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 Post subject: Re: Steven Spielberg
PostPosted: Tue Sep 12, 2017 2:10 pm 
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movielocke wrote:
Having a director more famous than the director on set producing was not a good recipe for the film, I think.


Didn't hurt The Elephant Man, mind. In fact, that film arguably had a more famous director as the DoP as well! Back in 1980, David Lynch would have ranked a very poor third behind Mel Brooks and Freddie Francis in the name-recognition stakes.


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 Post subject: Re: Steven Spielberg
PostPosted: Tue Sep 12, 2017 2:12 pm 
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MichaelB wrote:
movielocke wrote:
Having a director more famous than the director on set producing was not a good recipe for the film, I think.


Didn't hurt The Elephant Man, mind. In fact, that film arguably had a more famous director as the DoP as well! Back in 1980, David Lynch would have ranked a very poor third behind Mel Brooks and Freddie Francis in the name-recognition stakes.

Mel Brooks went to a lot of effort to minimize public knowledge of his involvement with that film though. Mostly because he figured as soon as his name was mentioned people would think Merrick was someone to laugh at.


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 Post subject: Re: Steven Spielberg
PostPosted: Tue Sep 12, 2017 3:00 pm 
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Yeah, I think the difference, at least with Brooks less so with Francis, is how different he aesthetic between the two are. Spielberg and Hooper have a lot more in common than Brooks and Lynch.


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 Post subject: Re: Steven Spielberg
PostPosted: Tue Sep 12, 2017 7:18 pm 
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movielocke wrote:
Lost Highway wrote:
flyonthewall2983 wrote:
Has the man himself ever shed any light on this?

Spielberg never commented out of consideration for Hooper. You don't give someone a directing credit to then brag that you did the job.

I really don't think he did direct it, I think that as one of his first EP projects he really babied, he really got his fingerprints all over the thing while producing it, as it was still relatively early on the producing side of things, rather than have a light touch. That he was on set didn't help, and with all the cast and crew in awe of the wunderkind, even just on set consultation would quickly get conflated, not to mention, some probably thought they were flattering him and were trying to cozy up to his circle and get on his next project. I think he learned to have a more hands off approach when producing after this, because of all the accusations about him directing it. Goonies, or Young Sherlock Holmes have similar Spielberg fingerprints to Poltergeist, imo, but don't get the same accusations lobbied at them (particularly the Columbus) probably because of the lessons Spielberg learned from the Poltergeist gossip grind.

Having a director more famous than the director on set producing was not a good recipe for the film, I think.


Your argument that various crew and cast members backed the arguement that Spielberg directed Poltergeist just because they wanted to get on his next project doesn't hold up, considering they didn't go on record till years or decades later. Film sets don't function like the French court, with cast and crew "flattering" and "cozying up" to the director to get on his next film. I've worked on films (two were executive-produced by Spielberg, who I had the privilege to meet) and the only thing that gets you rehired is if you do well in your job. The Goonies and Young Sherlock Holmes have certain Spielberg qualities but unlike Poltergeist they don't actually feel like Spielberg films and neither really land. They were directed by Hollywood journeymen who could churn out a vague Spielberg simulacrum but both have an anonymous, slightly bland quality about them. Poltergeist genuinely feels like a companion piece to ET, it fits right into that period of Spielberg.

Hooper's other movies, even those on Hollywood budgets like Lifeforce or Invaders from Mars, don't display any sort of aptitude for actors and characterisation. Like any Spielberg film, Poltergeist does. I believe that's its greatest strength. The tomboyish, maternal JoBeth Williams is an archetypal Spielberg heroine and the child actors are directed with the care Spielberg has a knack for. While I always felt it was obvious just by looking at Poltergeist that it was the genuine article, by now there is enough evidence by witnesses to back it up, so I think its beyond dispute.


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 Post subject: Re: Steven Spielberg
PostPosted: Wed Sep 13, 2017 8:01 am 
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MichaelB wrote:
movielocke wrote:
Having a director more famous than the director on set producing was not a good recipe for the film, I think.


