Movie News

Several Readers Report In On The AFI Anniversary Screening Of SPARTACUS!

Published at: Oct. 11, 2007, 6:47 a.m. CST

Hey, everyone. ”Moriarty” here. I really had to resist the urge to make “I’M SPARTACUS!” jokes in the headlines. I want to be above that. But I have to at least acknowledge the iconic power of that famous scene. In context, it’s quite powerful, and it remains the most atypically Hollywood-friendly Kubrick film largely as a result of the power of this film’s conclusion. I’m glad we got more of these in. I’m curious about the ROCKY screening or the STAR WARS screening or the UNFORGIVEN screening, and I’d love to hear if anyone went to any of more mainstream choices like WHEN HARRY MET SALLY. I’d still publish them if you feel like sending your stories in. For now, my thanks to these guys. Check out this first one:
Moriarty, I realize this is a little late, but I surfed back to the Cuckoo's Nest thread and noticed that someone had asked me to send in my reaction to the Spartacus screening. You are welcome to share this with the Ain't It Cool readers if you like. I encourage anyone who attended the remaining eight screenings to submit something as well, as I'd love to hear about all of the introductions. As is the fashion - my pseudonym in these parts, Darth Corleone (formerly Frank Horrigan from my D.C. reporting days) I attended the special AFI screening at the Arclight last Wednesday night. I had tried to acquire tickets to some of the other screenings first. Jack and One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest was my highest priority, and from the sound of it I missed charismatic Jack at his best. I would have liked to have seen Clint and Unforgiven, as Clint is all class, and that is one of my favorite films ever. Plus, I did a decent Dirty Harry impersonation in my youth. And while I'm not thrilled with the Special Edition revisionism of Star Wars, it would not seem right if this Star Wars nerd were to go his entire life without seeing George Lucas in person at least once. The tickets for all the screenings sold out fast, though, and I was left with my fourth choice, Spartacus. At the instant Kirk Douglas began speaking, however, I had little doubt that I was at the best screening. This was light-years beyond what any of the other nine presenters could have possibly said. He only spoke for three or four minutes - five minutes tops. Yes, his speech had been slurred and slowed by his medical problems. But the gravitas of the moment made it no contest. This 91-year-old man had presence and experience. He spoke with passion, conviction, and humility. He was not merely discussing the making of a great film. Spartacus was the film that broke the Hollywood blacklist, and this was in no small part because he had pushed for Dalton's Trumbo's name to be credited as the screenwriter after years of the denial of jobs and the forced use of pen names throughout the industry. Mr. Douglas said that halfway through the making of the film the hypocrisy of the screenwriting credit bothered him so much that he asked the producers to make the change. He spoke of what a horrible era through which McCarthy had put America. I thought about how that was an era of which the vast majority of the people in that auditorium had no personal inkling - certainly not one from the vantage point of a man of Mr. Douglas' age. He said that he was most proud of this film for the fact that it did end the blacklist, but he downplayed his role. In the midst of applause, an audience member in the row in front of me urged Mr. Douglas to take credit. "You did it!" he shouted, with an emphasis on the "you." Mr. Douglas ended saying that he had not seen the film for a while, and he hoped that we enjoyed it. The standing ovation to his exit matched the one for his entrance, and as Alex North's stirring score sounded and the credits rolled on the giant Cinerama Dome screen, my eyes became more glassy, and the lump in my throat became larger. I thought about how amazing it would be to be at a certain point in history as Kirk Douglas was and to make an important difference like that. I thought about how that almost parallels the real Spartacus of over 2000 years ago - a simple man forced to fight an impossible battle of principle that would not be won in his lifetime or within innumerable succeeding lifetimes, but still fighting that battle nonetheless to make the small but required step forward. What opportunities do I or many of us in this society of mine have to test our mettle? What opportunities do we have to do something truly of worth that alters society on a macrocosmic scale? I wonder about forced circumstance as the parent of greatness and believe that I would perform correctly at the cost of my life or my reputation, but what chance will I ever have to prove that? Perhaps I am not lesser, but I am not greater for not having sought those chances. Certainly there are formidable ills in this world that still demand remedy, and certainly there are people who leave their comfort zones to make that difference. But I am not one of them. I am one of the masses who narcotizes himself with film, as I live vicariously through the meaning and significance of a tale that my own life does not provide. I apologize if this is personally tangential and not much of a review of the event itself, but these feelings are exactly what the event inspired, and I can only imagine that others there could have felt similarly. It was truly humbling and sobering, and I felt privileged to be there. As for the film itself, I had seen it several times before, but this was my first experience at a theater, and it did not disappoint. There is nothing I could say about Spartacus