Monday, August 31, 2009
Saturday, August 29, 2009
- Christopher Lee agreed to appear in this film for free.
- The film gives it's name to a music and arts festival (The Wickerman Festival) which has been held annually in the area where the film was shot (Dumfries & Galloway, Scotland) since 2004. At the end of the festival a giant Wicker Man sculpture is burned as a 'sacrifice to the festival gods'.
- According to director 'Robin Hardy', Howie's final speech is based upon Walter Raleigh's dying words.
Friday, August 28, 2009
- Audrey Hepburn said the scene where she throws Cat into the rainy street was the most distasteful thing she ever had to do on film.
- Audrey Hepburn's salary for the film was $750,000, making her the second highest paid actress (behind Elizabeth Taylor) per film at the time.
- Holly's couch is really an old-fashioned bathtub split in half. In some scenes, you can still see the gold handles at one end and the legs on the bottom.
- Audrey Hepburn hated Danish pastries, making filming the famous opening scene a bit of a chore for her.
- Although not visible on camera, hundreds of onlookers watched Audrey Hepburn's window-shopping scene at the start of the film. This made her nervous and she kept making mistakes. It wasn't until a crew member nearly got electrocuted behind the camera that she pulled herself together and finished the scene.
- The word "fuck" is used 186 times in the movie. The movie itself is only 118 minutes long. That averages to approx. 1.6 uses of the word per minute. Around 84 are said by Seth (Jonah Hill) alone.
- Because Fogell (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) was only 17 at the time of filming, his mother was required to be on set during the filming of his sex scene.
- Michael Cera's mother actually read the script before he did and she was the one who convinced him to try out for the part.
Thursday, August 27, 2009
Director: Hayao Miyazaki
Cast (English version): Billy Crudup, Claire Danes, Minnie Driver
Note: Viewed a few days ago, to help explain the closeness between this post and the previous.
Miyazaki’s first film to become widely recognized in America is the story of Prince Ashitaka and Princess Mononoke. Ashitaka comes from a village in the east where nature is worshipped and technology unheard of. When Ashitaka defends the town from an attacking giant boar who is possessed by a demon, his arm becomes possessed as well before he kills the boar and finds inside it a piece of metal inside the body. To heal the cursed arm, he travels west to find the Spirit of the Forest. In doing so, he discovers Iron Town, a city whose main source of income is their forge. Attacking the city are both the apes who want to replant the trees the humans ripped down, as well as the wolves and their human ‘daughter’, Princess Mononoke. Throughout the film, Ashitaka urges both the animals and humans to stop the violence, or else the hatred which possesses his arm will consume them all.
Miyazaki’s greatest talents are texture and landscape. Each location drawn has a feel to it, and through both the animation and the sound effects, you can almost feel the gravel under your feet or the moss on your hands. The music by Joe Hisaishi is also an accomplishment, using almost exclusively western music standards but with melodies of Japanese flavor.
I have two criticisms for the film. First, I’ve always found it just too long. There were loads of opportunities to cut down the time, and Disney/Miramax agrees with me; they tried to convince Studio Ghibli to give permission to slim down the length, but Ghibli refused. My second criticism is the voice acting. Maybe it’s just me, but I’ve always found Claire Danes’ voice to be very piercing, and Billy Crudup always seems to be either yelling or whispering, rarely finding a middle ground.
The film is certainly a spectacle, but this Princess Mononoke will never compare to Spirited Away.
Fun Trivia (Stolen from IMDB):
- Mononoke-hime (1997) replaced E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial (1982) as the biggest grossing film of all time in Japan until Titanic (1997).
- Hayao Miyazaki had intended to this be be his final film before retiring. Its great success led him to do another, Sen to Chihiro no kamikakushi (2001).
- Mononoke means angry or vengeful spirit. Hime is the Japanese honorific/word meaning Princess which is placed after a persons name rather than before it, as in the western system. When the films title was translated into English, it was decided that Mononoke would be left as a name rather than translated literally.
- The horn signal Brendan instructs Laura to give him (long, short, long, short) is the same as the doorbell signal Sam Spade tells Brigid O'Shaughnessy he'll use in The Maltese Falcon (1941). Brendan's earlier line to Laura, "Now you are dangerous," is taken from the film as well.