Didn't hurt The Elephant Man, mind. In fact, that film arguably had a more famous director as the DoP as well! Back in 1980, David Lynch would have ranked a very poor third behind Mel Brooks and Freddie Francis in the name-recognition stakes.


Eraserhead was talked about a lot more than anything Freddie Francis ever directed. As a debut feature it made quite a splash.

Mel Brooks kept a low profile on the films he produced. See also Cronenberg's The Fly.


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 Post subject: Re: Steven Spielberg
PostPosted: Wed Sep 13, 2017 8:39 am 
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I think it's important to remember that Spielberg was a credited screenwriter for Poltergeist as well as the originator of the story, which is not true for any of the other films he produced but did not direct. He had a very personal interest in how the film would be realized.


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 Post subject: Re: Steven Spielberg
PostPosted: Wed Sep 13, 2017 11:14 am 
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Roger Ryan wrote:
I think it's important to remember that Spielberg was a credited screenwriter for Poltergeist as well as the originator of the story, which is not true for any of the other films he produced but did not direct. He had a very personal interest in how the film would be realized.

Yup and that's why he directed it. :D

ET and Poltergeist originated as the Close Encounters follow up Night Skies, a spec script written for Spielberg by John Sayles. It was about a family under siege by malevolent aliens, though one of the aliens was friendly. In the end he decided to make ET just about the friendly alien and he changed the family to being under siege from aliens to ghosts for Poltergeist. Some of the Night Skies DNA also found its way into Gremlins.


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 Post subject: Re: Steven Spielberg
PostPosted: Wed Sep 13, 2017 11:42 pm 
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Emilio wrote:
Beaver on the new CE3K BR:

http://www.dvdbeaver.com/film2/DVDReviews33/close_encounters_of_the_third_kind_blu-ray.htm

This is not the 4K UHD. However if these caps reflect the UHD transfer...in any case, I admit I vastly prefer the image of the first BR edition.

What do you guys think?
I prefer the caps of the 4K. I like the slightly darker look and better skin tones. I'm really disappointed reading about the audio though.


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 Post subject: Re: Steven Spielberg
PostPosted: Thu Sep 14, 2017 4:17 am 
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I was expecting more of an advancement over the previous release, though I suppose you get that with a 4K disc, for which I'm not set up. Not going to rush to get the new Blu-ray if the Beaver is accurate.


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 Post subject: Re: Steven Spielberg
PostPosted: Fri Sep 15, 2017 6:00 pm 
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Warren Buckland's book about Spielberg devotes an entire chapter to trying to determine whether Spielberg did, indeed, direct most of Poltergeist. But he does so in an unusual way: by closely comparing the style of the film to that of Spielberg's credited work of the 1980s, in part by means of statistics related to shot lengths and scale, camera movement, etc. Buckland concludes that it's Spielberg's work. I found the argument pretty convincing (though I should admit that I found the bulk of Buckland's book tedious).


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 Post subject: Re: Steven Spielberg
PostPosted: Fri Sep 15, 2017 6:14 pm 
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Did he compare it also to Hooper's? The do have, from that period, a lot of framing and camera movement similarities. For shot length ect. I assume that is at least somewhat influenced by so many of Spielberg's collaborators, particularly Kahn, working on the film.


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 Post subject: Re: Steven Spielberg
PostPosted: Mon Oct 09, 2017 6:34 pm 
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The new documentary on him entitled, Spielberg on HBO is a nice summation piece of the man and his career. I didn't learn a lot that I didn't know already (most of you will probably be in this boat), but I can see this being helpful to those not familiar with his career.


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 Post subject: Re: Steven Spielberg
PostPosted: Mon Oct 09, 2017 7:45 pm 
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Worth it alone to hear him recall the story of Brian DePalma's reaction to Star Wars. I was a little disappointed that it didn't have any footage from The Papers, as I could have sworn I read something that said there was going to be some in this.


