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Inspiration


CaveGirl
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I think it was Edison who said that success was 10% inspiration and 90% perspiration, but I don't believe that Alfred Hitchcock ever willingly perspired, or even wanted to and he was very successful in all his endeavors. Matter of fact I never liked Edison much and am more a fan of Tesla, but I digress.

 

My point being that inspiration can come from the oddest places and be the total raison d'etre, and apparently Hitchcock found the story of Crippen's supposed murder of wife, Belle Elmore as inspiration for among other things, "Rear Window", "Rope" and some tv teleplays.

It's all so obvious why this tale of murder appealed to Hitch, since Crippen was ostensibly a mild-mannered man of restraint and low key behaviour. Just the type that would make for good fodder as a murderer according to the Hitchcock dictates. Hitchcock had written that the Crippen case had understatement and melodrama in the British style, meaning that even when confronting the most heinous criminal a British Bobbie might say something like "I beg your pardon, but it seems someone has been boiled in oil. We wondered if one would mind speaking with us about it?"

So if Crippen was the inspiration for the hubby who cut up his wife in RW, remembering that Jimmy Stewart was perplexed while spying on Raymond Burr wondering "Just how do you start to cut up a human body" then perhaps the death of Belle Elmore [aka Cora Crippen] was not forgotten.

 

Name a real life inspiration for a movie that you know about, and the more obscure the better!

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In a pretty macabre mood today, are we CG?! ;)

 

Okay, I think I have an example for you of a real life circumstance which inspired a reasonably "obscure" movie. How about...

 

Bedlam.jpg

 

A story set in Georgian Era England which attempts to portray the horrors of that place and time's mental health facilities by use of the fictional dramatization of one women(Anna Lee) being sent to confinement there with no valid reason for doing so.

 

(...the name "Bedlam" in which this story takes place was the actual name of this English facility, and would of course eventually enter the lexicon with a meaning of such things as "confusion" and/or "disarray")

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In a pretty macabre mood today, are we CG?! ;)

 

Okay, I think I have an example for you of a real life circumstance which inspired a reasonably "obscure" movie. How about...

 

Bedlam.jpg

 

A story set in Georgian Era England which attempts to portray the horrors of that place and time's mental health facilities by use of the fictional dramatization of one women(Anna Lee) being sent to confinement there with no valid reason for doing so.

 

(...the name "Bedlam" in which this story takes place was the actual name of this English facility, and would of course eventually enter the lexicon with a meaning of such things as "confusion" and/or "disarray")

"Macabre", today? Try everyday...

I am familiar with that film, being that I own the Val Lewton boxed set. Bedlam of course was the abbreviated name for Bethlehem, and the insane asylum was most famous for many atrocities, but you are so right, Dargo about the word being corrupted into the later meaning.

 

Bravo, good show!

 

I have to leave now to pick up some cat of nine tails paraphernalia, so I am putting you in charge of the class!

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Compulsion, a 50s movie, is not quite the same as you so expertly describe regarding Hitch and RW. In your beautifully worded example Hitch was inspired (exactly what you are wanting here) in taking a real-life story and allowing it to exercise a telling influence, presumably duplicating much of the case in the movie. Something like that.

 

Compulsion was not so much inspired, per se, but was based on an actual case of a 14-year-old boy named Bobby Franks, who was murdered by a couple of rich young society fellows and apparently for just the hell of it. Compulsion relied heavily on actually transcripts. Orson Welles played the world famous Clarence Darrow who defended the boys. "The Plea of Clarence Darrow" is the name given to his closing statement, which lasted three days. He was not fighting for acquittal at this point, he was trying to save their lives in the penalty phase, life imprisonment instead of death.

 

Darrow's speech was impassioned, expansive, dramatic, bombastic and ... inspired (to use the word in a different context.) Wells didn't play it that way. He made Darrow soft-spoken, circumspect, and quite calm. He did the same thing with Falstaff in his own Chimes of Midnight, toning him down to a considerable degree. I accept his take on the Fat Knight but not so much here. I would have liked to see the real Darrow.

 

A poor example perhaps, but it's still possible to say that the case itself might have inspired certain decisions by the filmmaker (which was not Welles). I don't remember it having a particularly documentary effect, but I could be wrong.

