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One Thing Leads to Another


CaveGirl
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Having seen way too many films, often while watching one I will start to think that something in it reminds me of another earlier film.

 

Now sometimes it is just coincidence, but other times I think it can be the sign of a bit of tribute to something perhaps the director was influenced by. Which makes me believe mayhaps that Christopher Guest was putting in such an antecedent reference in his film "Waiting for Guffman".

 

Now I am not meaning the obvious reference to the Samuel Beckett play, "Waiting for Godot" which is easy to spot, even in the non-appearance of its eponymous personage, but rather the long, outdoor stairway that resides on the building that is the home of Guest's character, Corky St. Clair.

 

Looking at it in the film, I was immediately reminded of a stairway that is so similar, and perhaps the longest and flimsiest in films, namely the one on the side of the building that Harry Langdon used in his film, "Three's a Crowd".

 

Now my hypothesis is this, Langdon being one of the most highly discussed of the silent screen comedians, due to the many negative thoughts of Frank Capra about his career, was one of a kind. His humor was not the straightforward ilk that perpetuates many Hollywood films, with the set-up and gag conclusion. I believe he would be an inspiring figure to someone whose own humor is a bit off the beaten path, like Christopher Guest. Though there are numerous denunciations of Langdon online, by reviewers who perhaps follow the crowd, to others his indefinable gifts which at times could be disturbing or bizarre, were unique.

 

In "TAC" he has a scene which in any usual comedic film, would have had an ending which the audience would recognize as normal. He is hanging from a piece of material and trying to ascend it to save himself from falling. In the hands of another it would be easy to figure out which of possibly two endings will occur. But Langdon who was definitely the most willing comedian of the silents to go out on a limb, and really walk a comedic tightrope, surprises all but the most devoted of his fans with his conclusion of the scene.

 

For this reason, I see Guest's film as following Langdon's film, in a case of art imitating art for art's sake. I could be wrong, but if so, it really doesn't matter since I think anyone who has seen Langdon on film, is indubitably influenced by him in some way and I would bet Guest has seen his films or at least one or two.

 

So now it is up to you, to follow my thought patterns, cloudy though they may be, and submit something from one film which possibly was influenced by an earlier film and share with us all.

 

Thanks in advance!





 

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Although I'll apologize now for not submitting any examples, the thing to which you refer is usually how many "formulas" get started.  One successful "gangster" flick leads to a whole slew of them.  Same with any other genre of film.  In more recent times, you could use the car chase as an example.  Some "boosh-whah"  film critic makes a big deal out of the car chase scene in THE FRENCH CONNECTION, and you get it all again in films like BULLITT, THE SEVEN-UPS and many more.

 

So, it's not the MOVIE or device that's the inspiration, but the MONEY to be made.

 

But in Guest's case, I'd go for the artistic influence.  Guest is no slouch, nor stranger to off-the-wall comedy, citing his many years with involvment in THE NATIONAL LAMPOON magazine, but on their recordings as well.

 

 

Sepiatone

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Although I'll apologize now for not submitting any examples, the thing to which you refer is usually how many "formulas" get started.  One successful "gangster" flick leads to a whole slew of them.  Same with any other genre of film.  In more recent times, you could use the car chase as an example.  Some "boosh-whah"  film critic makes a big deal out of the car chase scene in THE FRENCH CONNECTION, and you get it all again in films like BULLITT, THE SEVEN-UPS and many more.

 

So, it's not the MOVIE or device that's the inspiration, but the MONEY to be made.

 

But in Guest's case, I'd go for the artistic influence.  Guest is no slouch, nor stranger to off-the-wall comedy, citing his many years with involvment in THE NATIONAL LAMPOON magazine, but on their recordings as well.

 

 

Sepiatone

Sepia, to me there is a difference as you seem to be referring, between that which is an outright copy made purely for the cash and something which is an homage, meant to be a compliment to an earlier work.

 

I think I recall Jean Vigo using such in the pillow fight scene in his film "Zero for Conduct", as a tribute to the Abel Gance snowball fight in "Napoleon".

 

I see Guest's usage of the stairway [if I'm right that it was influenced by Langdon] as an homage to his films and talent.

 

Thanks for your post!

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I can usually do without directors' "homages'' to other directors. It's usually part of the "I've been to film school!" mentality. One of the most moronic examples is in MICHAEL CLAYTON, where George Clooney gets out of his car to go look at horses (and thereby escape being blown up), something which makes no sense unless you've seen the end of THE ASPHALT JUNGLE, where it made sense because Sterling Hayden had grown up on a horse farm.

