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Speilberg, the puss bag?


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#1 DavidSloan

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Posted 19 June 2005 - 02:43 AM

I got this from a Kurosawa fan group that I belong to. Thought it would be nice to repost it here:


S.F. writer Harlan Ellison questioned why director Steven Spielberg didn't give more credit to fellow author H.G. Wells in his upcoming film adaptation of The War of the Worlds. Speaking to SCI FI Wire at Enigma Con at the University of California, Los Angeles, Ellison said: "What annoys me is that Spielberg is such an egomaniac these days that it has to be 'Steven Spielberg's War of the Worlds. No, you puss-bag. It's H.G. Wells' War of the Worlds, and it wouldn't kill you to put his f--king name on it."

Ellison, author of such books as I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream, added: "That shows his arrogance. It's like Disney. Disney didn't write Snow White or Robin Hood or Bambi, but it's 'Walt Disney's universe.' It's the universe according to frozen Walt."

Ellison hosted a 90-minute panel at the conference, which he titled "How Does SF Stay in Business in a World of Marching Morons?" "Spielberg is only a craftsman, that's all he is," Ellison said. "He's not a genius. He's not a trendsetter. There isn't one moment of any Spielberg film ... that matches the least moment of a Kurosawa film. Kurosawa was a blinding genius of cinema. His vision was astonishing."

Ellison said that he has little interest in seeing remakes and added: "We live in a society that values less and less the original."


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#2 Dominik Muench

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Posted 19 June 2005 - 05:12 AM

have to agree with what he says about spielberg n kurosawa, but what i d like to know is how is H.G Wells not credited ? i havent seen war of the worlds yet so please enlighten me.
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#3 Roman

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Posted 19 June 2005 - 06:45 AM

S.F. writer Harlan Ellison questioned why director Steven Spielberg didn't give more credit to fellow author H.G. Wells

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have to agree with what he says about spielberg n kurosawa, but what i d like to know is how is H.G Wells not credited ? i havent seen war of the worlds yet so please enlighten me.

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Last credits in the trailer read:
Produced by: Kathleen Kennedy, Colin Wilson
Based on the novel by: H.G. Wells
Screenplay by: David Koepp
Directed by: Steven Spielberg

So it looks like giving the credit to H.G. Wells is not an issue; the emphasis is, most likely, on the words "more credit". Maybe Mr. Ellison thinks that the movie should be advertised as:
H.G. Wells: "War of the Worlds".

In that case I presume the reaction would be - how Spielberg dared to put Wells? name on such rubbish? This stupid interpretation is not Wells' version. Spielberg hides behind the name of another genius like me. I would like if this ?Marching Moron? would adapt my books for the movie :D
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#4 Jason M Silverman

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Posted 19 June 2005 - 08:01 AM

In that case I presume the reaction would be - how Spielberg dared to put Wells? name on such rubbish? This stupid interpretation is not Wells' version. Spielberg hides behind the name of another genius like me. I would like if this ?Marching Moron? would adapt my books for the movie :D

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[/quote]


It's very easy to poke at Spielberg because he is so big. Whatever one thinks of his ability vis a vis another director, he is a very good 'craftsman' and tells stories with a personal style. whether or not that is original is another matter.

to get back to the original post: i think it'd be more pretentious to call it 'h.g. welles' war of the worlds'; film and novels are very different mediums and to adapt a novel inevitable requires interpretation and change. welles' version is a book; spielberg's is a film... do we need to reintroduce mcluhan again? ;)

peace

jason
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#5 Alessandro Machi

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Posted 19 June 2005 - 04:44 PM

Ellison said: "What annoys me is that Spielberg is such an egomaniac these days that it has to be 'Steven Spielberg's War of the Worlds. No, you puss-bag. It's H.G. Wells' War of the Worlds, and it wouldn't kill you to put his f--king name on it."

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The first sentence is damning and hit's a mark, but, how much credit do you give H.G. Wells and not to Orson Welles? Without Orson Welles Halloween radio version that actually led to people commiting sucide the very night the radio version was broadcast, War of the Worlds would probably not have had the allure it still does to this day.

