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good sports Cinematic Stories of Sporting Heroes March/April 2011 www.thebigpicturemgazine.com

good

sports

Cinematic Stories of Sporting Heroes

March/April 2011

www.thebigpicturemgazine.com

directory of world cinema experience global culture through the magic of film The Directory of World
directory of world cinema experience global culture through the magic of film The Directory of World
directory of world cinema experience global culture through the magic of film The Directory of World
directory of world cinema
directory of
world
cinema
directory of world cinema experience global culture through the magic of film The Directory of World
directory of world cinema experience global culture through the magic of film The Directory of World
directory of world cinema experience global culture through the magic of film The Directory of World

experience global culture through the magic of film

The Directory of World Cinema aims to play a part in moving intelligent, scholarly criticism beyond the academy. Each volume of the Directory provides a culturally representative insight into a national or regional cinema through a collection of reviews, essays, resources, and film stills highlighting significant films and players. Over time, new editions will be published for each volume, gradually building a comprehensive guide to the cinema of each region. To contribute to the project or purchase copies please visit the website.

www . worldcinemadirectory. org

To view our catalogue or order our books and journals visit www.intellectbooks.com. Intellect, The Mill, Parnall Road, Fishponds, Bristol, BS16 3JG. | Tel: +44 (0) 117 9589910

contents Issue Thirteen. March/April 2011 Features 06 06 | Spotlight Good Sports: Six Cinematic Stories of
contents
Issue Thirteen. March/April 2011
Features
06
06
| Spotlight
Good Sports:
Six Cinematic Stories of
Real-life Sporting Heroes
14
| Art & Film
Last Exit To Nowhere:
An Innovative Range of
Cult Film-Themed T-shirts
24
| Widescreen
Small But Perfectly Formed:
The World's Smallest
Travelling Movie Theatre
28
| 1000 Words
First Past The Post:
The Influence of Eadweard
Muybridge and Sallie
Gardner at a Gallop
Regulars
04
| Reel World
Rocky Runners
18
| one Sheet
Sporting Greats
‘The horse is too small, the
jockey too big, the trainer
too old, and I'm too dumb
to know the difference.'
26
| Four Frames
The Natural
32
| on Location
Charles Howard
Milan, Spain
36
| Screengem
Jake LaMotta's
Championship Belt
40
| Parting Shot
Copycat Killer
32
46
| Listings
A roundup of this issue's
featured films
The Big Picture ISSN 1759-0922 © 2011 intellect Ltd. Published by Intellect Ltd. The Mill, Parnall Road. Bristol BS16 3JG / www.intellectbooks.com
Editorial office Tel. 0117 9589910 / E: info@thebigpicturemagazine.com Publisher Masoud Yazdani Senior Editor & Art Direction Gabriel Solomons Editor Scott Jordan Harris
Design Assistant Persephone Coelho Contributors Jez Conolly, Nicholas Page, Emma Simmonds, Neil Mitchell, Nathan Francis, Scott Jordan Harris, Gabriel Solomons
Please send all email enquiries to: info@thebigpicturemagazine.com / www.thebigpicturemagazine.com l The Big Picture magazine is published six times a year
Published by
intellect
| www.intellectbooks.co.uk
March/April 2011 3
cover image Knute r oc K ne a ll- a merican ( c ourtesy K obal)
 
l eft s lyvester s tallone as roc K y balboa

l eft s lyvester s tallone as roc K y balboa

 
 

below troo P 2016

running u P t H e ' roc K y ' ste P s

reel world

film beyond the borders of the screen

 
 

Rocky

Runners

When

Rocky Balboa ran up the steps beneath

Philadelphia’s Museum of Modern Art, he inspired innumerable real-life runners to the same. Scott Jordan Harri S tries to keep up.

Here is a man who refuses to languish at the bottom of life powering himself to the top through sheer effort ...

No

seque N ce

i N

ci N ema

is as simply inspiring as Syl- vester Stallone’s first sprint up the 72 steps that lead to the Philadelphia Museum of Art (Rocky [Avildsen, 1976]). The scene is a strong metaphor – here is a man who refuses to languish at the bottom of life, powering himself to the top through sheer effort – but it appeals to audiences not only because of its figurative power, but also because it can literally be imitated. The Rocky Steps, as they are now universally known, returned for four of Rocky’s five sequels, and each appearance increased the number of fans who headed to them to recreate Rocky’s run. Indeed, so much a feature of Philadelphia have ‘Rocky Runners’ become that the city

started its Millennial festivities with 2000 Rocky fans, all in costume, making the famous upwards dash. The motiva- tions for the thigh-pumping pilgrimages made by Rocky Runners are often, though, greater than a simple desire to ape a movie scene – or even participate in city-wide celebrations – and some of the most compelling were cap- tured by Michael Vitez in his 2006 book Rocky Stories. The same year as Vitez re- leased his book, Stallone gave some Rocky Runners an even greater honour than immortal- isation in its pages: immortali- sation in a Rocky movie. After the final bell rings in Rocky Balboa (Stallone, 2006), the credits scroll alongside images of dozens of delighted Rocky Runners. Seldom have the movies and real life collided as famously, or as powerfully, as do at the Rocky Steps. [tbp]

gofurther

Read Rocky Stories: Tales of Love, Hope, and Happiness at america’s Most Famous Steps

by Michael Vitez (author) and Tom Gralish (Photographer)

   

4 www.thebigpicturemagazine.com

 

