Scott Marks

Scott Marks is a Reader contributor. See staff page for published articles.

Love & Friendship brings out anything but

First off, I'm betting the farm that you've not even seen the movie you so passionately debate. 1) Directing 2) Cinematography/Lighting 3) Production design 4) Writing 5) Editing 6) Acting 7) Story There have been masterpieces made without a story ("Un Chien Andalou," "The Limits of Control" "Yolanda and the Thief"), actors (Walt Disney, Looney Tunes, etc.), good acting ("Written on the Wind," John Gavin in "Psycho"), spoken dialog (anything made prior to 1927), music ("The Birds," "His Girl Friday"), and cinematography ("Pink Flamingos"). Every one of the films I mentioned have one thing in common: a vision. It's usually the director's, but I can think of examples where the cinematographer is the auteur ("Divine Madness," the original version of "The In-Laws"). Same for the screenwriter ("The Best of Times"), the editor ("High Noon") and the production designer (anything by William Cameron Menzies). Other than comedies, I'd be hard-pressed to think of a great film that's badly directed. Acting and story are the least of my worries. I know exactly what Mr. Hitchcock meant when he famously referred to all actors as "cattle." Sure, a great performance will always add to the overall power of a film, but it's how the director moves them around the screen that excites me. And aren't there only 7 basic plots? Story be damned! I'm in it for storytelling, not taking pictures of people talking, something Whit Stillman excels at.
— May 24, 2016 3:42 p.m.

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