s unnamed Narrator individualist able to James Deans’ Jim Stark in
Rebel Without A Cause, Strabler
and Brad Pitt’s Tyler Durden
is a direct descendant of the organise disaffected symbolized the sexually-
charged, teenage antihero
1950s rebels epitomised by
Dean and Brando, brought young men into an rebelling against adult society
and its restrictive mores. The
forward into the pre-millennial,
consumerist world of the underground movement film’s poster image, of a sneer-
ing Brando astride a Triumph
1990s. Durden is a modern
male fantasy projection: an resistant to capitalism. Thunderbird 6T (Brando’s
own motorcycle), became a
aggressive, psychopathic above classic image of the 1950s. By
individualist able to organise
disaffected young men into
marlon brando in the wild one
top left
By today’s standards The Wild today’s standards The Wild
One might seem quite tame,
an underground movement
resistant to capitalism. He is the
ed norton and brad pitt
One might seem quite tame, but on its release the British
Board of Film Censors banned
‘outsider male’ by-product of a
system that Norton’s Narrator
but on its release the British it, only giving a release, with
an X certificate, in 1968.
exists within as just another
‘company man’ drone. Not
Board of Film Censors banned it, Before the ban the film was
only shown in the UK at Cam-
satisfied with taking lessons
in boxing, taekwondo and
only giving a release, with an X bridge’s Rex Cinema, which
grappling as preparation for
the role, Pitt consented to the
certificate, in 1968. was turned into a film club for
the purpose by its manager
Leslie Halliwell – author of the
removal of pieces of his front famous Film Guide.
teeth in order to look the part.

8 September/October 2010 9
Images courtesy Park Circus spotlight going it alone

The film was
itself rendered
untouchable when
it was banned by the
Bandit Queen (1994) Indian authorities
Dir. Shekhar Kapur due to its graphic
scenes of sex and
‘I am Phoolan Devi, you violence.

Kapur’s film documents the
‘true story’ of Devi (Seema
Biswas), who belonged to the
oppressed Indian lower caste
of ‘Untouchables’, depicting
her treatment at the hands of
upper-caste aggressors; her
transformation into a bandit;
and the terror she unleashed
prior to laying down her arms
and embarking on a career
in politics. The film was itself
The injustices Heathcliff Wuthering
Heights (1939)
rendered untouchable when
it was banned by the Indian
endures and absorbs, and Dir. William Wyler authorities due to its graphic
scenes of sex and violence. It
the passion and rage he ‘It’s lonely sitting like an out-
also incurred the wrath of the
renowned author Arundhati
represses, are manifested sider in so happy a household
as your brother’s’. (Heathcliff)
Roy (The God of Small
Things) who questioned its
through an emotionally Heathcliff was a born loner; purported truths in a series
of essays, claiming that Devi
dark-skinned and often referred
tethered, almost poetic to as a ‘gypsy’, he is shown to herself had not been consulted
over its content. However,
immobility... possess traits popularly associ-
ated with the lower classes in the the late Devi, ever the rebel,
settled a law suit with Channel
nineteenth century: criminality,
uncleanliness and irrational and 4, the film’s producers, in
superstitious thoughts. Lau- 1996 and joined Kapur at
rence Olivier’s performance in the Indian International
William Wyler’s film of Wuther- Film Festival in Delhi that
ing Heights continues to dwarf year to condemn the film’s
all subsequent screen portrayals censorship.
of the character. The injustices
Heathcliff endures and absorbs, above left
and the passion and rage he re- Merle Oberon and Laurence Olivier
presses, are manifested through opposite
Seema Biswas
an emotionally tethered, almost
poetic immobility punctuated
by occasional violent outbursts
of movement, such as the slap-
ping of Cathy’s face and the
punching of a window. It was
the performance that sparked
Olivier’s film career. Of his
director Olivier said, ‘If any film
actor is having trouble with his
career, can't master the medium
and, anyway, wonders whether
it's worth it, let him pray to meet
a man like William Wyler’.

10 September/October 2010 11
c i n e m a ' s t h e m at i c s t r a n d s

Mia’s mother
fish tank (2010) drinks constantly;
Dir. Andrea Arnold Mia herself drinks
cider alone in an
‘Your mother’s passed out empty flat she
upstairs’. breaks into; even
‘Yeah, she does that’. the family dog is
Arnold’s film is shot resolutely called Tennents.
from the point of view of its
protagonist, 15-year-old Mia
(Katie Jarvis), an angry loner
living on an Essex council
estate with her mother and little
sister. Alcohol abuse defines
the family relationship: Mia’s
mother drinks constantly; Mia
herself drinks cider alone in
an empty flat she breaks into;
even the family dog is called
Tennents. Mia’s one interest is
urban dance, but her practice
moves are moody, introverted
and subdued. The casting
of Jarvis displays Arnold’s
Loachian commitment to
social realism: a chance
meeting between the two at a
train station, when Jarvis was
screaming at her boyfriend,
reportedly drove the director
to cast her in the film. Arnold
is set to direct a new version
of Wuthering Heights and, on
the strength of Fish Tank, is
well placed to nail Heathcliff’s
internalized rage. [tbp]

katie jarvis and michael fassbender

also see... [web ] Read 'Spotlight: Emotionless Assassins' on [book ] Teen Movies: American Youth on Screen by Timothy Shary

12 September/October 2010 13
poster art for lars von trier's antichrist
visual art inspired by film proposed poster art for the american

In some ways, designing for
film is a fairly thankless task

for an artist. Unlike directors,
producers or even caterers who
get their names up in lights
during the film credits, those who
produce posters or packaging
materials rarely receive much
The Graphic Art of Neil Kellerhouse. of a mention – unless one is
interview b y g ab r i e l s o lo m o n s specifically looking for them.

