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The following books by Robert Paul Wolff are available on Amazon.com as e-books: KANT'S THEORY OF MENTAL ACTIVITY, THE AUTONOMY OF REASON, UNDERSTANDING MARX, UNDERSTANDING RAWLS, THE POVERTY OF LIBERALISM, A LIFE IN THE ACADEMY, MONEYBAGS MUST BE SO LUCKY, AN INTRODUCTION TO THE USE OF FORMAL METHODS IN POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY.
Now Available: Volumes I, II, III, and IV of the Collected Published and Unpublished Papers.

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Sunday, December 22, 2013

FILM ECHOES

One of the most enjoyable pastimes of dedicated film buffs is finding deliberate directorial echoes, moments in which one director frames a scene or a bit of action as a kind of silent homage to an earlier work.  Yesterday afternoon, Susie and I were idly watching a television screening of The Wizard of Oz when I saw just such a moment.  I am going to assume that everyone has seen both The Wizard of Oz and The Lord of the Rings trilogy.

Recall that after Dorothy has been captured by the Wicked Witch of the West [Margaret Hamilton, who was, believe it or not, only 37 when she played that memorable dual role], Toto escapes and leads the Tin Man, the Scarecrow, and the Cowardly Lion back to the Witch's castle to rescue Dorothy.  The three distinctly trepid saviors clamber over some patently fake rocks and finally crouch behind an escarpment, peering over at the entrance to the castle as the Witch's mock-fearsome troops march in and out, singing as they go. 

As I saw that scene for the hundredth time, I suddenly recalled the genuinely scary scene from The Lord of the Rings in which Frodo, Sam, and the gollum crouch on a high cliff and watch Sauron's very scary Ork forces marching through the large gate into Mordor.   As soon as I made the connection, it was obvious that Peter Jackson had made a conscious allusion to the iconic Wizard.

I invite my faithful viewers to tell us their favorite examples of cinematic allusions.

2 comments:

Michael Llenos said...

I still can't figure out how they shot those arrows falling down on the Scottish infantry in Braveheart. I guess I'm just too lazy to look into it.

When the English heavy horse charge towards the Scottish foot soldiers it looks like there is a shot of the Scottish front line holding the long wooden spears before Wallace is done with saying 'hold' and before he says 'now' and everyone picks up their spears. This still is a great scene, but I could be mistaken.

My favorite allusion is that same hand being chopped off in Spartacus, Braveheart and Gladiator. There must be a hidden reason behind that mysterious hand.

Michael Llenos said...

By the way, it looks like the Scottsmen do have their wooden pikes raised between the last 'hold' and Wallaces' 'now'.

Here are the scenes where that famous hand gets lopped off:

1. In the last battle scene of Kirk D.'s Spartacus.

2. In Braveheart, at Stirling, when a particular archer gets attacked by noble Scottish cavalryman.

And 3. In Gladiator, when the cavalry attacks the Germans from behind.