18 May 2008

A magical journey into the movies - Part II

“Play it again, Sam.” The most famous line, from one of the most famous movies, that was never said. By now, a majority of the population knows when they quoting this line that it was never in the movie, they have heard from one source or another that about the false memories we convince ourselves are real, but it still makes for a pretty good Bogart impression. In this sense, the fact that Casablanca is represented in The Great Movie Ride is fitting, since The Great Movie Ride also presents us with false memories.

While every scene within The Great Movie Ride raises a terrific memory, some of the scenes are actually unions of several of the film’s elements. The two most glaring false memories within the Great Movie Ride come from Singin’ in the Rain and The Public Enemy.

In the Singin’ in the Rain scene, Gene Kelly’s Don Lockwood is witnessed singing the film’s title song while hanging from a lamppost. While a few lines are belted out from this lamppost in the movie, the line, “I’m singin’ in the rain,” was crooned elsewhere on the street. Though it is understandable that the lyrics would continue or start early for Gene Kelly’s audio-animatronic, as two lines would not allow for enough time for the ride vehicles to pass, even as brief as this scene is.

James Cagny’s Tom Powers, from The Public Enemy, is sending a message to Putty Nose (Murray Kinnell), who has left Tom and his friend Matt (Edward Woods) out to dry, through a thug at the door. In this scene in The Public Enemy, Tom and Matt are in workman jumpers, not the dressed-to-the-nines suits they become accustomed to wearing as they climb the ranks of the underworld. It is this same stylish suit that Cagny is fitted with in The Great Movie Ride, making this scene a true false memory.
Though these scenes may blur the line a little, just like Casablanca’s famous “Play it again, Sam,” they are fantastic memories and reminders of the films of yesterday that are still relevant and powerful today. May they keep on singin’, threatening, and playing for years to come.

UPDATE: Some of you may remember that my film goal for this year is to gather every film that is represented in the Great Movie Ride, prior to the final montage. Then, after my collection is complete, my wife and are going to have The Great Movie Ride Film Festival Weekend. (That’s right, my wife found out about my secret plan and is now my Igor, albeit much more attractive, in my search.) I’ve made it through a few more films, but I am still missing the following:
Footlight Parade
The Searchers
1930s and 1940s horror films
Tarzan the Ape Man
The horror film category has been plaguing me as of late. I wanted to find a horror film that paid homage to the tomb scene that represents the horror films in The Great Movie Ride. Yet, with hours of research behind me, the only film I can find that even remotely resembles that scene is Universal’s The Mummy (1932). While I was trying to stay away from Universal films, not because I think they are any less deserving, but because they are not represented anywhere within The Great Movie Ride, I think I may have to succumb to what makes for the best option based on what is presented within the attractions. However, thanks to Foxxfur for giving me some fantastic horror films that I will definitely be checking out in the future.

For those of you playing along at home, here is the complete list of films from The Great Movie Ride, in the order they appear:
Footlight Parade
Singin' in the Rain
Mary Poppins
The Public Enemy
The Searchers
Clint Eastwood’s Man With No Name (A Fistful of Dollars, For a Few Dollars More, and The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly)
Raiders of the Lost Ark
1930s and 1940s horror films (The Mummy)
Tarzan the Ape Man
The Wizard of Oz


Greg said...

This is an interesting project and what will, I am sure, amount to a long weekend. Mrs. Doc and I have been going through every Academy Award winner for Best Motion Picture. It is an undertaking. Best of luck and thanks for the information.

FoxxFur said...

A bit of help: you may be best seeking out VHS copies of Footlight Parade and Tarzan on eBay since the DVDs are quite nice but only available in pricey box sets. The Searchers is, of course, available on DVD for fairly reasonable prices these days. I hope you have a good experience with it; I don't like the film at all even though I love John Ford.

You're really just gonna have to give up on this horror movie situation and either choose a random movie or just omit that section entirely. I'm personally of the mind that they probably shouldn't have tried to wedge another scene into the ride if it didn't fit: following up a bunch of specific moments in specific movies with "hey, remember that skeletons... are like skeletons... in horror movies... of the 30's and 40's??" is really lame. They should've just said "OK, Alien can stand for both horror and science fiction." and went home that day.

What they probably really wanted was an indisputable icon of horror like Lugosi lurking around a castle or Karloff menacing you or whatever, and I'm sure nobody thought of MGM's very silly Mark of the Vampire, which is in segments a near shot for shot remake of Dracula except with big over the top optical effects. That was well within their legal right, and it would've been an effective Dracula scene without actually being Dracula.

Better yet: why not go to the public domain and use the 1925 Phantom of the Opera? True, that's a Universal picture, but Universal gave up their copyright on the film decades ago in favor of the lame Claude Rains version. Even better, why not forgo Alien and do something really cool for Sci-Fi, like Metropolis?

I'm sure all these kinds of things came up in meetings back in the 80's, but I've always thought Disney's list of "great movies" was less of a horse and more of a camel. I mean, honestly, no effort to include Citizen Kane? Really?

Doc Terminus said...

Great quest... What a journey. Regarding the "Horror Films" section, I always felt it began its life as even more RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK. That film does of course feature scenes with plenty of skeletons. Then, to avoid over-exposure on any one film they threw in the "horror films of the..." narration. Of course, it ain't learned and I never looked to confirm it, and its probably total bunk, but its my own personal total bunk...

Good luck

Anonymous said...

When it first opened, that scene was touted as being "The Well of Souls" from Raiders. It wasn't changed over to represent "horror" until a few (or maybe many) years later.

"The Searchers" is part of the trailers in the queue, but the scene in the ride isn't a direct pull from it. It is more of a inspirational representation of John Wayne's films.

Princess Fee said...

What a fantastic goal - you'll have to let us know how you get on with that. It sounds like something that my mum, dad and I would enjoy to do as a family - although I don't think they could sit through them all in one weekend!
Good luck!

Amy said...

What a fun project. I love to put together film festivals.

Do you have Netflix? I can't help you with identifying the horror film, but these three are all available on that site.
Footlight Parade
The Searchers
Tarzan the Ape Man