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About Pastiche

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  1. And brief cameo appearance in To Wong Foo Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar (1995); would you consider this film a musical? It uses songs performed by other singers; there's a choreographed group number. Also it's being workshopped as a stage musical: "In an interview with the Post, [Douglas Carter] Beane said he originally intended To Wong Foo for the stage. “I was a struggling writer trying to break into the theater,” he told Michael Riedel. “I was working as a nanny in Brooklyn, and every time the family went on vacation, I’d write a play. I started working on To Wong Foo but couldn’t figure out how to put a car onstage. So I turned it into a screenplay instead.” Words and music team: "Douglas Carter Beane, the Tony-nominated playwright and book writer who made his screenwriting debut with the 1995 film, penned the libretto with a score by his husband, composer Lewis Flinn." The score is "very Americana by way of Aaron Copland—there’s an opera vibe to it, and it’s very open-hearted.” And, hold onto your tights, "Beane, who has also worked on stage productions of As Bees in Honey Drown, Xanadu and Sister Act., is also prepping a Robin Hood musical likely to debut in 2019."
  2. Fanny was a Broadway musical, music/lyrics by Harold Rome, with Joshua Logan involvement. The 1961 film was based on the musical but: "When the 1954 Harold Rome Broadway musical, Fanny (888 performances), was about to be turned into a Hollywood movie, Joshua Logan, co-author of the book with S. N. Behrman and director of the show, received an unpleasant surprise. As Logan, equally at home in movies, set out to direct, studio head Jack Warner informed him that movie musicals were out, and that Fanny would be transformed into a dramatic feature. Logan, who had cast a number of fine singing actors, was disconcerted; Rome unjustly anathemized him for the change. The best Logan could obtain was that the lovely score be turned into tuneful background music. So the movie, with a screenplay by the talented Julius J. Epstein (among other things, co-author of the Casablanca script), came out in 1961, garnering some good reviews and five Oscar nominations (losing Best Picture to West Side Story), but not a huge success. Even the worthy film lexicographer Leslie Halliwell writes as follows: "Lumbering adaptation of three [Marcel] Pagnol films of the thirties (Marius, Fanny, César)…this is the dullest version, despite fine photography and a couple of good performances." Harold Rome : "While not as acclaimed as other composer/lyricists such as Berlin, Porter or Sondheim [or Loesser], the talented and underestimated Harold Rome had a distinguished career during the golden age of Broadway." He started doing satirical/topical revues and then moved to more standard book musicals. One of his shows, Wish You Were Here, about a Catskills summer resort, was notable for having a swimming pool onstage. Not quite Footlight Parade, but still pretty good. Barbra Streisand had her Broadway debut in his show I Can Get it For You Wholesale (1962), in a minor role; her comedic song "Miss Marmelstein" bemoaned that no one called her by her first or second name.
  3. Maybe it's not a coincidence he has "air" in his name. "He floats through the air with the greatest of ease, dancing his taps so they seem like a breeze..."
  4. Right. This is addressed in the article I quoted before (sorry if I'm going long on this, but having worked in film/tape archives most of my career, I see preservation as a big deal. There's a lot of focus on the front end of creating a film, but the back end of saving the product is also important, increasingly so as it becomes more unstable, physically and financially.) "Warner also began classifying its 8,000 feature films and 5,000 TV shows into two categories: those it will “manage”—that is, preserve for the long term—and those it deems “perishable.” Managed assets include not just the finished work but also marketing materials and some deleted scenes. Perishable material may include dailies for features or unused footage; it will be stored for some time in the archive but may not be migrated. To decide what’s perishable and what’s not, the studio considers things like how successful the film has been, how popular its stars are, and whether the film could have enduring (or cult) appeal. The manage-or-perish scheme is by no means perfect, Anastasi admits, but he sees it as buying the studio a little time until a truly long-term digital storage technology comes along. If one ever does. Everett says Warner’s strategic thinking about digital archiving is pioneering. All of the studios, he notes, “are in a realm where there is no policy.” Meanwhile, they’re waiting for an archival technology that is better than LTO. “Originally, we went all digital because it’s so much cheaper,” Everett notes. “But is it? Really? We haven’t solved the storage problem.”
