Pink Floyd: The Wall (Alan Parker, 1982)

Discuss films and filmmakers of the 20th century (and even a little of the 19th century). Threads may contain spoilers.
Post Reply
Message
Author
User avatar
flyonthewall2983
Joined: Mon Jun 27, 2005 3:31 pm
Location: Indiana
Contact:

Pink Floyd: The Wall (Alan Parker, 1982)

#1 Post by flyonthewall2983 » Sun Dec 14, 2014 3:02 pm

My rabid Floyd fandom aside, I actually am quite not the fanatic about this period of their career. It extends in a way to the movie, which just on it's own merits I can see it as being a little ahead of it's time. And yet looking at it from a 2014 perspective, something almost too much of it's own time. That speaks a little as to why Roger Waters shifted the narrative when he took it out on the road again recently, more towards a character stripped of a parent because of war and less towards a young withdrawn millionaire rock star, of which there aren't too many now.

The biggest plus for me now is the lack of any dialogue that pushes the movie, in the way that the music does. Quadrophenia somehow manages to do both, but I think it could have been a little more improved in places by letting the music take over. By shedding any of that here, you not only feel that the songs are driving it but what it's like in Pink's head, that the volume of the people around him is turned down. Even in the scenes with the kid, you get the sense that his isolation got an early lead. There's also the wonderfully animated sequences, and how it leads in and out of the live-action especially.

On the other hand, some of the satire is lost in the grim nature of the film. Waters said the film failed in part because it didn't have any laughs, though to be fair there wasn't much comedy on the album too. It's too bad not much movement has been made on the musical version that was supposedly in the works for awhile, where any kind of levity would be welcome.
Last edited by flyonthewall2983 on Sun Jan 25, 2015 5:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.

beamish13
Joined: Sun Oct 14, 2007 5:31 am

Re: Pink Floyd: The Wall (Alan Parker, 1982)

#2 Post by beamish13 » Sun Dec 14, 2014 10:14 pm

I think there are a few humorous moments-namely the "Money" reference in the schoolhouse. I've always loved Jenny Wright in this movie, who
had one hell of a run during the 80's (e.g. the prostitute that Robin Williams loses his virginity to in The World According to Garp, Near Dark & The Chocolate War) before completely flaming out.

Gerald Scarfe's aesthetic is so closely linked to Floyd, and especially Waters, and I think that the animation in this film is just extraordinary. Here's a short Scarfe did in the early 70's that was drawn directly on 70mm celluloid, which immediately endeared him to the band.

User avatar
flyonthewall2983
Joined: Mon Jun 27, 2005 3:31 pm
Location: Indiana
Contact:

Re: Pink Floyd: The Wall (Alan Parker, 1982)

#3 Post by flyonthewall2983 » Sun Dec 14, 2014 10:27 pm

Bob Hoskins has a few funny moments as well as the skeevy manager, but moments like that and the "Money" reference are kind of fleeting and crushed under the weight of it's own grim-ness.

Scarfe's animation for the Wish You Were Here album (shown behind the band as they played it live in 1977, the film he did for "Welcome to the Machine" has been shown a few times on channels like VH1 Classic) is quite good as well, a bit of a precursor to what he did for the stage show and ultimately the movie of The Wall. I found it interesting to learn that he was classmates and friends with Ralph Steadman, considering their work is pretty similar and takes on similar satirical grotesque qualities.

beamish13
Joined: Sun Oct 14, 2007 5:31 am

Re: Pink Floyd: The Wall (Alan Parker, 1982)

#4 Post by beamish13 » Sun Dec 14, 2014 10:37 pm

flyonthewall2983 wrote:lfound it interesting to learn that he was classmates and friends with Ralph Steadman, considering their work is pretty similar and takes on similar satirical grotesque qualities.
Indeed. Emphasis on WERE friends, as Steadman (not without some merit) feels that Scarfe appropriated too much of his style.
Scarfe has ventured into three-dimensional pieces and filmmaking (he also designed the characters in Disney's Hercules), while Steadman is purely a painter and political agitator.

