That Wacky Redhead

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by Brainbin, Nov 18, 2011.

  1. Roger Redux The Revisionist

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    I know it was already stated to be beyond the End of TL, but I just thought of another American actor who would make an awesome Scrooge in TTL's Muppet Christmas Carol if it exists: Jerry Orbach!
     
  2. The Walkman Rowdy before Rowdy was cool

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    With The Force Awakens breaking box office records IOTL, it got me thinking: does Journey of the Force break the record for highest grossing film ITTL like the first Star Wars did IOTL?
     
  3. Brainbin Kingpin of the Cultural Cartel

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    Yes, he has, and you'll be seeing his exploits in the next update!

    The Night Stalker remained an annual series of telefilms (having never been converted, as IOTL, into a weekly series in 1974).

    I'm afraid that characters do indeed die in children's shows. The most famous episode of Sesame Street is the one in which Mr. Hooper dies, after all (and yes, it also aired ITTL).

    Movies update, coming up next! :)

    Welcome aboard, JonInSpaec1973! And yes, the show is over. It had a great run, though - over two decades. And all but one episode remains available for audience consumption!

    Gold Key is still going strong, having found their niche by adapting television and movie properties, a market Marvel and DC haven't been nearly as prolific or successful in ITTL. However, unlike Marvel and DC, Gold Key has virtually no (remaining) stable of original creations. Essentially, they appeal to different markets, and we aren't yet in an era when everyone has to do everything.

    Since further Doctor Who discussion seems to have resolved itself quite effectively without my intervention, I won't comment on it further, except to thank you all for your input, and for your thoughtful, well-reasoned discussion. I knew that update would be controversial, but I'm glad to see my thread remains a bastion of civility and pleasantness :eek:

    A fine actor, and one of my personal favourites - we lost him far too soon, and Law & Order (one of my favourite shows) was never the same without him.

    It did indeed, breaking the record held for all of two years by Jaws, just as IOTL.

    In other news, e of pi and I got to talking last night about various Star Wars and Star Trek-related issues, which culminated in a fun WI scenario: What if Harrison Ford appeared in Star Trek? His first acting credit on IMDb dates to 1966, so the timing is perfect - indeed, he appeared in two separate episodes of The Virginian in 1967 alone (as two different characters - such was episodic television in that era). So why not Star Trek, right? I once (jokingly) speculated in response to a query about him that he eventually returned to his carpentry, but that doesn't preclude an appearance on Star Trek. After all, Bruce Hyde, who played the immensely popular Lt. Kevin Riley, dropped out after two episodes to become a hippie, and wound up as a professor at a liberal arts college. It's very possible that his acting career could still peter out, with Star Trek being remembered as the highlight - as it was for so many actors ITTL, including the actor whose role we decided to cast him in, which is Ensign Garrovick from "Obsession". Ford just happened to have been born the same year (1942) as Stephen Brooks, who played him IOTL, and is listed as having the same height (6'1"). Garrovick had a bit of an attitude problem, which fits Ford's classic persona, and I wasn't sure if he could pull it off so early in his career until I saw a clip of one of his 1967 appearances in The Virginian, and sure enough, he had the swagger even then. Production-wise, the advantage of "Obsession" is that it was produced after Gene Coon's OTL departure (18th episode of season 2, whereas Coon left after completing the 14th, "Bread and Circuses"), and therefore I have the latitude to change the casting based solely on the influence from his continued presence.

    Therefore, I hereby announce that Harrison Ford made a guest appearance in Star Trek ITTL. So shall it be written, so shall it be done! Photographic evidence will be presented shortly.
     
  4. e of pi Turbine Printer

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    ...Oh wait, is that my cue? I think it is!

    [​IMG]
    Screencap from "Obsession" (1967, episode 42, production 47): Captain Kirk becoming obsessed with destroying a deadly creature he encountered in his youth. "Ensign Garrovick," son of Kirk's old captain, was played by actor Harrison Ford in one of his few screen roles.

    Notes: Ford's head is sourced from this still from The Virginian. I took a bigger look for other options where I wouldn't have to adjust color balance as much. Sadly, what with it being a western, there just weren't many no hat pics to choose from...
     
  5. Mr.E Anti-Social Socialist

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    I see what you mean. Gold Key holds the role that many small independent publishers had in the late 80's and early 90's IOTL. Most notably Dark Horse Comics. They would dominate that share of the market, but still won't be as big as the Big Two. Plus, if they ever wanted to do original characters, they always have Doctor Solar, Turouk, and Magnus to fall back on (or conversely, they could sell those characters off).

    Although, on that note, does Gold Key produce the Journey of the Force comics? Because, IOTL, Star Wars comics helped save Marvel from bankruptcy in the late 70's.
     
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2016
  6. Roger Redux The Revisionist

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    Agreed on all counts.

    :D

    :D:D:D:D:D

    Ok, now you've got me imagining Harrison Ford in TV roles! :D
     
  7. Mr.E Anti-Social Socialist

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    The Mountainous Democratic Republic of Colorado
  8. Brainbin Kingpin of the Cultural Cartel

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    One Last Night at the Movies
    One Last Night at the Movies

    1984 was a year which had been immortalized in popular culture some decades before it had actually come to pass, courtesy of the seminal dystopian novel of the same name, written by George Orwell. Published in 1949, Orwell’s novel was reflective of the times it was written. The Attlee government was rapidly and thoroughly nationalizing each and every sector of British industry and wartime rations remained in place. [1] The Soviet Union had forcibly installed Communist governments in the states which had fallen under their sphere of influence, including in East Germany. And the spectre of fascism, which so desperately sought to maintain control over its people through the mastery of propaganda techniques, continued to loom large over the European consciousness. However, times – and trends – had changed a great deal since 1949, and the year 1984 that would actually come to pass was very different from the future Orwell had envisioned. Instead, it much more resembled what Aldous Huxley had described in Brave New World: people did not need to be deceived, only distracted. The traditional paradigm of panem et circenses had re-asserted itself in these more complacent times.

    However, even the very nature of panem et circenses itself had changed since Orwell’s time. In 1949, the American motion picture industry still operated under the Hays Code, promoting restrictive values of decency and propriety over freedom of expression. Although the breakup of the Golden Age movie studios had already been set in motion with the Paramount Decision the year before, it would take some time before its effects would trickle down into the nitty-gritty of how movies were made in Hollywood – even as their artistic supremacy and mass popularity was increasingly challenged by foreign imports, particularly from the United Kingdom. By 1984, in the wake of decades-old Supreme Court decisions validating the artistic legitimacy of film as a medium, and movements such as France’s nouvelle vague and the American New Hollywood generation it helped to inspire, all of these constraints had been eliminated, but at the cost of creating new challenges. Every filmmaker in the modern age, not to mention every executive at every studio, found themselves increasingly forced to walk the fine line and find the delicate balance between art and entertainment.

    One director who seemed to consistently manage to hit the sweet spot was Stanley Kubrick, though it was obvious that he did so with great care and deliberation. His reputation as a perfectionist preceded him (best demonstrated by his legendary filing system, which involved thousands of boxes and was of his own design), and horror stories direct from his sets were a constant fixture in the trade papers. However, despite being widely known and feared as a tyrant, his films were always financially successful – even taking into account the inevitable time delays and cost overruns, which the savvy studio chief at MGM, Edgar Bronfman, was shrewdly beginning to factor into the budgeting of each new Kubrick production. Still, following up on Napoleon – the biggest hit of 1971, winner of seven Oscars, and eventual contender for greatest film ever made – would be no mean feat for Kubrick, and several of his big ideas went nowhere.

    The early-1970s were the height of porno chic and the peak of commercial viability (with two pornographic films among the Top 10 at the year-end box-office for 1972), which led Kubrick to briefly toy with the idea of revisiting his former collaborator Terry Southern’s proposal, Blue Movie, a high-budget pornographic film with big-name stars and genuine artistic merit. When Kubrick had initially rejected the idea, Southern had decided to publish Blue Movie in book form; much like Dr. Strangelove, the story evolved considerably in the developing stages, and the book as published was a satire of Hollywood filmmaking. Kubrick expressed some interest in the idea of adapting the published Blue Movie as-is; instead of making a porno, he would be making a self-referential critique of the motion picture industry somewhere between Sunset Boulevard and . He even offered the role of “Boris Adrian”, the character thinly based on himself, to Peter Sellers. However, ultimately, plans to adapt Blue Movie faltered. Napoleon had become known for its explicit nudity and sexual activity, which had overshadowed the blood, gore, and violence depicted in the battle scenes despite being far fewer in frequency and much shorter in overall duration. Kubrick felt that he would have to go even further with Blue Movie, filming graphic and unsimulated sexual acts and showing them uncensored - albeit shot and edited in such a way as to de-glamourize them, to emphasize the satirical nature of the film. However, as had been the case earlier, Kubrick continued to doubt whether even he was up to the daunting task ahead of him; even he had his limits. Bronfman, extremely wary of the prospects of such a film, not to mention the backlash he would face in distributing it and the possible boardroom coup that might result once it was greenlit, advised Kubrick to find a different project. Blue Movie was ultimately never optioned by MGM, and it was never adapted into a major motion picture.

