Saturday, December 22, 2012

Gilligan's Island vs. Lawrence of Arabia

When I was a kid, I was inspired watching old Roger Corman movies. They were reasonably professional, but cheap enough that you felt like you could be a filmmaker, too. I never understood Steven Spielberg who said he was inspired by Lawrence of Arabia.

Was Spielberg more ambitious than I was? Well, yes, OBVIOUSLY he was. But was that why he was so inspired by David Lean?

The lowest level of art appreciation is judging an artistic work according to how difficult it was for the artist to create it. Admiration for the early works of Roger Corman simply shows a higher level of art appreciation. I was just a lot smarter than Spielberg, that's all.

When I saw Lawrence of Arabia in the '80s when it was re-released to theaters, I noted it was long but very gripping. Could I possibly do the same thing? Here was my idea----instead of making a long movie that seemed much shorter, take a long script and actually cram it into a shorter movie.

This was Gilligan's Island's appeal. It was a top-rated show up until the day it was cancelled. And one reason for its success was that they took long scripts and packed them into a half hour.

To some degree, movies are made the way they are simply to look expensive. Look almost every commercially produced movie of the 1980s. The camera moves constantly. Every shot was a tracking shot. And this was done for no reason I can see except to make them look expensive.

I suspect this is the reason why, in this era where people can and do make movies for practically nothing---movies where the only expense is the cost of charging the camcorder battery and turning on the computer---Hollywood is spending hundreds of millions of dollars to produce stuff that's just crap. They need to do something to distinguish themselves.

If, today, you wanted to make a shot-for-shot remake of Gone With The Wind, making full use of blue screen technology and digitally generated imagery, how cheaply could it be done?

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