User avatar
flyonthewall2983
Joined: Mon Jun 27, 2005 3:31 pm
Location: Indiana
Contact:

Re: Pink Floyd: The Wall (Alan Parker, 1982)

#5 Post by flyonthewall2983 » Mon Dec 15, 2014 11:03 am

Scarfe wrote a book about his history with the band, the making of the album, the first stage show, the movie and onwards up to the time Roger Waters started his recent tour. It features interviews with Waters, David Gilmour, Alan Parker and others and is quite good as an official history of that rather fraught time in the band's career. Gilmour said it was when they were making the movie that he knew he couldn't work with Waters, after he held up production and prevented Parker from doing his job directing it.

User avatar
teddyleevin
Joined: Fri Feb 23, 2007 8:25 pm
Location: New York City
Contact:

Re: Pink Floyd: The Wall (Alan Parker, 1982)

#6 Post by teddyleevin » Mon Dec 15, 2014 1:11 pm

The film elevates some of the songs that I didn't care for nearly as much in album form (Sides 2 and 3 especially). The highlight of the film for me is the animation, particularly in The Trial, Goodbye Blue Sky, and What Shall We Do Now? (which I really miss whenever I listen to the original album... but then when I watch the film/listen to the live album, I miss the transition from Empty Spaces into Young Lust).

There is a bit of potentially stolen imagery from Ken Russell's Tommy: planes as crosses. And while the 1975 The Who film updates the story from 1921 to 1951, Roger Waters brought the parallelism the other direction in going from the Royal Fusiliers in WWII in The Wall to the same regiment in WWI with the first track on his Amused to Death album.

Parker has some really interesting input on the film in one or more of the DVD editions (it's been re-released a few times, and I believe there were features dropped and added at later times).

I haven't seen this film in years, but always liked a lot of it. Some of the more terrifying moments actually brought real fear. Nowadays, with Waters' constant regurgitation of the live show, I feel like any attempt at social relevance is lost. I had nightmares about that Run Like Hell sequence.

User avatar
Roger Ryan
Joined: Wed Apr 28, 2010 12:04 pm
Location: A Midland town spread and darkened into a city

Re: Pink Floyd: The Wall (Alan Parker, 1982)

#7 Post by Roger Ryan » Mon Dec 15, 2014 1:51 pm

teddyleevin wrote:...Nowadays, with Waters' constant regurgitation of the live show, I feel like any attempt at social relevance is lost...
I'd have to disagree with this. Seeing the live performance in 2011, I thought that Waters made the material even more relevant to today's political climate. The photos of individuals jailed for political reasons and victims of torture which were projected onto individual "bricks" during the intermission were especially effective. Ultimately, THE WALL is more of a personal concept album (as opposed to ANIMALS or THE FINAL CUT) which strove to examine psychological anxieties Waters was experiencing at the time. That Parker's film managed to find enough visual corollaries to covey the emotions of the album is one of the reasons I find PINK FLOYD - THE WALL to be the most successful "concept album-to-movie" attempt.
...I had nightmares about that Run Like Hell sequence.
When seeing the premier of the film in my hometown in '82, a sizable portion of the crowd actually cheered the fascist thugs beating the guy in the car! That was a frightening moment I hope never to experience again.

User avatar
GaryC
Joined: Fri Mar 28, 2008 3:56 pm
Location: Aldershot, Hampshire, UK

Re: Pink Floyd: The Wall (Alan Parker, 1982)

#8 Post by GaryC » Mon Dec 15, 2014 3:24 pm

It's quite timely that this thread has started up. Here in the UK for the last three and a half years, BBC4 has been rerunning old editions of Top of the Pops, starting in April 2011 with shows from April 1976. We're now up to December 1979, and Pink Floyd's first single in over a decade, "Another Brick in the Wall (Part 2)" has become their first and only number one hit single. I remember that very well from the time.