Where did you study design Was it always your intention
and who were some of your to create design work for
early influences? the film sector or did it just
I studied at the California happen by 'accident'?
A shame really, as the the Institute of the Arts (CalArts). No, no one I went to school
artwork is first and foremost Within the four years I was with wanted to do movie
in whetting our appetite for there, we saw the leadership posters. I think everyone
a particular film – setting our of three different personalities aspired to work with someone
imaginations in motion by in the Visual Communications like Saul Bass, who at
triggering all sorts of visual department – April Greiman, that time was doing more
cues that link to story, genre Eric Martin and Lorraine corporate logo design work
and mood. Wild. Modernist Lou Danziger rather than his earlier film
One such artist – Neil was my mentor. So, lots of poster and title.
Kellerhouse – has been conflict there, but I feel we all I gravitated toward the
producing highly distinctive benefitted from their disparate music business because I
work for the film industry ideologies. I originally got into thought they would let me do
for nearly ten years now, the school as a fine artist and more creative work. When the
counting Disney Pixar, HBO didn’t transfer to design until music industry sued Napster,
and Warner Bros. amongst the second semester in my I lost all confidence and went
his growing roster of high first year. searching for something else.
profile clients. But it is his My earliest influence was The logical segue, I thought,
ongoing collaboration and Dr. Seuss (Theodore Geisel). were DVDs because they
work for the award winning I grew up down the street most resembled the size and
Criterion Collection which from him. My brother and I shape of the packaging I was
has seen Kellerhouse produce would walk up to his house doing for the music.
his most challenging, and get our books signed. The
striking and personal work butler would answer the door The Criterion collection
– beautifully packaged and and lead us back to his studio. must be a dream client to
elegantly produced designs I only remember the view work for. It must afford you
that reinvigorate the public’s of the ocean and his small a great opportunity to create
relationship with often well drawing desk. I also had a
friend whose mother worked
'The Criterion stuff is always challenging and original
artwork to complement some
known, classic titles. The Big
Picture recently caught up at the La Jolla Museum of challenging ... You have perspective, of the best films ever made.
Contemporary Art, so after Are they as exciting to work
with the artist to discuss this
‘special’ relationship and get school we’d hang out there. you're packaging a film sometimes for as one would imagine?
some further insights into
some of his working methods.
On the walls of this museum
were graphic pieces by John
decades after it was created, so I feel like The Criterion
Collection and the people

Baldessari, Andy Warhol, Sol
Lewitt, Robert Mangold. I
there's all kinds of information out there are my family. They have
been so good to me.
poster art for david fincher's social network took classes there too. Later there to inform what you may make.' The Criterion stuff is
on, my father sent me to always challenging. For
study drawing and painting one thing, most of the time
in Italy, and this experience you are in fact designing
became a major influence. something new for what most

14 September/October 2010 15
dvd packaging for criterion's
the man who fell to earth
visual art inspired by film
poster art for the informant

Rollo May at CalArts.
I have absolutely no fear
of failure when it comes to
making something. You do get
'I have absolutely no fear a lot of shit, but sometimes
you get gold.
of failure when it comes What is your opinion about
to making something. You the state of film poster art

do get a lot of shit, but generally these days? Are
there any designers/studios

sometimes you get gold.' out there that you feel are
contributing something
I think there's some great
stuff being done outside the
studios. It's tough because the
people agree is a great film. As designer Paul Rand. He movie industry has built a very
opposed to creating something always pointed to Paul for strong vernacular language to
for a contemporary film or anything good. In my third communicate their product for
album no one's ever seen or year, I was invited to Lou's sale. For better or worse, when
heard before, you're designing house along with a few other you see a poster these days
for a piece of history. So much students to meet him. I had you know exactly what you're
of the audience will have never been to Lou's house/ in for. Made a certain way at
already had their own intimate studio, which was one of the a common level, a poster will
experiences with a certain first original pieces Frank say ‘quality production value’
film – from childhood or Gehry ever designed. It was at the very least. Everyone
college – and they have certain awesome. In the middle of his knows the language, even if
expectations. The same way studio, which had 30'' ceilings, you can't verbalize it. Anything
you would if you had read was a pool table and that's other than a studio poster
a book and identified with a where we all gathered around might often convey ‘small’,
character and they make a film to hear Paul talk for about an ‘independent’, ‘difficult’,
of it and you may suddenly hour or so. ‘subtitles’, ‘spotty production
feel alienated by their choice value’, etc. But I think there’s
of how it was produced. Is there a particular phi- beautiful work being done by a
You have perspective; you're losophy behind the way you lot of talented people.
packaging a film sometimes work or is it simply a case
decades after it was created, so of adjusting your style to fit Why does film matter?
there’s all kinds of information the demands of the client? Film matters for the same
out there to inform what you Yes. I would say that all the reason all Art matters. People
may make. solutions will come from need to express themselves,
the problem or job. In other society needs this. It keeps
Your style seems reminiscent words, I just let the problem our social structure healthy.
of east European film post- work itself out and it becomes Look at any society that
ers of the 1950s, 60s and whatever it becomes. Usually doesn't have this and watch it
70s - with your clever use of it's different than anything slowly fall apart. [tbp]
hand rendered typography, I've done before, mostly
distressed imagery and focus because the content or job
on concept over and above is something I've never See more of Neil Kellerhouse's
simple representation. Does experienced. I try not to work at
this so called 'golden age' wrap something in a piece
of poster art influence your of decoration or style. I
own work in any way? really just try to get the most
Yes, in fact, I own a Jan appropriate solution for the
Mlodozeniec, an incredible client and I feel very fortunate
above Polish designer. I have his film in that my clients generally
poster art for don argott's documentary above poster art for the upcoming i'm still here
the art of the steal poster for Barbarella. help make the job a lot better
When I was at CalArts, in the end. One thing I always
my mentor Lou Danziger try to do is make something
was good friends with the I've never seen before. We
American Modernist and read The Courage to Create by seemore... [web ] The Criterion Collection: [book ] Paul Rand by Steven Heller