    Kubrick did like the challenge of presenting previously “taboo” material in such a way as to demystify it for audiences, which inspired his next choice of project. He had been considering directing a film about the Holocaust for some time, and when he made Bronfman aware of this while the two were discussing potential alternatives to Blue Movie, the archivist was dispatched to comb through the studio’s records for any such scripts on file. [2] Soon enough, a film treatment called To the Last Hour had been written in 1964, by none other than Howard Koch – who had won an Oscar for writing the screenplay to Casablanca. To the Last Hour was, improbably enough, an inspirational Holocaust story, regarding a repentant Nazi profiteer named Oskar Schindler, who requisitioned Jewish workers for his enamelware factory during World War II, but eventually – at great personal risk and the cost of his entire fortune – decided to rescue them from their ultimate fate in the concentration camps. The lives of over a thousand Jews were saved as the direct result of his intervention, and he had been named Righteous Among the Nations by the government of Israel in 1963. However, he was unable to match his tremendous success as a human being in any of his business ventures, and had lived out a meagre existence following the war largely on the remittances of the many Jews whose lives he had saved – the Schindlerjuden, as they were known in German. Schindler had received $20,000 for the film treatment in 1964 – not an insignificant sum of money in those days – but it did not last long. Something about the squalor of Schindler’s existence spoke to Kubrick, the great irony of the situation appealing to his sense of narrative as a writer. It also complemented the insignificance of his actions against the backdrop of the wider Holocaust – six million Jews had died, and he had only saved 1,200 of them, or just one out of every five thousand. [3]

    Bronfman, being of Jewish heritage himself, was supportive of Kubrick’s intention to direct a film about the Holocaust. Howard Koch was still alive when pre-production officially began in 1972, and flew out to England to discuss his treatment and his own original plans for how the script would have been drafted at that time. Kubrick commissioned Koch to write the screenplay, though he would heavily revise and edit the material to suit his own vision. Koch, a veteran of the Golden Age of Hollywood, and well aware of the need for screenwriters to bow to the demands of domineering taskmasters – be they directors, producers, or studio heads – acquiesced, and the two worked together amiably. Ultimately, they would share screenplay credit in the finished film.

    The two agreed that for the film to work, there had to be two central themes which would give it a suitably (and ironically) “epic” feel: Schindler’s selfless act of heroism contrasted against the majority of Germans (and Poles and Czechs and others) who did nothing; and the rescue of those precious few Jews in contrast to the great many who were murdered, often in horrifying (and gruesomely explicit) ways. Therefore, Schindler and his story would merely be the focal point of a broader narrative. This would anchor Kubrick’s ambitions: realistically, he could not tell a story about the totality of the Holocaust, because he reasoned such scope to be outside the capability of the cinematic art form. However, he could not focus too closely on Schindler, because he felt that would cheapen the contrasting situation which made him stand out in the first place. Schindler’s redemption and rescue would be a single ray of light breaking through a vast sky of unrelenting gloom. Kubrick also liked the idea of ending the film with an epilogue which focused on Schindler’s present-day life of poverty. He had done the right thing, but he had not received his rightful rewards, a cruel subversion of the expectations of American filmgoers in particular. [4] Since Oskar Schindler himself was still alive and living in Frankfurt, he was extensively interviewed by Kubrick and allowed a role in the production. Bronfman was aware of the potential bad press which would emerge had they been perceived as taking advantage of Schindler, so he arranged for a small stipend to be sent to him for the duration of the film’s production, and for Schindler to receive a token share of the film’s grosses upon release. Between them, this steady stream of income would cover his modest living expenses. Bronfman referred to it privately as his “hero’s pension”, a term which (at Schindler’s own insistence) was never used for promotional purposes.

    Schindler served as an informal consultant during the making of the film, though he was never formally credited as such (instead receiving a “special thanks” credit). Consultant credit was awarded to one of the Schindlerjuden, Leopold Pfefferberg, who had been instrumental in arranging the commission of the original To the Last Hour treatment in the 1960s, having long been a passionate advocate of making Schindler’s story known. [5] He and Kubrick did not get along, and he was swiftly banned from the set. Ironically, though Kubrick did his best to play down Schindler’s achievements as part of his vision for the film, Schindler himself fully supported the thesis statement he presented (“I could have done more, as we all could have done more”) and he was shown the rough cut screening in London (alongside Bronfman, Pfefferberg, and several others) some weeks before the film’s premiere in Frankfurt in late 1975.

    By this time, Schindler was in failing health, and he died in early 1976 - having lived just long enough to have finally gotten the recognition he deserved. [6] He was buried on Mount Zion in Israel, the only member of the Nazi Party to be so honoured. Schindler’s share of the grosses were left to his widow, Emilie, from whom he had separated and who now lived in Argentina, allowing her to eke out a comfortable existence for the rest of her days; despite the graphic violence in the film, and the extremely harrowing subject matter, Oskar Schindler was a financial success, grossing over $50 million worldwide, against a budget of less than $5 million. Many politicians and other celebrities urged the public to view the film, which would eventually become required viewing in classrooms the world over. The audience for the premiere in Frankfurt included such luminaries as the Chancellor of Germany, Helmut Schmidt. At the Academy Awards, Oskar Schindler was nominated for several Oscars (fittingly enough), including Best Picture, Best Director for Kubrick, and Best Original Screenplay for Kubrick and Koch (the first time a Kubrick film had received a nomination in that category). However, it won only for Original Screenplay, accepted by Koch alone (as Kubrick’s fear of flying once again prevented him from attending the ceremony in person). Koch dedicated his win, on March 29, 1976, to “the late” Oskar Schindler; word of his death had reached the United States just days before.

    Kubrick certainly wasn’t the only director who had learned to walk the line between art and entertainment. One of his great contemporaries in this category, David Lean, also made movies for MGM, and also faced the challenge of where to go from his last project for the studio – in Lean’s case, it had been the romantic historical drama, Ryan’s Daughter. This, in turn, had followed a string of action-adventure epics: The Bridge on the River Kwai, Lawrence of Arabia, and Doctor Zhivago, all of which had seen financial successes on the same scale as their respective productions. Ryan’s Daughter, a more muted production, had also met with more muted success; Edgar Bronfman made clear that he expected the next David Lean film to be a smash-hit on the order of all those previous. Doctor Zhivago, after all, was one of the highest-grossing films of all time, an achievement obscured by having been released in the same year as The Sound of Music. The making of Ryan’s Daughter had been a headache for Lean, even by the standards of his notoriously troubled productions. At least in returning to epics, he would be treading familiar ground, or rather, sailing through friendly waters.

    Lean and his writing partner since Lawrence of Arabia, Robert Bolt, sought to tackle a film adaptation of The Mutiny on the Bounty, which already had a long and storied history on the silver screen. It had twice been adapted by Hollywood: first in 1935, starring Charles Laughton and Clark Gable, and winning the Academy Award for Best Picture; then again in 1962, a notorious flop starring Marlon Brando which capsized his career. One problem Edgar Bronfman had with David Lean making a Mutiny of the Bounty movie under the auspices of MGM was that the studio had already been responsible not only for the 1935 original, but also for the 1962 remake – an attempt to make lightning strike twice after their 1925 silent epic, Ben-Hur, had been successfully remade in 1959, smashing box-office records and winning 11 Academy Awards, an all-time high. But David Lean was nothing if not doggedly determined, and he ultimately departed from MGM in the late-1970s when it became clear that they would not revisit the subject matter for a third time. Lean and Bolt ultimately shopped their concept around on both sides of the Pond, and found an interested buyer in the Baron Grade of Elstree, a television impresario who had only recently moved into the motion picture industry. [7] Lean and Bolt saw in Grade another Sam Spiegel or Carlo Ponti – all men with vast coffers and a willingness to prove themselves as entertainers. Lord Grade took advantage of newly-instituted trade agreements in place between the various Commonwealth Realms as part of the Commonwealth Trade Agreement, and the film was ultimately a United Kingdom-Australia co-production, with filming done in Australia – one of the few parts of the world Lean had not shot footage in up to that point.

    In the follow-up to his star-making role as Clark Kent aka Superman, Kirk Allen starred as Fletcher Christian, the leader of the mutiny. An obscure British stage and television actor, Anthony Hopkins, was personally chosen by Lean to play William Bligh, captain of the Bounty. Lean’s old collaborator, Sir Alec Guinness (who had not appeared in Ryan’s Daughter due to the role Lean wanted him for, Father Collins, conflicting strongly with his Catholic views), appeared as Admiral Viscount Hood, member (in the film, the presiding officer) of the court which acquitted Bligh for losing command of the ship. Although the film was called Mutiny on the Bounty (as the previous two versions well-known to American and British audiences were), it was not a direct adaptation of the 1932 novel, instead sourced directly from Bligh’s diaries and other primary sources. Lean filmed Bounty in his typical lavish style, with panoramic vistas of the open ocean highlighting the isolation of the ship amidst the high seas. This also enabled him to focus on the confined space aboard the Bounty, taking inspiration from WWII-era submarine movies in this regard. The film, unlike previous versions, did its best to avoid taking sides in the power struggle between Bligh’s loyalists and Christian’s mutineers, and portrayed both leaders sympathetically.