  5. Even nitrate's replacement after 1951, acetate, degrades over time. Polyester stock supposedly will last a century or more if properly stored. The real headache now is preserving digital. The Lost Picture Show: Hollywood Archivists Can’t Outpace Obsolescence: "Maintaining such a [physical film] facility isn’t cheap. And as chemical film stock becomes obsolete, along with the techniques used to create and manipulate it, relying on a film-based archive will only grow more difficult and more costly.... And how much does it cost to migrate from one LTO format to the next? [LTO: magnetic tape storage technology used to preserve films; LTO stands for linear tape-open]. USC’s Everett cited a recent project to restore the 1948 classic The Red Shoes. “It was archived on LTO-3,” Everett says. “When LTO-5 came out, the quote was US $20,000 to $40,000 just to migrate it.” Now that the film is on LTO-5, it will soon have to be migrated again, to LTO-7... ... the frequency of LTO upgrades has film archivists over a barrel. Already there have been seven generations of LTO in the 18 years of the product’s existence, and the LTO Consortium, which includes Hewlett Packard Enterprise, IBM, and Quantum, has a road map that specifies generations 8, 9, and 10. Given the short period of backward compatibility—just two generations—an LTO-5 cartridge, which can still be read on an LTO-7 drive, won’t be readable on an LTO-8 drive. So even if that tape is still free from defects in 30 or 50 years, all those gigabytes or terabytes of data will be worthless if you don’t also have a drive upon which to play it.... For a large film archive, data migration costs can easily run into the millions. A single LTO-7 cartridge goes for about $115, so an archive that needs 50,000 new cartridges will have to shell out $5.75 million, or perhaps a little less with volume discounts..... Steven Anastasi, vice president of global media archives and preservation services at Warner Bros., therefore puts the practical lifetime of an LTO cartridge at approximately 7 years. Before that time elapses, you must migrate to a newer generation of LTO because, of course, it takes time to move the data from one format to the next. And archivists are compelled to maintain and service each new generation of LTO drive along with preserving the LTO cartridges... Meanwhile, the motion-picture studios are churning out content at an ever-increasing rate. The head of digital archiving at one major studio, who asked not to be identified, told me that it costs about $20,000 a year to digitally store one feature film and related assets such as deleted scenes and trailers. All told, the digital components of a big-budget feature can total 350 TB. Storing a single episode of a high-end hour-long TV program can cost $12,000 per year. Major studios like Disney, NBCUniversal, Sony, and Warner each have archives of tens of thousands of TV episodes and features, and they’re adding new titles all the time... When Pixar wanted to release its 2003 film Finding Nemo for Blu-ray 3D in 2012, the studio had to rerender the film to produce the 3D effects. The studio by then was no longer using the same animation software system, and it found that certain aspects of the original could not be emulated in its new software.... "If technology companies don’t come through with a long-term solution, it’s possible that humanity could lose a generation’s worth of filmmaking, or more. Here’s what that would mean. Literally tens of thousands of motion pictures, TV shows, and other works would just quietly cease to exist at some point in the foreseeable future. The cultural loss would be incalculable because these works have significance beyond their aesthetics and entertainment value. They are major markers of the creative life of our time."
  6. And even if you keep a complete edition, film naturally starts to deteriorate. I didn't realize the negatives for Gone With the Wind and The Wizard of Oz were nitrate. Jeez Louise. Some preservation information: "Thousands of pre-1951 movies captured on volatile nitrate film are kept in frigid, low-humidity vaults in a modest cinderblock building owned by the George Eastman House Museum on the piney outskirts of Rochester. Cold storage saves them from rotting away within a lifetime or, worse yet, burning up. In most cases, these are original camera negatives from the first half-century of motion pictures, classics such as "The Wizard of Oz" and "Gone With the Wind," the silent era's top-grossing "Big Parade," Lon Chaney in "The Phantom of the Opera" and Cecil B. DeMille's 1923 version of "The Ten Commandments." While even the best-kept vintage reels are starting to buckle with age, a beloved movie's master negative is a sacred object that would cost untold millions to replace."
  7. She's the unsung hero in all this brouhaha. Without her foresight the footage would have been lost. Perhaps some sympathetic archivists helped hide the negatives.
  8. Right, yes, radio. I grew up with a transistor radio as well. What I meant was, where could you visually see singers perform their songs, either pre-recorded or live? Locally there were State Fair appearances, radio station promotional events, and concerts. But what other national opportunities? I saw the show where Dick Clark introduced the Strawberry Fields/Penny Lane Beatles film clips. And they were weird: bearded Beatles and these disjointed images. According to this article the Beatles couldn't "perform" their songs: "The British Musicians Union had become sticklers about acts who “mimed” to their records on screen, and so the band took an alternate approach. “I was amazed to find that there was a ban in Britain which prevented the Beatles from miming to their record,” said Goldman, who has been inspired by Richard Lester and the band’s work in A Hard Day’s Night. “So I had to find settings and ideas which were sympathetic to their songs without turning them into comic actors.... We didn’t have a storyline as such. We were just trying things out, like changing the speed of the camera, and running the film backwards.” The psychedelic film experiments – like cutting from day to night and having Paul leap into the dead tree by playing the footage backwards – reflected the Beatles’ studio experimentation on the song. The strange aesthetic would provide a window into the sort of music the band was exploring on its new recordings."