that has not already been said before. It offers great supporting performances from Peter Ustinov, Jean Simmons, Tony Curtis, Charles Laughton, and Laurence Olivier. In addition to its epic scale - it truly is jarring to see crowd scenes of that scale without computer enhancement these days - it has numerous wonderful quiet character moments. If you are a movie buff and it has slipped through the viewing cracks, watch it! I do have a couple remarks about the AFI event. Overall, I was very pleased with it, but I have a couple suggestions for future events. I was disappointed to hear about the numerous empty seats in the Cuckoo's Nest auditorium. There were many empty seats in the Spartacus auditorium as well. Since every screening was publicized as "sold out," this was frustrating. I am certain that with enough advance warning there would have been many movie fans that would have filled those seats. I can only speculate that there were AFI members who bought the seats and simply did not use them. Admittedly, I was responsible for one of the empty seats, but it was not for lack of trying to sell it, and one of the reasons that I had extra seats was that the Arclight website was so clogged that it sold me extra seats without a purchase confirmation link. Arclight was nice enough to call me and offer me a chance to sell those extra tickets back; I kept one too many (or have one too few friends). I learned that AFI had put the tickets on sale to its members twenty-four hours ahead of time without notifying the rest of the public, and as Clint's Gunny Highway might say, this made for something of a "clusterfuck" when the tickets went on sale at midnight. The website was so congested that I spent much energy merely finding out that certain screenings were already sold out. It took me about two and a half hours of clicking and refreshing to purchase tickets. In the future I would hope that AFI would notify us if events are sold out ahead of time and that Arclight would have a server prepared for that much traffic. My other comment is a minor quibble. The Spartacus trivia that was flashed on the screen before the film was a nice touch, but the loop of questions was not very long, especially given that so many people were seated so early. I think it would have been fun if every auditorium included trivia for all of the films being shown for the event. Scheduling so many great screenings at the same time borders on the sadistic for the film fan who has trouble deciding, and I would have enjoyed just a hint of the other nine experiences. Respectfully, "Darth Corleone"
Great piece, man. Seriously. If you’d ever like to go to press screenings here in LA for AICN, let me know. I enjoyed the read, and I’m glad you had such a great experience with the film. Let’s see what this next guy had to say:
Hey Moriarty. Just saw on AICN that you were looking for reports from AFI's 40th. Well, I was there, and I saw Spartacus. If you use this, please call me "magnetozx". When I originally heard about AFI's 40th anniversary at the Arclight, I was ecstatic! I'm a huge "Star Wars" fan, and the chance to see it on the big screen with the man himself, George Lucas, presenting was a dream come true. So I logged onto Arclight's website at 12:00 am the night tickets went on sale. And wouldn't you know it, their website was S...U...P...E...R ... S...L...O...W. The few times I actually made it to the main page, I was greeted by the likes of, "There was an error processing your request. Please try again later." It dawned on me very quickly that I wouldn't be getting any Star Wars tickets. So I spent the next two frustrating hours trying to get tickets for ANY AFI SHOW. Luckily, I wound up with two tickets for "Spartacus" (in the Dome!) with Kirk Douglas presenting. The event took place this past Wednesday at 7 pm and of course I was late. (It's no fun trying to go from Santa Monica to Hollywood during rush hour; took me an hour and a half.) Since I was late, I did not receive the fancy AFI collector book, though I at least got the free popcorn and soda. Thankfully, however, I didn't miss Kirk Douglas. The night began with an introduction from Howard Stringer, the CEO of Sony and the chairman of AFI, who proceeded to give AFI's company spiel. He then introduced a special guest, the Mayor of Los Angeles, Antonio Villaraigosa. (Stringer completely butchered the intro, calling the Mayor "Antonio Villargo". Classic.) The Mayor was gracious, despite Stringer's goof. Villaraigosa thanked the audience and AFI, then mentioned how “Spartacus” was one of his favorite movies (shocking, I know). He finished his speech by appealing to the film industry to keep making movies in LA. Stringer then introduced Spartacus himself, Mr. Kirk Douglas, who came out to a roaring standing ovation. First Mr. Douglas thanked the crowd, and then said how "Spartacus" is still relevant today because it's a story about freedom, and how it's always important for us to fight for our freedom. Then Mr. Douglas discussed how he was very proud of "Spartacus" because it broke the black list. He remembered the McCarthy era as a terrible time and said that Senator McCarthy focused heavily on Hollywood. Blacklisted writers had to use fake names, and none of them could go onto a studio. Mr. Douglas stated how Dalton Trumbo, the screenwriter for "Spartacus", was blacklisted and sent to prison for a year (Trumbo was one of the Hollywood Ten, the first men from Hollywood who refused to cooperate with the House Un-American Activities Committee.) Trumbo began writing the screenplay for "Spartacus" under the assumed name Sam Jackson. Mr. Douglas said he was "guilty of hypocrisy" and eventually the hypocrisy bothered him so much that he