16 September/October 2010 17
one sheet lone wolves

one sheet
deconstructing film posters

The lone hero concept lends
itself rather well to the art
of movie poster creation,
allowing artists a single
romantic figure upon which
they can focus in order to
sell a given movie. As usual,
however, this approach can be
seen to vary depending upon
how a studio wishes said film
to be marketed.

Get Carter (1971)
Original British
Art by Arnaldo Putzu
Arnaldo Putzu’s quad artwork
for the UK release of Get
Carter is a sombre affair, and
one that – it is important to
note – puts more emphasis
on the film’s character and
lead actor than the title itself.
Unlike some of the other
posters that were used for the
release of Get Carter in the US
and Europe, here we are sold
what is essentially a crime
film rather than a gangster
film. There is, however, still a
handful of inconsistencies to
be seen – aspects that differ
from the final film – including
Carter’s apparently fetching
floral jacket.

Lone f r o m j o h n way n e ' s b r oa d -
backed and intolerant Ethan
Edwards in John Ford’s The
Get Carter (1971)
Original US (Advance)
Art by John Van

Searchers to Clive Owen’s Hamersveld
cynical, antiheroic Theo
John Van Hamersveld’s
Faron in Alfonso Cuarón’s
poster for the 1971 film Get
Children of Men, the lone hero
Carter, for example, evokes
has always been an important
the iconic pop art style of
part of world cinema’s very
Roy Lichtenstein, giving the
fabric. Whether this hero be a
impression of a genre film,
The Lone Hero: weight on his shoulders, trouble on his muscle-clad soldier of the Van
though something perhaps
Damme or Schwarzenegger
mind. He is flawed; he is downtrodden; he is left for mould, or even a charming
campier than the later US
posters tended to depict –
dead. He is a cinematic tradition. nichol as page takes man-of-the-people type
voiced by Stewart or Mason,
a dirty cop film in the
a look at posters inspired by such characters, courtesy he will always have a place on
Dirty Harry vein.

of The Reel Poster Gallery, London. our screens and, perhaps, in
our hearts.

18 September/October 2010 19
Die Hard (1988)
Original US (Advance)
John McTiernan’s Die Hard,
now considered one of the
most successful additions to
the action genre in recent
decades, proved in 1988
that a flawed hero could
still translate to box office
gold. John McClane, Bruce
Willis’ New York cop, with
his wise-cracking demeanour
and strong moral compass, is
indeed the perfect example of
an antihero.

High Noon / Mezzogiorno
di Fuoco (1952)
Original Italian
(Re-release 60s)
Just like the aforementioned
Wayne, Gary Cooper was
the kind of strong-jawed
Hollywood personality
who made his living
playing the Lone Hero, and
predominantly in films of
the western genre. Perhaps
Cooper’s finest moment, his
role as Marshal Will Kane
in Fred Zinnemann’s High
Noon, is gloriously depicted,
for the film’s Italian re-
release during the 1960s.

John McClane, Bruce Willis’
New York cop, with his wise-
cracking demeanour and strong
moral compass, is indeed the
perfect example of an antihero.

AfricAn / nigeriAn
one sheet lone wolves
AmericAn – Hollywood
Yojimbo / La Sfida Del
AmericAn – independent
Samurai (1961)
Original Italian
Art by Manfredo
Despite enjoying a long and
successful career that saw him
star in films all over the world,
AustrAlAsiAn Directory of
Japan’s finest example of the

lone hero, Toshirô Mifune,
will always be remembered for

his work with Akira Kurosawa
on films such as this one:

Yojimbo, released in 1961.
Mifune has also influenced
many of western cinema’s
most iconic lone heroes,
including Clint Eastwood’s
eAst europeAn
Man With No Name in Sergio
Leone’s Dollars Triolgy.