  9. I saw this when it came out, on a big screen, and I remember how disgusting it was to see into Richard Harris's mouth in the ultra-close-ups. What a draggy movie. I don't know if that was due to director Joshua Logan, (South Pacific, Paint Your Wagon). Or maybe it was partly due to the intermission structure. As Whipsnade noted, the films lengthened. This seemed especially noticeable in the worst movies, where excess pad and filler stretched to justify a split (aka bathroom break). I'd be curious to see those films re-edited so they didn't need an intermission. Trimming overly long musical numbers and tightening slower paced scenes might improve them.
  10. If MTV had existed back then do you think Elvis or beach movies would still have been made? Outside of teen dance shows, principally American Bandstand, where could singers plug their songs? Unless you had a dad with a TV show, like Ricky Nelson, or had your own show, like the Monkees or Patridge Family, the chances for national exposure were slim. Possibly variety shows like Ed Sullivan, or the Smothers Brothers, but that was for very popular, or politically relevant, acts.
  11. Way cool! Was there anything especially unusual, or surprising, the class discovered? Were there particular movies that really captured the essence of the time? I'm guessing each character in an individual film would dress according to her role, but still within the fashion of the period. (The Women (1939), for example) Did you look at films that spawned a trend, or that had a noticeable influence on fashion? You looked at Annie Hall, which was a craze for a while, as I remember. There were also Bonnie and Clyde, and somewhat, The Great Gatsby, although those were period films. Were there others?
  12. Yes!! I posted elsewhere that sci-fi isn't just about endless clashes and dogfights in space against some aliens/bad guys (yawn). it's also about exploration, and humans interacting with technology (including computers and robots). Think of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, Journey to the Center of the Earth, War of the Worlds, The Day the Earth Stood Still, The Day After Tomorrow, On the Beach, The Time Machine, WarGames, Fantastic Voyage, 1984, Fahrenheit 451 , Brazil, Dr. Strangelove, THX-1138, Soylent Green, Blade Runner, etc. Apocalyptic societies, dystopias, and survival in other environments are part of sci-fi. (I'm not a fan of mutant monsters post A-bomb, but King Kong (1933) is okay)
  13. What were the previous classes? I'm seeing Film Noir, slapstick, Hitchcock, but others? I thought I heard this was the fifth class they'd done, or was it the seventh? Can't remember. I would watch sci-fi, but not a fan of pure horror. Sci-fi isn't just about fighting in space. it's also about exploration, and humans interacting with technology. Think of Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, Journey to the Center of the Earth, War of the Worlds, The Day the Earth Stood Still, The Day After Tomorrow, On the Beach, The Time Machine, WarGames, Fantastic Voyage, 1984, Fahrenheit 451 , The Fly and so forth. Apocalyptic societies, dystopias, survival in other environments are part of sci-fi. Also where would you put the blockbuster disaster films? Poseidon Adventure, Airport, Towering Inferno, or films about volcanoes and tornados and earthquakes, oh my.
  14. My computer doesn't have enough horsepower to do video games, so I thought that might be part of the buffering problem, that it was on my end. I agree, if the questions had just been typed in and submitted it would have probably gone smoother. I'm more interested in what the instructors have to say than looking at who's asking the question. In the limited time available, having the back and forth between the instructors and questioners bogged things down. From my experience with webinars, typing questions tends to get to the point without a lot of rambling.
  15. I've just heard it called the Bottle Dance. But here's more information: "The famous “Bottle Dance” is not a traditional Jewish folk dance but the razzle-dazzle creation of director-choreographer Jerome Robbins. Robbins had previously staged West Side Story and Gypsy. He did “field research” for Fiddler by attending Orthodox Jewish weddings and festivals where he was thrilled with the men’s dancing. He observed one man entertaining a crowd by tottering around with a bottle on his head pretending to be drunk. Robbins took that image and elaborated to create the Broadway showstopper featuring four dancers performing precise, electrifying moves." I saw this show in New York when it came out, and one thing I didn't like then and I don't like in the movie now is the "Fruma Sarah" dream sequence. It's such a time-waster. Maybe since the rest of the show is serious this is supposed to be a comic moment. But it just stopped the action cold.
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