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How about Woody Allen's Interiors which was unabashedly derivative from Ingmar Bergman though in a general way. Perhaps there a specific examples from that film, alas I wouldn't know it. Woody's admiration of Bergman is very well known and perhaps there are better examples. I'm not doing a very good job with this, but some of you experts out there could probably come up with some excellent examples from the Woody-Ingmar connection.

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How about Woody Allen's Interiors which was unabashedly derivative from Ingmar Bergman though in a general way. Perhaps there a specific examples from that film, alas I wouldn't know it. Woody's admiration of Bergman is very well known and perhaps there are better examples. I'm not doing a very good job with this, but some of you experts out there could probably come up with some excellent examples from the Woody-Ingmar connection.

-

 

Stardust Memories was Woody Allen's homage to Fellini and 8 1/2.

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The Chicago train station shootout scene in Brian De Palma's THE UNTOUCHABLES (1987) which involves an unattended baby carriage free falling down a number of steps...

18-the-untouchables-screen.jpg

 

...is a clear homage to a similar sequence used by Sergei Eisenstein's Odessa steps scene in BATTLESHIP POTEMKIN (1925)...

Odessastepsbaby.jpg

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Sepia, to me there is a difference as you seem to be referring, between that which is an outright copy made purely for the cash and something which is an homage, meant to be a compliment to an earlier work.

 

I think I recall Jean Vigo using such in the pillow fight scene in his film "Zero for Conduct", as a tribute to the Abel Gance snowball fight in "Napoleon".

 

I see Guest's usage of the stairway [if I'm right that it was influenced by Langdon] as an homage to his films and talent.

 

Thanks for your post!

Incidentally, I accidentally deleted the PM you sent yesterday. Believe it or not , I don't know how to initiate one.

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I can usually do without directors' "homages'' to other directors. It's usually part of the "I've been to film school!" mentality. One of the most moronic examples is in MICHAEL CLAYTON, where George Clooney gets out of his car to go look at horses (and thereby escape being blown up), something which makes no sense unless you've seen the end of THE ASPHALT JUNGLE, where it made sense because Sterling Hayden had grown up on a horse farm.

Thanks, King and I was saved wasting my time seeing that, by just not going to any George Clooney films!

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How about Woody Allen's Interiors which was unabashedly derivative from Ingmar Bergman though in a general way. Perhaps there a specific examples from that film, alas I wouldn't know it. Woody's admiration of Bergman is very well known and perhaps there are better examples. I'm not doing a very good job with this, but some of you experts out there could probably come up with some excellent examples from the Woody-Ingmar connection.

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Woody does tend to rip off a lot of director's stuff.

 

Look what he took from Keaton's "Sherlock Junior" for instance.

 

Thanks, Laffite!

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Incidentally, I accidentally deleted the PM you sent yesterday. Believe it or not , I don't know how to initiate one.

Really?

 

Then that is why you did not message me back, when I wrote you saying that your ex-girlfriend, Penny Cillin keeps writing me and asking for your number, Down.

 

Thanks for explaining.

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As I'll admit to have never seen either film mentioned in the "stairway" thing to which you refer, I'll just add for fun the long outdoor stairway used for pure comic delight in LAUREL and HARDY's "THE MUSIC BOX".  :)

Perhaps Langdon ispired that one as well......

 

 

Sepiatone

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Woody also    A) pays homage to B) rips off    the hall of mirrors scene from THE LADY FROM SHANGHAI in MANHATTAN MURDER MYSTERY. Woody, Brian De Palma, and Quentin Tarentino do the reference/homage/ripoff thing a lot. It beats having to come up with your own ideas.

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Colin Higgins' film "Foul Play" (1978) is one long homage to Hitchcock. In particular these scenes and characters:

 

A minor characters' end is an indirect steal from how the villain ended in "Stage Fright" (1950);

 

The race to get to a concert hall is directly from the second version of "The Man Who Knew Too Much" (1956).

 

Rachel Roberts' performance is modeled on Leopoldine Konstantins' in "Notorious" (1946), right down to the cigar.

 

The disappearing dead bodies are a homage to "The Trouble With Harry" (1955).

 

Watch FP when it comes on in Sept.  He managed to pay tribute to over 20 films I counted (I've seen "Foul Play" fifteen times at least).

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