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August 1994


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Stuart Lerner <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Fri, 5 Aug 1994 18:42:44 -0700
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On Thu, 4 Aug 1994, Edward R. O'Neill wrote:
> ...
> cinema and that of previous periods.  Another key point here is that
> the spectacle of technology is NOT a new aspect of cinema, but rather
> is part of cinema from the very beginning, when "narrative" and
> "character" did not exist.  Rather, the spectacle of cinema itself
> has always been one of cinema's most potent elements.
>   Several posts have also pointed out specific economic differences
> between, say, the studio era and the contemporary scene.  Donna
> Cunningham's point about the rapport between theme parks and films is
> particularly apt, since the blockbusters in question resemble rides
> more and more, rather than literary texts.
Merchandising, cross-promotion, product tie-ins are all consideration in
many of today's films.  In addition, the possibilities of a sequel are
often in place before the first on is out (Casablanca II anyone?).
Studios look for franchise projects.  characters that can carry-over and
branch out, and if they can dance around at theme park, all the much better.
>   My earlier question about the pleasure in watching such massive
> expenditures still stands.  Is there not something in the massive
> display of capital which is somehow fetishistically pleasurable?
> EVEN when what is presented is destruction...
While this may be true, I and many others get a perverse pleasure from
watching huge expenses do nothing.  Last Action Hero, from the studio that
brought you Hudson Hawk, is a case in point.  The audiences stayed away in
droves.  It impossible to make people pay $7.50 to see a movie.
It seems in recent times, the opposite has been true.  People take
pleasure in saying how little they spent on a film.  El Mariachi's budget
has grossly understated for what people saw in a theater.  The original
story of Robert R. selling his body for medical experiments and doing
everything himself are encouraging though.
Same can be said for Q.  Tarantino's Reservoir Dogs, and a while ago Robert
Townsend's Hollywood Shuffle, and Spike Lee's She's Gotta Have It.
Stu L.
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