Toshirô Mifune has
germAnDirectory of WorlD cinema:
influenced many of irAniAnaustralia & neW ZealanD
western cinema’s
most iconic lone indiAn This ambitious new volume from Intellect offers an in-depth and exciting
heroes, including Clint
Eastwood’s Man With itAliAn look at the cinema produced in Australia and New Zealand since the turn of
the twentieth century. Though the two nations share cultural and economic

connections, their film industries remain marked by differences of scale, as
No Name in Sergio well as levels of government involvement and funding. Through discussion
Leone’s Dollars Triolgy.
of prominent genres and themes, profiles of directors, and comprehensive
reviews of significant titles, this user-friendly guide explores the diversity and
distinctiveness of films from Australia and New Zealand including Whale Rider,
swedisH The Piano and Wolf Creek.

turkisHVisit the website to find out more about Intellect’s
/ portuguese
project and explore the volume for free

soutH AmericAn / brAziliAn
WWW . WorlDcinemaDirectory. org
rest of tHe world (including
The Directory of World Cinema: Japan and Directory of World Cinema:
go further [visit ] Whaam! the Art and Life of Roy Lichtenstein by Susan Goldman Rubin isrAel, koreA, denmArk,
American Independent are now available. Forthcoming volumes include
Directory of World Cinema: Russia.

22 finlAnd, norwAy And icelAnd,
first person to arrive at not simply work
that is realistic, but that has
m e c h a n i c s at w o r k b e h i n d t h e s c e n e s developed into a natural
reality. Leigh is famously
There is room for Leigh's
rather loathed to explain his actors to have fun with the

approach, but he has gone so
far as to state that: process but the purpose is
usually ultimately serious
The actual substance of the
film, the actual quality and the
discipline and the order and the
form of the film, must go beyond
and the work quite punishing.
merely people improvising […]
[Y]ou could say it aspires to
Ensemble Casts and the Art of Improvisation. Words by j ez conolly the condition of improvisation
but even that is to miss the
point, which is that it aspires
to the condition of reality. And
obviously people in life are
Another Year will have
begun, like Leigh's previous
films, with his recruited
group of actors unaware
of the characters they will
be playing or what the film
will even be about. Leigh,
drawing on a range of ideas
and themes, will have worked

Images Courtesy Momentum Pictures
individually with each of the
main members of the cast
to create a character that is
three-dimensional enough for
the actor to 'inhabit'. Woven
around his ideas, Leigh
encourages his actors to draw
upon their own experiences
of real people as a way to
develop character traits. This
part of the preparation can
typically take three to six collaborative process, once
months. It's not unknown committed are rigidly adhered
during this period for the to during the filming, meaning
actors to perform mundane that very little of the action
everyday tasks, such as going and dialogue seen in the final
shopping or asking people cut was improvised to camera
in the street for directions, on the day of shooting. This
entirely in character. is quite contrary to many
Through this phase of peoples' preconceptions of the
discussion and development role that improvisation plays in
above Director Mike Leigh’s latest venture the world of the film will have films. For Leigh improvisation (top) NOOMI RAPACE as Lisbeth Salander
ben gazzara, Gena Rowlands and director
Another Year, due for a November release, emerged, and it is at this stage is merely a means to an end. (above) MICHAEL NYQVIST as Mikael Blomkvist
john cassavetes on the set of opening night
will once again showcase his trademark that the improvisational part Critic John Lahr defined
technique of improvisatory collaboration of the work will have ended. Leigh's process succinctly
with his cast of regular actors. While The final scripts that Leigh as 'a kind of treasure hunt in
the process of nurturing and capturing produces, inspired by the which his collaborators bring
spontaneous dialogue and action for film stuff back from their lives and
is not unique to Leigh’s work, he has pick over it with the director
to make a story whose general top
fashioned his own idiosyncratic take on Jim broadbent and
the process. parameters are growing in ruth sheen
As with the pioneers of improvisational Leigh's mind but which is above
filmmaking, such as John Cassavetes and unknown to the group'. the cast in action
Vittorio de Sica, peers like Ken Loach, Leigh is certainly not the
and contemporaries such as Christopher only director to have run with
Guest, Leigh regards the technique as an improvisational ethos.
central to his actors achieving a sense of John Cassavetes, famed for
realism. However he strives to go deeper, such groundbreaking films as ➜

24 September/October 2010 25
Shadows (1959), Husbands
(1970) and The Killing Of A
Chinese Bookie (1976) worked
in a similar way to Leigh in
that in general his films were
acted out exactly as scripted.
Vittorio De Sica employed
It was in the workshop phase
that discussions and rehearsal
non-professional actors and celebrates 45 years of cinema coverage
with his actors would have
produced revisions to the
took great pains to build up a
script which he would add so
as to lend characters life and
rapport with them.
Vittorio De Sica, in
Published bi-monthly by the internationally
such greats at The Bicycle
Thieves (1948) and Umberto renowned film society of lincoln center,
D (1952), employed non-
professional actors and took
great pains to build up a
film comment provides global coverage
rapport with them, believing
that encouraging intense in cinema including exclusive interviews,
character exploration and
improvisation would lead to
a more honest account of the
in-depth reviews, discussions on new releases
urgent social and political
topics facing post-war Italy. and classic films, authoritative profiles on
Ken Loach, responsible
for such fine polemical
dramas as Riff-Raff (1991)
and Raining Stones (1993) is
similarly renowned for using
’’ !
luminaries in the industry, and developments
in the art of filmmaking.
non-professional actors, and
taking his time over the casting