had to do something about it. He recalled saying, "I don't want the name Jackson on the script. I want Dalton Trumbo's real name on the script." Mr. Douglas closed by saying that even though he hadn’t watched “Spartacus” in a long time, he remembered it was a good film and he hoped we enjoyed it. Even though Mr. Douglas’ speech has been slurred as a result of a stroke, his mind and wit are still as sharp as ever, and I challenge anyone to find a more energetic 90-year-old. The film itself was a near-pristine print, thanks to the beautiful restoration work that was done in 1991. Unfortunately, due to the Dome’s curved screen and my seat being off to the left, the image was badly distorted. On the left side of the frame, close ups made the actors look twice as big as they should’ve been, and all the great, wide landscape shots curved upwards. All other times I’ve watched a movie in the Dome, I’ve made sure I was sitting in the middle, so this was the first time I actually noticed the distortion. However, watching the thousands of Roman soldiers marching in formation towards the slave army was AWESOME on that giant screen, curved or not. Overall, it was still a great experience, and I’m glad to have been a part of it.
Again... great piece. It seems like the people who were there for Kirk Douglas’s presentation were really touched by it, and that’s the point of doing an event like this. I think they should have done it as a series, with a chance for people to go to all eleven or however many you want to do. I think people would absolutely attend those screenings religiously. I know I would. Having to choose, especially with the ticketing screw-up, seems like torture, doesn’t it? Here’s one more short reaction:
Hey Moriarty, As I haven’t seen a review of this screening posted, I thought I’d shoot a quick one your way. My buddy and I drove down to Hollywood on Wednesday for the AFI 40th Anniversary screening of Spartacus presented by The Man Kirk Douglas. The scene at the Arclight was popping much more than I expected with full red carpet treatment for the stars and plenty of paparazzi screaming & snapping. Choosing a film to see at the event was certainly difficult but we settled on Spartacus simply for the chance to see the classic on a screen as large as the Cinerama Dome’s and to hear a little bit out of Kirk Douglas. My only regret is not buying tickets to other screenings for sale on E-Bay. The couple sitting next to us sold pairs of tickets to Star Wars & Cuckoo’s Nest for $300 & $400 respectively! We made to our seats at about quarter till 7 and ended up waiting over an hour for the show to get under way. Current AFI Chair Sir Howard Stringer ambled to the podium at about 7:45 to introduce L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa – whose name he absolutely mangled. He apologized as he “lives in New York and doesn’t vote.” Villaraigosa rambled for a few minutes before introducing the legend Kirk Douglas. Even at 90 years old, Douglas marched up to the podium with the stride and confidence of a man a two-thirds his age. He spoke very briefly as his speech is still warped due to a stroke several years ago He spoke first about how the studio’s vision for the film was completely different than his own – but once he had Olivier, Laughton & Ustinov on board with his script, the studio retreated. He then addressed the importance of the film in breaking the blacklist and his struggle mid-film to break through the hypocrisy of making a film about personal freedom while the screenwriter – Dalton Trumbo – couldn’t write the film under his own name. Douglas took the fight to the studio and eventually won – with Trumbo being the first blacklisted writer allowed to write a picture under his own name. Douglas only spoke for 5 minutes or so and left the stage to a standing ovation. Seeing him speak in person – even so briefly – was well worth it. Of course the film was great. They showed the restored version of the film that you can find on the Criterion Collection DVD. A few hiccups in color and sound through the 3 plus hours but nothing major. And, of course, the big laughs came courtesy of Tony Curtis’s accent and Peter Ustinov’s genius performance. A great night at the movies that few others will ever be able to have. Seeing this classic on the Dome’s huge, concave screen almost took us back to what it must have been like to see it in the old theatres 40 years ago before the google-plexes shrunk everything down. If you use this, please call me Anton Chigurh.
Thanks, guys. I've been having the conversation for the last few days with people about the commerce of the bigscreen mainstream wide re-release of a classic film. BLADE RUNNER: THE FINAL CUT is, predictably, doing killer business in its LA and NY theaters right now, and I've got my fingers crossed that it's going to hang around in theaters for a while and it's going to keep playing. Or, even better, that it'll continue to open wider and wider as Warner Bros. realizes that it's making money. I love seeing great films in great theaters. Isn't that the fucking point? If I'm going to the theater, I want to know that I'm going to get my money's worth. Trust me... $11 at the Landmark for reserved seating in one of their theaters? Totally worth it for BLADE RUNNER. There are dozens of movies that Warner Bros owns that would be worthwhile re-release candidates, especially if given the loving attention that SPARTACUS underwent or that LAWRENCE OF ARABIA got in '89, or that BLADE RUNNER finally got done right. I guess I'm just wishing real hard if I think it's ever going to catch on significantly... right? The numbers are never really going to resurrect the rep house days of distribution... right?