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 Post subject: Re: Steven Spielberg
PostPosted: Tue Oct 10, 2017 12:29 pm 

Joined: Sun Oct 14, 2007 5:31 am
It felt like a puff piece, which is what the Turner Class Movies interview from a few years ago was, too.
I'd really like to see something a bit more critical and probing. Maybe delve into the relationships that he's
had with proteges like Joe Dante, Phil Joanou, and Kevin Reynolds, too.


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 Post subject: Re: Steven Spielberg
PostPosted: Tue Oct 10, 2017 1:33 pm 
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Puff piece indeed, which included a couple acknowledgements of less-successful efforts like 1941. But a lot of high praise, very high praise from the usual suspects. Tom Hanks gushing over the way Spielberg is able to re-imagine a day's shooting because of an unexpected set issue borders on the ridiculous, it's like Hanks has never seen somebody solve a problem before, and another detailed analysis of a Big Scene from the under-appreciated MUNICH aims to demonstrate Spielberg's Sublime Artistry but over-compensates, too much praise is lavished on skills that surely would be part of any competent filmmaker's toolbox. On the other hand, my jaw hit the floor over a clip of Tom Stoppard, no less, politely complaining about the falseness and sentimentality of EMPIRE OF THE SUN.


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 Post subject: Re: Steven Spielberg
PostPosted: Tue Oct 10, 2017 3:08 pm 
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flyonthewall2983 wrote:
Worth it alone to hear him recall the story of Brian DePalma's reaction to Star Wars.

Can you share what this was for those of us who don't have HBO or for whatever other reason won't be watching the documentary?


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 Post subject: Re: Steven Spielberg
PostPosted: Tue Oct 10, 2017 3:17 pm 

Joined: Sun Oct 14, 2007 5:31 am
Roscoe wrote:
On the other hand, my jaw hit the floor over a clip of Tom Stoppard, no less, politely complaining about the falseness and sentimentality of EMPIRE OF THE SUN.

Ironically, Stoppard fought hard to retain the only screenwriting credit on Empire of the Sun, despite the fact that Menno Meyjes was providing on-set rewrites and contributed quite a bit to the final film. His claim of sole authorship is in his archives at UT-Austin's Harry Ransom Center.


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 Post subject: Re: Steven Spielberg
PostPosted: Tue Oct 10, 2017 3:46 pm 
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ianthemovie wrote:
flyonthewall2983 wrote:
Worth it alone to hear him recall the story of Brian DePalma's reaction to Star Wars.

Can you share what this was for those of us who don't have HBO or for whatever other reason won't be watching the documentary?

It's really more in his impersonation of DePalma, which means you'd have to watch it to see. Can't do it justice otherwise.


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 Post subject: Re: Steven Spielberg
PostPosted: Tue Oct 10, 2017 3:58 pm 
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Audio only of Spielberg on De Palma on his reaction to Star Wars

EDIT: that clip is not from the documentary where Spielberg actually expounds a little more on the story. But, you get the gist of it. In the documentary, Spielberg actually gives more credit to De Palma for coming up with the opening scroll idea that Lucas attributes to Flash Gordon elsewhere. Those two ideas don't have to be mutually exclusive since Spielberg recounts that De Palma merely said there should be a prologue (what is this hairy man?; who's at war with whom?) and the scroll was Lucas' answer. Spielberg clearly likes to tell this story.


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 Post subject: Re: Steven Spielberg
PostPosted: Tue Oct 10, 2017 4:57 pm 
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I'd love to see a documentary about the 5 of them in that span of time from when Spielberg was starting to direct TV to when Star Wars came out.


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 Post subject: Re: Steven Spielberg
PostPosted: Tue Oct 10, 2017 5:06 pm 
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flyonthewall2983 wrote:
I'd love to see a documentary about the 5 of them in that span of time from when Spielberg was starting to direct TV to when Star Wars came out.

That would be great.


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 Post subject: Re: Steven Spielberg
PostPosted: Tue Oct 10, 2017 5:12 pm 
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The one revelation for me was the analogy of bullying he makes with Duel. As well as ABC wanting the truck to blow up at the end.


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