    The Bounty herself was played by a modified sixth-rate frigate replica, the Rose, constructed in 1970 in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, Canada. [8] Naval enthusiasts complained that the Rose was twice as massive as the historical Bounty and half again as long, and that an actual replica Bounty had been built at Lunenburg in 1960, for the express purpose of starring as the Bounty in the 1962 adaptation. However, perhaps the only group of people more superstitious than sailors were film executives, and all parties involved agreed that recasting the 1960 Bounty would be a jinx on this new production. Bronfman, during preliminary discussions on remaking the film at MGM, had been insistent that the studio would not be paying to build a new Bounty yet again, a directive which Lean kept close to his chest. His scouts had already found the Rose when he presented his pitch to Grade, who loved the idea of saving money by casting her as the merchant vessel despite her… over-qualifications for the part.

    Mutiny on the Bounty was a massive success, along the lines of Kwai, Lawrence, and Zhivago, restoring Lean’s reputation as perhaps the foremost maker of epic films. Critics praised both Allen and Hopkins, with Allen being confirmed as “not just a one-trick pony” (British critics even praised his English accent) and Hopkins being celebrated as a “revelation”; both were nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor. Indeed, Bounty itself won none of the marquee awards for which it was nominated (including Best Picture, Best Director for Lean, and Screenplay for Bolt), but did win several technical awards, including Best Cinematography, Best Original Score, and Best Art Direction-Set Decoration. Audiences the world over flocked to see the film, with the debate over whether Bligh or Christian was “right” igniting coffee tables, water coolers, and talk shows in 1980, and the film itself becoming the highest-grossing picture of that year.

    And then there was Steven Spielberg, who despite being a charter member of the New Hollywood generation was also seen as the father of the so-called “Blockbuster Age” which had succeeded it; the key logistical factor was the transition, pioneered by Jaws, from traditional market-to-market “roadshow”-style releases to simultaneous “wide” releases, wherein films would open on as many screens as possible in their first weekend of release. Though Spielberg had built this reputation on Jaws, he personally considered that film a purely mercenary, commercial enterprise – especially when he stacked it up against Oskar Schindler, a fellow nominee for Best Picture at the Academy Awards recognising the best in film for 1975. Kubrick was a professional inspiration to him, and he would often cite Napoleon as the greatest film ever made in interviews on the subject. Kubrick’s great critical and solid financial successes as an auteur – even Oskar Schindler had been profitable – inspired Spielberg more directly, including on his next choice of project. Like so many young people in the 1960s and 1970s, Spielberg was fascinated by the seemingly endless possibilities of an infinite universe. Aliens, in particular, fascinated him. The tiresome clichés of little green men and inscrutable invaders were not nearly so appealing to him, however, and he decided to direct a film about aliens who came in peace. First, however, James Bond had come calling, and he directed both Live and Let Die (in 1976) and The Man with the Golden Gun (in 1978). Eon Productions wanted him to return to direct The Spy Who Loved Me (ultimately released without him in 1980), but he decided that it was time to move on.

    He had long nurtured an outline for a film about humans making contact with extraterrestrials. As had been the case with Jaws, his concept was intimate in scope, focusing on the plight of a small group of people. He planned to make this movie through a development deal with Columbia, though it was put on hold after Jaws so that Spielberg could work on the James Bond films for United Artists. But by 1978, he was willing to revisit the concept, especially after Journey of the Force, written and directed by his close personal friend George Lucas, became such a smash – even outgrossing Jaws in the process. But Spielberg repeatedly ran into difficulties in getting his film green-lit, particularly as the result of clashes with the studio upper-heads. Executives wanted an action-packed adventure story in the vein of Spielberg’s Bond films or Journey, and screenwriters were suggested to him with that directive in mind. Spielberg himself wanted to write a deliberately-paced, meditative piece on the nature of humanity and our place in the cosmos – his own answer to 2001, a film whose shadow still loomed large over science-fiction fandom, even over a decade after its initial release. Columbia was hesitant, but Spielberg used his clout as a proven hitmaker – his last three movies had all been smash successes – to get the studio to see things his way. It was still the late-1970s, after all, and people still at least paid lip service to the auteur theory, even if only to bemoan it in private.

    The film was given the title Close Encounters, a reference to a term used in ufology to describe contact with extraterrestrials. The title implied the setting: present-day Earth. As a science-fiction film, all the future technology was in the hands of the alien visitors. Lawrence Kasdan, who wrote the smash-hit interracial romance film The Bodyguard, starring Diana Ross and Steve McQueen, was ultimately commissioned to flesh Steven Spielberg’s treatment out into a script. [9] Although Spielberg himself essentially co-wrote the script (especially later drafts) alongside Kasdan, the byzantine rules of the WGA assigned credit for the screenplay solely to Kasdan; Spielberg was given story credit. [10] Spielberg cast Jon Voight, who had played Hooper in Jaws, in the lead role of a scientist who was responsible for making initial contact with the aliens. [11] The film also focused on his family, particularly his relationship with his children. His youngest son, played by Raymond Read, won critical plaudits for his convincing performance, despite being the tender age of seven during filming. He became the youngest-ever actor to be nominated for an Oscar when he received a nod for Best Supporting Actor, though he ultimately did not win. [12] In one the film’s more curious casting choices, and in yet another nod by Spielberg to one of his filmmaking inspirations, the French New Wave director Francois Truffaut played the ufologist, despite his uncertain grasp of the English language. Close Encounters finished at #2 in the worldwide box-office for 1980, behind only Mutiny on the Bounty. In addition to Read’s nomination for Best Supporting Actor, the film also received nods for Best Picture, Best Director for Spielberg, and Best Original Screenplay for Kasdan.

    Spielberg considered himself among august company at the Oscars that year, for in addition to David Lean, he was also sharing space with Stanley Kubrick, who had decided to follow-up Schindler with a sunnier, lighter project – at least, by his standards. Inspired by several films of the earlier 1970s, particularly the works of Peter Bogdanovich (director of The Exorcist and Chinatown), Kubrick sought to direct a modern take on the venerable film noir genre, one which could be as blunt and explicit in its depiction of violence and gore as the classic noirs had been stylized and obfuscatory. Kubrick had directed the classic film noir Killer’s Kiss and wished to revisit the genre. He was inspired by the rash of “serial killers” in the late-1970s… as were many authors whose works he now sought to adapt.

    The story goes that Kubrick was in his office, searching for the right crime novel to adapt – with a large number of paperback novels in a rather intimidating pile. One by one, he would pick a book from the pile, leaf through the opening pages, and then throw it against the wall in frustration once he decided that the book was not what he was looking for. [13] The book would always make a loud thud against the wall, startling his secretary on the other side… until, after a fashion, she realized she had been bracing herself for a thud which never came. Intrigued, she peeked into his office and noticed him engrossed in the recently-published Thomas Harris novel The Lion of Judah, a psychological thriller and horror story about a fanatical serial killer committing murders according to his interpretation of the Book of Revelation. [14] When she brought this to his attention, he paused for a moment to consider what his captivation might mean… before curtly informing her to “buy the rights”. Without another word, he returned to his reading as she headed off to comply.

    The Lion of Judah had intrigued Kubrick for several reasons. The religious imagery, which might have otherwise alienated potential audiences (along with himself), functioned primarily as window-dressing to a book which focused on the FBI agent tasked with discovering the Lion’s identity, and then capturing him. The central “twist” of the book relative to other serial killer fiction popular at the time is that the agent was able to track down the Lion with the help of another serial killer who was in FBI custody, the notorious Hannibal the Cannibal. [15] As it happened, Kubrick had his own ideas about the story and characters which were… considerably different from those of Harris, and he was not afraid to bring them to life. Kubrick had never been much of a collaborator – he and Kirk Douglas constantly clashed on the set of Spartacus – and he never had much respect for writers of the works he adapted for the screen. It didn’t help that Harris himself was extremely reclusive – years later, Kubrick would remark that he had never met the man in person; Harris did not even attend the film’s premiere in Washington, D.C. (Kubrick himself attended only by having chartered transatlantic passage by ship.)

    Despite the American premiere and setting, the film itself was mostly shot at various locations around England, rather awkwardly standing in for the Midwestern United States. The cast, however, was indeed mostly American – only Hannibal the Cannibal himself was British, played by Peter Sellers, in his final collaboration with Kubrick and his final acting role, full stop – he died shortly after the end of filming. He received a posthumous nomination – and win – for Best Supporting Actor in 1981 for his performance as Hannibal the Cannibal. As was to be expected in any film where Sellers was part of the cast, he overshadowed most of the other players; in particular, the lead actor, playing the FBI agent who tracks down the Lion of Judah with Hannibal’s help, was savaged by critics as particularly bland and unmemorable. On the whole, the film was a lighter experience than Oskar Schindler – although almost anything would have been. At Edgar Bronfman’s insistence, Kubrick cut the film so that it would receive an “R” rating in the United States, also ensuring that it would receive a “15” certificate in the United Kingdom. He thus focused on what was left unseen to create the requisite atmosphere of gloom and dread. The more accessible rating paid off, resulting in another hit for Kubrick and for MGM – in fact The Lion of Judah was even more successful at the box-office than Oskar Schindler had been.