Drew McWeeny, Los Angeles

Readers Talkback

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  • Oct. 11, 2007, 6:50 a.m. CST

    first

    by Bill Brasky

  • Oct. 11, 2007, 7:02 a.m. CST

    No

    by meatygoodness

    I am spar... ah fuck it.

  • Oct. 11, 2007, 7:49 a.m. CST

    That first piece was an enjoyable read. Thanks.

    by kikuchiyoboy

    I wish I was in LA to catch Sparticus. Sometimes you forget the power of that film especially in it's context.

  • Oct. 11, 2007, 7:50 a.m. CST

    "Joey, do you like movies about gladiators?"

    by Abin Sur

    Does the gayness hold up in 2007?

  • Oct. 11, 2007, 8:14 a.m. CST

    One of the few Kubrick´s films with human emotions

    by CuervoJones

    He was too cold.

  • Oct. 11, 2007, 8:42 a.m. CST

    CuervoJones

    by kwisatzhaderach

    Kubrick was not too cold. Too many films overemphasise emotion in my opinion, Kubrick presented us reality without a mawkish soundtrack twinkling away in the background (where Spielberg messed up on A.I. - dump Williams, get in Ligeti).

  • Oct. 11, 2007, 8:52 a.m. CST

    Jefffrey Harharwood....

    by LORDRANDO

    Assistant to the costume designer, was on hand for some fascinating insights into the production.

  • Oct. 11, 2007, 9:55 a.m. CST

    They should remake this.

    by rev_skarekroe

    It needs a reimagining for the 00s. "I'm Spartacus... MOTHERFUCKER!!!"

  • Oct. 11, 2007, 10:11 a.m. CST

    Good memories

    by Jaws Wayne

    I was lucky enough to see Spartacus as a young gun in the theater when it was re-released in the late 70's. To say I loved the film would be quite an understatement. These epics (Ben Hur is another one) really lose at least 90% of their impact on a smaller screen. Great write-ups guys, wish I could have been there, i would attend all of those screenings of those epic movies.

  • Oct. 11, 2007, 11:18 a.m. CST

    I saw it on the big screen back in '91

    by Miami Mofo

    Yeah, it was great seeing it on the big screen in '91, for until then all I had seen it on was the boob tube. But even on the tube I still fell for Jean Simmons' Varinia. Bought the DVD several years ago so it is also great to see it on the widescreen. Such a powerful film.

  • Oct. 11, 2007, 11:20 a.m. CST

    Actually Kubrick did disown it

    by Samuel Fulmer

    I think he said that he cringed everytime someone came up to him and said how much they loved Spartacus.

