Friday Film (31)

Something that I’ve often mentioned in these pages — or hinted at, anyhow — is the way detailed online study of film-musical techniques and their historical development is hampered by the savagery with which certain ‘copyright-violating’ uploads are dealt with on YouTube and similar hosting sites: not only does many a clip with a recognisable waveform and a corporate owner find itself blocked as soon as it is discovered, but the individual user’s account — and indeed their right to have such an account! — can be terminated altogether. You know, it’s almost as if our society and its institutions are set up, not to encourage, nor even to permit, understanding and education, but merely to facilitate the flow of easy money to an entitled micro-elite

I bring up the issue of online video blocking at this point because the second of the clips I want to show in today’s film-music posting is taken from a very recent episode of some corporate-owned US TV series (I don’t know the title; and I’m not interested in knowing, so don’t bother to tell me): since that commercial fact places it among the hottest of money-spinning hot properties, the clip is very unlikely to exist online for long.

For this clip to be fully appreciated from the specific point of view of our ongoing film-music series, it would really be necessary for the reader to have a great deal of familiarity with at least several reels of something else — specifically, an old movie that I have referred to many times in these pages: The Adventures of Robin Hood, from 1938. A pretty good grasp of what’s going on in our second clip can nevertheless be obtained by someone who is familiar merely with the content of our first clip; and since I’ve posted and discussed it more than once on here, I will understand perfectly if any regular reader decides to vault athletically over it and continue on the other side…

As for our much-heralded second clip, I should say that, since I don’t know anything at all about the programme it comes from, I only have the most minimal understanding of what is going on within the story. Not that I think it matters much: my attention, and probably yours too, can still find more than enough that is of interest…

If you know your Robin, you’ll have seen as well as heard that, as far as those various bits of film and music are concerned, the stuff in the background is all over the shop; but, in its way, I think it’s fairly well done, overall — and I’d like to thank my pal Brendan for telling me about it, and his pal Monty for getting a usable clip for me to put online, however temporarily…

Interestingly, though, it’s not the only example I have seen in which a bit of climactic filmed action takes place mixed with material from a wittily connected film sequence playing in the same space for plot-centred reasons.

I can think of one other, from a film released in 1993 — and, to get the best value from it, you need to be familiar with one of the several astoundingly inventive sequences still to be found in the desecrated remains of Orson Welles’s The Lady from Shanghai, made in 1947, and largely unmade in 1948…

Having seen that, we may jump to the later film — one which provides me with the welcome opportunity to insert a reminder that, in addition to his massively celebrated abilities as a comedian and writer, Woody Allen is actually capable of terrific film-making.

[Final note before we watch: it may help to know that the cinema in which this action is located is one supposedly undergoing extensive restoration; I don’t think any explanation beyond that is required…]

Well, that’s all for this week — except to offer a tiny further item that contains a bit of infiormation about the way Welles’s film is to a large extent unknown and unknowable to us — thanks to meddling by the studio during production, and appallingly damaging interference by that same studio once filming was complete. (For example, I gather that the sequence in the Crazy House and Hall of Mirrors was originally 17 minutes longer…)

You know, it’s almost as if our society and its institutions are set up, not to encourage, nor even to permit, creativity and expression, but merely to facilitate the flow of easy money to an entitled micro-elite

Wouldn’t you say…?


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3 thoughts on “Friday Film (31)

  1. However brilliant Welles’ intended version might have been, the poor audience would still have had to sit through one of the worst Irish accents in cinematic history – every bit the “equal” of Dick Van Dyke’s supposed Cockney in Mary Poppins.. What was he thinking…


  2. Actually, Orson’s worst accent was apparently the Scottish brogue he adopted in the original version of his MACBETH [1948] which was a hum-dinger of awfulness, so much so that nobody could understand a word he was saying! I wish it survived in the vaults. He also insisted the rest of the cast speak “Scottish” too.


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