I have the album (on vinyl!) and I've seen the film a few times, though I'm not a great fan of either, acknowledging the musicianship but finding them too much of a self-pitying diatribe. But I knew a lot of Floyd fans in sixth form, and the release of the film was big news. Quite a few I knew travelled up to London to see it at the Empire Leicester Square in a 70mm blow-up and by all accounts deafening six-track Dolby Stereo. (I saw it at my local cinema in mono. I did see it in 35mm Dolby at University, though.)

This was Alan Parker's first film in Scope. I remember hearing him say in an interview that he didn't find the ratio easy to deal with and preferred 1.85:1, but he has more recently shot films in 2.35:1 again.

User avatar
flyonthewall2983
Joined: Mon Jun 27, 2005 3:31 pm
Location: Indiana
Contact:

Re: Pink Floyd: The Wall (Alan Parker, 1982)

#9 Post by flyonthewall2983 » Mon Dec 15, 2014 3:38 pm

The fascist stuff, while quite disturbing (Parker using real skinheads is a bit bewildering, and it kind of flattens the intended satirical aspect of it) at least came from a good enough simile that Waters saw these huge rock shows as debilitating to one's psyche in that way. The DVD came out at an interesting time, 5 years after Kurt Cobain's suicide and not that long after Woodstock '99, an event that partly saw some hedonism that would have been right at home at a fascist rally.

Parker owns up to some of his filmic influences on the DVD (in one of the featurettes that he's on, though I do believe he recorded a commentary for the MGM laserdisc that never made it onto the DVD), Abel Gance specifically for the pendulum effect with the camera at the end of "The Thin Ice". Most of the stuff with Pink in his hotel room strongly reminds me of Martin Sheen at the beginning of Apocalypse Now.
GaryC wrote:It's quite timely that this thread has started up. Here in the UK for the last three and a half years, BBC4 has been rerunning old editions of Top of the Pops, starting in April 2011 with shows from April 1976. We're now up to December 1979, and Pink Floyd's first single in over a decade, "Another Brick in the Wall (Part 2)" has become their first and only number one hit single. I remember that very well from the time.

I have the album (on vinyl!) and I've seen the film a few times, though I'm not a great fan of either, acknowledging the musicianship but finding them too much of a self-pitying diatribe. But I knew a lot of Floyd fans in sixth form, and the release of the film was big news. Quite a few I knew travelled up to London to see it at the Empire Leicester Square in a 70mm blow-up and by all accounts deafening six-track Dolby Stereo. (I saw it at my local cinema in mono. I did see it in 35mm Dolby at University, though.)

This was Alan Parker's first film in Scope. I remember hearing him say in an interview that he didn't find the ratio easy to deal with and preferred 1.85:1, but he has more recently shot films in 2.35:1 again.
There's a great story on the DVD from James Guthrie that when they premiered it at Cannes, the band's rental company Britannia Row set up the speakers "at gig level" for a midnight showing and the look on people's faces was classic.

If there was ever a band where a Scope-level production was necessary, it was Pink Floyd for sure. I'm not very familiar with Parker's work outside a few of his films, the ones I remember a bit are Mississippi Burning and Bugsy Malone, both in 1:85.1. And actually the footage he shot in Earl's Court of the band playing live was in widescreen. I'm glad they abandoned the idea of incorporating it into the film and making that a piece all by itself, but hopefully there's a lot more of that waiting to be released.