  • Oct. 11, 2007, 11:23 a.m. CST

    Anthony Mann was canned as director after first week

    by Samuel Fulmer

    of shooting. Too bad Kurt didn't talk about that. The story goes that Mann was letting Ustinov improvise a little too much, and a bitter Kurt took Mann off the picture and brought in Kubrick (who Kurt originally wanted anyway, having enjoyed making Paths of Glory with him). I think in the end Kubrick and Douglas had a falling out over the script credit. Kubrick wanted the script credited to himself, and Douglas wanted Trumbo's name on it.

  • Oct. 11, 2007, 12:18 p.m. CST

    Thanks guys!

    by Mastidon

    GREAT reviews. So good to hear what I missed. Somebody please write in on Rocky and Bonnie & Clyde!

  • Oct. 11, 2007, 12:29 p.m. CST

    Here's an opportunity to test your mettle

    by lettersoftransit

    You want to stand up for people who're being blacklisted in Hollywood? Well, something like half the films made by American studios are shot in Canada where they offer you money but first make you agree -- in writing -- that you will blacklist Americans from many positions. I've mentioned that a couple times on this board and few people stood up to test their mettle; in fact I've been castigated and told by canadians I was a whining bitch and that the whole situation (taking money in exchange for banning your fellow citizens) somehow epitomizes capitalism and I should get over it. Why do not enough people complain now? for the same reason not enough people complained about the discrimnination against communists or suspected communists. Money. There was money to be made and power to be acquired in the ruining of people's lives, and the film industry (afraid of being tarred by the commie brush) went along with it, too. So people lost jobs in the 1950s because they wouldn't sign a loyalty oath to the U.S.A. Now, people lose and are denied even a shot at jobs because -- and only because -- they are citizens of the USA and they're too loyal to walk down to the Candaian embassy and renounce their citizenship. Want a chance to stand up for what's right against an undeniable wrong? What could be more wrong than taking money from a foreign government in ezxchange for agreeing to refuse to hire your own fellow citizens?

  • Oct. 11, 2007, 12:56 p.m. CST

    I AM SPARTACUS.

    by dr.bulber

    I AM SPARTACUS.

  • Oct. 11, 2007, 1:15 p.m. CST

    I also like to see classic films on the big screen

    by Mullah Omar

    The best place I ever found for that is Paris, which has a load of good theaters digging up old reels of great cinema-worthy films like "Casablanca," "Taxi Driver," "Dune," "2001," and more. They also show a lot of forgotten films that are worth a look, like "The Bad and the Beautiful" and a lot of other flicks from all eras. The Uptown in DC was also good about filling a month or so per year with classics - I saw "Ben Hur" there complete with opening music and curtained intermission. Seeing "Blade Runner" on the big screen in NYC was well worth the effort and really is the ultimate way to see such a film.

  • Oct. 11, 2007, 1:45 p.m. CST

    I Was There!

    by grungies

    Front Row baby! Just a bit to Douglas's right. Man, that guy looks great for a 90-year-old, especially one who has suffered a stroke. It was a great experience.

  • Oct. 11, 2007, 2 p.m. CST

    proof, lettersoftransit, proof... and Spartacus

    by filmfanatic1

    If that's true about Canada, that truly is scandalous; post a link to it (with tinyurl.com, of course) and if it's a good source, we'll send it everywhere. I saw the Spartacus screening at the UptownDC years ago, and there's nothing like a big screen to appreciate what an epic should look like; Michael Bey should watch and learn.

  • Oct. 11, 2007, 2:22 p.m. CST

    Restorations

    by SeattleBuff

    i can't recall the names of the guys that restored SPARTACUS, but their work is far more detailed and complete than what a lot of the studios are doing. they brought LAWRENCE back from death...then SPARTACUS, VERTIGO, and MY FAIR LADY. to the studios, it doesn't mean that much to them to have a film restored to it's pristine quality for theatrical viewing. they only care about the DVD possibilities. i wish more of the 70mm films were given proper care AND more screenings. all this hoopla over digital projection doesn't seem that much of a big deal to me. 70mm, CINERAMA and TODD-AO is what big time moviegoing is all about.