- The film makers had filmed a version of the film scene with the playing field all muddy and damaged. When they came back to film more of the scene they discovered that the school had refurbished the field and it was now perfect and bright green. That's why most of the shots in the scene are angled upwards to hide the field from view.
- According to the review in "The New Yorker", this film was edited on a home computer.
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
- Sam Mendes was originally attached to direct with Russell Crowe in the title role.
- This is the sixth Johnny Depp-Tim Burton collaboration. They previously madeEdward Scissorhands (1990), Ed Wood (1994), Sleepy Hollow (1999), Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005), and Corpse Bride (2005) together.
- For his audition, Sacha Baron Cohen sang the entire score of Fiddler on the Roof (1971) for director Tim Burton.
- Sweeney Todd and Ed Wood (1994) are the only two films in Tim Burton's directing career with music not composed by Danny Elfman.
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
- MGM wanted an authentic-looking Roman boat for the live battle scenes. To design the boats, they hired a person who had spent his whole career studying Roman naval architecture. When he presented his designs to the MGM engineers, Mauro Zambuto(set engineer) exclaimed, "But this is top heavy! It will sink!" They built the boat anyway and launched it in the ocean, and at first it seemed to float. Then however, a little wave came along, a wake from another boat, splashed against the highly unstable boat, and tipped it over. MGM then put the boat in a large pond with a huge painted sky backdrop. To steady the boat, they ran cables from the bottom of the boat to anchors on the bottom of the pond.
- Another problem concerned the color of the water in the pond holding the boat; it was too brown and murky. They hired a chemist to develop a dye to color the water Azure Mediterranean blue. The chemist dumped a huge sack of some powder into the pond, which, instead of turning the water blue, formed a hard crust on the surface of the water, which had to be chiselled off the boat at great expense. They finally found some dye that would make the water blue. During one of the battle scenes, an extra who fell into the water and spent a bit too much time there turned blue, and was kept on the MGM payroll until it wore off.
- When it came time to film inside the boat, it was discovered that the large 65mm cameras wouldn't fit. The boat had to be taken out of the pond, cut in half lengthwise, and placed in an Italian sound stage. The oars wouldn't fit in the sound stage, so they had to cut them off just beyond the hull. This resulted in an extremely light oars which, when rowed by the actors, didn't look believable, since you could move them with one hand. To solve the problem, Mauro Zambuto sent an army of production assistants to all of the hardware stores in Rome to buy the kind of spring-and-hydraulic piston mechanisms that are normally attached to doors to force them closed but to keep them from slamming. Placing these devices on the oars and the hull gave enough resistance to make the rowing scenes look realistic.
- The film used over 1,000,000 props.
- Over 300 sets were built for the film.
- Featured more crew and extras than any other film ever made before it. There were 15,000 extras alone for the chariot race sequence.
- Charlton Heston was taught to drive a chariot by the stunt crew, who offered to teach the entire cast. Heston was the only one who took them up on the offer. At the beginning of the chariot race, Heston shook the reins and nothing happened; the horses remained motionless. Finally someone way up on top of the set yelled, "Giddy-up!" The horses then roared into action, and Heston was flung backward off of the chariot.
- The chariot race has a 263-to-1 cutting ratio (263 feet of film for every one foot kept), probably the highest for any 65mm sequence ever filmed.
- Paul Newman was offered the role of Judah Ben-Hur but turned it down because he said he didn't have the legs to wear a tunic.
- Besides Burt Lancaster, Rock Hudson was also offered the role of Ben Hur. Hudson seriously considered accepting the part until his agent explained to him that the film's gay subtext was too much of a risk to his career.