User avatar
flyonthewall2983
Joined: Mon Jun 27, 2005 3:31 pm
Location: Indiana
Contact:

Re: Pink Floyd: The Wall (Alan Parker, 1982)

#11 Post by flyonthewall2983 » Wed Sep 30, 2015 12:13 am

Roger Ryan wrote:
teddyleevin wrote:...Nowadays, with Waters' constant regurgitation of the live show, I feel like any attempt at social relevance is lost...
I'd have to disagree with this. Seeing the live performance in 2011, I thought that Waters made the material even more relevant to today's political climate. The photos of individuals jailed for political reasons and victims of torture which were projected onto individual "bricks" during the intermission were especially effective.
Having just seen the new concert film, I have to disagree as well. For the most part anyway. I feel like what he did with the projections and quite a bit of the newer animation, in conjunction with the music, is the creative equivalent of someone doing a political (or otherwise) rant in the middle of their song, to an adoring audience that cheers on what they'll say anyway because he or she has the microphone. Having seen some of Pink Floyd's original show on YouTube and the subsequent performance he did in Berlin a decade later, this was above and beyond both in terms of stagecraft and even musically.

As for any grievances, the songs directly about sex and his (first) divorce I knew would stick out like a sore thumb in the middle of this grand personal and ideological statement he was making with what is one of his most iconic works. The rather snippy review in The Hollywood Reporter after it showed at the TIFF last year even called it misogynistic in places. I don't believe that to be any more true than believing it's written by someone who hates people with spots and marijuana smokers, but people are obviously free to read into it what they may.

Liam Neeson talking about it before it started was cool, as was the Q&A with Nick Mason. Hopefully there's an extended cut on the Blu-ray/DVD coming out in a few months' time.

User avatar
Roscoe
Joined: Fri Nov 14, 2014 3:40 pm
Location: NYC

Re: Pink Floyd: The Wall (Alan Parker, 1982)

#12 Post by Roscoe » Wed Sep 30, 2015 11:03 am

I enjoyed the new film of the concert tour, finding it a good record of the show, mainly. The brilliant projections and stage production by and large come through, with a couple of flat-out idiotic editorial decisions where we are deprived of a couple of the better moments in the show for reasons that pass understanding. The musical performance is beyond reproach, it certainly delivers on that score.

I could have done without Liam Neeson's introduction, which struck me as completely unnecessary, and frankly more than a bit self-congratulatory on Waters' part in including it. I could have also done without most of the digressions of Waters driving around through bleak landscapes, offering even more personal and political commentary, as if he was afraid we'd miss the points that he went so far out of his way to add to the concert itself. Visits to the monuments and grave of his grandfather and father were genuinely moving, though.

I liked the way Waters managed to preserve the first and last words of the album in the concert film -- "we came in" and "isn't this where." The little Q&A was okay, nothing more, interesting more as a view of Waters in more relaxed mode.

User avatar
flyonthewall2983
Joined: Mon Jun 27, 2005 3:31 pm
Location: Indiana
Contact:

Re: Pink Floyd: The Wall (Alan Parker, 1982)

#13 Post by flyonthewall2983 » Thu Oct 01, 2015 12:42 pm

It was the kind of show when in it's infancy was so far ahead of it's time with regards to the stagecraft employed, even with a band that had already forged new paths in that area, really from the beginning of the band to even the post-Waters tours. So with the digital trickery available by the time this show was in it's first stages, it could give some new life to the piece and a much grander scale visually. Add to that the real-world relevancy of certain key aspects to the story, it makes for a perfect cinematic experience. I missed out on seeing it live, but am glad I got to see this on the big screen.

His band was quite good at replicating and expanding upon the original album, a bit of a contrast to how I felt they did justice to Dark Side of the Moon when I saw him on that tour. But the difference between the musical chemistry in Pink Floyd as a 4-man unit (indicative of their eventual split) on those albums is quite vast. Dave Kilminster in particular did a near-perfect job emulating Gilmour's sound and feel on the solos.
Roscoe wrote:...with a couple of flat-out idiotic editorial decisions where we are deprived of a couple of the better moments in the show for reasons that pass understanding.
Mind sharing what those moments were?