  • Oct. 11, 2007, 2:56 p.m. CST

    he's sparacus >

    by greekopa

    i wont die for him

  • Oct. 11, 2007, 3:09 p.m. CST

    lettersoftransit

    by FraDolcino

    What the fuck are you rambling about man? I assume you're an American living in Canada and boo hoo you can't get work on the American movies that shoot there. If you want to go to Canada and shoot a film there and get Canada's government to pay, obviously you have to hire Canadians. That's why its cheaper. If you want to blame someone, blame the American studio for wanting to save money by shooting in Canada. Why should the Canadian government give money to pay for American crew members when they have perfectly able Canadians ready to work. Thats the whole point of a national film commission, which America sorely lacks. Comparing that to the 50's blacklist is just ignorant on your part. And I'm not a Canadian or European, I'm an American who reads facts.

  • Oct. 11, 2007, 3:10 p.m. CST

    Jeffrey Harharwood....

    by DanielKurland

    What a spanking button.

  • Oct. 11, 2007, 3:11 p.m. CST

    Fuck, I didn't see that someone else...

    by DanielKurland

    Had already made an apt Seinfeld reference.

  • Oct. 11, 2007, 3:49 p.m. CST

    it's a tricky situation

    by FraDolcino

    I'm going to try to avoid delving too deep into the political aspect with you anchorite (we must be civil). Hollywood essentially screws over the American unions by bypassing them and filming in Canada for cheaper (although now that the Canadian and American dollars are equal... is it cheaper?). It's the same way with productions in Europe and other countries where they have government subsidies for their film commissions (David Cronenberg is a big proponent of these, most of his films were financed by the Canadian government). Don't get me wrong. Too many productions leave (aren't all shows shot in Vancouver now?), but equating that with the blacklist was dumb, is my point.

  • Oct. 11, 2007, 4:20 p.m. CST

    I didn't mean you, anchorite

    by FraDolcino

    The blacklist remark was in response to 'lettersoftransit'. But I agree, tax incentives are a good start, but they don't quite go far enough. Imagine this scenario: The US wants to have a competitive film industry, so they pay their citizens to make films (not that it's that simple). Now, America is a peculiar case because we have Hollywood, so the other countries are forced into subsidies so that they can have a national cinema to compete with Hollywood. I don't know what you think, but it pisses me off that Hollywood films have saturated the world market to the extent that they have (although my gripe is more that their content is - how shall we say - godawful shit). Now I know this could easily descend into name-calling or unregulated internet bullshit, but I studied film in college (not that that validates my opinions in any way) and have made some no budget things (nothing impressive, budgets under $2k). I would love to be able to petition the government and receive maybe 10-20k to make a project, but here it is an impossibility. Nope, it's either Hollywood or bust my ass trying to raise investors for a project that will see no return on their investment. Whereas in Canada and other places, their goal isn't the end gross, but rather that they have a library of cinema filmed there, by their citizens, hiring their citizens, and effectively (through taxes) paid by their citizens.

  • Oct. 11, 2007, 4:22 p.m. CST

    it's a source of national pride, in a way

    by FraDolcino

    ... I wanted to add to my previous post. BTW, how do I separate paragraphs? I'm pretty illiterate when it comes to html code and whatnot.

  • Oct. 11, 2007, 4:24 p.m. CST

    "I don't want to know you. You don't wnat to know me."

    by Uncapie

    Woody Strode ruled! Plus, he was a very cool guy.

  • Oct. 11, 2007, 4:28 p.m. CST

    and one more thought

    by FraDolcino

    I think we're in agreement that Hollywood product is awful. It's become such a business that there is no love of the art of it. I don't mean 'arthouse' per se, but I mean, come on! Give me something with some subtext! How many movies can you guess the outcome (if not every major plot twist) from the trailer? And I know what the executives think: "Why should we invest 10 mil in an artsy film that won't make us money when we can make Bad Boys 6 for $300 mil and make double that?" But maybe if they were willing to promote that artsy film and have it play in more than 400 screens it might start to make them money! Goddamnit, haha, now i'm getting pissed at them again! My girlfriend is from a small town and she had never seen anything that wasn't in a major chain. Now with me I've exposed her to indie, arthouse, european, etc. She now hates blockbuster event movies. It's a vicious cycle, and until people stop judging a film's success by its box office I don't think things will change - in this country at least. Okay, rant over.... or is it?

