News on the March!

Feeling somewhat lazy this afternoon and eveing after a late, late night of good conversation, one that somehow culminated in watching one of the Muppet movies (I have no idea which one), but just wanted to mention that I’ve been fascinated by the fact that there are at least two new Hollywood murder mystery films hitting theaters this fall. There’s Allen Coulter’s Hollywoodland, which focuses on the mysterious death of George Reeves, who played Superman on the 1950s TV series. But there’s also Brian DePalma’s adaptation of The Black Dahlia, James Ellroy’s novel about the murder of a Hollywood starlet in the 1940s. Both films are tapping into film noir imagery and seem nostalgic for the old Hollywood. In particular, I was intrigued to come across Universal’s newsreel compilation promoting Dahlia on YouTube (thanks to Risky Biz for the link, also seen at the Movie Marketing blog). The mock newsreel runs a little over four minutes and mixes in grainy archival footage with a “story” on the Black Dahlia murders told in classical newsreel style with a nod to the opening sequence of Citizen Kane, all the way down to backlit reporters discussing the case. It’s an interesting little promo clip, especially for a film so self-consciously about the “old” Hollywood.


  1. Katie King Said,

    September 8, 2006 @ 10:42 pm

    I just saw Hollywoodland tonight. The reviews I’d read in the Post, lowballing it, after seeing it seemed tone deaf.

    I thought it was a very humane movie. None of the synopses I looked at mention the subplot in which the Brody character realizes his responsibility in fostering the paranoid fantasy of one of his clients.

    Not to be too didactic about it, I thought the movie grappled with our love of conspiracy narratives and with the costs of the kind of odd self-aggrandisement they perpetuate.

    As an aside — I saw a trailer for Children of Men, about which I know nothing. The trailer was positioned after something for TV and so for a few moments I was unclear whether this was a movie, or a new TV series. As a movie possibility it seemed interesting enough, but when I thought for a moment it was a TV series I was much more impressed, almost overcome with a surprised appreciation.

    After I realized it was a movie, I wondered why I thought it was so much “better” as a TV series than a movie.

    I’d love to know if you have any thoughts on this Chuck.

    Best wishes, Katie King

  2. Chuck Said,

    September 9, 2006 @ 11:21 am

    Hi, Katie, I may be seeing Hollywoodland sometime this week. If so, I’ll certainly write about it. Had a late night, so I’m not sure these comments will make sense.

    In terms of the movie/TV question, I’m not sure I have any real thoughts. I do think some narratives work better in a serial format, especially in the age of X-Files, Lost, etc, but I’m not sure whether there is a consistent explanation for that (other than the conspiracy/puzzle narratives that fuel my two examples).

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