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Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Print the legend

I'm aware that certain people like to hear the myth rather than the truth from the horse's mouth. I'm not one of those people.

In the case of movies, I've heard quite a few slightly exaggerated tales about the making of some of the greatest movies of all time. A number of these stories were told to me in a few film classes I took in college. Others came from articles I read in newspapers and magazines. Well, in my time of watching supplemental features on DVD and reading books on movies, I've come to learn a lot more clarification.

-No, there is no five-hour cut of Apocalypse Now. There was a five-hour assembly cut of the movie, but it was by no means a rough cut or director's cut.
-Star Wars Episode VI was originally called Return of the Jedi, but was asked to be changed to Revenge of the Jedi, and then changed back to Return of the Jedi. There was no fan letter sent to George Lucas reminding him of what Jedis do and don't do.
-Yes, there are a lot of metaphors in Psycho, but not as much as originally intended.

The list goes on, but I think you catch where I'm going. Film scholars can definitely make movies into way more than what they were intended. It can be a fascinating discussion, but since college, I've been unlearning a number of ways I've come to interpret artist expression in general.

I have to credit Davey von Bohlen and Ian MacKaye for helping me see things in a different way. Plenty of myths have followed around the bands they've played in, and are quick to point out what was intended over what was interpreted. I realized the same applies to making movies. They are complex, multi-faceted challenges from pre-production to post-production and release. Tall tales or big fish stories can come out of them, and they may seem interesting to tell, but they aren't for me these days.

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