March/April 2011 5

cover feature spotlight Y cinema's thematic strands Good Sports The sports biopic is perhaps the most
cover
feature
spotlight
Y
cinema's thematic strands
Good
Sports
The sports biopic is perhaps the most popular sub-genre of
the sports movie. Jez c onolly and n eil Mitc H ell team up
to look at six cinematic stories of real-life sporting heroes.
'Knute Roc K ne All-
Ame R ic A n' AKA 'A
m ode R n He R o' (1940)
Dir. Lloyd Bacon
Kobal (2)
r eagan is only
onscreen for
eight of the film’s
98 minutes but
his four scenes
stand out as its
emotional heart
Knute Rockne is the American
football-themed film that
gave former US President
Ronald Reagan the nickname
‘the Gipper’. Reagan plays
freshman George Gipp, who
is discovered by Notre Dame
team coach Rockne (Pat
O’Brien) and added to the
team as halfback, leading to a
winning streak. Tragedy dims
the team’s triumphs when Gipp
is struck down with a fatal
illness. Cue Coach Rockne’s
much-repeated and frequently
parodied half-time ‘win one for
the Gipper’ pep talk during a
key game in the 1928 season.
Reagan is only on-screen for
eight of the film’s 98 minutes
but his four scenes stand out as
its emotional heart; the ‘Gipper’
tag stuck and was used to mock
and champion Reagan with
equal measure throughout his
political career. O’Brien’s per-
formance as Rockne, gradually
crippled by phlebitis and even-
tually killed in a plane crash,
helped make Knute Rockne All-
American an early example of
a sports film that made grown
men cry. [Jez Conolly]
a bove and left
r onald r eagan
6 www.thebigpicturemagazine.com
March/April 2011 7
spotlight good sports Kobal s eabiscuit was a knock-kneed, undersized, overlooked thoroughbred ... h is Se
spotlight
good sports
Kobal
s eabiscuit was
a knock-kneed,
undersized, overlooked
thoroughbred
...
h is
Se A bi S cuit (2003)
was a classic story of
d ir. Gary Ross
Seabiscuit was the perfect hero
for Depression-era America – his
was a classic story of the under-
dog winning through against the
odds – but we have to wait over
40 minutes into Gary Ross’ screen
adaptation of the Laura Hillen-
brand 2001 bestseller, Seabiscuit:
the underdog winning
through against
the odds
tH e dA mned u nited
(2009)
tom Hooper’s
Dir. Tom Hooper
An American Legend, before we
actually get to see the eponymous
legendary racehorse. This is a film
focused at least as much, if not
more, on the human story of the
three men behind Seabiscuit’s suc-
cess as about Seabiscuit himself.
The horse’s owner, car magnate
adaptation of david
Charles Howard (Jeff Bridges),
...
an affectionate and
humourous portrait of
the hubris, arrogance
and unyielding drive of
‘the greatest manager
england never had’.
Peace’s novel
is
One of the fiercest rivalries Eng-
lish football has seen came not
between two teams but between
legendary manager Brian Clough
(Michael Sheen) and Don Revie
(Colm Meaney), whose cham-
pionship-winning Leeds United
Clough dubbed ‘the dirtiest and
most cynical team in the country.’
Tom Hooper’s adaptation of Da-
vid Peace’s novel, a fictionalised
account of Clough’s disastrous
44-day reign as Leeds’ manager,
is an affectionate and humorous
trainer Tom Smith (Chris Cooper)
and jockey Red Pollard (Tobey
Maguire) all carry deep emotional
wounds and are brought together
by a damaged horse – Seabiscuit
was a knock-kneed, undersized,
overlooked thoroughbred – in
which they see hope and find
healing. This critically lauded film
failed at the box office despite its
successful attempt to embody the
best and most noble qualities of
the human spirit. [Jez Conolly]
portrait of the hubris, arrogance
and unyielding drive of ‘the great-
est manager England never had.’
Alongside Clough and Revie’s
enmity, The Damned United charts
the touching ‘bromance’ between
Clough and his long-time assis-
tant, Peter Taylor (Timothy Spall).
The briefly estranged colleagues
are re-united after Clough’s chas-
tening sacking from Leeds, with
‘Ol’ Big ‘Ed’ falling to his knees
and begging Taylor ‘Baby, please
take me back.’ After the events of
the film, Revie’s career petered
out, while the pair took Notting-
ham Forest to European Cup-
winning glory in 1979 and 1980.
above left
m ic H ael sH een
o PP osite
t obey m aguire
[Neil Mitchell]
8 www.thebigpicturemagazine.com
March/April 2011 9

Kobal (2)

spotlight good sports

P R efontA ine (1997)

Somebody uP tH e R e l i K e S m e (1956)

Dir. Robert Wise

Somebody uP tH e R e l i K e S m e (1956) Dir. Robert
 

Dir. Steve James

 

Paul Newman’s career-making portrayal of Rocky Graziano’s troubled life and turbulent rise to boxing’s middleweight championship of the world tells a real life tale of sporting glory achieved very much against the odds. Born Thomas Rocco Barbella in New York City, the

Rocky’s early life was marred by an abusive father, street fighting, petty crime,

Paul Newman’s career-making portrayal of Rocky Graziano’s troubled life and turbulent rise to boxing’s middleweight championship

The short life of American middle and long distance runner Steve Prefontaine (Jared Leto) is cele-

brated in this film by Hoop Dreams (1994) director Steve James. Prefontaine was tragically killed in a car accident at 24, but his life story was packed full of sporting achievement, dramatic events and moments of controversy.