So, perhaps it should be called, "H.G. Wells War of the Worlds made forever famous by Orson Welles Halloween radio dramatization now becomes a movie for the second time directed by Steven Spielberg.

Kind of wordy.

I would say the real issue now will be what is put on the DVD. If Orson Welles and H.G. Welles (geeze, are they related???) are properly credited on the DVD with their own "thumbnail" extra, that matters more in my opinion than the hype Mr. Spielberg and Mr. Cruise ("Won't you marry me, Katie) are generating before the release.

I dare say that Mr. Ellison has fallen into the Coke versus Pepsi trap. It's all about what makes it onto the DVD that matters most, rather than complaining about something that won't change and in the process ignoring something that CAN still be corrected.
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#6 DavidSloan

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Posted 19 June 2005 - 05:05 PM

I think that Mr. Ellison, being a sci-fi writer, probably treasures H.G Wells' classic just as film buffs treasure Citizen kane. Imagine someone got hold of the Citizen kane rights and turned it into some successful reality show. Film buffs would be outraged. Perhaps this is how Ellison and other sci-fi buffs view the matter. A hot shot director hijacking their icon's ideas and turning it into a blockbuster cash cow, and not even giving HG Wells the praise they feel he is due. I would probably be pissed, too. I can empathize with Ellsion's anger...especially when I heard about a Solaris remake!
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#7 Ilmari Reitmaa

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Posted 19 June 2005 - 07:40 PM

"What annoys me is that Spielberg is such an egomaniac these days that it has to be 'Steven Spielberg's War of the Worlds. No, you puss-bag. It's H.G. Wells' War of the Worlds, and it wouldn't kill you to put his f--king name on it."

I may be wrong on this one, but is there even an actual possessory credit for Spielberg somewhere ('Steven Spielberg's War of the Worlds')? All I've seen is something along the lines of 'Cruise - Spielberg - War of the Worlds' which has, in my opinion, a subtly different tone.
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#8 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 19 June 2005 - 07:47 PM

Look here:

http://www.waroftheworlds.com/

and glance at the official credits at the bottom of the poster and the title of the movie is just "War of the Worlds", not "Steven Spielberg's War of the Worlds". It does have the standard DGA possesory credit which so many writers find objectionable though ("a film by...")
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#9 Mike Lary

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Posted 19 June 2005 - 07:48 PM

Ellison needs to sit in a corner and scratch his mad spot... Nowhere do I see 'Stephen Spielberg's War of the Worlds' in the trailer or advertisements. I do see 'a Stephen Spielberg film', which is par for the course, especially when a big name director is associated with a film. It clearly states on the collateral and in the trailer that the film was based on a story by H.G. Welles. 'Based on' is simply that (it states the FULL extent of the writer's contribution to the filmmaking effort), and the right to base a movie on another's work is something that is bought and paid for. Expecting the writer to get top billing is ludicrous and arrogant, regardless of how famous the original work might have been. The writer didn't make the film (or the radio broadcast, for that matter).

Besides, what goes on a movie trailer or poster has much more to do with drawing an audience than anything else. Few 15-25 year olds will rush to see a movie that is advertised as an adaptation of a story by Welles. They never sat around a transistor radio listening to broadcasts on a Saturday night, nor did their parents. Few of them read, let alone read classic Sci-Fi stories. Names draw numbers. That's why Spielberg's name is there, and it's also why Cruise has equal billing on some of the adverts. If Spielberg is really such an egotist, I find it hard to believe he would allow the ad to read 'Cruise.....Spielberg'. Hey, why isn't Ellison ripping Cruise as well? <_<

Ellison has always struck me as a blowhard looking for attention. He's such an obnoxious egotist that I'll never give his writing the time of day. I agree with him that Spielberg is no Kurosawa, but neither is any other filmmaker alive today. Making comparisons like that is what word crafting weasels do when they can't create a valid arguement. Maybe Ellison is priming himself for the day a big name director adapts one of his books and doesn't bill it as 'from the magnificent mind of Harlon Ellison.' :D
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#10 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 19 June 2005 - 11:52 PM

I just saw a TV ad for the movie and it said "War of the Worlds", not "Steven Spielberg's War of the Worlds"...
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#11 timHealy

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Posted 20 June 2005 - 08:18 AM

For what it's worth, I understand that this version of Spielberg's version of "Worlds" actually goes back to the book for many key sequences albeit the contemporary setting.

