Go

Filmism.net Dispatch

  • Share
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  

Now Saving Mr Banks is out, it's time to ask why the past is the new future in Hollywood. Just what's made Tinseltown fall in love with its own history?

As often happens with these things, the trend had a beginning. It was the 2012 Oscars and more than one observer realised that the two films that scooped almost all the awards both above and below the line (The Artist and Hugo) were love letters to bygone ages in cinema, the latter almost fetishistic about the brass clockwork machinery that used to bring moving pictures to audiences.

2013 only increased the tide. We got the 'inside' story of how Alfred Hitchcock treated his stars and wife horribly and made the film of his career (Psycho) in Hitchcock.

Then it was the semi-fictionalised story of the CIA teaming up with a make-up artist and a grizzled producer to extract a group of Americans in hiding during the Iran hostage crisis. In case you weren't paying attention at the time, Argo got the biggest cinematic plaudit there is.

Now, you can bet your Roles and Matisses all your studio executive colleagues and rivals are scrambling to snap up the rights to everything with even a hint of Hollywood history pre-1980. One of the hottest scripts around right now you've never heard of is 1969: A Space Odyssey or How Kubrick Learned to Stop Worrying and Land on the Moon. It's the fictional story of a NASA publicist who convinces director Stanley Kubrick to fake the Apollo moon landings, as conspiracy theories claim he did to this day.

Now we have Saving Mr Banks, a Disney project for which the stars couldn't have been aligned better. It's about a Disney-owned property, so there were no rights issues. They own the location, so it could all be shot at Disneyland (albeit dressed for the 1960s) with a couple of backlots standing in for rural Australia and local LA landmarks.

Financially it was cheap to make, costing only a few A-list salaries and cameras. People love everything about Disney so it's selling itself, having made close to $50m on a $35m budget already. If you want to be cynical about it, you could say it's an ad for a bunch of Disney products and personalities, and we're being charged to watch it.

But most importantly, it's about something Hollywood loves more than anything else. Movies.

Of course, the movies have always been in love with the movies. No less than the greatest movie ever made (8 1/2, if you drink macchiatos and wear a beret) is about a director trying to make a movie. But this is the first time it's made it into the mainstream of Hollywood in a big way. My prediction – it won't last as long as the superhero movie scourge we're still being strafed by, but it'll outlast the attempts by Stallone, Schwarzenegger etc to keep their old-style action alive.

© 2011-2016 Filmism.net. Site design and programming by psipublishinganddesign.com | adambraimbridge.com | humaan.com.au