future champ was, as respected boxing writer Bert Sugar noted, ‘raised on the Lower East Side, where both sides of the tracks were wrong.’ Rocky’s early life was marred by an abusive father, street fighting, petty crime, reform school, jail and eventually military prison; but it was his fearsome

reform school, jail and eventually military prison.

above

Displaying an aggressively single-minded determination, the diminutive Prefontaine, born with one leg slightly shorter than the other, was a central figure in the ‘running boom’ that swept Amer- ica in the 1970s. James’ film en- compasses his dramatic failure to take a medal at the 1972 Munich Olympics, his much-criticised dis-

reputation as a brawler that

ronald lee ermey, ed o'neill and Jared leto

the diminutive Prefontaine, born

eventually gave his wayward life

above left

pute over appearance fees with the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU)

the focus it needed. Graziano was firmly established in American sporting legend by the three ferocious title bouts fought against his fierce rival Tony Zale (Court Shepard). He may have only held the title for a year, but his is an

Paul newman

with one leg slightly shorter than the other, was a central figure in the ‘running boom’ that swept America in the 1970s.

and his staggering record of 120 victories in 153 races. Coached by Bill Bowerman (R. Lee Er- mey), whose Blue Ribbon Sports company later became Nike, Pre- fontaine was adored by his fans,

inspirational story for all of life’s underdogs. [Neil Mitchell]

smashed records and ran his way into sporting history.

[Neil Mitchell]

10 www.thebigpicturemagazine.com

March/April 2011 11

spotlight cinema's thematic strands tH e P R ide of t H e yA n K
spotlight
cinema's thematic strands
tH e P R ide of t H e
yA n K ee S (1942)
Dir. Sam Wood
Considered by many to be the
finest sports film of all, The
Pride of the Yankees tells the
rags-to-riches story of baseball
legend Lou Gehrig and his he-
roic losing battle against illness.
The baseball theme shares
the screen with a moving love
story (included to appeal to
women, the main body of US
wartime cinemagoers) and a
t he p ride of the
y ankees tells the
rags-to-riches
story of baseball
legend l ou g ehrig
and his heroic
losing battle
against illness
stirring patriotism designed to
rouse the nation in the wake of
the attack on Pearl Harbor.
Gary Cooper, starring as
Gehrig, worked hard to emulate
the great man but, being right-
handed, had to rely on some
screen trickery to replicate
Gehrig’s left-handed batting
style: director Sam Wood filmed
Cooper batting right-handed
and flipped the negative to
make him appear left-handed.
To avoid the obvious oddities,
the lettering on Cooper’s cap
and uniform had to be reversed
and, when he hit the ball, he
had to remember to run to third
base instead of first.
[Jez Conolly]
left
g ary c oo P er
go further
[B ookS ] The damned United by david Peace and Seabiscuit: an american Legend by Laura Hillenbrand
12 www.thebigpicturemagazine.com
March/April 2011 13
Kobal
 

art&film

the idea for the company

the idea for the company
   

visual art inspired by film

l a S t

Exit

to

n o w H ere

 

developed from my love of cinema, collecting t-shirts, and a feeling of being creatively stifled at the design agency i worked for at the time.

cloc K wise from to P left

forrest gumP indiana Jones and tHe temPle of doom tHere will be blood raiders of tHe lost arK ferris bueller's day off taxi driver

When and how did the initial concept for Last Exit to Nowhere come to be?
When and how did the initial concept for Last Exit to Nowhere come to be?
When and how did the initial concept for Last Exit to Nowhere come to be?
When and how did the initial concept for Last Exit to Nowhere come to be?
When and how did the initial concept for Last Exit to Nowhere come to be?
When and how did the initial concept for Last Exit to Nowhere come to be?

When and how did the initial concept for Last Exit to Nowhere come to be?

The idea for the company developed from my love of cinema, collecting T-shirts, and a feeling of being creatively

stifled at the design agency

 
  • I worked for at the time. My

above

brother is a screen printer by trade, and I’ve always been

Can you describe your

 

s u P erman ii (1980)

able to take ideas from popu-

lar/retro culture – including films – and design and produce bespoke garments. creative philosophy?

lar/retro culture – including films – and design and produce bespoke garments.

creative philosophy?

  • I like to design T-shirts that ref-

erence my favourite films. I’m happy for people to buy them if they like them too.

What was the first T-shirt design you created?

It was a band T-shirt for a UK death metal band in 1987. The first film based design was a Thorn Industries T-shirt based upon the fictional company seen in The Omen (Donner, 1976; Taylor, 1978; Baker, 1981) trilogy in 1998.

How do you choose the film and detail to develop into one of your designs?

The quintessence of cool, the range of cult film-themed T-shirts by Last

Simply by watching films!

Exit To Nowhere have taken the market by storm, bridging the worlds of geek fandom and retro culture in style. Mike Ford, who once played guitar for Nottingham punk band Consumed, is the guiding force behind

Is it a struggle to identify new films and details to de- velop into fresh designs?

  • I think there is a wealth of

the innovative clothing line, which has paid homage to films as diverse as The Thing (Carpenter, 1982) to The Karate Kid (Avildsen, 1984) with their sharp and witty designs. The Big Picture caught up with Ford to discuss Last Exit To Nowhere’s cinematic couture.

ideas and new inspiration to be drawn from old and new films.