    Kubrick’s continued emphasis on darker, broodier works might have had an influence on Spielberg, because the younger director decided to follow Close Encounters with another science-fiction film about alien visitors, the proverbial “evil twin” to his earlier picture. This was done at the behest of Columbia, whose executives naturally wanted a sequel. However, it evolved into an independent project shortly thereafter, as Spielberg felt that Close Encounters told a complete story, and he was leery of directing a possible sequel, as the sequel to his Jaws was a critical and commercial disappointment (and despite that, a third film – which promised to be an even bigger disaster – was still in development). As a result, Spielberg’s idea evolved into Watch the Skies, reusing the same working title as Close Encounters but with a very different plot. Watch the Skies was based on the infamous Kelly-Hopkinsville encounter, which Spielberg had learned about during the production of Close Encounters; this had cemented in the popular imagination the idea of malevolent aliens visiting remote farmhouses and mutilating livestock. Spielberg wrote a treatment loosely based on the original encounter, but told from the perspective of the farming family encountering the aliens. [16] For more proof that Spielberg intended Watch the Skies as an “evil twin” to Close Encounters, Lawrence Kasdan was once again brought on to write the script, although Spielberg considered other writers, such as John Sayles, before ultimately re-teaming with Kasdan. Executives at Columbia, much to their own astonishment, loved Kasdan’s first draft and green-lit the film, which immediately went into pre-production.

    Spielberg and Kasdan agreed to rename the film Night Skies, deeming it more evocative than Watch the Skies (“it sounds like an Army Air Forces recruitment film”, as George Lucas had remarked of the original title). It would feature a small group of aliens – eleven in Spielberg’s original treatment, though this was continually cut down throughout the pre-production phase. In Kasdan’s first draft, there were eight – seven evil, each representing one of the deadly sins, and an eighth, the token good alien, who befriended an autistic child, Emmett (who would be played by Raymond Read from Close Encounters, in yet another production link to the earlier film). However, it was decided that a few of the sins would not translate well to a film intended for general audiences. Lust was eliminated because Spielberg and Kasdan felt it would be best to avoid raising the question of… interspecies compatibility. Sloth was eliminated because it did not fit the concept of intrepid alien scientists travelling to a distant planet to study and dissect its native life. Avarice and gluttony were consolidated into the personality of a single alien, leaving just four “sinful” extraterrestrials, and five altogether. The animatronic characters were designed by Rick Baker, who had worked on the makeup for Journey of the Force, in the breakthrough film of his career. His prototype design for “E.T.” (short for extra-terrestrial), the good alien (given that nickname by Emmett) cost nearly $100,000, but would form the basis for some of the most iconic alien creature designs in history.

    Night Skies was also the most gory and visceral film yet directed by Spielberg, very nearly earning the film an R-rating from the MPAA. On appeal, it was reduced to a PG, though it soon became clear to all involved that there was a gap in the MPAA ratings system that might have needed to be filled. Those involved with the making of the film, alongside critics and other commentators within the entertainment industry, and particularly those outside of it, for once seemed united in their assessment of Night Skies - it was too violent and bloody for a PG-rating, but too tame and family-friendly for an R-rating. The MPAA, at Spielberg’s petitioning, immediately got to work seeking out a happy medium.

    All the same, Night Skies was a smash, becoming the highest-grossing film of 1982, and receiving several Oscar nominations, including, once again, Best Picture, Best Director for Spielberg, and Best Original Screenplay for Lawrence Kasdan. Raymond Read once again received an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor, becoming the youngest person to be nominated for two Oscars and the first person to receive a second Oscar nomination under the age of 10. Though he won neither award, this legacy would come back to haunt him in later years. In less foreboding news, the inaugural Academy Award for Best Makeup was awarded to Rick Baker for his accomplishments on the film, the first of many wins he would ultimately score in that category.

    Night Skies was very much like Close Encounters (and Spielberg’s earlier film, Jaws) in that they shared a relatively limited narrative scope. This was an especially marked contrast to the globe-trotting and international intrigue which characterized the James Bond films, including the two which he had directed. Spielberg very much wished to return to a “big” movie for his next project after Night Skies, and he had long wished to make a film about the Pacific Theatre in World War II. Considering that the Pacific Ocean covered a third of the Earth’s surface – larger than all of the planet’s landmasses combined – it would appear that an epic scope would be necessary to do justice to depicting the war on screen. Columbia was leery; Pacific War pictures had consistently underperformed at the box-office, including the critically-acclaimed American-Japanese co-production Tora! Tora! Tora!, in the mid-1970s. Audiences weren’t interested in a WWII picture, forcing Spielberg to put the idea on ice for the time being.

    In the meantime, both he and Kubrick seemed to be having an impact on the Hollywood scene of the 1980s. The thriller, science-fiction, and horror genres, all thrown together into a blender, and mixed well with the economic uncertainty of the era (before the Invest in America program finally began paying dividends mid-decade), created a new “fusion” genre, perhaps best embodied by another film released in 1982, the first to make extensive use of visual effects produced with computer technology. In many ways, this film was a neo-noir, though with a unique setting: the inside of a computer. Hardwired depicted the computer’s central processing unit as a gritty inner city, named Circuit City. In the noir tradition, it starred a private investigator whose loved one was gunned down by a newly-arrived crime lord whose “territory” included Circuit City - being the delegate from a “global network”. He then partnered with a rogue vigilante who had pursued this crime lord from some other “city” which was said to have left in ruins, leaving the vigilante to swear revenge. Circuit City thus represented a single microcomputer; the specifics of the “network” were unclear, but the writers used the historical telegraph and telephone lines for inspiration, envisioning the day when microcomputers could all be interconnected worldwide in much the same fashion, cementing Hardwired as science-fiction despite many of the trappings of Circuit City being contemporary, or even throwback homages in some respects.

    The art direction and set design of Hardwired was carefully handled, with a focus on stylistic artifice. In this respect, Hardwired would prove tremendously influential in helping to create the “look” of the 1980s: bright, flashy colours contrasting with a background of darkness and shadow, which eventually came to be known as the “neon” style (from how it strongly resembled neon lighting at night). This style would eventually lend itself to the tremendously popular Neon City Vice later in the decade, and indeed that series owed about as much to Hardwired as it did to MTV in its visual aesthetic, only without computer effects. No, computer-generated or assisted visual effects (which became known in shorthand as digital effects, to contrast with the physical effects which included scale models, prosthetics, matte paintings and compositing, stop-motion, and trick photography, alongside other decades-old techniques) were very much the exclusive province of Hardwired in the early going. [17] That said, even Hardwired was relatively sparing in its use of digital effects, which remained far more expensive, time-consuming, and labour-intensive than physical effects for the time being, and were far less convincing to the human eye. [18] However, digital effects were heavily advertised in marketing for the film. This rankled many old-school members of the Academy, some of whom were vocal in considering the digital effects of Hardwired to be “cheating”, and thus the film was not nominated for the Oscar for Best Visual Effects (which instead went to Night Skies). [19] Complimenting the film’s synthetic visual style was the score, performed entirely by synthesizers. This did receive an Academy Award nomination for its composer, the Greek musician who called himself Vangelis.

    The film was a commercial success, though many critics complained of the pedestrian, clichéd plot (despite the novel setting and impressive visuals). Hardwired being such a throwback was an obvious attempt by the film’s producers to have the Journey of the Force lightning strike twice – especially since it seemed that an actual sequel to Journey was years away in the early-1980s. In one respect, it did live up to its ambitions to be a spiritual successor to Journey, and that was with regards to merchandising: tie-in toys and games (including the arcade game, and the home console and computer ports which soon followed) were all smash hits. Hardwired would come to accrue more critical esteem in later years, being credited (much like Star Trek before it) for “inventing” the future in many ways. It also became a hot seller on home video, with more units sold for CED than any other film released in 1982, including Night Skies.

    Hardwired borrowed its dark, surprisingly nihilistic tone from the darker films that had preceded it, but it was in many ways both mainstream and highly approachable and consumable by audiences. The same could not be said of many other cult films released in the early-1980s. Many were the products of United Artists, newly part of the CanWest conglomerate. Given its inexperienced ownership, a period of experimentation was inevitable, and this was allowed by studio executives as long as those doing the experimenting were Canadian - federal tax credits were a necessity. Thus, a number of Canadian filmmakers found themselves with the resources of a major Hollywood studio at their disposal, and surprisingly, many of them were able to make something of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

    David Cronenberg, from Toronto, took up the horror mantle and ran with it; the more recent works of Stanley Kubrick, Oskar Schindler and The Lion of Judah, were clear influences. His early films, stylistically, were a combination of the devastation and depravity of Schindler with the psychological elements of Judah – albeit with a less detached narrative drive than Kubrick; Cronenberg’s films were character pieces with focused on how the horror wrought upon them affected them personally, usually demonstrated for cinematic purposes through grotesque and irreversible physical transformations.

