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Paintings That Played A Role in the Movies


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I recently saw The Age of Innocence (1993) for the first time, on TCM.  I have no idea why I didn't see that movie 20 years ago -- it's amazing on so many levels!

 

One level: the meticulousness with which Scorsese created the look of the film, for example, researching the paintings that those aristocratic New Yorkers of the 1870s would have had in their homes. In a few cases, he commissioned paintings of the characters to suit the scene.

 

In this -- one of my favorite scenes -- Daniel Day-Lewis and Sian Phillips (playing his mother), visit Michael Gough and Alexis Smith, who portray the very pinnacle of New York society. The large painting behind the couple is of Alexis Smith in character as Louisa van der Luyden. The other paintings represent art that the couple would have had in their collection. Scorsese had high-quality reproductions made of the famous paintings used in the film.

 

AgeLuyden.jpg

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Getting back on topic here, there is the movie The Train (1964) where Burt Lancaster saves a train load of paintings from the Nazis. I think all the paintings are wrapped up but they were the reason the movie was made and many died trying to get them. (added, I checked a movie synopsis and it is paintings).

 

trainb_thumb.jpg

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Hitchcock's Vertigo (1958)

 

 

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Private detective James Stewart follows mysterious Kim Novak to the art gallery, where she stares endlessly at this portrait. What is the connection between her and this lady in the portrait?

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Tom, to get back to your thread topic, your first post mentioned the film LAURA,  that is probably the first film that would come to my mind.  The 1953 film VICKI (starring two of my favs Jean Peters and Jeanne Crain) is a direct remake of the earlier Fox film I WAKE UP SCREAMING.  But  VICKI also borrows some elements from the film LAURA , like the prominent painting of the title character hanging on the wall.  Only in VICKI we don't see the painting until the end  of the story but it explains a lot about the story.

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Getting back on topic here, there is the movie The Train (1964) where Burt Lancaster saves a train load of paintings from the Nazis. I think all the paintings are wrapped up but they were the reason the movie was made and many died trying to get them.

 

trainb_thumb.jpg

A terrific film, MM, with the paintings playing a major role in the story, even if, if memory serves me correctly, we never actually see them.

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From my favorite film noir (notice how many people are dressed in black, obviously a noir):

 

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"Ahh ... I knew your mother very well. I'll let you in on a little secret. Many, many years ago in the dear dim past, I proposed to your mother."

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"But that's my father."

 

"No wonder he turned me down."

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I recently saw The Age of Innocence (1993) for the first time, on TCM.  I have no idea why I didn't see that movie 20 years ago -- it's amazing on so many levels!

 

One level: the meticulousness with which Scorsese created the look of the film, for example, researching the paintings that those aristocratic New Yorkers of the 1870s would have had in their homes. In a few cases, he commissioned paintings of the characters to suit the scene.

 

In this -- one of my favorite scenes -- Daniel Day-Lewis and Sian Phillips (playing his mother), visit Michael Gough and Alexis Smith, who portray the very pinnacle of New York society. The large painting behind the couple is of Alexis Smith in character as Louisa van der Luyden. The other paintings represent art that the couple would have had in their collection. Scorsese had high-quality reproductions made of the famous paintings used in the film.

 

AgeLuyden.jpg

Beautiful image, Swithin. I'll have to see this film.

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THE TRAIN is  a favorite film of mine, definitely my favorite Burt film (his action hero performance puts so many of the so called "action heroes" to shame).  The paintings  are the center piece to the whole story, we briefly see some glimpses of them before they are boxed up and removed from the museum.  And it is the Nazi Coronels' obsession with them that drives the whole story.   

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In Who Done It? (1949), Moe keeps getting konked on the head by a trick, retractable painting in a room rigged up by the short's bad guys. 

 

Refreshing, since Moe's misfortune is not caused by either of the other 2 Stooges.

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In Who Done It? (1949), Moe keeps getting konked on the head by a trick, retractable painting in a room rigged up by the short's bad guys. 

 

Refreshing, since Moe's misfortune is not caused by either of the other 2 Stooges.

Good one. Thanks for giving us another non-noir example. Perfect!

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"But that's my father."

 

"No wonder he turned me down."

 

Thanks for a little Groucho levity, sscu. A Day at the Races has some great moments. Have to admit, I forgot about the painting in it. I remember more the panting when Groucho has his scenes with Esther Muir.

 

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In Who Done It? (1949), Moe keeps getting konked on the head by a trick, retractable painting in a room rigged up by the short's bad guys. 

 

Refreshing, since Moe's misfortune is not caused by either of the other 2 Stooges.

Good  one, Wayne!

Untitled_zpsd71801ff.png

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The Picture of Dorian Gray and House of Strangers. :D

Nipkow, I think DORIAN GRAY was mentioned. HOUSE OF STRANGERS is a good one in the crime drama/gangster picture vein, and it's been ages since I have seen it.

 

Let's see if we can think of some more non-noir examples, shall we...?

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Here's a silent film that fits the bill-- called THE PAINTED SOUL:

 

Barnard, a painter, plans an important painting, to be entitled "The Fallen Woman." He searches seemingly without hope for the right model for his masterpiece. Finally he finds a beautiful young prostitute. He rescues her from her legal problems and she poses for him. Irene, the prostitute, falls in love with Barnard and he with her. But she soon recognizes that her past will destroy his future.

