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Saturday, June 11, 2005

"Great" Hollywood
Let's get real for a minute -- how many great films has Hollywood really produced? I think we can agree that it had two, perhaps three, "golden ages"; the early 1940s, the early 1970s and perhaps the indie boom of the late 90s. But that's pretty much it. Everything in between, except for some anomalies, has been overblown, decidedly formulaic, mediocre "product". Why is it, then, that every filmmaker I know is desperate to get to Hollywood and have their talent sucked away? Why aren't filmmakers clamouring to get to Germany, or Sweden, or France, or to be part of the exciting Latin American film industry? Money is certainly one factor, but it"s interesting to note how deep-rooted the myth of Hollywood still is in this era. Does nobody read history? If they did, they'd know that all the "great" films that Hollywood has managed to produce have been industry "accidents", accidents they were determined to not repeat. Give a director total creative control? You get Citizen Kane. Look what they did to Welles on his very next picture -- yank the whole thing from under him, butcher it and, in Welles' words, "Rip the heart out of my movie". Who cares if it was the greatest American film ever made? Did it win the Best Picture Oscar? Of course not. Heck, even last year's Million Dollar Baby, a courageous if pedestrian drama, was turned down by everyone until Clint Eastwood's star power finally rammed it through.

Time and time again, Hollywood sabotages its own success by presuming the idiocy of its audience. Sad to say, it's always been thus, and I fear it will always be thus. It seems the myth of Hollywood is no truer than any of the others.

For true greatness, one has to look beyond Hollywood - not necessarily far beyond (there are still great American movies). Try checking out some Canadian films. Or even those European flicks. Go ahead. It's good for you.
:: posted by Ian Dawe, 6/11/2005 Comments (0)
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Archives prior to April, 2005 are from Donald Melanson's personal film blog.


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