    James Cameron, born in Northern Ontario but raised in Niagara Falls, was much more a nuts-and-bolts filmmaker than Cronenberg, far more interested in spectacle than the visceral. Inspired to go into filmmaking by Journey of the Force, he started his career with Roger Corman in a production design capacity. Corman gave him his first shot directing, with the result being a “haunted house in space” film called Star Beast. [20] A cheaply made, efficiently-shot exploitation action-horror film, Cameron’s flourishes as a director and a production designer nonetheless brought him to the attention of studio executives at United Artists, where he worked in visual effects, second unit photography, and as first assistant director on several genre pictures – not making his return to the director’s chair until the newly-reorganized Lucasfilm approached him in 1984 – George Lucas was particularly impressed with his ability to sell his ideas.

    Nevin Richard of Montreal was also a throwback director, of sorts, though his inspirations were not 1940s genres but 1960s genres. A devotee of the French nouvelle vague, Richard was also an admirer of an obscure cult writing style known as gonzo journalism, most popular in the early-1970s, along with stream-of-consciousness narratives in literature and pop art in still images. [21] His gift was in bringing these diverse styles together and fashioning an eclectic and identifiable whole from them, and this impressed executives at United Artists, who saw him as the kind of director who would earn them mountains of prestige, ideally playing to the art-houses with the same success that Woody Allen had managed for the studio in the 1970s.

    And finally, among francophone directors, there was Denys Arcand, born in a small village in Quebec. Already an established filmmaker by the time UA came calling, and fully bilingual to boot, he was nonetheless reluctant to direct a film in the English language. When he finally did so, that film (an adaptation of a popular Mordecai Richler novel) underperformed, and UA agreed to distribute his French-language films to the worldwide Francophone audience, an arrangement which both sides found far more agreeable.

    By 1984, it seemed that “dark” and “bizarre” were dominant artistic trends in the filmmaking industry, which is why it came as such a surprise when Steven Spielberg decided to buck this trend – and with his planned WWII film, to boot. He’d decided that a comedic angle might be just what the picture needed to breathe life into the Pacific War, not to mention that he was tired of dark, brooding movies after having directed five in a row – even his two James Bond movies had been decidedly more dour and straight-faced than the norm. Spielberg encountered resistance to the notion from all corners; it had been almost four decades since the war had ended, but treating World War II with irreverence still seemed almost sacrilegious to a great many Americans. Eventually he decided to focus on a far more recent – and much briefer – conflict in which Americans had fought: the Argentine War.

    Here Spielberg took inspiration from Kubrick once again, but this time from Dr. Strangelove. The Argentine War, more than most conflicts, was predicated on several absurd elements – the casus belli was an archipelago of windswept islands, the Pope had been unable to defuse tensions between the two primary belligerents, and the UN task force sent to pacify the region so overpowered the Argentine armed forces that the former had obliterated the latter in a single battle. However, memories from the Argentine War were fresh in everyone’s minds, and most Americans approved of it as an absolute victory for democratic ideals against totalitarianism – and the first decisive American military victory since World War II; it was easy to see how Spielberg was able to conflate the two conflicts. Spielberg decided to fictionalize the story, which he did with the help of screenwriter John Sayles, from whom he commissioned the script; as had been the case with Night Skies, Spielberg retained story credit. [22]

    The film was given the title Prepare for War, from the famous adage “if you want peace, prepare for war” (si vis pacem, para bellum, in the original Latin.) The story involved two countries: the People’s Democratic Republic of Platinea (Argentina) and the Republic of Andea (Chile), who were in dispute over a contested territorial claim in Antarctica, a situation which the corrupt and inefficient fascists in Platinea hoped to exploit to distract their restive populace from their dismal domestic situation. Among the members of the Platinean cabinet was a mysterious older gentleman (“El Señor Doktor”) with a German accent – a reference not only to Dr. Strangelove, but also specifically to Josef Mengele, believed to still be alive and in hiding in Argentina, having fled there after the war. [23]

    Their opposite numbers were ersatz representatives of the Western Democracies: President Blaster of Freedonia (the US), a former newsreader before he got into politics, was an intriguing contrast to the Platinean cabinet, in that he also wanted to start a war to distract from domestic issues which threatened his chances at re-election. Prime Minister Whiffle of Albion (the UK) – whose appearance vaguely resembled that of President Muffley in Dr. Strangelove, also to emphasize his weakness and impotence [24] – continuously ignored or denied the threat from Platinea, even though they also had territory in Antarctica neighbouring the disputed claim, and the Platineans had often attacked them over it in the past – always without facing reprisals. President Gloverrain of Gaul (France) was a snob who cared little about the situation, going along with everyone else only after making clear how deeply it inconvenienced the people and republic of Gaul, who cared little about the situation, or any situation that did not involve Gaulish food, Gaulish wine, or Gaulish politics. Finally, Prime Minister Stamford of Borealia (Canada) was eager to prove his small country’s mettle, despite the relative paucity of its own military might. (Australia, the fifth major participant in the allied intervention, was not directly represented at all in the film – although in some ways Borealia was a composite of both Canada and Australia, as implied by its name. Indeed, even Canada would likely have been left out if there hadn’t been room for an overcompensating, eager bootlicker among the allies.)

    The central action set-piece of the film, the Battle Over the Antarctic Ocean, was depicted farcically, with extensive pyrotechnics used to represent the incredibly overpowered allied task force completely demolishing the tiny Platinean contingent – made to look far more pathetic in the film than even the Argentines had been in the actual Battle of the Argentine Sea. The “carrier” depicted in the film, the Feliz Navidad, was a hastily jury-rigged monstrosity of interwar vintage, flying WWI-era biplanes off its deck (including a Fokker decked out in Red Baron livery); other ships in the Platinean fleet included honest-to-goodness sailing ships. Given the Amerocentric spin of the film, the infamous scandal in which the British fighter planes remained on deck due to their lack of a decisive advantage over the Argentine ground-based fighters was not directly referenced, though the Albionish commanding officer (identified as Commodore Lord Fauntleroy of Chesterfield – true to his name, he spent most of his appearances sitting on a couch) did (comically) express hesitation at engaging “such a formidable fleet” in reference to this. The Freedonian admiral in charge of the task force was played by Ernest Borgnine (in an obvious reference to McHale’s Navy) – with part of the joke being his advanced age (he was already over 65 during filming) making him unsuitable for direct leadership of a critical task force, but that he was chosen because he had experience in a similar campaign during the Pacific War; Borgnine himself had been a gunner’s mate, but the character was referred to as having been a commanding officer on a torpedo boat, again in reference to McHale’s Navy. The CAG, Colonel Popcorn, was played by none other than Kirk Allen, in an opportunity for the actor to demonstrate his comedic talents – he was the central viewpoint character of the battle sequence. As with Borgnine, Allen was chosen in part to reference his past roles: he was a flyer (like Superman) stationed aboard a ship (like Fletcher Christian). In contrast to Borgnine, Allen, born in the early-1950s, was a bit too young to play a Colonel (or rather, a Captain, as his character should have been a naval aviator if not for the pun potential in his name), and was depicted as green (too young to have served in the overseas quagmire) and gung-ho, eager to prove his mettle.

    The denouement that followed played out very similarly to the actual denouement to the Argentine War; the neighbouring country of Pindorama (Brazil) immediately declared war on Platinea following the defeat of most of their military (with the crossing of the “Platinean River” scene being a brief if obvious homage to Bridge on the River Kwai), as the task force headed for the capital bombarded the Platinean coastline along the way (an act clearly depicted as unnecessary and gratuitous, echoing the common criticism of its execution – sometimes called the “Rape of the Argentine Coast” – in real life). Upon arriving at the capital, bedlam erupted in the Presidential Palace, with multiple deaths (some by suicide, some by assassination) taking place in a single scene – Sayles and Spielberg wrote and shot the scene as an insane parody of the closing scene of Hamlet, complete with the “bad guy” (from their perspective) showing up randomly at the end.

    Spielberg couldn’t resist the opportunity to punish Mengele vicariously, having the mysterious elder statesman with the German accent be captured alive by the allies, who immediately recognized him (“it’s Doctor Von Mangler!”) and arrange for him to be sent to “the Hag” for his war crimes tribunal. In one of the more off-the-wall moments of the film, Von Mangler was then handed over to an old, ugly woman (who had been a silent background character in several earlier briefing scenes) who immediately attempted to have her way with him. Naturally, the only remotely sane Platinean cabinet minister (believed by many to have been based on El Suertudo, Juan Manuel Lombardi, though there was no evidence for this) was the only one left standing at the end of this chaos, and it was he who signed the instrument of surrender (aboard the American carrier, as Spielberg considered that “cooler” than how the war actually formally ended, and it was yet another homage to World War II), ending the war, and the film; immediately before the cut to credits, a montage of still images with captions detailed the fates of all the major players, lingering on Freedonian President Blaster being defeated by “the first Freedonian in space, and the first man on the Moon” in the subsequent Presidential election.

