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May 1993


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Eric Rabkin <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Fri, 28 May 1993 07:32:54 EDT
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Speaking of The J. Butler Award for Most Obscure Hommage (given
to REN AND STIMPY's "hommage" to THE SEARCHERS), I rise to the
question, "Can anyone top that for obscurity?"  I'm not
sure about relative obscurity ratings, but in ENCHANTED APRIL,
the arrival of Lottie and Rose at the castle is a series of
shots that go in and out of visual quotations from Jonathan
Harker's arrival at Castle Dracula in NOSFERATU.  There is the
train, the rain, the servant taking away their baggage without
communcation, the wild ride in jerky shots through the woods,
the encounter with another along the way, the pull-up in
front of the castle, and finally the emergence of a lone,
old, mysterious male figure from an obscure, high Gothic
archway.  But by then, of course, the fears of Dracula
have been left behind and turned to amazement because the
day is spectacular in San Salvatore (Nosferatu, the Undead,
versus Salvatore, the Saviour, the Resurrected). Both are
magical castles but with opposing moral values. (There are other
Nosferatu/Dracula connections too, e.g., the attraction of the
Londoners via an advertisement and an "agent" who surprisingly
turns out to be an owner; the issue of whether or not
"marriages" can be made; the odd London behavior of women toward
their men; the focus on letters bringing people to the castle
yet the letters not actually getting to do their intended work;
etc. Some of this may be fortuitous, but the overall effect
struck me as stunning, showing up in both films the degree to
which atmosphere, eros, and compulsion are intertwined and have
always both dark and light sides implicit in them. Maybe these
observations are old-hat, but I enjoyed the heck out of that
extended hommage, so I offer it for the pleasure of others.)
Eric Rabkin                [log in to unmask]
Department of English      [log in to unmask]
University of Michigan     office    : 313-764-2553
Ann Arbor MI 48109-1045    dept      : 313-764-6330
                           voice msgs: 313-763-3130