Saturday, July 23, 2016

cinema history -- we find the lost world

I have to hand it to Joe from the cinema history class. For the  Bring Your Own Movie session, the rest of us all dutifully choose a film that matters to us. We bring it, show it and lead the discussion. But Joe, for the second year in a row, surpassed expectations. He didn't just show us a movie. He turned it into a presentation.

Last year, instead of a movie, he showed us episodes of two 1960s shows. The ckhop was that he chose episodes that guest-starred horror movie icons. So we saw "The Deadly Dolls," an episode of Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, starring Vincent Price as a puppeteer whose puppets are (if memory serves)  alive and in the service of a space alien who plans to take over the ocean. And we saw Boris Karloff as the titular gangster in "The Mother Muffin Affair," an episode of The Girl from U.N.C.L.E..

This year, Joe started us off with Irwin Allen's 1960 production of The Lost World, an adaptation of a Sir Arthur Conan Doyle ("both great!") story. He closed the circle with "Turn Back The Clock," an episode of Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea. This time, he chose the episode not because of who was in it, but because of the subject. "Turn Back the Clock" was, essentially, a remake of the The Lost World. And, since both were Irwin Allen properties, a lot of the footage from the movie was repurposed for the TV show. Seeing them back to back, it was it was interesting to see and recognize shots from the movie. And that included long shots of characters, even though the cast was different. So, at points, we could see characters in the distance, and say "See that -- that's Jill St. John." Then there was a closeup of the Yvonne Craig screaming. Then a cut back to the long shot.

The fact is that a lot of Joe's favorite stuff -- stuff that caught his attention and imagination -- isn't my favorite. So, while he loves the Irwin Allen movies, I merely enjoy them. But what made this great was the chance to see the repurposing of footage from one movie to the other. I think that's connected to the fact I love cover tunes that sound very different from the originals. I just find it interesting to see how one thing can be used in different ways.

One interesting thing, is that we discussed the question of why no one watching the show said "Hey! I saw that before." The consensus was that it's because at the time people didn't have DVDs. So people may have seen the movie in 1960, but a few years later they hadn't seen it again and the footage was no longer on their minds. Makes sense to me.

Kudos to Joe for, once again, thinking outside the box.

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