This week, the theme for Wanderer's Thursday Movie Picks Meme is self-reflexive, or more accurately, films about the process of making films. There are lots of great things that one can depict on film to create drama or humor, but why bother with all that when the process itself is filled with enough potential for compelling narratives? You can create humor out of the challenges faced by a film crew on set or drama in the relationships between individuals, perhaps the director and the actors or the producer and the studio executives. In any case, movies about making movies can be very interesting... most of the time anyway. So for this list, I naturally had to take part, especially since I was the one who suggested the topic.
Now the process of making a movie is generally split up into three specific phases: pre-production, production, and post-production. Pre-production consists of all the preparations that have to be made before filming can begin; things like getting money, hiring cast and crew, script revisions, assembling sets, costume design, and so forth. Production is what most people imagine when they think of making a movie, as that's the phase where all the necessary shooting happens. Finally, post-production is when the footage obtained in the production phase is edited to create the final product; scenes are strung together, digital effects are added, choices are made about what does and does not fit into the final product. For the purposes of this activity, I have chosen three unusual films with each covering a different production phase. Let's begin:
Silent Movie (1976)- Pre-Production
Before you can make a movie, you must first pitch it to a someone with money, as Mel Brooks does here with his SILENT MOVIE! The financially deprived Studio Chief does not initially like this idea... until Mel decides to get together the biggest stars in Hollywood. What follows is a series of hilarious slapstick shenanigans as he and his friends come up with bizarre methods of confronting the various celebrities that include having lunch with James Caan in an unbalanced trailer, approaching Liza Minelli in suits of armor, and a motorized wheelchair chase involving Paul Newman. The best part? It's not just a movie about a director trying to make a silent movie. It's a silent movie about a director trying to make a silent movie.
Inland Empire (2005)- Production
Inland Empire is now officially the first movie to make it into two of my entries for Thursday Movie Picks Meme. As you can expect with David Lynch he presents a very dark and surreal experience of the filmmaking process, with the focus being primarily on the lead actress who gradually starts to break down under the stress of a demanding role. That's a simple summary and a fairly straight forward interpretation but she goes through some very strange and bizarre experiences that will question her hold on reality before she she can finish the movie.
Singin' In the Rain (1951)- Post-Production
This also ties into a bit of film history as Singin' in the Rain takes place right at the point where silent cinema became obsolete and "talking pictures" started to take over, which unfortunately means that a silent picture hastily turned into a talkie at the last minute ends up being a mess. That is until one of some of the people involved get together and decide to re-edit it into a musical and have an upcoming actress dub over the horrible voicework of the original star. Most of the story centers around the protagonists trying to re-edit the horrible movie into a half-decent musical with an upcoming actress dubbing over the annoying voice of the obnoxious female lead.