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examples needed of films made by people with different interests


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#1 Tim O'Connor

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Posted 29 October 2007 - 01:23 PM

I'm hoping to help somebody with a class and am attempting to find examples of
films in which the director or perhaps lead cast changed the movie fundamentally
from the script to inject some personal world view or message or dogma.

Of course there have been many personal films with a message. I'm wondering if
anybody can think of any films in which there is some hijacking going on. For example,
you go to see what is advertised (and was written, planned and produced as far as the
studio was concerned) as a flat out gangster film. However, you find that within that
crime drama there's something else as well.


I guess an example might be "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" , at least the 1950s
version, which is said by many people to symbolize the brainwashing of the Americans
by the Joe McCarthy crowd.

Also, "The Crucible" by Arthur Miller when it appeared as a play in the 1950s, is said
to have used the Salem witch trials as a metaphor for the "Redhunting" of the 1950s.


These two examples however don't completely represent what I'm seeking. Certainly
it's possible, if not highly likely, that Miller and the original producers, intended "The
Crucible" as a veiled political staement.

Does anybody know any films where the studio, or financiers, sent the director out
to shoot a western or whatever and he came back with a movie with horses,
shoout-outs and an implicit critique of some social situation that really had nothing to
do with the sherrif and the outlaws?

More modern examples would also be terrific if anybody has any.

Thanks!
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#2 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 29 October 2007 - 01:43 PM

I'm sure MGM was a bit surprised when "2001" turned into the most expensive art film ever made... Same goes for what David Lynch did to "Dune".

Haskell Wexler was hired to shoot a version of a book about an Appalachian boy growing up in the city slums (I'm not sure if it even was set in Chicago, but maybe) raising birds -- and turned it into "Medium Cool".

I think what you are referring to are what are sometimes called "subversive" movies, that seem mainstream, even made by madestream corporations... but actually are an attack on the mainstream (including corporations.)

There are of course examples where the filmmaker didn't deliver the type of movie that the producers or studio thought was going to be made, or people at the studio find that the movie now doesn't suit their political agenda. Disney has that problem -- I think Touchstone made "Nixon" but the head of the studio was friends with the someone in the Nixon family and there were some problems getting it released. Same goes for "Fahrenheit 911" which I think Disney didn't want to release during the presidential race (I seem to recall it being produced by Miramax, which was owned by Disney.)
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#3 Max Jacoby

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Posted 29 October 2007 - 02:25 PM

I think what you're looking for are films made in countries that have/had censorship. Soviet and Chinese cinema comes to mind. Andrei Tarkovsky always had problems with censors for instance.
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#4 Jonathan Bowerbank

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Posted 29 October 2007 - 04:13 PM

Just in recent years, "Good Night and Good Luck" I felt attacked some very modern governmental issues via the McCarthy witch hunts.
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#5 Tim O'Connor

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Posted 30 October 2007 - 09:32 AM

Thanks guys for the excellent suggestions.

Kubrick was a maverick filmmaker so I bet he did just what he wanted. I'll read up on that. Lynch too.
Haskell Wexler is pretty outspoken politically. I had no idea that's where "Medium Cool"
started but it makes perfect sense. I think that given what was going on in 1968 and his personal
values and documentary background it wouldn't be surprising that whatever he got the go ahead to do
he would have turned into a film about the DNC and riots in Chicago.

"Subversive" is the perfect term to describe what I'm seeking.


Movies made under censorship is a great suggestion. Of course those would be the movies that have
messages worked in so that the filmmakers didn't get shot. I'll check out Andrei Tarkovsky in
particular.


"Good Night and Good Luck" is a really clever suggestion for this subject. Firstly, it's so right there what
you said and secondly because of the tremendous irony that during the McCarthy era at least one play
I know was set in the past to criticize America during McCarthy's heyday and now a film is set in
the era and world of people taking on McCarthy to both tell that story and provide such strong parallels
to the present. I liked "Good Night and Good Luck" tremendously but I didn't make that connection.
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#6 Dan Salzmann

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Posted 30 October 2007 - 10:11 AM

The original "Frankenstein" had been cited as having an anti-racism message because the monster was persecuted because of being "different" and in fact was quite gentle.
"Bad Day at Black Rock", Spencer Tracy's last film was about the search for a Japanese man in a small town in America was around the time of WWII was considered subcersive at the time. Nominated for 3 Academy Awards though.
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