User avatar
Roscoe
Joined: Fri Nov 14, 2014 3:40 pm
Location: NYC

Re: Pink Floyd: The Wall (Alan Parker, 1982)

#14 Post by Roscoe » Thu Oct 01, 2015 5:53 pm

Mainly moments when I know there were far more interesting things happening in those projections than was being selected to be shown onscreen. Idiotic Moment -- during the extended guitar solo that opens Empty Spaces, which accompanies those remarkable animated flowers -- the choice was made to cut away from the flowers to the guitarist at a, shall we say, climactic moment, and the rest of the splendid animation that follows in What Shall We Do Now. And one of my favorite moments in the Trial animation involves The Wife flogging the little Pink figure while examining her nails -- not visible due to a closeup of something else, and missed the great shot of the worm morphing into the Judge and that mouth saying, "Tear Down The Wall!"

User avatar
flyonthewall2983
Joined: Mon Jun 27, 2005 3:31 pm
Location: Indiana
Contact:

Re: Pink Floyd: The Wall (Alan Parker, 1982)

#15 Post by flyonthewall2983 » Thu Oct 01, 2015 6:41 pm

One small criticism I have is that I thought the old animation looked like it desperately needed a digital upgrade to at least look a little closer to the newer stuff. Maybe the filmmakers felt the same way looking back, or that they wanted as much separation as possible from Parker's film to make this stand out on it's own.
Last edited by flyonthewall2983 on Sat Jul 02, 2016 3:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.


User avatar
tavernier
Joined: Sat Apr 02, 2005 7:18 pm

Re: Pink Floyd: The Wall (Alan Parker, 1982)

#17 Post by tavernier » Fri Oct 23, 2015 1:36 pm

Only $500 before shipping and tax....you old capitalist pig, Rog....charade you are!

User avatar
swo17
Joined: Tue Apr 15, 2008 10:25 am
Location: SLC, UT

Re: Pink Floyd: The Wall (Alan Parker, 1982)

#18 Post by swo17 » Fri Oct 23, 2015 1:39 pm

Missed opportunity to package it in an actual wall.

User avatar
flyonthewall2983
Joined: Mon Jun 27, 2005 3:31 pm
Location: Indiana
Contact:

Re: Pink Floyd: The Wall (Alan Parker, 1982)

#19 Post by flyonthewall2983 » Fri Oct 23, 2015 3:04 pm

tavernier wrote:Only $500 before shipping and tax....you old capitalist pig, Rog....charade you are!
I read somewhere after S&H it's more like 700.

Not sure I understand the capitalism angle people are putting on this. It can't be cheap putting these things together, and I imagine someone putting this out knows it's not going to sell like hotcakes.

User avatar
flyonthewall2983
Joined: Mon Jun 27, 2005 3:31 pm
Location: Indiana
Contact:

Re: Pink Floyd: The Wall (Alan Parker, 1982)

#20 Post by flyonthewall2983 » Mon Nov 30, 2015 11:01 am

swo17 wrote:Missed opportunity to package it in an actual wall.
Spoke too soon


User avatar
GaryC
Joined: Fri Mar 28, 2008 3:56 pm
Location: Aldershot, Hampshire, UK

Re: Pink Floyd: The Wall (Alan Parker, 1982)

#22 Post by GaryC » Mon Dec 19, 2016 3:17 am

A slightly faded one, unfortunately, but should still be worth a look. I was in sixth form when the film came out. I didn't, but several people I knew went up to London to see The Wall in 70mm at the Empire Leicester Square. It was by all accounts played deafeningly loud.


ericm
Joined: Thu Feb 16, 2017 9:25 pm

Re: Pink Floyd: The Wall (Alan Parker, 1982)

#24 Post by ericm » Mon Mar 06, 2017 3:25 am

How does this compare with the style of other Parker movies from this period?

User avatar
knives
Joined: Sat Sep 06, 2008 6:49 pm

Re: Pink Floyd: The Wall (Alan Parker, 1982)

#25 Post by knives » Mon Mar 06, 2017 4:14 pm

Less nutty.

Post Reply