process to ensure that an
actor's personal experience and
outlook impacts the look and I love every aspect of motion pictures, and I’m committed to it for life.
feel of the film. The realism
of his films is maintained film comment has that same commitment when it comes to

by using local dialects and writing about motion pictures.
colloquialisms, and casting
people who look and sound like
they come from where they are
supposed to. This has often
resulted in subtitling being
While he gives his cast a loose
outline of the plot of each film
he allows more scope for on-
screen ad lib and spontaneous
— Clint Eastwood film comment connects me to a time when films and filmmakers
actually mattered and were treated as being worthy of serious discussion.
There’s no other cinema magazine remotely like it.

required for the American invention to achieve results.
release of his films. Leigh’s films often provoke — stEvEn sodE rbErgh
Christopher Guest, laughter in their audiences
mastermind along with but the effect is usually
writing partner Eugene Levy tempered by the sobriety of film comment regularly publishes some of the best film writers in the
behind Best In Show (2000) self-recognition. There is room
and A Mighty Wind (2002) for his actors to have fun with world, and they probe and parse cinema in a way that deepen our experience of it.
among others, has bent the process but the purpose is — utn E indEpE ndEnt pr Ess award b Est arts CovEragE
improvisation to the will of usually ultimately serious and
film comedy. Guest’s films the work quite punishing. The
have come to be regarded cast of Another Year know their
as definitive examples of director well. Imelda Staunton
the ‘mockumentary’ genre. playing Janet has in the past top
mused that working with Mike vittorio de sica and
sophia oren
F ilmCommEnt.Com subsCrib E:
Leigh is ‘shocking, terrifying,
exhilarating’. Phil Davies as
christopher guest
1.888.313.6085 US 1 yr (6 issues) save 10% of our standard rate
Jack previously summed up (centre) and co. 1.973.627.5162 International us $27 /canada&mexico $36 /international
the process as ‘extremely hard
and worthwhile, [but] there is
Film Comment PO Box 3000, $63 use code 2 bKFr9 when ordering.
nothing else like it’. [tbp] Denville NJ 07834 USA

go further... [film] Mike Leigh's Another Year is in UK cinemas from November 5th

four frames
t h e a r t o f a b b r e v i at e d s t o r y t e l l i n g

The Prison Guard’s Hands In Hunger Dir. Steve McQueen, 2008

1 2 Words by Jez Conolly

Wordless establishing
shots are a frequently used method of
character and narrative set-up in films.
Think how often we have seen a central
figure’s morning routine, showing them
dressing complete with carefully chosen
character indicators (Oscar Schindler’s
preparation involving tie, cuff links,
handkerchief and swastika lapel badge for
example). Rarely has the method been put
to such stark use as in Hunger.
One of the earliest shots shows a family
man at his domestic bathroom mirror
followed by a tight close-up of his hands
in the basin. The knuckles bear scars and
recently healed wounds, origin unknown.
A wedding ring sits next to a nail brush.
After washing we see his hands buttoning
up his shirt, the ring now back on the
finger, the scars dried.
We learn that the man is a prison guard
in Northern Ireland in the 1980s. The ring
3 3 4 is left in a staff locker and the next time
we see the hands they are being bathed in
another basin, this time with the blood of
a fresh beating pinking the water. During
a exterior cigarette break the knuckles
are shown, grazed and swollen from the
punishment, not shown, that they have just
meted out. Horribly perfect filmmaking.

Read More f o u r f r a m e s online at

Screengrabs © 2008 Pathé

28 September/October 2010 29
1000 words
m o m e n t s t h at c h a n g e d c i n e m a f o r e v e r

When James Stewart rode out alone
as an independent contractor taking
a percentage of the box office receipts
for Winchester ’73 he changed the way
movies were made. s c o t t jo r da n h a r r i s
discusses a revolutionary film deal.

sk an expert more effective, and far more
on matters nuanced, performance than
cinematic would have come from his
to list James simply playing against type. As
Stewart’s Lin McAdam, Stewart does
best films not play a man utterly unlike
and it may be a while before the pleasant all-Americans we
he or she names Winchester associate with him. He plays a
’73 – but ask that expert to man just as honest, upstanding
list Stewart’s most significant and agreeable as we might
films and you should hear the expect – but one compelled
title immediately. What occurs by circumstance to become
in Winchester 73’s scenes is vengeful and violent.
unlikely to see the film called a I am also not suggesting
true turning point for cinema, that, judged solely by the
but what occurred behind impact of its content,
them means it should forever Winchester ’73 is historically
be acknowledged as one. insignificant. The film
James Stewart, Winchester ’73 and I don’t intend to imply by
this that Winchester ’73 is a
established several minor
milestones. It was the first of
the start of the star system poor film. It is a very good
one. Lean and yet intricately
director Anthony Mann’s eight
influential collaborations with
plotted, it is involving, Stewart. It rejuvenated the
thrilling and frightening. It’s previously waning Western
impressively photographed genre and led to a number
(by William H. Daniels) and of grittier ‘adult Westerns’ (a
features several memorable phrase that most certainly did

performances, the best of not imply in the 1950s what
them by Stewart, who cleverly it would imply today). And its
positions the amiable charm of success in cinemas did much
james stewart takes aim his classic character below an to push Stewart towards the
above assumed surface of anger and status he would soon enjoy
a contemplative pose intensity. The result is a far as America’s top box office