  • Oct. 11, 2007, 4:48 p.m. CST

    Equating with the blacklist

    by lettersoftransit

    People were banned from working in the 50s if they did no more than refuse to sign a loyalty oath. Today, you can banned from working on a project, even if you created it, simply because you're an American and you refuse to give up your citizenship (effectively, refusing to be disloyal). That was the comparison made and you can call it dumb or stupid if you like, but then that's easier than disputing the facts. The other connection made was that people stood by and did nothing because they were afraid of being blacklisted themselves. And if you think that doesn't happen today you're just being naive (see, it's not always necessary to call somebody stupid or dumb to say they're wrong). Some people have spoken out about this, and they include DeNiro, Devito, Affleck, and others, and they have been subsequently silent. If you want to see links to prove this, just go to a search engine and type in canadian content or CAVCO (the canadian office that regulates dispersing the money) and the Canadian government will tell you flat out that they will give you money to shoot but you must agree not to hire Amerwicans and you may even have to get rid of any americans who might already have a stake in the project (because they did something like, oh, I don't know, write the thing). And they'll even tell you that if you need to have work done in America you can still get money -- so long as you hire Canadians who live here, and not their American neighbors. Try, just try, seeing that objectively, aside from all other preconceptions, and try to imagine that happening in any other industry or in any other country without people screaming bloody murder

  • Oct. 11, 2007, 4:55 p.m. CST

    classic

    by Don Lockwood

    Wait...did someone just try to slip "Dune" in as a classic film?

  • Oct. 11, 2007, 5:07 p.m. CST

    Here's a situation you might grasp

    by FraDolcino

    A group of people who always work together - director, writer, dp, actors, etc - are shopping their latest endeavor around for funds. They find some, but the executives say they want this actress over that one, and they want their friend to direct it. Either you take the money and do the changes or you don't. The only person who is naive is the one who thought they could get work in another country without being a citizen. You expect the Canadian government to just fork over money for you to make whatever you want with your own crew and no restrictions? What world do you live in? You think that doesn't happen everyday in Hollywood? If you're the person (American or no) who is applying for the CAVCO tax credits, they aren't going to give you the money but then tell you to fuck off and film it themselves. You just have to hire an all-Canadian crew. And that is their right to do so! And that part about getting rid of the writer is absolute bullshit. There is no way you can remove an author's name from their work. None. And don't try to take the moral high ground regarding name-calling. A stupid argument is stupid regardless of how smart the arguer claims to be.

  • Oct. 11, 2007, 6:21 p.m. CST

    on Kubrick

    by Badger23

    I really can't forgive him for the way he screwed over Alex North with the 2001 score. Supposedly North was crushed when he shows up for the premiere and instead of his own score he hears Ligeti, et al. Not a word of warning prior from Kubrick. Regardless of whether North's score or Kubrick's selections were more appropriate for the film, it was still a dick move on Kubrick's part.

  • Oct. 11, 2007, 7:18 p.m. CST

    Excellent peice Darth Corleone and Kirk

    by Proman1984

    Kirk Douglas is THE MAN.

  • Oct. 11, 2007, 7:25 p.m. CST

    ricarleite you are the one in Need of

    by Proman1984

    Euthanasia. Kirk is the man, and is ten times the man and human being Charlton Heston is. Fuck you.

  • Oct. 11, 2007, 7:44 p.m. CST

    "Great films in great theatres..."

    by Phil Spiderman

    "Isn't that the fucking point?" Damn right, it is. Instead of churning out all these cynical, shitty remakes, why not put the original masterpieces back in the cinemas. Because the teen market won't go and see "old films"? If they've got taste they will, and maybe they'll stop SMS-ing for a second and realise what it's like to experience a true epic on a big screen.

  • Oct. 11, 2007, 9:28 p.m. CST

    Empty seats

    by Bonedaddy77

    The reason there were so many empty seats was because of all the asshats that bought up all the tickets with the only intention of selling them at jacked up prices on Craigslist. I really wanted to attend one of the screeenings but not for 300 or 400 dollars. Oh well, I still got to see Blade Runner at the Landmark and for that I am grateful. Best damn 11 bucks I've spent at the theater in a looong time.

