Thursday, December 22, 2016

Martin Scorsese yells at cloud

I used the Internet meme of a Simpsons newspaper cutting of Grampa Simpson yelling at a cloud to illustrate this week's post regarding the TCM Spotlight on the elderly. If I had known what was going to come in the news, I would have saved it for this post.

Director Martin Scorsese has made another film, this one called Silence about some Jesuit priests in Edo Japan, an era when the country was pretty much closed to foreigners except for a small section of Nagasaki. The Japanese government was extremely skeptical of foreigners. The end of this era is the subject of the studio-era movie The Barbarian and the Geisha, one of those movies where John Wayne shows he really could act.

Anyhow, with a new movie out, Martin Scorsese has to plug it in the media. And he's doing so by complaining about the state of Hollywood today. Apparently they don't want to make his kind of movie, woe is he.

Now, I've commented in the past that I tend not to care for movies that seem overly reliant on effects; I think it was explicitly in regards to the 1960 Village of the Damned that I mentioned yes the effects are lousy, but dammit if the story isn't really good. There's always going to be a place for good storytelling. But when similar comments come from a famous director, they really sound more like whining about time having passed him by.

For, as I've also mentioned, Hollywood has rarely had an original idea. The auteur theory types would argue that somebody like Orson Welles was original, and that the studio bosses hate-hate-hated him. But as for Hollywood, look at how many film series were churned out in the 30s. TCM will be running all six of the Thin Man movies tomorrow in prime time as part of the salute to Star of the Month Myrna Loy, and before the Charleses there were also the Philo Vance movies. And the Perry Mason movies.

And Hollywood has always been remaking its movies. Quite a few silents got remade once sound came along, but beyond that, there are classics which aren't the original version of the movie. I've mentioned before that the Humphrey Bogart version of The Maltese Falcon is the third version of the movie. And they remade their classics too; there are two remakes of It Happened One Night. So for Scorsese to bitch about what Hollywood is doing now -- especially when he's doing an adaptation of a novel, so it's not as if he really has an original idea of his own -- makes him sound to me like he's got a tin ear for Hollywood's history.

No comments: