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Flashbacks in film


Kid Dabb
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Suddenly Last Summer (1959)--One long doozy of a flashback near the end of the film.

 

The Trip (1967)--flashbacks, and every which way.

 

 A Streetcar Named Desire (1951)--multiple flashbacks.

 

 Gladiator (2000)--not a pre 1970 film.  It comes to mind because the flashback was the one well lit sequence in the film.  Rest of film is dark and dingy looking. 

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Passage to Marseille uses flashbacks within flashbacks.    Yea,  this does make it somewhat difficult to follow the plot.

Now that one brings to mind The Locket (1946). Doesn't this one also have at least one flashback within another? I seem to remember this one because a lot of people here got in on a thread discussing the complications it may have created for us viewers.

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Now that one brings to mind The Locket (1946). Doesn't this one also have at least one flashback within another? I seem to remember this one because a lot of people here got in on a thread discussing the complications it may have created for us viewers.

 

Yes,  The Locket is another example of a flashback within a flashback.   Fine movie,  with Laraine Day giving her best performance,  and an early one for Robert Mitchum (while he does OK,  he is miscast as an artist but that is from today's POV after viewing him in so many other gritty performances).

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Yes,  The Locket is another example of a flashback within a flashback.   Fine movie,  with Laraine Day giving her best performance,  and an early one for Robert Mitchum (while he does OK,  he is miscast as an artist but that is from today's POV after viewing him in so many other gritty performances).

 

Both Passage to Marseilles and The Locket use flashback within flashback within flashback. The whole flashback framework in PTM is really unnecessary, but in The Locket it's rather effective, as we go into the Chinese-box like journey into Laraine Day's past.

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Now that one brings to mind The Locket (1946). Doesn't this one also have at least one flashback within another? I seem to remember this one because a lot of people here got in on a thread discussing the complications it may have created for us viewers.

 

A flashback within a flashback within a flashback.

 

A girl's first husband tells a story about an artist and the girl. The film then shows scenes of what the artist is telling the first husband about his experiences with the girl. The girl then tells the artist about a bad childhood experience. So we've got the ex-husband telling the story about the girl telling the childhood story to the artist and the artist telling the girl's story to the ex-husband who then tells it to a man who is about to marry the girl.

 

The ex-husband also tells other flashbacks about his experiences with the girl. At the very end, we meet (again) the lady who gave the girl the original bad experience, and that lady is the mother of the man who is about to marry the girl.

 

In the final stairway scene, the girl goes crazy..... after trying to figure out the plot of the movie. Oh, and the first husband spends several months in a mental hospital after going crazy trying to figure out the plot.

 

Throughout the film, all the men tell the truth, while the girl tells many lies to all of them.

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Remember those wavy lines on the screen to indicate a flashback was about to occur. I haven't seen that in a long time and I'm having a hard time recalling this in classic movies. Was this something used primarily in early TV shows? It's all but fallen out of use, yes?

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Remember those wavy lines on the screen to indicate a flashback was about to occur. I haven't seen that in a long time and I'm having a hard time recalling this in classic movies. Was this something used primarily in early TV shows? It's all but fallen out of use, yes?

 

I think the wavy lines and the whirlpool effect were mainly used in 1940s and some 50s films.

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2000's MEMENTO is kinda "flashback/forward and somewhat of a mish-mash from what I've heard.

 

I don't recall many, IF any flashbacks in A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE.

 

CASABLANCA has probably one of the more famous flashback segments.

 

LOLITA, at least book-wise, is really a long flashback of sorts.

 

The flashback is an oft used gimmick in many movies that's helped explain how the characters arrived where they are, and usually used to good effect.  Sometimes they muddle the plot of a movie, but used correctly, can be enlightening and sometimes entertaining.

 

 

Sepiatone

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A number of films during the studio era were filmed to be told chronologically, but during post production, the decision was made to cut the film and have the narrative incorporated flashbacks. Often new footage would be added, or new dialogue inserted, to bridge any gaps in the storytelling.

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A number of films during the studio era were filmed to be told chronologically, but during post production, the decision was made to cut the film and have the narrative incorporated flashbacks. Often new footage would be added, or new dialogue inserted, to bridge any gaps in the storytelling.

 

 Now that is interesting.   So as originally planned these films didn't feature flashbacks but after an initial 'draft' of the film was viewed by the producer and \ or suits the director was asked to change the film to include flashbacks (which I assume means taking existing footage and rearranging it,  adding a narrative to explain the non chronological order,  maybe adding new footage where necessary etc...

 

I find the editing process of film making to be one of the great mysteries of the overall film making process (well maybe not a mystery to others but the part of the process I know the least about or have details about,  in the books on films I have).      

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A number of films during the studio era were filmed to be told chronologically, but during post production, the decision was made to cut the film and have the narrative incorporated flashbacks. Often new footage would be added, or new dialogue inserted, to bridge any gaps in the storytelling.

In Lydecker's submission to the recent programming challenge he included a mini tribute to Slavko Vorkapich the Russian editing master who ended up in Hollywood.  He was responsible for a great many of the linking montages we see in the old days.

Usually they were montage segments in films that covered a lot of story and got you from A to B in a hurry.  But occasionally they were the reverse and told you a lot of back story in a hurry.

I believe the term was to 'Vorkapich-it' when you needed such transitions.

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Last night, on the channel called "Movies", I watched THE MAN WHO SHOT LIBERTY VALANCE.  When you press the button on my remote that says "info", it informs you not only of which CHANNEL you're on, but also the name of the movie, length and press it again and it'll tell you a bit about the movie.

 

for VALANCE, the "info" revealed that.....

 

"FLASHBACKS  tell the story of a tenderfoot who rises to glory by gunning down a gunslinger who terrorizes...."

 

Come to think of it;

 

Other Jimmy Stewart movies are also "flashback driven".

 

MR. HOBBS TAKES A VACATION is the flashback of his summer vacation.

 

TAKE HER, SHE'S MINE is a series of flashbacks involving his character's daughter's teen and college years.

 

THE SPIRIT OF ST. LOUIS employs several flashbacks while Lindbergh is making his trans-Atlantic flight.( or WAITING to do so...)

 

Sepiatone

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I've seen several movies where "montages" had it's own credit. Wasn't the Russian name mentioned earlier, either. Started me wondering just how you specialize in montages/flashbacks? Or was it simply editing the director or principle editor didn't want to bother with?

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I've seen several movies where "montages" had it's own credit. Wasn't the Russian name mentioned earlier, either. Started me wondering just how you specialize in montages/flashbacks? Or was it simply editing the director or principle editor didn't want to bother with?

That's an interesting question. I'm guessing in the films which had these scenes added in post, there may well have been an editor and crew which had no connection to the original production.

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That's an interesting question. I'm guessing in the films which had these scenes added in post, there may well have been an editor and crew which had no connection to the original production.

I wonder how someone like Slavko Vorkapich felt about his Hollywood career and begin pigeon-holed as the guy to make up those transitional montages?

I don't think he had much of a career in film, if any before he left his native Russia.  Still, there was and is much more competition for the top jobs in Hollywood.

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I wonder how someone like Slavko Vorkapich felt about his Hollywood career and begin pigeon-holed as the guy to make up those transitional montages?

I don't think he had much of a career in film, if any before he left his native Russia.  Still, there was and is much more competition for the top jobs in Hollywood.

I would have liked to have had that job. An early "Mr. Fix-it" 

:)

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