 

---

 

...

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Compulsion, a 50s movie, is not quite the same as you so expertly describe regarding Hitch and RW. In your beautifully worded example Hitch was inspired (exactly what you are wanting here) in taking a real-life story and allowing it to exercise a telling influence, presumably duplicating much of the case in the movie. Something like that.

 

Compulsion was not so much inspired, per se, but was based on an actual case of a 14-year-old boy named Bobby Franks, who was murdered by a couple of rich young society fellows and apparently for just the hell of it. Compulsion relied heavily on actually transcripts. Orson Welles played the world famous Clarence Darrow who defended the boys. "The Plea of Clarence Darrow" is the name given to his closing statement, which lasted three days. He was not fighting for acquittal at this point, he was trying to save their lives in the penalty phase, life imprisonment instead of death.

 

Darrow's speech was impassioned, expansive, dramatic, bombastic and ... inspired (to use the word in a different context.) Wells didn't play it that way. He made Darrow soft-spoken, circumspect, and quite calm. He did the same thing with Falstaff in his own Chimes of Midnight, toning him down to a considerable degree. I accept his take on the Fat Knight but not so much here. I would have liked to see the real Darrow.

 

A poor example perhaps, but it's still possible to say that the case itself might have inspired certain decisions by the filmmaker (which was not Welles). I don't remember it having a particularly documentary effect, but I could be wrong.

 

---

 

...

 

Hmmmm...sounds like you probably preferred THIS guy's take on a Clarence Darrow inspired role in a different courtroom drama inspired by a certain 1925 "monkey trial", eh laffite?!.... ;)

 

0237318_11387_MC_Tx304.jpg

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Compulsion, a 50s movie, is not quite the same as you so expertly describe regarding Hitch and RW. In your beautifully worded example Hitch was inspired (exactly what you are wanting here) in taking a real-life story and allowing it to exercise a telling influence, presumably duplicating much of the case in the movie. Something like that.

 

Compulsion was not so much inspired, per se, but was based on an actual case of a 14-year-old boy named Bobby Franks, who was murdered by a couple of rich young society fellows and apparently for just the hell of it. Compulsion relied heavily on actually transcripts. Orson Welles played the world famous Clarence Darrow who defended the boys. "The Plea of Clarence Darrow" is the name given to his closing statement, which lasted three days. He was not fighting for acquittal at this point, he was trying to save their lives in the penalty phase, life imprisonment instead of death.

 

Darrow's speech was impassioned, expansive, dramatic, bombastic and ... inspired (to use the word in a different context.) Wells didn't play it that way. He made Darrow soft-spoken, circumspect, and quite calm. He did the same thing with Falstaff in his own Chimes of Midnight, toning him down to a considerable degree. I accept his take on the Fat Knight but not so much here. I would have liked to see the real Darrow.

 

A poor example perhaps, but it's still possible to say that the case itself might have inspired certain decisions by the filmmaker (which was not Welles). I don't remember it having a particularly documentary effect, but I could be wrong.

 

---

 

...

Laffite, I was always interested in the Leopold and Loeb case during my teens, after having seen that film, and henceforth read a few books on them.

 

Sadly their predilection for committing crime with no real motive, seems to have proliferated over the years in many sociopathic minds. Now I'm wondering from your post if there is film footage of Darrow anywhere. I really dig seeing people on film that one would never think are on film. Or seeing someone from silent days, in a sound piece of film. Recently I saw footage of Teddy Roosevelt with sound and his voice was not what I expected. Years ago I heard a sound recording of Rudolph Valentino singing, which was intriguing.

 

Thanks for your astute post!

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Hmmmm...sounds like you probably preferred THIS guy's take on a Clarence Darrow inspired role in a different courtroom drama inspired by a certain 1925 "monkey trial", eh laffite?!.... ;)

 

0237318_11387_MC_Tx304.jpg

Your photo reminded me of some of the good repartee from the real trial.

 

This gem from Darrow interrogating Bryan, could be about some of the online feuds I've witnessed at message boards, if you substitute any topic in the world for "bible":

 

“Q: But what do you think that the Bible, itself, says? Don't you know how it was arrived at?