  • Oct. 11, 2007, 9:51 p.m. CST

    what's so great?

    by vaterite

    I'm still kind of mystified as to why so many people like this film. I know Kubrick directed it, so I'm supposed to like it, but I just can't. It's not even because we get horribly dated and offensive scenes of how the evil tyrant wants to sleep with his manservant juxtaposed with the good like them some pussy. I feel like the movie's not making any challenging/interesting points. Slavery is a bad thing? Wow, that totally blew my mind. I never would have realized that without Spartacus. They don't even really present any moral issues with the fact that they're leaving somewhat comfortable lives and going off to live in the wilderness. Somehow the army, which has lots of women and children doesn't feel the effects of, you know hunger, they sit around and listen to music. Sure, the cinematography is great, but I need a little more than that. Give me sir Lawrence any day of the week, but this travesty has got to go.

  • Oct. 12, 2007, 12:56 a.m. CST

    Awesome Alex North score for "Spartacus"

    by darthliquidator

    Who can forget North's ominous main title music with all the clashing brass and percussion...and yet later in the movie he writes the sweetest love theme ever heard in films.

  • Oct. 12, 2007, 2:48 a.m. CST

    FraDolcino the agenda becomes clear

    by lettersoftransit

    You initially pretended to know little about this, as guys who defend the Canadian subsidies often do, then you reveal knowledge of CAVCO and a pre-determined defense of it. No, a country that is allied with another in free trade accords paying out bribes in exchange for practicing illegal discrimination is not the same as a group of people putting together financing and wanting their friends to get jobs. And there are not only many anecdotal cases of writers being forced to forego their credits, there are documented ones as well. It simply isn't legal to take money in exchange for agreeing to discriminate against a class of people. And it's contrary to trade practices to make business opportunities predicated on citizenship. I would be against it if we did the same here. But we don't. I have been instrumental in getting green cards for non-US citizens in the biz and it's relatively very easy. We have, by comparison, an open door to citizens from other countries. Canada's subsidies are illegal under trade laws. And they require Americans who take them to committ illegal acts and make illegal promises in order to get them. So the friends-putting-together-financing comparison doesn't fit. At all. It only makes sense to a person who starts with the conclusion that he wants to defend the Canadian bribes no matter, because he benefits from them in some way (and when people benefit from illegal and immoral acts they can stretch logic very far to convince themselves it's okay). A far better comparison would be to say it's like a mobster who pays you to hire his people and to agree not to hire others. By the way, you and everybody else who defends these bribes keep saying it's about hiring Canadians. It's not. The whole thing is about keeping Americans, and only Americans, from being hired. The Canadian government has worked real hard to construct the rules so that you CAN hire somebody from the EU, or Australia, or New Zealand, or many other countries. Just about any other country, in fact. If you're an American, it's all about keeping you out and keeping your from getting a job, keeping you from selling project, keeping you from staying on your project, keeping you from even being considered for a project. It's all about you. And all doing harm to you.

  • Oct. 12, 2007, 2:59 a.m. CST

    Here's a link by the way: SAG has filed a claim against Canada

    by lettersoftransit

    http://www.sfvbj.com/industry_article_pay.asp?aID=135712402.6966307.1533831.4605652.69231702.840&aID2=117978 This doesn't give the whole picture but if you're curious you can look further. Neither I not anyone else I know would begrudge Canada for subsidizing their own movies, about their own culture. And I think it's great that Canada, or individual states, offer money if you'll come to shoot in their locale. But when you tie that an agreement to discriminate against people because of citizenship, it's wrong. And it's exponentially more wrong for somebody here to ignore laws and take bribes in exchange for practicing illegal discrimination. Would it be all right if the KKK funded movies and the rules made clear you could only hire whites? Would it be all right if Christian investment funds paid you money to make films and didn't care about content, but made you sign papers agreeing not to hire Jews? Would it be all right if we said that any movies and TV shows we produce here can include foreignors from virtually any other place, but cannot include Canadians? Do you really think it's a good idea for one country to wage a concerted and deliberate industrial attack on the citizens of any allied country?

  • Oct. 14, 2007, 11:12 p.m. CST

    Thanks for the kind words, everyone.

    by DarthCorleone

    And thanks for the interesting talkback as well.