    A massive departure for Spielberg, it was also his best-reviewed film to date, profusely praised by Roger Ebert and Gene Siskel in Coming Attractions as “incisive satire, freewheeling farce, and superbly-executed slapstick in a perfectly-balanced comedic concoction”. As a pure parody film, it received more acclaim than even Catastrophe! had a few years before. Not since Dr. Strangelove had a satirical film been so well-regarded, although Spielberg’s film was considerably lighter in tone than Kubrick’s black comedy. The humour was also less sexual or prone to double-entendre, Spielberg preferring farcical elements. He had even attempted to film his own take on the famous “pie fight” ending to Dr. Strangelove in his movie (with Kubrick’s blessing), but ultimately could not, because (as had been the case for Kubrick) his actors could not maintain straight faces for complete takes; the abortive pie fight was eventually included as bonus footage on the CED release of the film.

    Kubrick himself was very fond of Prepare for War; while acknowledging its debt to Dr. Strangelove, he admired its commentary on the Argentine War and on the potential of conflicts being manufactured as a diversion from more pressing issues on the home front. The film itself was released the same year that Peronistas, a musical with similar themes as regards war and the military, made it to Broadway, and between the two of them, a new wave of historiography on the Argentine War began to emerge as a result. Many of the real-life political figures parodied in the film, some of whom were still in office, were naturally less enthusiastic - though former President Ronald Reagan, who along with UK Prime Minister Whitelaw was perhaps the most viciously parodied figure among the Allies, publicly spoke out about how much he had enjoyed the film, taking his portrayal as “President Blaster” in stride, joking that he would have even played the part himself, were it offered to him. (Gregory Peck, a Democrat, played the part instead.) Whitelaw, for his part, did not deign to comment on “Whiffle”, though his Parliamentary opponents took delight in needling him with the character. [25] In Canada, Prime Minister Stanfield was delighted by his portrayal in the film, as was much of the Canadian media, who proved that portrayal accurate upon expressing delight at having rated mention at all.

    Former French President Mitterrand [26] never commented directly on his portrayal as the snooty, aloof Gloverrain, but many within the French intelligentsia rose to his defence, and to the defence of the Republic. It was film critic Arthur de Boutiny, writing for Le Monde (the French newspaper of record, and the only one widely available in the Anglosphere), whose observations were most widely noted:

    De Boutiny’s critique so moved both Spielberg and Sayles (albeit perhaps with a nudge from the studio, worried about the scandal hurting their grosses at the French box-office) that they publicly apologized both to De Boutiny, and to the French people as a whole. Ironically, despite his scathing critique, De Boutiny gave the film a good review overall, and it performed quite well in France - some Frenchmen were miffed at their country’s inaccurate depiction in the film, but this was blunted by the overall parodic and farcical tone of the picture. Among the film’s defenders in France was none other than Francois Truffaut, whom Spielberg had even invited to appear as Gloverrain, though he declined, believing that the part called for a stronger actor, given the tone of the film. (Gloverrain was ultimately played by Franco-American actor Rene Auberjonois, best known at the time for his role as Father Mulcahy in the flop anti-war film M*A*S*H.) [27]

    Prepare for War was released in 1984, a fitting year of release for a film whose central theme involved a manufactured war as a distraction from the home front. However, Prepare for War could not possibly carry the mantle of “a modern-day 1984 for the year 1984” because that was the year an actual adaptation of Orwell’s classic dystopia hit the big screen, helmed by none other than Stanley Kubrick. Kubrick agreed to direct 1984 at the behest of Edgar Bronfman shortly after The Lion of Judah was released. Bronfman, aware that someone would want to release an adaptation of 1984 in 1984, decided to beat everyone else to the punch, securing the film rights in 1980. He was also aware that Kubrick worked very slowly, and he figured that four years would be enough time for him to complete production. Kubrick was enticed by the idea, and suitably flattered by Bronfman’s proclamation that only he could properly bring Oceania to the screen.

    Kubrick adapted 1984 for the screen himself, though he briefly considered hiring Terry Southern to write it with him. Much of the location scouting and photographic research he had done in developing Oskar Schindler was put to good use in pre-production, as the art design and set decoration required a distinctly totalitarian aesthetic. One of Kubrick’s more particular bugbears, accuracy in the use of period typefaces, reared its ugly head here as well. Relying too heavily on Soviet art and architecture was a double-edged sword: the dominant school of design in the Second World, brutalism, placed an extreme emphasis on utilitarianism, or function over form. Brutalist structures thus tended to be simple, drab, and monotonous, which would not be visually appealing for audiences. [28] Although this may have complemented 1984 as a narrative, it went against Kubrick’s instincts as a filmmaker; his films had always been known for their bold, stylistic visual flair. Thus, eventually, he somehow worked out a compromise between the grotesque excesses of fascism and the extreme utilitarianism of communism, devising a style which would produce some of the most memorable images in film.

    1984 was otherwise a relatively faithful adaptation of Orwell’s novel. Kubrick did emphasize the lack of objective truth in the novel by emphasizing repeatedly that even the basic facts which were presented to the audience were just as likely to be fabrications as the propaganda which was known to be false. Kubrick made skilled use of third-person narration to emphasize the ambiguity and muddle the “truth” – several narrators were used, each telling a different story from all of the others. The film also openly suggested a commonly-held theory about the world in which 1984 was set: that Eurasia and Eastasia, the two perpetual rival states to Oceania, did not exist - that even whole countries existed merely as tools of the Ministry of Information. Kubrick also made extensive use of Orwell’s IngSoc “language”, even creating additional words in that language not originally featured in Orwell’s novel.

    Ironically, the most common criticism of 1984 was that it played out in exactly the way everyone had expected from a Kubrick adaptation of the novel; there were no surprises to be had. The ideal for any artist was to surprise and satisfy in the same breath; though Kubrick had succeeded at the latter, he had failed at the former. It seemed that mantle would have to be taken up by a newer generation of artists, including the Canadian Cohort of Cronenberg, Cameron, Richard, and Arcand.

    However, despite his artistic crisis of confidence, the film performed very well at the box office, capturing the zeitgeist and becoming Kubrick’s biggest hit since Napoleon. Like many of his other films, it was nominated for a slew of awards, including Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Adapted Screenplay at the 1985 Oscars. It did not win any of these, but did take home a handful of technical awards, including Best Art Direction-Set Decoration. The big awards, much to the surprise of many, went to Prepare for War, which became the first comedy film to win Best Picture since Tom Jones over two decades earlier. [29] Spielberg won his second Best Director Oscar, and Sayles took home his first, for Best Original Screenplay. [30] Although Gregory Peck and Ernest Borgnine had each been nominated for Best Supporting Actor, neither veteran took home another Oscar at that night’s ceremony; nominal “lead” Kirk Allen (who was top-billed despite making his first appearance well into the second act of the film) hadn’t even been nominated. Spielberg, in his acceptance speech, dedicated his Oscar win to two men: Kubrick and Truffaut, the latter of whom died several weeks later.

    With 1984 behind them, the two directors – Stanley Kubrick and Steven Spielberg – were at a crossroads. Kubrick ultimately decided to try his hand at adapting Umberto Eco for the screen. [30] Meanwhile, by the time of the Academy Awards ceremony in early 1985, Spielberg was about to commence filming on the sequel to Journey of the Force

    ---

    [1] Attlee apparently wanted rationing to continue indefinitely, which again helps to inform 1984, and demonstrates the totality of state control of the British economy in the 1940s. Rations were not fully lifted until 1954, under the Conservatives. They survived George VI (died 1952), Queen Mary (died 1953), and the coronation of Elizabeth II (also 1953), mooting any prospect of the return of a lavish coronation banquet (last thrown for George IV in 1821, although one was planned for Edward VII in 1902 before his appendicitis mooted the affair).

    [2] Kubrick planned to direct an adaptation of the novel Wartime Lies during this timeframe IOTL, attempting to commission Isaac Bashevis Singer to write the screenplay in 1976; Singer declined, and the film was not optioned until the early-1990s, at which time Schindler’s List was already in development; ultimately Kubrick abandoned the project. ITTL, since he remains at MGM with the success of Napoleon, he is able to avail himself of the studio archivist’s services to find a story idea instead.

    [3] Based on Kubrick’s OTL critique of Schindler’s List, which was suggested to him as a film about the Holocaust: “Think that’s about the Holocaust? That was about success, wasn’t it? The Holocaust is about six million people who get killed. Schindler’s List is about 600 who don’t.” This quote suggests how he would approach the film if he had made it (and indeed, how he does make it ITTL).

    [4] The plot of Oskar Schindler resembles that of Schindler’s List only in broad strokes - List was directly adapted from the Thomas Keneally novel Schindler’s Ark (never written ITTL) which (being a novel) was a fictionalized account of true events. One major change is that the emphasis on the list itself (or rather, the lists, as there were several drafts) is greatly downplayed.

    [5] Pfefferberg was tireless and incessant in his attempts to disseminate Schindler’s story to the masses. IOTL, he convinced Thomas Keneally to write Schindler’s Ark (as the story goes, he cornered Keneally in his shop upon learning that he was a writer and hard-sold him into writing about Schindler). He then served, as ITTL, as a consultant on the screen adaptation of that novel, Schindler’s List.

    [6] Schindler died in 1974 IOTL; the financial security brought on by the “hero’s pension”, along with being constantly scrutinized by people with an active interest in his continued good health, serve to prolong his life somewhat.

