A Class Act

Have some videos. First, if you don’t really want to go see The Golden Compass but you’re still curious, have a look at the first five minutes of the movie, courtesy of Yahoo. There are several shorter clips there as well, amounting to another 10 minutes or so more in random snippets. Assuming this is some of the stuff they’re most proud of (hence its inclusion) the movie appears to offer a rather shallow spectacle with some pretty cool visuals.

Second, meet the mother of all Star Wars collections at Steve Sansweet’s Rancho Obi-Wan. As crazy as I am about Star Wars I have no aspirations whatsoever to be a collector . . . but seriously, dude has an animatronic cantina band. Frickin’ sweet.

I save this for last because it’s the best, so if you’ve only got time (or attention span . . . you know who you are) for one clip, check this one out. In it, Martin Scorsese claims to have unearthed three-and-a-half pages of a four-and-a-half page Alfred Hitchcock script fragment from a project entitled The Key to Reserva, which he proposes to translate to film as though the great Hitch himself were directing it. The first few minutes, where he discusses the project in a tone of awed reverence, is hilariously tongue-in-cheek, and then we get the short film . . . all business. It’s classic Hitchcock with a wine commercial embedded inside. Great homage, great imitation.

The opening credit design comes almost straight from North by Northwest, as does all of the music and the male lead (he doesn’t really look like Cary Grant, but he’s wearing the gray suit and wielding Roger O. Thornhill’s monogrammed handkerchief). As I say, the design comes almost straight from that source, but modified slightly to fit a very striking fade into an extreme close-up on a violin. The following looong continuous shot as the camera draws back into panorama and then swings around in a different direction is pure Hitchcock . . . just the sort of technical challenge he often presented to his crew, with masterful results. This shot is almost an exact reversal of a shot from the climax of Young and Innocent.


At this point I continued with a fairly lengthy (almost shot-by-shot) analysis of the whole short film, but I lost it all when this stupid mac did something funky. Probably for the best, as it was mostly for my own benefit in preparation for my forthcoming Hitchcock project, and as such was much longer than it needed to be. Needless to say, there are various references throughout the short film to North by Northwest, The Man Who Knew Too Much, Rope, Rear Window, and so forth which the Hitchcock aficionado will have no trouble spotting. It’s a class act all around, very fun to watch . . . and don’t just stop once the Hitchcock part is over. Stick around until The Birds show up. Great, great stuff.

~ by Jared on December 7, 2007.

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