A: I never made a calculation

Q: What do you think?

A: I do not think about things I don't think about.

Q: Do you think about things you do think about?

A: Well, sometimes.” 

― Scopes Trial

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Wikipedia had this about the movie ACE IN THE HOLE(1951)

 

 

The film's plot was inspired by two real-life events. The first involved W. Floyd Collins, who in 1925 was trapped inside Sand Cave, Kentucky, following a landslide. A Louisville newspaper, the Courier-Journal, jumped on the story by dispatching reporter William Burke Miller to the scene. Miller's enterprising coverage turned the tragic episode into a national event and earned the writer a Pulitzer Prize. Collins's name is cited in the film as an example of a cave-in victim who becomes a media sensation.

The second event took place in April 1949. Three-year-old Kathy Fiscus of San Marino, California, fell into an abandoned well and, during a rescue operation that lasted several days, thousands of people arrived to watch the action unfold. In both cases, the victims died before they were rescued.

 

Sepiatone

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True crime/incident based: OK.

 

"The Honeymoon Killers" (1970)--based on the "Lonely Hearts" slayings of 1948-49.

 

"See No Evil" (2006)--Based on the "Moors Murders" in 1965's England.

 

""Rope" (1948)--Based on the Leopold-Loeb case.

 

"The Lodger" (1926, 1944)--Both versions are based on Jack The Rippers' crimes.

 

"So Long at the Fair" (1950)--I've checked Snopesdotcom and they neither Definitively Prove or Disprove it--a fascinating question mark.  Interestingly, the stories/literature cited as using plot points are dated after 1889.  The earliest listed on Snopes is a book published in 1913.

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Wikipedia had this about the movie ACE IN THE HOLE(1951)

 

 

The film's plot was inspired by two real-life events. The first involved W. Floyd Collins, who in 1925 was trapped inside Sand Cave, Kentucky, following a landslide. A Louisville newspaper, the Courier-Journal, jumped on the story by dispatching reporter William Burke Miller to the scene. Miller's enterprising coverage turned the tragic episode into a national event and earned the writer a Pulitzer Prize. Collins's name is cited in the film as an example of a cave-in victim who becomes a media sensation.

The second event took place in April 1949. Three-year-old Kathy Fiscus of San Marino, California, fell into an abandoned well and, during a rescue operation that lasted several days, thousands of people arrived to watch the action unfold. In both cases, the victims died before they were rescued.

 

Sepiatone

Thanks, Sepia and I think Kirk's character actually mentioned the first incident in the movie.

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True crime/incident based: OK.

 

"The Honeymoon Killers" (1970)--based on the "Lonely Hearts" slayings of 1948-49.

 

"See No Evil" (2006)--Based on the "Moors Murders" in 1965's England.

 

""Rope" (1948)--Based on the Leopold-Loeb case.

 

"The Lodger" (1926, 1944)--Both versions are based on Jack The Rippers' crimes.

 

"So Long at the Fair" (1950)--I've checked Snopesdotcom and they neither Definitively Prove or Disprove it--a fascinating question mark.  Interestingly, the stories/literature cited as using plot points are dated after 1889.  The earliest listed on Snopes is a book published in 1913.

Aw, geez, FL you mentioned one of my all-time favorite movies. "The Honeymoon Killers"!

 

The tale of the fatal romance of Martha Beck and Ray Fernandez is worthy of an opera.

 

I saw Truman Capote once say that he knew Martha Beck as she was a neighbor of his. Too bad he did not write a book about her!

 

Your other choices are fab too!

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I'm surprised no one's mentioned Ed Gein yet. He inspired Robert Bloch to write Psycho, which Hitchcock turned into a film in 1960. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre films were inspired by Gein, as was the Buffalo Bill character in The Silence of the Lambs. More direct depictions of Gein came with 1974's Deranged and 2001's Ed Gein.

 

tumblr_inline_nazuinVvPV1rf12i7.jpg

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I am pretty sure that I recall reading that the novel "The Bad Seed", which inspired the play and then, of course, the movie, had a character rooted in reality.  Christine's biological mother, the killer, was based on a true crime story, but I don't know the name of the woman. 