14 www.thebigpicturemagazine.com

March/April 2011 15

14 www. thebigpicturemagazine .com March/April 2011 15
art&film left g H ost busters visual art inspired by film below Paul cloc K wise
art&film
left
g H ost busters
visual art inspired by film
below
Paul
cloc K wise from below
b razil / anti H eroes t H roug H out cinema / alien / b lade r unner / s oylent g reen / tH e b lues b rot H ers
Have you ever wanted to de-
velop a detail from a film into
a new design but have been
denied the right to do so?
Not so much denied, but
encouraged not to – for legal
reasons. We’d love to be able to
do references from the Duncan
Jones film Moon (2009).
What has been your most
popular design to date?
Our sci-fi T-shirts are probably
the most successful.
What are your company’s
forthcoming projects and
overall plans for the future?
How long does the design
process take from original
idea through to the finished
T-shirt?
the first film based
design was a thorn
industries t-shirt
based upon the
fictional company
seen in the omen
trilogy in 1998.
We’d like the company to con-
tinue in the way it has been
Some ideas come and it can
take just a couple of weeks to
Have you ever received re-
quests for any particular
films or details to be made
into a design?
developing, offering new and
turn it around. Other ideas stay
locked away for months before
making an appearance.
Yes, we encourage people to
send in their ideas and sug -
gestions to us. It’s good to
know what folk think about
what we do.
interesting designs along the
way. If you ‘Join Us’ at Last
Exit To Nowhere you can
qualify for discounts and spe-
cial membership offers. With
enough members we are hop-
ing to conquer a small country.
Do you often find yourself
noticing details watching re-
cent films which would make
[tbp]
great Last Exit to Nowhere
designs?
Yes. It’s almost impossible for
me not to now.
seemore ...
[we B ] www.lastexittonowhere.com
16 www.thebigpicturemagazine.com
March/April 2011 17
one sheet deconstructing film posters Sporting Greats Whether about tennis or football, surfing or skiing, cinema
one sheet
deconstructing film posters
Sporting
Greats
Whether about tennis or football, surfing or skiing,
cinema has served up some memorable sporting stories.
n i c H ola S Page looks at a few of the posters that sold them
to us. Images courtesy of The Reel Poster Gallery, London.
S ports are an increas-
ingly important part of
our culture and society
Chariots of Fire (1981)
Original US One Sheet
and so it is fitting that
the sports movie has
become such an important part
of cinema. As the following
examples prove, the genre is re-
sponsible for some wonderfully
designed movie posters.
The use of space and composition in
this poster for Hugh Hudson’s Chari-
ots of Fire is outstanding. The poster,
which shows a group of athletes from
the film training for the 1924 Olym-
pics in Paris, uses negative space in
order to emphasise (to quote the Brit-
ish writer Allan Sillitoe) ‘the loneli-
ness of the long distance runner’. Un-
fortunately, this brilliant and some-
what unconventional design wasn’t
initially used to market the film in the
West. After the success of Chariots
of Fire at the 1981 Academy Awards
(where it scooped four awards), the
film was a promoted in America us-
ing a more standard poster so as to
show off these recent achievements.
gofurther ...
www.reelposter.com [B ook ] Josef Vyletal: Painter of death by Rostislav Sarvas
18 www.thebigpicturemagazine.com
Hard, Fast and Beautiful (1951) Original US Insert This poster for Ida Lupino’s tennis drama Hard,
Hard, Fast and Beautiful (1951)
Original US Insert
This poster for Ida Lupino’s tennis
drama Hard, Fast and Beautiful is
slightly more conventional than the
other posters here, but does well to
encapsulate the importance art once
held in the creation of successful
movie marketing material. Just as we
see with the posters for commercial
releases these days, it has always
been important to feature each of the
movie’s stars in order to sell it suc-
cessfully – and at the very least this
meant employing an artist who could
accurately draw characters that would
then be recognised by the general
public. This, of course, isn’t the finest
artistic example, but it does also show
us an early use of the tagline.
Downhill Racer (1969)
Original US One Sheet
Art by Stephen Frankfurt
This iconic poster for Michael
Ritchie’s 1969 film Downhill Racer
is one of a number by successful
designer, art director and advertis-
ing mogul Stephen Frankfurt. At just
25 Frankfurt was noticed and hired
by producer Alan J. Pakula to design
the title sequence for Robert Mul-
ligan’s 1962 adaptation of To Kill a
Mockingbird. What Frankfurt came up
with changed the art of title design,
and led to the realisation that mov-
ies could – and perhaps should – be
packaged and sold in their totality. For
Frankfurt, simplicity and directness
(note the use of the tagline here) was
a must, and this can be seen not only
in this but also the remarkably similar
poster he designed for Roman Polan-
ski’s Rosemary’s Baby the year before.
What frankfurt came
up with changed the
art of title design, and
led to the realisation
that movies could – and
perhaps should – be
packaged and sold in
their totality.
20 www.thebigpicturemagazine.com
one sheet sporting greats The Endless Summer (1966) Original US One Sheet Art by John Van
one sheet
sporting greats
The Endless Summer (1966)
Original US One Sheet
Art by John Van Hamersveld
Illustrator and graphic artist John
Van Hamersveld is perhaps best
known for designing the album
sleeves and concert posters of
popular and psychedelic bands
during the 1960s and ‘70s. He was
behind such covers as those used
for The Beatles’ Magical Mystery
Tour, Jefferson Airplane’s Crown of
Creation and The Rolling Stones’
Exile on Main St. From there, he
descended into the corporate world
of logo design, but not before
contributing this poster for Bruce
Brown’s 1966 crossover hit movie,
The Endless Summer. Here, Van
Hamersveld uses his experience
as a graphic designer for popular
surfing magazines to create a
striking image of one fleeting but
memorable moment in American
history. [tbp]
Van Hamersveld uses his experience as
a graphic designer for popular surfing
magazines to create a striking image of
one fleeting but memorable moment in
American history.
22 www.thebigpicturemagazine.com

new

The Film International Website

www.filmint.nu

Come experience the miracle

Resurrected – Redesigned – Reanimated

one sheet sporting greats The Endless Summer (1966) Original US One Sheet Art by John Van

