Presentation on theme: "Stage versus Screen The theater is aural (words); film is visual. –Film moves over distances. –Film uses visual symbols to replace words. Stage unit is."— Presentation transcript:
Stage versus Screen The theater is aural (words); film is visual. –Film moves over distances. –Film uses visual symbols to replace words. Stage unit is the scene; film unit is the camera shot. Camera allows close-ups.
Why horses work well in films Horses are always natural, unlike actors or trained animals. They are not embarrassed. They do not stare into the lights. Symbols of strength and passion.
Horses and Hollywood Film is static, unlike stage, which changes every night, but horses constantly move, even on the static screen, and so are always interesting. –shots of hooves, different gaits (walk, trot, cantor, gallop) give illusion of change even when seen twice
Zeffirelli’s Cinematic Taming of the Shrew Long opening shot moves through distance. Some words but mostly music. Good looking actor (Michael York). Horses –Is the horse symbolic of the man’s qualities? After this long scene, Lucentio will fall instantly in love.
Other Shakespeare films that open with horses Roman Polanski’s Macbeth Akira Kurosawa’s Ran (King Lear) Kenneth Branagh’s Much Ado About Nothing.
The “Westerns” influence on Shakespeare films Branagh’s Much Ado About Nothing opening is based on: The Magnificent Seven (1960)
Films that might have failed without horses Hamlet starring Mel Gibson. Kirosawa’s Ran Ang Lee’s Brokeback Mountain John Wayne westerns.
Westerns directed by John Ford started in silent film, 1918 Iron Horse (1928) [a train] just the sight of horses thrills Horses were born with films, before cars, –just as laser bomb sights and Star Wars effects were born with video games
Three taboos on stage 1.real death 2.real sex 3.live horses galloping on stage.
Advantages of horses on film Always natural Always good looking Camera can speed them up or slow them down A little goes a long way.
Zeffirelli’s successful use of horses (not in the original Shakespeare text) Prince Escalus in Romeo and Juliet (1968) Petrucchio’s old nag in Taming of the Shrew –part of his plan to behave as badly as Kate does, to “kill her with kindness,” meaning to behave like her Kate in rain (underwater women are symbols of the social oppression women) on a donkey (symbolizing her stubbord behavior). These are visual symbols.
Petruchio’s horse his horse hipped... besides, possessed with the glanders and like to mose in the chine, troubled with the lampass, infected with the fashions, full of windgalls, sped with spavins, rayed with the yellows, past cure of the fives, stark spoiled with the staggers, begnawn with the bots, swayed in the back and shoulder-shotten; near-legged before. (3.2.48-62)
Zeffirelli’s Hamlet starring Mel Gibson Key use of a horse when Hamlet meets Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. Distant shot of a mesa, as in a Western Where civilization meets savagery (the landscape symbolizes Hamlet’s mental conflict, whether to kill the king)
Horses bring out the “romance” element of tragedy Romance substitutes a world of magic for the socially determined values of good and evil (Frederick Jameson) Horses are part of that magic world
Hamlet in a magical, anti- science world Tom Stoppard’s Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead –Hamlet seen through the eyes of two minor characters) –Coin flips defy probability This film uses horses to add magical realism = romance magic and naturalness.
Roman Polanski’s Macbeth Realistic horses visually represent the violence of the witches’ magic that controls Macbeth.
Missing Horses and Shakespeare on Film The hobby horse (worn around the waist) in Hamlet –also fake rape in R&G Are Dead) Ironic my kingdom for a horse in R3, when jeep is stuck Dogberry’s pretend horse
Kurosawa Throne of Blood (Macbeth)--moral uncertainty Ran (King Lear) –opening boar hunt prefigures how Lear will be hunted down by his two bad sons – epic sweep in war scenes –image of Lear’s decline first he rides, later he walks, then in the final scene, unable to attain his former glory, he falls off a horse when his son is randomly shot
Summary horses visually represent missing portions of the verbal text the encourage natural Method Acting in film they are a form of spectacle (Aristotle’s ops), not an element of thought or moral analysis, but cinema’s mass appeal they evoke theme of Westerns, the reconciliation of, or failure to reconcile, civilization and savagery (Lear cannot escape his savage world)
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