    [7] Baron Grade of Elstree is better known IOTL as Lew Grade, the man who offered to broadcast The Muppet Show on his channel, ATV, after every American broadcaster turned them down. He pursued a career as a movie producer IOTL as well, and just as ITTL he chose to adapt a novel with a nautical theme: Clive Cussler’s 1976 Dirk Pitt adventure, Raise the Titanic!. It was a huge bomb, due in part to overinflated production costs (as Lord Grade himself famously put it: “it would have been cheaper to lower the Atlantic”).

    [8] The Rose, completed in 1970 (shortly after the POD) and modeled after the sixth-rate frigate HMS Rose from over two centuries before, has starred in several films IOTL, most famously the 2003 film adaptation of the Aubrey-Maturin novels, Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World, for which she was officially renamed HMS Surprise (a designation to which she is technically not entitled, as she does hold a royal warrant).

    [9] Kasdan’s screenplay for The Bodyguard was indeed written in the 1970s, and it was indeed considered as a Diana Ross vehicle, and thus intended as an interracial romance from the outset; various candidates for the male lead included both McQueen (who declined IOTL because he refused to be billed after Ross – he accepts the part ITTL under the compromise of diagonal billing, invented for him IOTL as well as ITTL) and Ryan O’Neal. This is what ultimately brought him to the attention of George Lucas IOTL, when he needed a scriptwriter for The Empire Strikes Back. Meanwhile, The Bodyguard was, of course, finally made into a film starring Whitney Houston and Kevin Costner in 1992 IOTL. That film was notoriously silent on the subject of race; ITTL, this version of The Bodyguard makes much greater hay of the issue. (And yes, Diana Ross sings some songs in the movie and for the soundtrack, but no, an R&B-styled cover of Dolly Parton’s “I Will Always Love You” is not among them.)

    [10] With thanks to Electric Monk for taking the time to find the official WGA Rules as regards script and story credit for an original screenplay:

    The term "story" means all writing covered by the provisions of the Minimum Basic Agreement representing a contribution "distinct from screenplay and consisting of basic narrative, idea, theme or outline indicating character development and action."

    Any writer whose work represents a contribution of more than 33% of a screenplay shall be entitled to screenplay credit, except where the screenplay is an original screenplay. In the case of an original screenplay, any subsequent writer or writing team must contribute 50% to the final screenplay.

    In the case of Night Skies, Spielberg would have developed all of the elements comprising a story credit by himself, he then would have worked on perhaps a quarter to a third of the script alongside Kasdan. Had Night Skies been an adaptation, this might have been enough to get him a co-writer credit for the screenplay, but since this is an original work, Kasdan alone receives the screenplay credit. This is rendered in the opening credits of the film as “Story by STEVEN SPIELBERG; Screenplay by LAWRENCE KASDAN”.

    [11] As previously mentioned, Richard Dreyfuss did not play Hooper in Jaws due to his commitment to Those Were the Days. Although Billy Crystal took his breakthrough role in American Graffiti, I don’t think I could get away with casting him as Hooper ITTL. Therefore, and as previously mentioned, the part goes to Jon Voight, which then gets him the role in Close Encounters as a knock-on effect.

    [12] The youngest nominee in any acting category at the time of the POD (at which time the most recent ceremony had been the 38th Academy Awards, held on April 18, 1966), was Jackie Cooper for Best Actor in Skippy, at the age of 9 (and 20 days). The youngest-ever nominee up to that point in Read’s specific category was Brandon deWilde, for Shane, at the age of 11 (-going-on-12). In the years since then and through the end of this timeline, IOTL, only Justin Henry for Kramer vs. Kramer came along to dethrone them - he remains to this day the youngest-ever nominee of any competitive Academy Award of Merit. ITTL, on the other hand, he was never born, having an OTL birth year of 1971.

    [13] Yes, Kubrick was looking for his next project (after Barry Lyndon) in exactly the same way IOTL, and it was in this way that he stumbled across The Shining (the first of a great many things about his approach to the novel which mystifies author Stephen King, as by his own admission the book starts off rather slowly and having little to do with the eventual thrust of the plot).

    [14] The equivalent ITTL of Red Dragon, the first book in the Silence of the Lambs/Hannibal series, which introduced (or rather unleashed) the character of Dr. Hannibal Lecter to (upon) the world. Harris’s earlier novel, Black Sunday, is not written ITTL (although the Munich Massacre, which inspired it, still happened).

    [15] Yes, this is Hannibal Lecter ITTL. The character was inspired by intrepid 23-year-old reporter Thomas Harris’s trip to Monterrey, Mexico, in 1963, where he met with Dr. Alfredo Ballí Treviño (aka Dr. Salazar), who had been convicted of murdering and mutilating a close friend. Since his encounter with Dr. Salazar predates the POD, Hannibal’s creation is therefore resistant to butterflies, even after all these years. Hannibal’s surname is not Lecter ITTL, and indeed, his surname is never given in the film – he is identified primarily by his nom de guerre, as is the case with so many serial killers.

    [16] Watch the Skies, later (as ITTL, though for different reasons) renamed Night Skies, was an OTL story idea by Spielberg which he conceived at the behest of Columbia, hungry for a sequel to Close Encounters. IOTL he went off to make 1941 and then Raiders with George Lucas (who is, of course, unemployable in the early-1980s ITTL) before returning to the project; he first wanted Kasdan to write it, but he was already writing The Empire Strikes Back. He then turned to John Sayles, who delivered his first (and, as it turned out, the only) draft of the script in 1980. Rick Baker spent somewhere between $70,000 and $100,000 (reports vary) on a prototype design for the lead alien before Spielberg, leery of making another blood-and-guts film immediately after Raiders, scrapped the project. In essence, Night Skies evolved into two different films: the alien encountering a family (and particularly the “befriending a child” subplot) became E.T., and the horror elements were transmuted into Poltergeist; both films were produced by Spielberg, though Tobe Hooper directed the latter. Amusingly, neither film was produced by Columbia; E.T. was made at Universal, and Poltergeist at MGM-UA.

    [17] IOTL, the term computer-generated imagery, or CGI, eventually became the predominant term to refer to what ITTL are known as “digital effects” (although the more generic term “computer graphics” was also very popular for a time). On the other hand, IOTL, the term “practical effects” is used instead of “physical effects”.

    [18] As was the case IOTL with many films remembered as “breakthroughs” in CGI technology, including not only OTL’s Tron but also Jurassic Park and Terminator 2: Judgment Day. It wasn’t until the mid-1990s that films began to rely primarily on CGI for visual effects, and most of these have aged horribly. (It was the Star Wars prequels – particularly Attack of the Clones – and then Avatar, in the 2000s, which really were breakthroughs in CGI with (relatively) little use of practical effects.)

    [19] As per IOTL. Tron was nominated for two Oscars (winning neither), neither of which was Best Visual Effects. The Visual Effects Oscar went to E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial.

    [20] Star Beast was the working title for the script that became Alien IOTL, which was very nearly sold to Roger Corman. The former change did not happen ITTL, but the latter did. The original script was much more schlocky than the finished film, which it (naturally) remains as a Corman production; not even James Cameron can elevate it to high art. (Remember, his first movie IOTL was Piranha II.)

    [21] In terms of culture shock sensibility, think Quentin Tarantino, about a decade early. Also think Talking Heads, if they had made movies instead of music (and yes, I know they made movies IOTL).

    [22] In this case, Spielberg probably wrote as much of the script as Sayles, maybe slightly less, but Sayles still gets sole screenwriting credit because the WGA judges would reckon that Sayles wrote over 50% of the film. (Although Spielberg never took script attribution to arbitration, because although he probably deserved joint credit, he was generous enough to allow Sayles full credit, since he was already the director and producer. Remember, this is Steven Spielberg, not some haughty auteur.)

    [23] Mengele did indeed flee to Argentina after the war, remaining there until 1959, when he fled to Brazil via Paraguay, where he evaded capture for the rest of his life. IOTL, he drowned while swimming off the coast of Brazil in 1979; for yet more proof that I am not writing a utopia, he is still alive and at large ITTL, and will remain so at least through September 20, 1986.

    [24] Whitelaw did not actually resemble Muffley in real life; Sellers was much more gaunt in the face, and Whitelaw – though balding – maintained a comb-over as was the fashion until baldness became “sexy” in the 1990s. He also had caterpillar eyebrows, which would be ill-served by hiding them with a pair of horn-rimmed glasses. In fact, it is the Canadian Prime Minister, Robert Stanfield, who much more closely resembles Muffley. See for yourself: here is Stanfield and here is Muffley. I’d go so far as to argue that Stanfield might look more like Muffley than the character’s actual inspiration, Adlai Stevenson. Indeed, ITTL, with his 1972 election, many American and British wags, getting a good look at the newly-elected Stanfield, promptly derided him as “Prime Minister Muffley”. In Prepare for War, Stanfield’s alter-ego Stamford is portrayed by none other than Leslie Nielsen, in a fun bit of meta casting; his brother, Erik Nielsen, is a Canadian cabinet minister (ITTL and IOTL).

    [25] This film is credited for the widespread adoption of the term “whiffle” to mean “to prevaricate; to vacillate; to be fickle” in the United Kingdom ITTL.