- According to Gore Vidal, as recounted in The Celluloid Closet (1995) one of the script elements he was brought in to re-write was the relationship between Messalah and Ben-Hur. Director William Wyler was concerned that two men who had been close friends as youths would not simply hate one another as a result of disagreeing over politics. Thus, Vidal devised a thinly veiled subtext suggesting the Messalah and Ben-Hur had been lovers as teenagers, and their fighting was a result of Ben-Hur spurning Messalah. Wyler was initially hesitant to implement the subtext, but agreed on the conditions that no direct reference ever be made to the characters' sexuality in the script, that Vidal personally discuss the idea with Stephen Boyd, and not mention the subtext to Charlton Heston who, Wyler feared, would panic at the idea. After Vidal admitted to adding the homosexual subtext in public, Heston denied the claim, going so far as to suggest Vidal had little input into the final script, and his lack of screen credit was a result of his being fired for trying to add gay innuendo. Vidal rebutted by citing passages from Heston's 1978 autobiography, where the actor admitted that Vidal had authored much of the final shooting script.
- During the 18-day auction of MGM props, costumes, and memorabilia that took place in May 1970 when new owner Kirk Kerkorian was liquidating the studio's assets, a Sacramento restaurateur paid $4,000 for a chariot used in the film. Three years later, during the energy crisis, he was arrested for driving the chariot on the highway.
- This is believed to be one of only two MGM films where the studio's trademark Leo the Lion did not roar at the beginning of the opening credits, apparently because of the religious theme in the film. The other was "The Next Voice You Hear" (1950), another film with a religious theme. (The lion used in 1968's "2001: A Space Odyssey" was the illustrated lion from MGM's record label, not a real lion, and so doesn't count.)
- The car crash sequence was shot with nine simultaneous cameras, including two on adjacent rooftops and one hidden in a trash barrel. In the second and final take, the model's car spun around, overshot its projected target by at least 100 meters, and smashed into a taxicab parked by the side of the road.
- Unlike most films, a disclaimer stating that no animals were harmed in the making of the movie comes at the beginning instead of being buried in the credits.
- The Royal Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in England filed a complaint to the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) about a 21-second dog fight scene.
Monday, August 24, 2009
- Stacy Edwards (Christine) originally could not star because she was getting married at the time the movie was scheduled to start shooting. The producers pushed back the schedule to accommodate her.
- According to writer-director Neil LaBute, his script began with the line "Let's hurt somebody" and developed from there.
- Premiere voted this movie as one of "The 25 Most Dangerous Movies".
Sunday, August 23, 2009
Saturday, August 22, 2009
- Most of the wine used in the wine-tasting scenes was non-alcoholic. The actors wound up drinking so much of it that it made them nauseated (and had to periodically switch to the real thing to clean out their palates).
- During an emotional scene in the film, Miles talks with great passion about Pinot Noir. After the release of this movie, sales of Pinot Noir wines rose by more than 20 percent over the 2004-05 Christmas/New Year period, compared to the same period the previous year. A similar phenomenon was experienced in British wine outlets. Miles is deeply disparaging, in a different scene, about Merlot, and sales dropped after the film came out. Ironically, Miles's prized bottle of wine, a 1961 Château Cheval Blanc, is a blend of Merlot and Cabernet Franc, another grape Miles disparaged.
- This is the first film to win best screenplay from all five "major" critic groups (National Board Of Review, New York, Los Angeles, Brodcast and National Society Critics), the Golden Globes, the WGA and, ultimately, the Academy Awards.
Friday, August 21, 2009
- Elvis Presley refused to watch this movie because of Judy Tyler's tragic accidental death in a car wreck July 4, 1957, three days after filming was completed.
- In the listing of the American Film Institute's "100 years, 100 Songs" the song "Jailhouse Rock" was voted #21.
- Originally the choreographer, Alex Romero, created a dance for the song "Jailhouse Rock" that was in a style that was apropos for a more classically trained dancer than Elvis. When Mr. Romero realized that his plans for the number were never going to work, he asked Elvis how would he normally move to the song; thus, this is how Elvis became the uncredited choreographer for what could be considered his most famous dance number in all of his movies.
Thursday, August 20, 2009
- "Alias" (2001) creator and writer J.J. Abrams wrote a complete shooting draft of the script, which both Brett Ratner and McG were planning to shoot when they both left the project for both creative and budget reasons.
- The chemical name of Kryptonite is given as "sodium lithium boron silicate hydroxide with fluorine." In 2007, Dr. Chris Stanley of the London Natural History Museum discovered the very same mineral, albeit without fluorine, in Jadar, Serbia and named it Jadarite. In reality, it is a white powder rather than a green crystal.