New look, new material, features, reviews, interviews, classic favourites, frequent updates.

widescreen seeing film in a wider context small but perfectly formed developed by Swansea based non-profit
widescreen
seeing film in a wider context
small
but
perfectly
formed
developed by Swansea
based non-profit production
company Undercurrents, The
Sol Cinema is just one in a
series of initiatives set up by the
company to highlight envi-
ronmental issues in a fun and
creative way. The Sol Cinema
certainly ticks both these boxes
plus a few more as it reflects
both the macro Eco-cool con-
sumer trend for all things green
as well as the nostalgic vintage
trend. The 1960s caravan con-
version snugly seats 8 adults and
offers up a unique cinematic
experience - screening an ec-
lectic range of short films with
inspiring environment themes.
Powered entirely by the rays of the sun, the
aptly named Sol Cinema is the World's smallest
(and sweetest) travelling movie theatre.
to find out more visit www.thesolcinema.org
Lavished with pride, style and
a bubbly crew of usherettes, the
micro cinema uses lithium bat-
teries to store the energy from
the Sun to power the cinema
throughout the day and night
and the photovoltaic panel har-
nesses the sunlight, even as the
films are being shown, so they
never run out of power.
The cinema is currently in the
running to win £5,000 from
The Co-operative group for the
best project to educate about
climate change, so to cast your
vote simply visit www.co-oper-
ative.coop and click on the 'Join
The Revolution' link. [tbp]
2424 www.
www.thebigpicturemagazine.com
thebigpicturemagazine.com
March/April
March/April 2011
2011 25 25
 

four frames

the art of abbreviated storytelling

When Barry Levinson tried to make a baseball movie for more than baseball fans, he hit a

Beyond Base B all

The Natural, Dir. Barry Levinson, 1984

home run. Jez c o n o l ly takes us out to the ball

 
1
1
2
2

game.

 

‘You

do N ’ t

h a v e

t o

l o v e

[insert sport here] to love this film.’ It’s a phrase often used by reviewers keen to convince non-sports fans that a movie isn’t going to be a just another ball game – albeit one shot from multiple angles. The phrase is often close to the truth but it has never been closer than in the case of Barry Levinson’s The Natural (1984). Forget about shortstops, pitchers, curveballs and home runs. This is more than a film about baseball: it is a film about fundamental darkness and light. Cinematographer Caleb Deschanel’s backlighting technique and use of filters to direct and diffuse light sources lend the film its sense of nostalgic magic realism. In a key scene, an angelically lit Glenn Close inspires Robert Redford to a hit that takes out the scoreboard clock; a moment

 
3
3
4
4

captured by the flashlights of the press photographers. In that instant her astral presence has caused time to stop.

 
four frames the art of abbreviated storytelling When Barry Levinson tried to make a baseball movie
 

Read More four frames online at www.thebigpicturemagazine.com

26 www.thebigpicturemagazine.com

March/April 2011 27

left sallie g ardner at a gallo P Whe N the Y t i r e
left
sallie g ardner at a gallo P
Whe N the Y t i r e o f
1000 words
Eadweard Muybridge’s nineteenth century
short of a galloping a horse named Sallie
inspired scientists, artists – and cinema
itself. Scott Jordan Harri S saddles up.
moments that changed cinema forever
First
Past
x
the
discussing whether the Mike
Tyson of 1987 could beat
the Muhammad Ali of 1974,
those who like to debate box-
ing often argue over who is
‘pound for pound’ the best
boxer of all. They suppose
there is an equation in which
a boxer’s amount of ability
can be divided by his weight
to give a per pound measure
of his powers. In this way a
featherweight can, at least in
a boxing fan’s fantasies, be
fairly matched against a su-
per heavyweight.
Were films assessed by
a similar method, with a
movie’s amount of influence
divided by its running time,
there would be one undisput-
ed pound for pound cham-
pion of the cinema. Eadweard
Muybridge’s three-second
short, Sallie Gardner at a Gal-
lop, has legitimate claims to
be both the first and most
influential film ever made
– and, while the influence
of most monumental films
extends only to other films, its
Post
The Influence of Eadweard Muybridge
and Sallie Gardner at a Gallop
influence reaches into science,
art and photography.
Muybridge shot Sallie
Gardner at Palo Alto, Califor-
nia, on 19 June 1878. Present
were an array of reporters
and Leland Stanford, an
industrialist with whom (de-
pending upon which sources
you consult) Muybridge was
either engaged in a noble
experiment or locked in a
high-stakes wager. Their pur-
pose was to answer a simple
but puzzling question: did
a horse at full gallop ever
lift all four of its feet off the
ground simultaneously?
Muybridge, already a re-
nowned photographer, had
found the answer a year ear-
lier, when he took a series of
pictures of a racehorse called
Occident; but questions over
the processes to which he
subjected his photographic
negative caused his findings to
be discredited. His set-up at
Palo Alto ensured the results
of the Sallie Gardner experi-
ment could not be doubted.
28 www.thebigpicturemagazine.com
March/April 2011 29
x