30 September/October 2010 31
1000 words winchester 73'

james stewart in harvey
lew 'pope of hollywood' wasserman
jack nicholson in batman

of Hollywood’. As such, he
became one of film’s first
independent contractors.
A few years later, Universal not the first time someone did
asked Stewart to star in something, but the first time
its upcoming productions someone did something that
Winchester ’73 and Harvey but was massively successful.
couldn’t, or wouldn’t, pay the Winchester ’73’s success put
$200,000 he asked in return. Stewart in an unprecedented
Next came Wasserman and position, of which every other
Stewart’s masterstroke. major American movie star
They agreed that Stewart was naturally envious. Other
would accept no money for major names negotiated
appearing in Winchester ’73 similar deals for subsequent
or Harvey, provided he was films and soon such contracts
given a percentage of each were common. (Wasserman,
film’s takings. (Wasserman incidentally, did rather well in
also had Stewart established his career, too, and had further
as a corporation, allowing dealings with Universal –
Wasserman and Stewart draw. These, though, are just
footnotes in film history; the him to avoid enormous sums
in income tax.) The move
when he bought it.) Nowadays

agreed that Stewart would contract Stewart secured for
appearing as Lin McAdam
depending upon the individual
scripts and individual pay was brave and, of course,
percentage deals are standard
– they are simply the way
experimental: had Winchester
accept no money for is a chapter from its main
packets on offer. They were
held to exclusive deals. ’73 bombed at the box
major movies with major
stars are made – and there
appearing in Winchester ’73 In Hollywood’s Golden
Age the ‘studio system’ was
By the 1950s the studio
system was in serious
office, the end of the studio
system, the beginning of the
have been many legendary
agreements of the kind (Alec
or Harvey, provided he was dominant. Each of the big
stars belonged to one of the
decline, and so it would be
an enormous exaggeration
star system and, as such, the
history of Hollywood may
Guinness’s percentage of the
earnings from Star Wars, for
given a percentage of each big studios and, barring loan
deals and the like, worked
to suggest that the contract
Stewart signed to make
have been drastically different.
But Winchester ’73 did
example, earned him colossal
amounts, and Jack Nicholson’s
film’s takings. The move exclusively for it. For example,
MGM, which was the biggest
Winchester ’73 – and another
film, Henry Koster’s
not bomb at the box office.
Famously, the film took so
percentage deal for Tim
Burton’s Batman brought him
was brave and, of course, studio of all in the 1930s, sold
itself as having ‘more stars than
comforting classic Harvey
– for Universal in 1950
much in ticket sales that
Stewart’s percentage earned
100 times the amount Stewart
earned from Winchester ’73.)
experimental... there are in heaven’, and kept
Clark Gable, Greta Garbo,
caused its collapse. But the him $600,000 – three times
the amount he had originally
None, though, is as legendary
as Stewart’s.
deal did severely damage
Judy Garland, Joan Crawford what remained of the studio been willing to accept for his Winchester ’73 fired the shot
and Jimmy Stewart under system – and it was decisive in work in both it and Harvey. that finished off the studio
contract. Film stars did not – determining the system that Stewart wasn’t the first system, and was the starting
as, under the ‘star system’, they would replace it. Hollywood freelancer, and he gun for the star-centric model
do now – make one movie for When Stewart returned to wasn’t even the first to agree of moviemaking that followed
MGM, one for 20th Century Hollywood in 1945, following a deal in which a performer it – and that still exists well-
Fox, one for Warner Brothers his distinguished service in took a percentage of a film’s over half a century later. As
and then another for MGM the Second World War, he takings. But, as ever with the such, the moment when James
did not re-sign with MGM. history of Hollywood, the Stewart signed a contract to
Instead, he signed with the moment that most matters is appear in a Western for which
MCA talent agency run by he might not get paid was
Lew Wasserman, the visionary truly a moment that changed
agent known as ‘The Pope film forever. [tbp]

go further... [web] Look out for 'Screengem: The Winchester ‘73' on

on location left
spencer tracy and felipe pazes
t h e p l a c e s t h at m a k e t h e m o v i e s below
esther williams and howard keel

Pagan Love Song (1950)
Dir. Robert Alton
USA, 76 minutes
Starring Esther Williams,
Howard Keel, Rita Moreno
Originally titled ‘Tahiti’, the
Esther Williams vehicle Pagan
Love Song is in fact named
after a number that Arthur
Freed and Nacio Herb Brown
had initially written in 1929
for Ramon Novarro to sing
in The Pagan. Based on the
novel Tahiti Landfall by William
S. Stone, Pagan Love Song
embraces the same mould as
many of MGM’s previous
Williams musicals, starring
the California-born actress as
Mimi Bennett, an American
on vacation who is confused
by a native girl by visiting
school teacher Hazard Endicott
(Howard Keel).

