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August 1994


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John R Groch <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Tue, 2 Aug 1994 17:52:20 -0400
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For those interested:  there is a very good discussion of how the
blockbuster rose out of the ashes of the failed auteur-driven epics of the
late 1970s ("Heaven's Gate," "Apocalypse Now," "New York, New York," etc.)
in Chapter 2 of Timothy Corrigan's _A Cinema Without Walls_.
As for naming 3 recent epics:  it seems to me that these days attempts at
epics seem largely to be biopics (call it the "Pale-Imitation-of-Lawrence-
of-Arabia Syndrome"), so I'd add "Hoffa," and "Chaplin." But the only film
I've seen in the last decade that I actually think of as an epic is the
director's cut of "Once Upon a Time in America."
(Incidently, I would take friendly issue with whomever suggested "Last
Temptation of Christ," simply because that film not only cost very little
but *looked* as if it cost very little, which runs counter to my intuitive
sense of what an epic is.  Scorsese has recounted in an interview
somewhere how he didn't have enough money to hire the extras for the scene
in which Roman soldiers storm the temple, so he just used the same seven
guys over and over to suggest hoards of Roman soldiers.  He says he
learned this strategy while working for Roger Corman.  Maybe its just me,
but I don't think anything should be called an epic is it contains
techniques learned at Corman's knee.)
John R. Groch <[log in to unmask]>            |  "Work!  FINISH!  THEN sleep."
English Department/Film Studies Program    |     -- The Monster,
Univ. of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA 15260  |        "Bride of Frankenstein"