 

--From the IMDb synopsis for this motion picture from 1915. Sounds like a more romantic version of the same story used in SCARLET STREET, doesn't it? So it would be a different genre.

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Let's see if we can think of some more non-noir examples, shall we...?

There go you, trying to control again, TB. This is not your thread. Posters can make contributions of paintings of significance of any genre they want here, including film noir, if they so choose.

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There go you, trying to control again, TB. This is not your thread. Posters can make contributions of paintings of significance of any genre they want here, including film noir, if they so choose.

I believe you are misinterpreting. Did not say it was my thread. Nipkow and I sometimes work together brainstorming ideas. My response was to him, not to others on the thread. Sorry you took it the wrong way.

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There have been, of course, a number of film biographies of the tormented lives of painters, among them Rembrandt, The Moon and Sixpence (Paul Gaugain) and Moulin Rouge (Toulouse-Lautrec).

 

Lust for Life is noteworthy in its portrait of Vincent Van Gogh for having actual paintings of the artist on view in the film (among others, Edward G. Robinson made a contribution from his own collection to the film).

 

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This particular image is of significance since this was the artist's final painting before he shot himself. Obviously, the painting pictured here beside Kirk Douglas must be a copy. It was, sadly, while the artist was painting this image of crows in a cornfield that he could no longer control his emotional demons.

 

The significance of the painting in this film, I feel, is not because it is a plot driver, but due more to its historical accuracy.

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Tom, to get back to your thread topic, your first post mentioned the film LAURA,  that is probably the first film that would come to my mind.  The 1953 film VICKI (starring two of my favs Jean Peters and Jeanne Crain) is a direct remake of the earlier Fox film I WAKE UP SCREAMING.  But  VICKI also borrows some elements from the film LAURA , like the prominent painting of the title character hanging on the wall.  Only in VICKI we don't see the painting until the end  of the story but it explains a lot about the story.

I have never seen Vicki, mrroberts, though I do have it somewhere in my DVD collection, I believe. I will be making a point to see it sometime. I did not know that a painting was in it of the title character, inspired, quite possibly, by Laura.

 

If I could own the real painting of just one of those featured in these films (outside of the desire for a real Van Gogh from Lust for Life, for strictly economic reasons), my pick would be that portrait of Gene Tierney from Laura.

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I have never seen Vicki, mrroberts, though I do have it somewhere in my DVD collection, I believe. I will be making a point to see it sometime. I did not know that a painting was in it of the title character, inspired, quite possibly, by Laura.

 

If I could own the real painting of just one of those featured in these films (outside of the desire for a real Van Gogh from Lust for Life, for strictly economic reasons), my pick would be that portrait of Gene Tierney from Laura.

 

MOVIES-TV shows Vicki often,  and I believe mrroberts is mistaken;   The portrait of Vicki is shown at the very start of the film.   This is what gives the film a Laura type vibe.    But the portrait really doesn't have anything to do with the film like it does in Laura (where the detective is drawn to the portrait of Laura because he has never meet the girl he believed was murdered).

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Tom, you began your discussion by referencing several films that feature on screen paintings, including Laura (1944) with Gene Tierney's portrait as the title character. You might find it interesting that this portrait appears in three films, only two in which the actress has a role, and two of which are in Technicolor.

 

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The second film to use the portrait is On The Riviera (1951), which paired Gene Tierney with Danny Kaye in a dual role. The portrait can be glimpsed in several of the library scenes, where it is displayed above a fireplace (I confess I watched this one simply to see if the painting appears in the film).

 

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The third film to use the portrait is Woman's World (1954), in which Gene Tierney did not appear, but Clifton Webb has a prominent role. The portrait is one of a group on display in Webb's home (you can see the image on the left above the actor's head). I suspect the group is meant to represent Webb's youthful indiscretions, or an amour fou for beautiful women, but the result is a visual connection to his role in Laura and to Gene Teirney.

 

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Tom, you began your discussion by referencing several films that feature on screen paintings, including Laura (1944) with Gene Tierney's portrait as the title character. You might find it interesting that this portrait appears in three films, only two in which the actress has a role, and two of which are in Technicolor.

 

992b519d-2423-41d6-8547-30e2623acfb7_zps

 

The second film to use the portrait is On The Rivieria (1951), which paired Gene Tierney with Danny Kaye in a dual role. The portrait can be glimpsed in several of the library scenes, where it is displayed above a fireplace (I confess I watched this one simply to see if the painting appears in the film).

 

 

 

The third film to use the portrait is Woman's World (1954), in which Gene Tierney did not appear, but Clifton Webb has a prominent role. The portrait is one of a group on prominent display in Webb's home (you can see the image on the left above the actor's head). I suspect the group is meant to represent Webb's youthful indiscretions, or an amour fou for beautiful women, but the result is a visual connection to his role in Laura and to Gene Teirney.

 

 

Thanks for the great info, whistlingysy. The Laura portrait's appearance in two other Fox films comes as complete news to me. It's fun to know trivia like this, particularly because one of those films also featured Clifton Webb. Think there's a possibility that he's lurking around somewhere in the Danny Kaye film, too, only no one ever noticed it? ;)

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