The Old Man and
the Sea (1958)
Dir. John Sturges
With their swaying palm trees and endless white USA, 86 minutes
beaches, the islands of Hawaii have come to represent Starring Spencer Tracy, Felipe
Pazes, Harry Bellaver
many people’s idea of paradise – including those who
make films. nichol as page takes a stroll through Inspired by Ernest
Hemingway’s 1952 story of the
this exotic location, picking out a handful of Hawaii’s same name, John Sturges’s The
contributions to world cinema. Old Man and the Sea features
Spencer Tracy as the film’s
titular character: an elderly
Cuban fisherman who dreams
of the big catch. Battling not
only the elements but also the
ocean’s meanest creatures, the ➜
man succeeds in ending his
lengthy dry streak only to hook
a monstrous marlin. A struggle
ensues, as the old man attempts
not only to find the strength to
land this gigantic fish, but also
to find himself in the process.

34 September/October 2010 35
on location left
elvis 'the pineapple' presley
t h e p l a c e s t h at m a k e t h e m o v i e s
monica belluci leads the way

Blue Hawaii (1961)
Dir. Norman Taurog
USA, 102 minutes
Starring Elvis Presley, Joan
Blackman, Angela Lansbury

Upon returning from a
spell in the army, Chad
Gates (Elvis Presley) is
content to settle down and
enjoy Hawaiian life with his
beach buddies. His parents,
however, have other ideas,
and want Chad to learn
some life lessons by going to
work at the family pineapple
business he is soon set to
inherit. Torn between wanting
to please his mother (Angela
Lansbury) and his own
dreams of independence,
Chad instead decides to go
and work as a tour guide at
his girlfriend’s agency. Toe-
tapping tunes follow.

Tears of the Sun
Torn between wanting to (2003)
please his mother (Angela Dir. Antoine Fuqua
USA, 121 minutes
Lansbury) and his own Starring Bruce Willis,
Monica Bellucci, Cole Hauser
dreams of independence, Filmed on Hawaii’s third-
Chad instead decides to go largest island, Oahu, but
actually set in Nigeria, Antoine
and work as a tour guide at Fuqua’s Tears of the Sun is the
story of a career soldier and
his girlfriend’s agency. Toe- veteran lieutenant named A.K.
Waters (Bruce Willis) who
tapping tunes follow. is sent to central Africa on a
perilous mission. He and his
elite squad of tactical specialists
are told to rescue a particularly
important doctor – Lena
Kendricks (Monica Bellucci)
– and return her to the United
States. Soon, however, they
find they must escort not only
the doctor but also the refugees
under her protection.

go further... [web ] Read 'On Location: New Jersey' at

36 September/October 2010 37
e vo c at i v e o b j e c t s o n s c r e e n

Cheroo� The Dollars Trilogy (1964 – 66)

Clint Eastwood’s hat, poncho and frown all
play their part, but it’s the lung-busting length
of flavoured tobacco that turns the memorable
into the iconic in Sergio Leone’s artful trilogy.
da n i el steadman lights up.

without the corporate picking up the stubby
fat cat associations of the smokes from a Beverley
traditional cigar or the Hills store. Their infamous
anachronism of a pack of harshness meant the actor
Benson and Hedges, the – a non-smoker – was put,
cheroot is the vice of choice in his own words, in ‘a
for the Old West antihero. scratchy mood’ throughout
Trudging through a soulless the shoot, something that
panorama of bandits, allegedly contributed to his
outlaws and civil war, Clint characteristic grimace.
Eastwood’s Man with No One of the few aspects of
Name chomps and gnaws the character that weren’t
his way through a trilogy’s lifted from Akira Kurosawa’s
worth of stogies, never giving Yojimbo (there was a successful
the impression of enjoying a lawsuit by the makers of
single one. Yojimbo against A Fistful
Essentially a cheap, foul- of Dollars, the first film in
smelling and longer-lasting Leone’s trilogy), the cheroot
relative of the cigar, the soon became an inescapable
cheroot played a practical as accessory of the amoral,
well as aesthetic part in the vigilante antihero. From
making of The Man With Pacino’s Tony Montana to
No Name. Early budget Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine,
restrictions meant Eastwood the cigar signifies single-
had to kit his character out mindedness, brutality and a
with a costume, including perverse sense of justice. [tbp]

image courtesy park circus
seemore [web] Look out for 'Screengem: Dirty Harry’s Magnum .44' at

38 September/October 2010 39
Books & Journals
publishers of original thinking |


The Film Paintings Cinema and Landscape New Irish Storytellers Don’t Look Now
of David Lynch Film, Nation and Cultural Narrative Strategies in Film British Cinema in the 1970s
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Do you have an original idea the Deleuze and Film Music Studies in Eastern
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and get them published. To send us Associate Editor: Ewa Mazierska
By Gregg Redner
your new book or journal proposals,
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The analysis of film music is emerging as one In the years since the collapse of the Berlin
of the fastest-growing areas of interest in film Wall and the political changes of 1989–90, there
To view our catalogue or order our studies. Yet scholarship in this up-and-coming has been a growing interest in the cinemas
field has been beset by the lack of a common of the former countries of the Eastern bloc.
books and journals visit:
language and methodology between film Studies in Eastern European Cinema provides
and music theory. Drawing on the philosophy a dynamic and innovative discursive focus
Intellect, The Mill, Parnall Road, of Gilles Deleuze, film studies scholar Gregg for this growing community of scholars, and
Fishponds, Bristol, BS16 3JG. Redner provides a much-needed analysis of covers all aspects of film culture including Transnational Cinemas Short Film Studies Studies in European Cinema Journal of Scandinavian Cinema
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parting shot
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 r y