    [26] Mitterrand won narrowly in 1974 ITTL when he lost ITTL, and he lost narrowly in 1981, when he won IOTL. By 1981, the world economy had not sufficiently recovered to save him, although it would have by 1982 (which saved Whitelaw in the UK and Stanfield in Canada).

    [27] At the time IOTL, he had been playing the stuffy, pompous bureaucrat Clayton Endicott III on Benson (which doesn’t exist ITTL, as you can’t have Benson without Mona – I mean, Jessica) for several seasons, which alone makes him perfect as Gloverrain. In addition, a few years down the line IOTL he would voice the outrageous French chef caricature in The Little Mermaid (“hee hee hee, hon hon hon”), which shows he isn’t above poking fun at his heritage.

    [28] There actually are some distinctive (“striking” is far too strong a word) examples of brutalist architecture in England, where Kubrick filmed 1984. A principal filming location is the University of East Anglia, which – well, see it for yourself. IOTL, the campus complex was even highlighted recently by the National Trust as some of the best brutalist architecture in Britain, which granted is rather like saying that Three Mile Island was one of the best-handled nuclear disasters in American history. Speaking of American history, several prominent American brutalist structures are also featured in the film, albeit through the use of second unit photography and aerial shots, including the truly hideous Boston City Hall.

    [29] IOTL, of course, Annie Hall won Best Picture (over Star Wars) in 1978, ending a fourteen-year drought for comedy winners. Another would not win for two decades, when Shakespeare in Love controversially beat out Saving Private Ryan (a WWII film directed by none other than Steven Spielberg) in 1999. Worth noting is that even many of the comedies that have won Best Picture in the last several decades usually come with a qualifying twist or subgenre, and Prepare for War (in part a political satire) is no exception.

    [30] One of Kubrick’s many unrealized projects was an adaptation of Eco’s impenetrably dense novel, Foucault’s Pendulum. He was unable to make the film IOTL because Eco had been deeply dissatisfied with the film adaptation of The Name of the Rose, and refused to grant him (or anyone) the rights. In later years, Eco has admitted that he regrets this decision.

    ---

    Thus finally concludes the 1984-85 cycle! Only one cycle now remains before the end of the timeline. Thank you all for reading what eventually emerged as the longest update in the history of this thread, at 12,657 words, shattering the record previously held by my update on the Argentine War. (Fitting, considering that I reference the events of the update in this one.)

    Immense thanks are in order to both e of pi and Electric Monk (yes, he’s back!) for assisting in the editing of this monster update, and for letting me bounce my ideas off them. Thanks also to Thande and MaskedPickle for clarifying certain issues with regard to Britain and France, respectively. Although it wasn’t intentional, in the making of this update, I consulted with one person from each of the four member nations of the UN task force to Argentina ITTL: a Canadian, an American, a Briton, and a Frenchman, and this delights me :D

    Anyway. The next (and last!) cycle beckons. More to Come soon-ish. Then the Overview Update, fortunately those are much easier (and faster!) for me to write. Until then!
     
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2016
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  9. Danderns Member

    Joined:
    May 6, 2015
    Location:
    People's Republic of Sealand
    This update was great Brainbin, and Kubrick's 1984 sounds like an interesting concept.

    If I may ask, what is Michael Bay up to?

    He worked for Lucasfilm in the early 1980s in OTL.
     
  10. Mr.E Anti-Social Socialist

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2012
    Location:
    The Mountainous Democratic Republic of Colorado
    Great update. Glad to see Kubrick and Spielberg are doing fine ITTL. Though, is Hannibal the Cannibal similar to Hannibal Lecter, or do they just share the name and the behavior.

    One filmmaker I am curious about, who wasn't covered was John Carpenter. Anything notable from him?

    Also, without either Blade Runner or Alien, what happened to Ridley Scott?
     
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2016
  11. e of pi Turbine Printer

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    Halfway to Anywhere
    Wikipedia says, "Bay got his start in the film industry interning with George Lucas when he was fifteen, filing the storyboards for Raiders of the Lost Ark, which he thought was going to be terrible. His opinion changed after seeing it in the theater and he was so impressed by the experience that he decided to become a film director.[15]"

    Since Raiders isn't made iTTL, it's possible Bay simply never interns in film, and thus never decides to make it his career. Perhaps he works for the LA Bomb Squad?
     
  12. Beata Beatrix Not the Prime Minister of Poland

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2015
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    Hollywood Free State
    That was incredible. Are you sure this isn't a utopia? All of those movies are fantastic. Are there any Star Trek movies coming? Oh, and how does Journey of the Force differ from OTL?
     
  13. Roger Redux The Revisionist

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    Awesome update Brainbin!
    All of those movies sound awsome, but just out of curiosity, what happened to Blade Runner?
    Hardwired almost sounds like ITTL's Blade Runner as much as it is Tron, what with the whole neo-noir styled approach.
    I may be misremembering this, but I thought Steven Spielberg directed Moonraker ITTL. Or was that just an idea that was under discussion? Or is this/was there a retcon I missed?
    So you're saying that, ITTL, in canon, an entire nation just experienced a collective "Senpai noticed me" moment? :D
     
  14. Mr.E Anti-Social Socialist

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    He didn't direct Moonranker. He was brought in afterwards to take the series in a new direction.
     
  15. THE OBSERVER Independent Progressive

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2010
    Location:
    New England
    I love this epic update! Perhaps ITTL, though we may not see it since things are reaching their end, David Lean can direct Nostromo.
     
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2016
  16. David Ritz Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2014
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    Cambridge, the "Friendly Dictatorship"
    Most intriguing having Stanley Kubrick succeed in his plans for a Holocaust film, especially since it is an earlier version of Schindler's List!

    Is Allo Allo! still made in this TL? Also is Sanjay Gandhi still alive at this point?
     
  17. ANARCHY_4_ALL Evolution and The Revolution

    Joined:
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    South Carolina
    I love Stanley Kubrick's filmography ITTL. I'm curious who played the FBI agent in Lions though? Is there any chance he could direct Stephen King's IT ITTL?
     
  18. Daibhid C Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2013
    Location:
    Pictland
    Brilliant update. Although trying to imagine Peter Sellers as Hannibal broke my brain slightly.

    I'm intrigued by the foreshadowing about Raymond Read, especially since there's only a couple of "later years" to go before the cut off point...
     
  19. Brainbin Kingpin of the Cultural Cartel

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2009
    Location:
    The British Empire
    Thank you all for your wonderful responses to this latest update! It took a long time to write, but it was fun, especially once my creative juices finally got to flowing once again!

    Please feel free to keep the comments coming! I know the update is a big read, but I'm not going anywhere :)

    Thank you, Danderns! Although to be honest, I'm quite curious as to what you think of Kirk Allen's appearances in the update, since you asked after him before.

    Well, he certainly wouldn't be working for Lucasfilm in the early-1980s in this timeline! :cool:

    Considering that the depictions of Hannibal Lecter in Manhunter and Silence of the Lambs were worlds apart from each other IOTL, I think it's safe to say that Hannibal the Cannibal, as portrayed by Sellers, would be different from either of them. I definitely think Sellers would portray Hannibal as Affably Evil, because that's just his style.

    John Carpenter remains a relatively obscure filmmaker, as Halloween never became a big hit ITTL.

    Unfortunately, ITTL, Ridley Scott didn't catch his big break with Alien, and he remains relatively obscure. He does a lot of directing for the stage.

    You did the part read where I said Mengele is still at large, right? I mean, granted, he's performing experiments anymore, but still.

    How Journey of the Force differs from the OTL Star Wars is a subject best devoted to its own update. Fortunately, that very update has already been written, and can be read right here :)

    Thank you, Roger Redux!

    How Moonraker differs from the OTL film of the same name is a subject best devoted to its own update. Fortunately, that very update has already been written, and can be read right here :)

    Indeed I am! :D Two primary (and some might say conflicting) drives define Canadian culture: the drive to be different from the United States, and the drive to be noticed by the United States.


    Thank you, THE OBSERVER! And might I also add, that is an excellent suggestion!

    Thank you, David! Keeping Kubrick at MGM was all it took, since they had the To the Last Hour treatment in the studio archives.

    Probably. Lloyd and Croft were incredibly prolific, after all - it wouldn't surprise me if they came up with a similar idea ITTL.

    He didn't die in a plane crash ITTL, I can tell you that much (one of the fundamental rules of AH: all OTL deaths by vehicular mishap are automatically butterflied). However, considering that he is an Indian politician, I can't rule out his death by assassination (and I note that attempts on his life were made before his death IOTL).

    Thank you, and welcome aboard!

    Do you mean Kubrick? Well, considering that IT was released in September, 1986 ITTL, that's something of an open question...

    Thank you, Daibhid! And yes, Peter Sellers playing Hannibal is difficult for me to imagine as well, but the man could play anybody, so...

    I actually didn't mean anything specific or even particularly foreboding in that passage; just that Read, like so many child stars before and since, simply won't capitalize on his early success.
     
  20. Danderns Member

    Joined:
    May 6, 2015
    Location:
    People's Republic of Sealand
    A film based on the Mutiny of the Bounty seems interesting.

    Kirk Allen seems like he could live up to Marlon Brando. :p