left sallie g ardner at a gallo P Whe N the Y t i r e
1000 words first past the post While it seems unlikely that scientists still refer to Sallie
1000 words first past the post
While it seems unlikely
that scientists still refer to
Sallie Gardner during their
He planned and measured
the course the horse would
run, and then he planned and
measured a path parallel to
it. Along this he positioned
24 regularly spaced cameras
and a rigged series of trip
wires that, once broken by
the horse, would each activate
one of the cameras. To make
the process as transparent as
possible, he not only had the
press in situ, but also the fa-
cilities to develop the pictures
as soon as they were taken.
And so, ridden by a jockey
known as ‘Domm’, Sallie
Gardner began her gallop. A
few seconds passed, 24 shut-
ters snapped, and the pio-
neering pictures were taken.
Muybridge developed them
and, once he had finished, the
results were clear. Soon, the
world knew that a horse in
fast motion did indeed lift all
four hooves from the ground
at the same time.
As worthy of celebration
as this is it does not account
for the experiment’s influence
on cinema. That came when
Muybridge adapted the im-
ages so they could be shown
as a moving sequence through
the proto-projector he had
invented. Viewed via the Zoo-
praxiscope, Sallie Gardner at
a Gallop became perhaps the
world’s first film.
Whether it really was the
world’s first film will always
be debated. Certainly, Sallie
Gardner was a motion picture
– but, as essentially a high-
speed slide show, was it really
a film? The famous Roundhay
Garden Scene, made ten years
later by Louis Aimé Augustin
Le Prince in the eponymous
area of Leeds, was the first
movie shot on celluloid,
which is to say it was the
first movie to be made using
film – and that gives it a very
strong claim to the title of
the world’s first film. But, if
a film must be made on film
to earn the name, are movies
shot entirely on digital cam-
eras not truly films?
Such arguments tend
towards the endless and, ulti-
mately, whether Sallie Gardner
was the first true film is im-
material. What matters is the
enormous significance it had
in the development of film-
making. Eadweard Muybridge
When the Wachowski
siblings, and their visual
effects supervisor, John
Gaeta, came to create the
matrix trilogy, they used
the 120-year-old film as a
model while developing the
techniques necessary for
their now-famous ‘bullet
time’ effect.
above
t H e matrix
and his Zoopraxiscope led
to Thomas Edison and his
Kinetoscope, which led to the
Lumière brothers and their
Cinématograph, which over-
took the Skladanowsky broth-
ers and their Bioscope, to lead
us to the earliest incarnation
of cinema as we know it.
Few films, then, can boast
of an influence on cinema
equal to that of Sallie Gardner
– but none can boast of com-
bining it with Sallie Gardner’s
impact upon photography, art
and science. The film’s influ-
ence on film was almost inci-
dental (after all, Muybridge
was seeking to solve a scien-
tific problem, not invent an
art form). More immediate
was its influence on the way
scientists understood biome-
chanics and the way artists
appreciated motion.
work – its appeal for them,
surely, is purely historical
– its appeal for artists per-
sists. Muybridge’s studies
of bodies in motion have
inspired artists as promi-
nent as Francis Bacon and
Marcel Duchamp (whose
1912 ‘Nude Descending a
Staircase No. 2’ is famously
descended from Muybridge’s
1887 ‘Woman Walking
Downstairs’) and are clas-
sic reference models for
animators and cartoonists.
Sallie Gardner in particular
continues to inspire: in 2007,
Canadian poet Rob Winger
published Muybridge’s Horse,
a book-length poem retelling
the story of Sallie Gardner
and its creator.
Even more impressively,
when the Wachowski siblings,
and their visual effects su-
pervisor, John Gaeta, came
to create The Matrix trilogy
(1999–2003), they used the
120-year-old film as a model
while developing the tech-
niques necessary for their
now-famous ‘bullet time’ ef-
fect. Though the still cameras
used in filming The Matrix
trilogy’s ultra-slow motion
sequences were far more
numerous and sophisticated
than those used on Sallie
Gardner (in The Matrix up to
120 camera were employed,
allowing recording of up to
12,000 frames per second),
the principles were remark-
ably similar to those used
in, and were drawn directly
from, Muybridge’s work.
And, of all the evidence
of Sallie Gardner’s signifi-
cance, its influence on the
Wachowskis and Gaeta
– twenty-first century film-
makers looking to stretch the
boundaries of cinema – is
the most persuasive. When
Muybridge took 24 quick fire
photographs of a racehorse
in the summer of 1878 it
wasn’t simply a moment that
changed movies: it was a mo-
ment that is still changing
them now. [tbp]
go further...
[B ook ] Read Muybridge’s Horse: a poem in three phases by Rob winger and eadweard Muybridge, the
Complete Locomotion Photographs by Hans-Christian adam
30 www.thebigpicturemagazine.com
1000 words first past the post While it seems unlikely that scientists still refer to Sallie
on location the places that make the movies x m ilan x Standing in the shadow
on location
the places that make the movies
x m ilan x
Standing in the shadow of its colossal
cathedral under typically grey skies, it’s
difficult not to feel inspired by Milan’s
Gothic beauty. n i c H ola S Page takes a tour.
lA n otte (1961)
Rocco A nd Hi S bR ot H e RS
(1960)
Dir. Michelangelo Antonioni
Italy, 115 minutes
Starring Marcello
Mastroianni, Jeanne Moreau,
Monica Vitti
Dir. Luchino Visconti
Italy, 168 minutes
Starring Alain Delon, Renato
Salvatori, Annie Giradot
Michelangelo Antonioni’s La Notte
concerns, among other things,
the embattled wife of a suc-
cessful writer (played by Jeanne
Moreau), who one day, while
feeling particularly alienated from
her current life, decides to escape
the party thrown to celebrate the
release of her husband’s new book
and embarks on an aimless walk
through the streets. From an op-
pressive circle of cocktail glasses
and chatter, she is thrust into a
city of humming machinery, the
rhythmic beating of engines and
the screeching of sirens. This is
modern Milan, and few have ever
depicted it – indeed, have depicted
many things – in quite the same
way as Antonioni.
Rocco and his Brothers follows a
poor Southern family who migrate
to Milan during the economic
boom of the 1950s in search of
work and a better life. Led by
their embattled mother, Rosaria
(Katina Paxinou), four of the five
brothers – Simone (Renato Sal-
vatori), Luca (Rocco Vidolazzi),
Ciro (Max Cartier) and Rocco
(Delon) – travel to the North by
train with the hope that the fam-
ily’s eldest son, Vincenzo (Spiros
Focas), will be able to find them
all somewhere to stay. Simone
and Rocco find some success as
boxers before eventually fighting
over the beautiful Nadia (Annie
Girardot), a prostitute with dark
eyes who enters their lives as if
by chance and eventually cause a
fatal rift in the family.
K obal
32 www.thebigpicturemagazine.com
March/April 2011 33
left on location m iracle in m ilan below the places that make the movies i
left
on location
m iracle in m ilan
below
the places that make the movies
i a m l ove
m i RA cle in m il A n (1951)
Dir. Vittorio De Sica
Italy, 100 minutes
the bored daughter-in-law of a
wealthy italian textile baron, upon
discovering the homosexuality of
her artist daughter, is inspired to
find her own liberation.
Starring Francesco Golisano,
Emma Gramatica, Paolo Stoppa
Vittorio De Sica had a difficult task in creating a film
with similar themes to his beloved 1948 film Bicycle
Thieves as a follow up to it. And yet Miracle in Milan
stands in its own right as a tale of poverty, freedom and
happiness in post-war Italy. Using both actors and non-
actors in the classic neorealist way, De Sica’s fantasy
documents the struggles of a young boy named Totò,
who is found in a cabbage patch and adopted by an old
woman, before being shunted into an orphanage by the
system once she passes away.
i Am l o V e (2009)
Dir. Luca Guadagnino
Italy, 120 minutes
Starring Tilda Swinton, Flavio
Parenti, Edoardo Gabbriellini
In dealing with the lavish upper rungs of Milan’s
social ladder, Luca Guadagnino’s I Am Love has drawn
numerous comparisons from critics to the work of
influential Italian film-maker Luchino Visconti. It stars
English actress Tilda Swinton as Emma Recchi, the
bored daughter-in-law of a wealthy Italian textile baron
who, upon discovering the homosexuality of her artist
daughter, is inspired to find her own liberation. To this
end, Emma is drawn towards one of her son’s friends,
a local chef named Antonio (Gabbriellini), and the pair
begin a tentative romantic relationship.
go further...
[FILM ] watch Il posto (1961) Cronaca di un amore (1950), Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow (1963)
34 www.thebigpicturemagazine.com
March/April 2011 35
screengem evocative objects onscreen jake lamotta's y Championship Bel� Raging Bull (1980) Nothing in Raging Bull
screengem
evocative objects onscreen
jake
lamotta's
y
Championship
Bel�
Raging Bull (1980)
Nothing in Raging Bull sums up Jake LaMotta better
than his championship belt. Scott Jordan Harri S
tries not to take a hammer to it.
r obert d e N i r o ’ s J a k e
LaMotta is seldom up on
his luck, but in one of the
passages of Raging Bull
when he is most definitely
down on it, he becomes
desperate for money. Seizing
the title belt he earned as
middleweight champion
of the world, he smashes
it with a hammer to break
off its jewels. Taking these
to a pawnshop, he is told
what we already know: that
the jewels themselves are
worthless – but the belt they
came from was a unique
item that could surely have
sold for a high price.
It is seldom discussed as
such, but the championship
belt in Raging Bull is one
of the most evocative
objects in American cinema.
Most big biopics centre
on a subject – a politician
given to making quotable
speeches, say, or a writer
whose aphorisms may be
easily appropriated for the
script – with a talent for
verbal expression. LaMotta
has no such faculty, and
nor does anyone around
him. And so it is his actions
that define him – and no
action defines him more
succinctly than the way
he treats his title belt, the
physical symbol of his
best accomplishments.
Like almost everything of
importance in LaMotta’s
life, he battles to get it –
and then wilfully destroys
it thinking he is doing the
right thing. [tbp]
seemore
Read ‘Screengem: Bingham’s Backpack’ on TheBigPictureMagazine.com
36 www.thebigpicturemagazine.com
K obal

