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Movie Scenes That Recreate Paintings


TomJH
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To tell you the truth, I don't know how often the movies did try to do this.

 

But here is a prime illustration of it:

 

The following two images, the second a closeup, are of Arthur William Devis' THE DEATH OF NELSON, painted in 1807, two years after the British vice admiral and war hero met his end at the Battle of Trafalgar.

 

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Here is a recreation of that same scene from producer Alexander Korda's THAT HAMILTON WOMAN, a tale of the scandalous historical affair between the married Horacio Nelson and the married Lady Emma Hamilton. The film was also a blatant propaganda film, drawing obvious historical parallels between the ambitions of Napoleon and Hitler. (Churchill loved the film).

 

Still, here's the film's recreation of Nelson's death, obviously inspired by Devis' painting. (Sorry that the images from the film can't be better).

 

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From that same film, here is Vivien Leigh as Lady Hamilton in a pose that is a recreation of George Romney's 1782-84 portrait of the real Emma.

 

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Can anyone think of other films that also made ambitious detailed attempts to recreate works of art?

 

If you have the ability to post images of the painting and duplicate film scene, that would be great,

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Pennies from Heaven (1981) tried to recreate images from Edward Hopper pairings. Here's an example (I think four Hopper paintings were recreated as scenes in this film):

 

 

 

 

 

Very impressive, Swithin. Thanks very much.

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That scene from History of the World Part One is fairly accurate in its details.  It's interesting that serious films about Christ did not use the painting that way.  In the silent version of King of KIngs, and in The Greatest Story Ever Told, the scenes have a vastly different backdrop. I don't know remember the backdrop in the remake of King of Kings, though.

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The ballet (and others cenes, I think) of An American in Paris recreates famous paintings--Rousseau, Toulouse-Latrec and van Gogh are in there, along with some others I can't remember...

It's long, but especially if you haven't seen it, worth a look (and Gene Kelly's physique is worth a look too ;) ):

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WLQPBcm5umc

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The death of Chinese Gordon in Khartoum

 

Painting by George W. Joy

 

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I'm sorry that I could not find a photograph of Charlton Heston standing at the top of the stairs from the 1966 historical epic, Khartoum. (But that painting does seem to clearly be an inspiration for the staging of that Gordon death scene in the film).

 

The best I can do is supply an image of Heston on the receiving end of that spear that you see in the painting.

 

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This is an interesting topic! I went looking and found a lot of other movies/scenes inspired by paintings, and also this page about movie posters inspired by paintings. Many (most?) of these are newer movies, but the posters are interesting:

http://www.quora.com/Which-movie-posters-have-been-inspired-from-paintings

 

I also found out that the movie Blade Runner's look and feel were directly inspired by Hopper's Nighthawks, which makes sense--it was distopian fiction, done film noir style.

 

http://mag.aklasu.co/5-classic-movies-inspired-by-paintings/

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The death of Chinese Gordon in Khartoum

 

Painting by George W. Joy

 

ad886458-3bf1-4cdd-98ad-4dd13b0ed93f_zps

 

I'm sorry that I could not find a photograph of Charlton Heston standing at the top of the stairs from the 1966 historical epic, Khartoum. (But that painting does seem to clearly be an inspiration for the staging of that Gordon death scene in the film).

 

The best I can do is supply an image of Heston on the receiving end of that spear that you see in the painting.

 

00000764821_zpsbfe7bbd5.jpg

 

 

I'd never known there was a painting until just now.

 

However I had seen a contemporary newspaper account of Gordon's dearth, and an accompanying drawing did depict the action pretty much as in the later painting. The film -- which I saw after seeing the drawing -- follows quite closely.

 

However I can recall at least on significant difference from the painting. In the film, the stairs are absolutely overcrowded with attackers, making the spearthrower almost anonymous amid a mob. The painting clearly separates the man with the spear from the other attackers, implying more of a one-on-one incident. I wonder why the painter did it this way.

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I'd never known there was a painting until just now.

 

However I had seen a contemporary newspaper account of Gordon's dearth, and an accompanying drawing did depict the action pretty much as in the later painting. The film -- which I saw after seeing the drawing -- follows quite closely.

 

However I can recall at least on significant difference from the painting. In the film, the stairs are absolutely overcrowded with attackers, making the spearthrower almost anonymous amid a mob. The painting clearly separates the man with the spear from the other attackers, implying more of a one-on-one incident. I wonder why the painter did it this way.

It's my understanding that historians are divided about the particular circumstances surrounding Gordon's death. The film chose to have him die like a martyr, being quiet and serene in the face of death, as he faced his attackers. Others say, however, that that was out of character for Gordon and he went down swinging, trying to take as many with him as he could.

 

You may be right about there being more of a mob scene on the stairs in the film, Richard,but I think this painting did have a clear influence on the staging of that scene. The similarities are quite striking.

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This is an interesting topic! I went looking and found a lot of other movies/scenes inspired by paintings, and also this page about movie posters inspired by paintings. Many (most?) of these are newer movies, but the posters are interesting:

http://www.quora.com/Which-movie-posters-have-been-inspired-from-paintings

 

I also found out that the movie Blade Runner's look and feel were directly inspired by Hopper's Nighthawks, which makes sense--it was distopian fiction, done film noir style.

 

http://mag.aklasu.co/5-classic-movies-inspired-by-paintings/

Thanks for those links, Traceyk. Interesting to see those Van Gogh skies in that poster for Midnight in Paris.

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The following collection of images is from a BBC miniseries titled Desperate Romantics (2009), but the entire production has a cinematic feel in attention to detail. The story is loosley based on the members of the Pre-Raphelite Brotherhood; Aidan Turner (Kili in The Hobbit films) plays Dante Gabriel Rossetti and Samuel Barnett plays John Everett Millais. The painting is Millais's Ophelia and in the recreation we see the very unglamorous and unromantic nature of being an artist's model, Lizzie Siddal portrayed by Amy Mason (I suspect soaking in a tub of cold water doesn't encourage an appreciation for art or the artist).

 

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Tom, another great idea for a thread; I have been doing something similar on my Tumblr account: art as cinema/cinema as art capturing the actual or random art images that inspired scenes from films or simply remind me of those scenes. Derek Jarman's Caravaggio (1986) finds inspiration in the artist's shadowy life and recreates many of the artist's major works. In the film, the image below is a depiction of the artist as a youth, played by Dexter Fletcher, and is slightly less provocative than most of the paintings in the film.

 

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Tom, another great idea for a thread; I have been doing something similar on my Tumblr account: art as cinema/cinema as art capturing the actual or random art images that inspired scenes from films or simply remind me of those scenes. Derek Jarman's Caravaggio (1986) finds inspiration in the artist's shadowy life and recreates many of the artist's major works. In the film, the image below is a depiction of the artist as a youth, played by Dexter Fletcher, and is slightly less provocative than most of the paintings in the film.

 

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Ah, very good, whistlingypsy. And here I am thinking I'm possibly the first around here to have this same idea.

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