We'll all find out on the 29th. From the trailers it looks like it may be a good one.

Tim
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#12 Alessandro Machi

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Posted 20 June 2005 - 12:37 PM

Maybe Ellison is priming himself for the day a big name director adapts one of his books and doesn't bill it as 'from the magnificent mind of Harlon Ellison.' :D

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I guess you meant that as a joke but it's something to ponder. Nobody every hypes someone's mind as being the reason to go see something or do something, do they?

I suppose the "Wonderful World of Disney" is sort of implying come visit the mind of Disney, although Disney had many contributors which gets us back to square one in terms of a "director" getting all the credit and the writers getting less.
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#13 Matt Pacini

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Posted 20 June 2005 - 12:42 PM

Spielberg is an egomaniac (from what I've heard), but after reading an excellent biography on him, I would have to conclude that this has been his key to success; his willingness in the early days to blow his own horn.
It paid off for him, so he wisely continues it.

Besides, as Casius Clay/Muhammed Ali once said, "it's hard to be humble when you're so great"
The fact SS is a master filmmaker supports that statement, as irritating as it might be to us mere mortals.

This is just another classic example of the idiotic viewpoint that art is "less artistic" if it becomes successful, which is absurd.
Speilberg's success runs counter to the "starving tortured artist" image that probably originated with Van Gogh, and it's just an insanely stupid viewpoint.
Many geniuses have been looked down on because of this in recent times, like John Williams for instance, who's music is heard by many times over more than any composer in history. He's still brilliant.

Saying Speilberg is just a hack, is like saying Beethoven was just a hack... speaking of arrogant, self centered geniuses, who were incredibly popular in their lifetimes...

MP
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#14 Jason M Silverman

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Posted 20 June 2005 - 03:49 PM

This is just another classic example of the idiotic viewpoint that art is "less artistic" if it becomes successful, which is absurd.
Saying Speilberg is just a hack, is like saying Beethoven was just a hack... speaking of arrogant, self centered geniuses, who were incredibly popular in their lifetimes...

MP

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exactly. all art needs to be taken on its own merits. any work's popularity is peripheral to its aesthetic qualities; if good it is good regardless of its reception. that said, in an art form which requires so much money it is beneficial if lots of people like it, and spielberg has commonly succeeded at least on that point. whatever war of the worlds turns out like, i still consider 'schindler's list' (again, an adaptation) to be one of the greatest american films.
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#15 Gary Robinson

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Posted 20 June 2005 - 07:25 PM

I saw an interview with Spielberg recently where he really payed homage to H.G. Wells and what a genius he was. He's not trying to hide the roots of the material at all. I think Wells would have loved to see the real potential of his work in the way that only a few filmmakers could have interpreted it.
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#16 Matt Pacini

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Posted 21 June 2005 - 01:14 PM

Anyone who needs Speilberg to reveal to them that War of the Worlds is an H.G. Wells creation has so little knowledge about the subject that it's irrelevant anyway.

And anyone who thinks the entire planet isn't going to know War of the Worlds is an H.G. Wells creation, unless Speilberg tells them it is, is an arrogant condescending idiot.
Did anyone here need Speilberg to tell them who wrote War of the Worlds?
I'd like to know if Orson Wells made a big deal about it when he did his radio show.
I think not.
See if this guy has the balls to call Orson Wells a pussbag.

MP

Edited by Matt Pacini, 21 June 2005 - 01:15 PM.

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#17 Alessandro Machi

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Posted 21 June 2005 - 01:54 PM

Anyone who needs Speilberg to reveal to them that War of the Worlds is an H.G. Wells creation has so little knowledge about the subject that it's irrelevant anyway.