- The crew in Tamworth grew their own corn. It took twelve weeks for them to get the corn just right.
- The last line of Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (1987) (the one before "Returns") is Superman saying to Luthor, "See you in twenty." That scene was filmed in 1986. Coincidentally, twenty years later, in 2006, the next Superman movie was released.
- In an interview on "Larry King Live" (1985), director Bryan Singer said that had he not had access to John Williams' original music, he would not have done the film.
- "Crouching tiger hidden dragon" is a quote from Chinese mythology. It refers to hiding your strength from others; advice which is followed too well by the characters in the film.
- In Chinese, Lo's name is "Little Tiger", and Jen's name is "Gorgeous Dragon".
- The film's action choreographer, Woo-ping Yuen, was also responsible for the fighting sequences in The Matrix (1999) and its progeny.
- The four main actors all spoke Mandarin, but with different accents. Yun-Fat Chow had a Cantonese accent, Michelle Yeoh had a Malaysian/English accent, Ziyi Zhang had a Beijing accent, and Chen Chang had a Taiwanese accent. Because of the difficulty some Chinese-speaking markets had with the voices, some markets actually had a dubbed version (into standard Mandarin) of the soundtrack.
- The stamped documents shown by Shu Lien to the guards at the city-gate before she enters Beijing shows the date "In the of 43rd year of the reign of (Emperor) Qianlong, the sixth month, the eighth day", which is the year A.D. 1778, somewhere in June or July.
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
- Crispin Glover played George McFly in Back to the Future (1985), but was replaced by Jeffrey Weissman in Part II. Weissman was made up to look like Glover so that this film could incorporate excerpts from the original. All shots of Weissman are either from the back, at an angle, or with Sunglasses so that the audience wouldn't notice that it is a different actor.
- Elisabeth Shue was cast as Jennifer, and all the closing shots of Back to the Future(1985) were re-shot for the beginning of this film. Claudia Wells (Jennifer in Back to the Future (1985)) was unable to reprise her role as she had stopped acting because her mother had been diagnosed with cancer. She returned to acting for the independent film Still Waters Burn (2008).
- A movie theatre advertises "Jaws 19", directed by "Max Spielberg". Executive producer Steven Spielberg, who directed Jaws (1975), has a son Max.
- First film appearance by Elijah Wood.
- The tagline for Jaws 19 is "This time it's really, REALLY personal".
- When Marty visits his neighborhood in 2015, a dog can be seen in the background being walked by one of the robots from *batteries not included (1987).
- The football scores Biff hears on the radio while driving are all actual scores from November 12, 1955, and the UCLA/Washington game he and old Biff listen to did indeed end with UCLA kicker Jim Decker hitting a last second field goal to win.
- In 2015, when Doc and Marty look at the USA Today newspaper and see the headline change, the following headlines and blurbs are:
- Cubs Sweep Series In 5 (a World Series sweep would be in 4 wins, thus implying the playoffs have been expanded in the future)
- Washington Prepares For Queen Diana's Visit (the film was released 8 years before Princess Diana's death)
- Swiss Terrorist Threat
- President Says She's Tired
- Pitcher Suspended For Bionic Arm
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
- Filmed in 18 days.
- Originally intended for a straight-to-video release. After positive screenings, it was given the nod to become a premier movie.
- Contains many references to the films of Italian horror/giallo director Dario Argento. The creepy painted puppet is a reference to Argento'sProfondo rosso (1975), while the unseen killer's black gloves are one of Argento's trademarks and can be seen in almost all of his films.
- After Amanda stabs her cell-mate she is searching with her hands through his guts, the guts are actually pig uterus.
Monday, August 17, 2009
- Sammy Davis Jr. appeared in the original version of this film. Don Cheadle, who appears in this version, played Davis in The Rat Pack(1998) (TV).
- George Clooney also begins the film in prison in Out of Sight (1998) and O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000).
- In the scene near the end when Andy Garcia realizes that the police he was watching was a video he gets on the walkie talkie and hears from one of his guards "What happened to all that money?". The voice heard is actually the voice used in the original version.
- The wig used by Rusty (Brad Pitt) in his disguise as a doctor was Mike Myers's rehearsal wig for Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery (1997).