Yo� The mirror pep talk, when uttered by the formerly
potent male, sees the protagonist talking himself up
whilst the contradictory truth stares starkly back at him.
e m m a s i m m o n d s stops to reflect.

there's nothing wrong In Boogie Nights, Mark The Foot Fist Way targets
with a bit of bravado in the Wahlberg’s pinhead porn the nonsense of po-faced
face of grim reality, or so star Dirk Diggler perpetually machismo. In a scene directly
these tough guys keep telling speaks to his own reflection. inspired by both Raging Bull
themselves. Raging Bull’s As a fresh-faced naïf he and Boogie Nights hapless
famous mirror pep talk sees practices karate moves. Later, taekwondo instructor Fred
Robert De Niro, as disgraced he somewhat desperately Simmons (Danny McBride),
boxer Jake LaMotta, now a ‘prepares’ himself for a who is reeling from marital
bloated shadow rehearsing shoot. By the end of the disaster and faced with an
a speech lifted from On the picture Dirk is back in unruly class of children,
Waterfront. Through Brando’s front of a mirror, practicing hysterically tells himself that
words, La Motta voices his lines for his comeback. The he’s both ‘a winner’ and
own feelings of abandonment farcical dialogue and recent ‘an asshole’: an accurate
and self pity: ‘I coulda ignominious events undermine summation of both Jake La
had class, I coulda been a his insistence that he is a ‘star’. Motta and Dirk Diggler. [tbp]
contender, I coulda been The sequence is an explicit
somebody. Instead of a bum – homage to Raging Bull, yet, as
which is what I am’. Diggler stands to leave, rather
than buttoning his jacket, he
'You talkin' to me?!' unzips his fly, revealing the
secret to his success.

clockwise from top
robert deniro in raging bull
Danny McBride in the foot fist way
mark wahlberg in boogie nights

go further... [web ] Read 'Parting Shot: The Dance of the Bread Rolls' online

42 September/October 2010 43
competition Backpages

Picture Go Further Getting involved with...


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Name the film, director and lead actors (above)
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Deadline for entries: 21 october, 2010 articles contributors, with regular posts
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44 visit: September/October 2010 45

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

Pearl Harbour (2001)
Dir. Michael Bay
Harvey (1950)
Dir. Henry Koster
This edition of The Big Picture has been
g see page 4/5 g see page 32 produced in partnership with Park Circus,
From Here To Eternity (1953) Batman (1989) who are committed to bringing classic
Dir. Fred Zinneman Dir. Tim Burton
g see page 6/7 g see page 33
films back to the big screen.
Fight Club (1999) The Old Man and the Sea (1958)
Dir. David Fincherx0 Dir. John Sturges
g see page 8 g see page 34 coming coming coming
The Wild One (1953) Pagan Love Song (1950) soon soon soon
Dir. Laszlo Benedek Dir. Robert Alton
g see page 9 g see page 35

Wuthering Heights (1939)
Dir. William Wyler
Blue Hawaii (1961)
Dir. Norman Taurog
Based on James Jones' best-seller, From Here
g see page 10 g see page 36
To Eternity is a powerful drama of the passions
Bandit Queen (1994) Tears of the Sun (2003)
and violence of a group of soldiers stationed at
Dir. Shekhar Kapur Dir. Antoine Fuqua Pearl Harbor. Starring Burt Lancaster, Deborah
g see page 11 g see page 37
Kerr, Frank Sinatra and Montgomery Clift,
Fish Tank (2010)
Dir. Andrea Arnold
The Good, The Bad and The Ugly
this iconic, Academy Award-winning title has
g see page 12/13 Dir. Sergio Leone been beautifully restored by Sony Pictures and
Opening Night (1977)
g see page 38/39 will be re-released from 24 September at BFI
Dir. John Cassavetes Raging Bull (1980) Southbank, Glasgow Film Theatre, Irish Film
Dir. Martin Scorsese
g see page 24
g see page 42/43
Institute and key cities.
Another Year (2010)
Dir. Mike Leigh Boogie Nights (1997) Frank Capra is regarded as one of the great
Dir. Paul Thomas Anderson
g see page 25
g see page 42
directors of American cinema. This Autumn, Park
Hunger (2008) Circus is pleased to present a touring season of
Dir. Steve McQueen The Foot Fist Way (2006)
g see page 28/29 Dir. Jody Hill his most-loved classics. Headlining the season
Winchester '73 (1950)
g see page 43 are romantic screwball comedy It Happened
Dir. Anthony Mann One Night and racy drama Forbidden, which will
g see page 30/31 both be re-released on 29 October, opening at
BFI Southbank and selected cinemas.

More details of cinema screenings of these
the and other classic movies from the Park Circus
big picture catalogue can be accessed via:
issue 11
2010 thebigpicture disclaimer
The views and opinions of all texts, including
editorial and regular columns, are those of the
authors and do not necessarily represent or
above it happened one night
reflect those of the editors or publishers.


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