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August 1994


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Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Donald Larsson <[log in to unmask]>
Thu, 4 Aug 1994 07:59:50 -0600
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
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Chad Dominicis writes (in part, because I still haven't figured out how
to copy more than one screen at a time):
"I feel that Hollywood has taken to producing
films that are more and more like big tv episodes. Aside from the obvious,
("Beverly Hillbillies", "Star Trek(s)", et al,) look at films like "Speed",
"Lethal Weapon(s)", and the Indiana Jones series, all are entertaining, (even
superb, as is the Indiana Jones series,) but all are structured, paced, and
even lit as for television. A local reviewer said that "The Client" was a lot
like an episode of "Murder She Wrote" but longer. (I haven't seen the film so
I don't have an opinion yet.
Not that there's anything wrong with big tv. But, in a sense, a lot of the
potentials intrinsic to film, such as nuance and doubt, are wasted when the
instant gratification formula so common in television story development"
Again, I agree in general with what Chad says, but tv has also taken over
the kinds of formula stuff that movies and radio used to do all the time.
So, instead of series flicks like George Sanders or his brother Tom Conway
as The Falcon or The Saint, or the radio series versions of Sam Spade, we
get tv detective shows.  In other words, nuance and doubt are fairly rare
in films in general and have been rare in tv, but not excluded.  There's
more nuance and doubt in an average episode of NORTHERN EXPOSURE or PICKET
FENCES than in 90% of the mainstream films release in any given year.
All of which is probably no more than restating Sturgeon's Revelation.
(When SF author Theodore Sturgeon was told by someone that 90% of science
fiction is crap, he replied, "That's true.  90% of EVERYTHING is crap.")
Anyway, a full consideration of the social and economic interactions of the
Culture Industry in all media has yet to be written (though some have made
good starts).
--Don Larsson, Mankato State U., MN