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October 2003, Week 2


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"W. McCarthy" <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Sun, 12 Oct 2003 14:36:06 -0400
text/plain (75 lines)
        Yes, the idea of an "error" or "blooper" is somewhat relative
and depends to a significant extent on what it is expected that the
immediate audience will notice or tolerate. In another Hitchcock
film, SPELLBOUND, there is also a kind of "lapse" or minor
discontinuity (deliberate or not?) when the Bergman character etches
the ovoid outline of a swimming pool onto a tablecloth. (I gave a
small talk on the matter at a conference a couple of years ago.)
        So, it is the latter of your two choices to which I refer:
the deliberate appending of (more or less) obviously flawed
out-takes. I had thought that this became a kind of practice in the
early 80's or late 70's, so the example of BEING THERE would be about
right (for my expectations, in any event). But then, your excellent
example from CITIZEN KANE does, in a way, qualify. Thanks very much
for bringing it to my attention.

Bill McC

  <--- mine (supra) responds to yours (infra) --->
>Are you thinking of films that attach "bloopers" and out-takes after
>the actual ending (before, during or after credits), or are you
>thinking of apparently deliberate choices by filmmakers to keep
>scenes in despite "errors" of one kind or another?  (A great example
>of the latter comes in NORTH BY NORTHWEST in the scene where Eva
>Marie Saint fakes shooting Cary Grant in the Mt. Rushmore Visitors
>Center cafeteria.  At the moment she pulls a gun from her purse, you
>can see a little boy in the background plugging his ears in
>anticipation of the shot!)
>As to the former, one of the earlier examples I can think of is Hal
>Ashby's BEING THERE, with scenes of Peter Sellers constantly
>breaking up over one line (on the original release film, but not
>available on all videos; apparently, it ).  But that film is from
>1979 and there are probably earlier ones.  (It's such a cliche now
>that it is even spoofed in animated films like A BUG'S LIFE, TOY
>STORY, and MONSTERS, INC.)  The first example might actually be
>CITIZEN KANE!  At the end, there are clips from the film as the
>Mercury Players are introduced, but when George Coulouris is
>introduced last, his line is different from the one in the film
>itself.  In the film, Mr. Thatcher reads Kane's letter aloud, "I
>*think* it would be *fun* to run a newspaper!" and growls.  In the
>credit sequence, he reads the line (with slightly different
>emphasis) and simply sighs.
>Don Larsson
>"Only connect" --E.M. Forster
>Donald F. Larsson
>English Dept., AH 230
>Minnesota State University
>Mankato, MN  56001
>Online resources for film/TV studies may be found at ScreenSite

Professor William J. McCarthy
Department of Greek and Latin/308 McMahon
Media Studies/107 Marist
Catholic University of America
Washington, D.C.  20064
VOX/FAX: 202-319-5626
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