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Monday, 21 February 2011

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HP

I've never seen "Hush," since I lost interest in Buffy after the second season. To what extent is Whedon's approach informed by silent film?

For example, I'm reminded of two other examples of anachronistic silent filmmaking from the horror/fantasy genre, both of which reflect an interest in obsolete filmmaking techniques:

- The silent flashback sequence in Roger Corman's Edgar Allen Poe's The Pit and the Pendulum. Corman uses monochrome gels and proscenium staging; Price shows an unerring mastery of silent film acting. (I wish he'd done more silent bits in more movies. Well, Last Man in the World has some good silent bits. Phibes, for all its flapper-retro vibe, is relatively talky.)

- The silent sequence in Francis Ford Coppola's Bram Stoker's Dracula. Shot on a vintage 19th c. camera at (IIRC) 18 fps, Coppola's silent sequence reflects 19th c. experimental films, and seems to want to set up the 1890s as a time of massive technological change (a frequent comment about the novel as well).

Also, the description of Whedon's constantly moving camera makes me think of Murnau's mostly static camera, which, when it does move, immediately sucks you in (especially if you've been overdosing on silents for a few weeks). From your description, it sounds like the proportion of moving to static camera is roughly reversed between Whedon and Murnau. Yes? No?

Ooh, a final observation from horror cinema: Most non-British European horror movies from the 60s/70s were shot MOS, with dialog added only later, and what dialog there is varies between hamfisted and incomprehensible. So, I've always considered Bava, Argento, et el to be effectively silent filmmakers, since all the affect comes from the visual elements. (As translation and looping have improved, Argent's movies have gotten less interesting.)

KWK

You gonna go into sound in the "silent" episode at all? I'm sure the meeting of the Scoobies set to "Danse Macabre" is a gold mine for showcasing Whedon's aural (if not visual) directorial choices.

Martin Wisse

That was a shoutout to Jonathan Creek though, wasn't it?

Crystal

A shout out to the wine company? I'm confused!

Albert

Willow was always my favourite :)

Alex

Great blog!

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