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parting shot imitation is the sincerest form of flattery CopyCat Gus v a N s a
parting shot
imitation is the sincerest form of flattery
CopyCat
Gus v a N s a N t’s 1998 remake
Killer
Gus Van Sant’s lurid, near-identical rehash of
Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho is an act of earnest
but ultimately misguided experimentation.
e M M a S i M M ond S can’t believe her eyes.
K obal
of Alfred Hitchcock’s
Psycho (1960) is essentially
one long act of audacious
imitation – for the most part
a shot-for-shot copy, with
the action transposed to the
modern day. Although it’s
inferior in every respect,
it’s perversely watchable as
there’s a certain mileage in
comparing and contrasting it
to the superior original.
In this brazen facsimile,
the unfortunate Marion
Crane is played by Anne
Heche, who, as before, ab-
sconds with a fortune before
meeting a grisly end in the
Bates Motel at the hands of
mummy’s boy, Norman –
now Vince Vaughn.
Psycho ‘98 retains both
the original’s script and the
iconic Bernard Herrmann
score, with minor tweaks by
the original screenwriter Jo-
seph Stefano and celebrated
contemporary composer
Danny Elfman respectively.
The darting horizontal and
vertical lines of the opening
credits also remain intact,
but the monochrome is re-
placed by vibrant flashes of
wicked green.
Hitch’s cameo is replaced
by one by Van Sant himself,
who is wittily shown being
reprimanded by a Hitchcock
impersonator. Van Sant also
adds candy colour, masturba-
tion, male and female nudity
– and adjusts the stolen cash
for inflation. It is both a gar-
ish, cynical imposter and cin-
ematic curio; it may well have
introduced a new generation
to Hitchcock as intended, but
ultimately it’s testament to
the reality that you just can’t
fake greatness. [tbp]
toutlecine.com
Although it’s inferior
in every respect, it’s
perversely watchable
as there’s a certain
mileage in comparing
and contrasting it to the
superior original.
toutlecine.com
above and rig H t
Psyc H o (1998)
K obal
left and bottom rig H t
Psyc H o (1960)
go further
Read ‘ace in the Hole: Your Guide to anal Fixation in Psycho’ on TheBigPictureMagazine.com
40 www.thebigpicturemagazine.com
March/April 2011 41
 