And anyone who thinks the entire planet isn't going to know War of the Worlds is an H.G. Wells creation, unless Speilberg tells them it is, is an arrogant condescending idiot.
Did anyone here need Speilberg to tell them who wrote War of the Worlds?
I'd like to know if Orson Wells made a big deal about it when he did his radio show.
I think not.
See if this guy has the balls to call Orson Welles a pussbag.

MP

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However, just how famous would War of the Worlds be today if not for Orson Welles?

I'm not saying I know, but Orson Welle's contribution via his live radio broadcast must have been pretty significant.
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#18 John Allardice

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Posted 22 June 2005 - 05:06 PM

However, just how famous would War of the Worlds be today if not for Orson Welles?

I'm not saying I know, but Orson Welle's contribution via his live radio broadcast must have been pretty significant.

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yeah......like those other little-known works, The Time machine, The Invisible Man, First Men in the Moon, The Island of Doctor Moreau etc..

It's not exactly as if H.G.s' work would have faded into obsurity without Orsons' contribution
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#19 Alessandro Machi

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Posted 22 June 2005 - 05:22 PM

yeah......like those other little-known works, The Time machine, The Invisible Man, First Men in the Moon, The Island of Doctor Moreau etc..

It's not exactly as if H.G.s' work would have faded into obsurity without Orsons' contribution

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>



Perhaps you didn't intend to, but your sarcasm is an insult to those who ATTEMPTED TO KILL THEMSELVES the night Orson Welles did his radio broadcast. Surely that kind of impact shouldn't be ignored.
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#20 DavidSloan

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Posted 23 June 2005 - 01:35 PM

Besides, as Casius Clay/Muhammed Ali once said, "it's hard to be humble when you're so great"
The fact SS is a master filmmaker supports that statement, as irritating as it might be to us mere mortals.

This is just another classic example of the idiotic viewpoint that art is "less artistic" if it becomes successful, which is absurd.
Speilberg's success runs counter to the "starving tortured artist" image that probably originated with Van Gogh, and it's just an insanely stupid viewpoint.
Many geniuses have been looked down on because of this in recent times, like John Williams for instance, who's music is heard by many times over more than any composer in history.  He's still brilliant.

Saying Speilberg is just a hack, is like saying Beethoven was just a hack... speaking of arrogant, self centered geniuses, who were incredibly popular in their lifetimes...

MP

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Calling Spielberg a master filmmaker is subjective, wouldn't you agree? I don't think he is a master filmmaker. I certainly don't place him in the cannons of people like Mizoguchi, Wells, Murnau, or Bergman...I think he makes fine populist cinema, and it's very nice but I don't see him as a master.

It seems that your posting is very hostile towards a certain type of people...mainly those who like "art house" cinema. People you construe as only liking that type of cinema because they like romantic notions of "starving artists," and reject populists because they are rich. The fact is, I don't care whether an artist is rich or not, I want to see innovation and I want to see films with a particular type of atmosphere and feel. I came to cinema from the music/art world, so I wasn't one of those kids who was making S8mm movies when he was 8. I was playing the piano and drawing. I wasn't raised on Star Wars and ET, either. I was born in Israel and we only had 1 channel which was pretty much just news. I developed an interest in cinema after I saw Agnes Varda's Vagabond. After viewing this film I saw that there are more things cinema can offer than what is in my multiplex.

Why do artists, intellectuals, and art fans reject populist cinema, music, etc..? Because for something to be popular, that is, have a mass appeal, it has to hit all the familiar chords. Also, for something to have a mass appeal, and not alienate, it must dilute itself so as to not offend, or confuse anyone. This is the dumbing down effect. Yoko Ono once said that when no one walked out on her performances she felt as though she had failed. As though her work was way too familiar and comfortable that people didn't react strongly enough.

I'm not claiming that one form of film is better than another, but I think your hostility towards people who don't worship Spielberg is a little disturbing and I had to respond.
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