Celebrating Great Films

Monday, May 22, 2006

Rear Window

Rear Window#14 at time of writing.

I recently realised that I have read and watched hundreds of Hitchcock snippets, but - shamefully - never have I sat through an entire film. And there are no less than nine of his films in the IMDb top 250 list.

So I allowed myself a minor indulgence and bought a Hitchcock box set. OK, it was more than a minor indulgence - it's a large box set. 34 films.

This film is the highest rated Hitchcock on IMDb, and often considered his best and most thrilling picture. So I am told.

It strikes me as the ultimate movie for studying in film school. It could be analysed to death. It's a fascinating idea, light-heartedly executed, but many-layered. But it feels like a film for film students. At best, it's intriguing. At worst, it plods.

James Stewart's character is amusing, Grace Kelly's is luminous, and the insurance company nurse is hilarious. The idea is wonderful. The 1950's filmmaking is nostalgic, gentle and naive. I enjoyed it, but I don't think this movie would have made it into my own personal top 250.

Yet IMDb users rate it as the fourteenth best film of all time! I must be missing something...

V for Vendetta

V for Vendetta#180 at time of writing.

We went to see this film at the IMAX at Waterloo last week. What a great film for the IMAX screen: a grandiose comic book melodrama of the highest order. Dark and satisfying.

The strength of vision behind this dystopian fantasy of a totalitarian Britain sweeps you along, so that you whole-heartedly believe in the ambiguous hero. His antics are gloriously theatrical, occasionally histrionic, but always entertaining. It's Nineteen Eighty-Four meets Zorro.

This is a welcome return to form for the Wachowski brothers after the woeful Matrix sequels. OK, V for Vendetta didn't blow me away as much as The Matrix on first viewing, but I have a creeping feeling that I will want to watch V again, and again.

It's a shame that the genius author of the graphic novel behind this film did not approve of this adaptation of his masterwork. Mind you, he hasn't yet approved of any adaptations of his comic inventions.

"A revolution without dancing is a revolution not worth having!"

Monday, May 01, 2006

Cinemap 2006: REJECTED!

From: Charlie Fish [mailto:charlie@fictionontheweb.co.uk]
Sent: 27 April 2006 14:36
To: Ellis David (Head of IPR Development)
Subject: Request for permission to adapt London Underground map

Dear Mr. Ellis,

I spoke to you briefly earlier - thank you very much for your help.

I have created the attached image, which is an adaptation of the London Underground map. This image has not been released into the public domain so please treat it as confidential.

I would like to apply for permission to publish this image on my website (www.fictionontheweb.co.uk/top250films), and potentially to sell this image (or a close approximation). If I was to sell it, the likely market would be a mainstream film magazine.

My telephone number is XXXXX XXXXXX, should you wish to contact me directly. Please let me know if you require any further information.

Charlie Fish

Cinemap Preview

From: "Ellis David (Head of IPR Development)"
To: [charlie@fictionontheweb.co.uk]
Subject: RE: Request for permission to adapt London Underground map
Date: Thu, 27 Apr 2006 15:29:29 +0100

Dear Mr Fish

Thank you for your e-mail requesting permission to re-produce the Tube map with names of stations presented as films.

We receive numerous requests to re-produce alternative versions of the Tube map and we have to judge each on its merits and after considering your request we are unable to grant you permission to reproduce the Tube map.

We have to be very careful when granting permission to change or adapt our famous Underground map as we have to avoid the risk of such activity possibly leading to a dilution of our rights, as well as ultimately devaluing its worth and integrity.

As guardans of an iconic design we hope you understand our position in this matter.

Yours sincerely

David Ellis

From: Charlie Fish [mailto:charlie@fictionontheweb.co.uk]
Sent: 27 April 2006 23:22
To: Ellis David (Head of IPR Development)
Subject: RE: Request for permission to adapt London Underground map

Dear David,

Thank you for your prompt response.

May I enquire as to the criteria you apply when judging whether to grant permission for adaptations of the Underground map?

I would be willing to work with Transport for London if you would like to use the image or the idea yourselves as well, for example to promote your Film Office.

If you cannot give me permission to use the image for commercial purposes, may I have permission to publish it on my non-commercial personal website at www.fictionontheweb.co.uk/top250films ?


From: Ellis David (Head of IPR Development)
Sent: 28 April 2006 08:17:51
To: [charlie@fictionontheweb.co.uk]
Subject: RE: Request for permission to adapt London Underground map

The one basic rule we have is that the Tube map cannot be altered in anyway. However, we will always look at the ideas people have and review them, but because of the possible risk in diluting the rights in our valuable map we are very cautious about granting permission to any new adaptations on our classic design.

We have had numerous ideas sent to us over the years based around changing station names and out of these only two have been granted permission in the last 30 years and longer and the first of these was Simon Paterson's Great Bear, which was short listed for the Turner prize around 10 years ago.

It is not therefore a matter of working with TfL or TfL wishing to use the your idea it is just that we are extremely cautious in granting permission for any adaptations of the Tube map.