four frames

the art of abbreviated storytelling

kiss good B y e

A Place in the Sun Dir.George Stevens, 1951

1
1

3

2
2

Wishing a fond farewell to a screen siren who sure knew how to kiss a fella. words by Jez c onolly .

a s a tribute to Elizabeth Taylor let us linger for a while over what is surely one of the greatest ever onscreen kisses. If proof were needed that, in her heyday, Taylor photo- graphed better in close-up than pretty much any other actress, this George Stevens romance surely provides it. To begin with, it’s worth noting that unlike most other characters in the film George (Montgomery Clift) is shown most frequently in medium or long shot, quite deliberately so as to suggest that he is the object of scrutiny. The distance also implies his relative anonymity; he often seems somewhat dwarfed in both his exterior and on-set scenes. We only really get to see him in close-up when he is with

this is love.

Angela (Taylor), as though it is only when he is with her that he is in focus, as though she has drawn him in and somehow completed him. In among the many slow, languid dissolves that Stevens employed to tell his story, this kiss stands out as espe- cially rapturous and all-consuming. It is during this clinch, when the couple are dancing, that they express their deep love for each other for the first time. The lines that are exchanged emphasise the intimacy but no words are really needed. The extreme close- ups, with mouths mostly obscured or occupied in the kiss, speak volumes:

Angela (Taylor), as though it is only when he is with her that he is in
4
4
four frames the art of abbreviated storytelling kiss good B y e A Place in the

Read More four frames online at www.thebigpicturemagazine.com

42 www.thebigpicturemagazine.com

March/April 2011 43

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Film Index

So you’ve read about the films, now go watch them!

Rocky (1976)

dir. John G. avildsen

g see page 4/5

knute Rockne all-american (1940)

dir. Lloyd Bacon g see page 6/7

The damned United (2009)

dir. Tom Hooper g see page 8

Seabiscuit (2003) dir. Gary Ross g see page 8/9

Somebody Up There Likes Me

(1956)

dir. Robert wise g see page 10

Prefontaine (1997) dir. Steve James g see page 11

The Pride of the Yankees (1942)

dir. Sam wood g see page 12/13

The Natural (1984) dir. Barry Levinson g see page 26/27

Sallie Gardner at a Gallop (1878)

dir. eadweard Muybridge g see page 28/29

The Matrix trilogy (1999–2003)

dir. andy and Larry wachowski

g see page 30/31 La Notte (1961)

dir. Michelangelo antonioni g see page 32/33

Rocco and His Brothers (1960)

dir. Luchino Visconti

g see page 33 Miracle in Milan (1951)

dir. Vittorio de Sica

g see page 34 I am Love (2009)

dir. Luca Guadagnino g see page 34/35

Raging Bull (1980) dir. Martin Scorsese g see page 36/37

Psycho (1960) dir. alfred Hitchcock g see page 40/41

Psycho (1998)

dir. Gus Van Sant

g see page 41

a Place in the Sun (1951)

dir.George Stevens g see page 42/43

the big picture issue 14

available 15 may 2011

non-places
non-places

46 www.thebigpicturemagazine.com

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Backpages Film Index So you’ve read about the films, now go watch them! Rocky (1976) dir.
Backpages Film Index So you’ve read about the films, now go watch them! Rocky (1976) dir.
Backpages Film Index So you’ve read about the films, now go watch them! Rocky (1976) dir.

Backpages Film Index So you’ve read about the films, now go watch them! Rocky (1976) dir.

’’

’’

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