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Speaking of Hitchcock...Mel here was more than a little inspired by the great British director when he made HIGH ANXIETY, ya know...

 

 

high-anxiety.jpg

 

(...but then again, all parodies are pretty much inspired by their source material, aren't they)

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I'm surprised no one's mentioned Ed Gein yet. He inspired Robert Bloch to write Psycho, which Hitchcock turned into a film in 1960. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre films were inspired by Gein, as was the Buffalo Bill character in The Silence of the Lambs. More direct depictions of Gein came with 1974's Deranged and 2001's Ed Gein.

 

tumblr_inline_nazuinVvPV1rf12i7.jpg

My favorite serial killer of all time.

 

Well, favorite in the sense that he combines so many psychotic tendencies in one person, that he is a walking case file.

 

Ya know, Lawrence that old Robert Bloch, even though it would seem obvious that coming from the area around Plainfield, and writing "Psycho" after the Eddie Gein tales became known, that Bloch based Norman's deeds on Eddie's rampages...Bloch says it is not true.

 

I personally think he is lying through his teeth. This is like saying "The Goddess" by Chayefsky has nothing to do with Marilyn Monroe. But that's Bloch's story and he stuck to it.

 

Eddie used to babysit kids in Plainfield, who told their parents that Eddie had faces of women on his walls and the parents told the kiddies to stop telling tales. Later police found that yes, Eddie had done exactly that and graced his walls with such mementoes.

 

He also had made belts out of body parts, and painted a lot of them with silver paint. Like I said, he takes the cake on strange behaviour. Thanks!

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My favorite serial killer of all time.

 

Well, favorite in the sense that he combines so many psychotic tendencies in one person, that he is a walking case file.

 

Ya know, Lawrence that old Robert Bloch, even though it would seem obvious that coming from the area around Plainfield, and writing "Psycho" after the Eddie Gein tales became known, that Bloch based Norman's deeds on Eddie's rampages...Bloch says it is not true.

 

I personally think he is lying through his teeth. This is like saying "The Goddess" by Chayefsky has nothing to do with Marilyn Monroe. But that's Bloch's story and he stuck to it.

 

Eddie used to babysit kids in Plainfield, who told their parents that Eddie had faces of women on his walls and the parents told the kiddies to stop telling tales. Later police found that yes, Eddie had done exactly that and graced his walls with such mementoes.

 

He also had made belts out of body parts, and painted a lot of them with silver paint. Like I said, he takes the cake on strange behaviour. Thanks!

 

...or that Citizen Kane had nothing to do with William Randolph Hearst. I think Welles actually said that ... in his wiseacre, smirk-y, tongue-in-cheek sort of way.

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Aw, geez, FL you mentioned one of my all-time favorite movies. "The Honeymoon Killers"!

 

The tale of the fatal romance of Martha Beck and Ray Fernandez is worthy of an opera.

 

I saw Truman Capote once say that he knew Martha Beck as she was a neighbor of his. Too bad he did not write a book about her!

 

Mass murderer Charles Starkweather (inspiration for Badlands) was at one time the garbageman for Dick Cavett's family in Lincoln, Nebraska. Cavett's father even passed the time of day with him a few times.

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One of my favorite examples: the inspiration for Andrew Wyke, the compulsive games player in Sleuth, was composer Stephen Sondheim. The play's working title was in fact Who's Afraid of Stephen Sondheim.

 

Sondheim was legendary in chic '60s show biz circles for his treasure hunts, which often took players (such as Lee Remick and George Segal) all over NYC looking for clues (these hunts would be recreated by Sondheim himself, along with fellow games fanatic Anthony Perkins, in The Last of Sheila). Playwright Anthony Shaffer heard about these games and felt there was a play in them; he would simply transfer them to the English gentry he was more comfortable writing about.

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Mass murderer Charles Starkweather (inspiration for Badlands) was at one time the garbageman for Dick Cavett's family in Lincoln, Nebraska. Cavett's father even passed the time of day with him a few times.

 

So it seems Dick got his great ability to converse with others of all stripes from good ol' Pop, eh Doc?!

 

;)

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