Skip’s Quips: If It Ain’t in the Book, It Might Work in the Movie

Blog Sketch 082813I’ve always been a bit bothered by the ending of David Lean’s otherwise masterful film of Great Expectations.

Pip winds up tearing the curtains off the windows to rescue Estella from a Miss Havisham-esque fate, and that just didn’t happen in the Charles Dickens novel.

The question is: Does it work in the context of the film? If so, maybe that’s not such a big problem after all.

I’m an advocate of that idea – that a scene need not be in the original source material to be warranted in a film version. Filmmakers change such content all the time in their adaptations of classic works for all kinds of reasons … sometimes, dare I say it, for the better. So why does it distress me so much in Lean’s version of GE?

It certainly makes a big impact at the end of the movie, and although I do find it somewhat melodramatic, the scene is very powerful. I think it’s also in line with the characters, as Estella was groomed by Miss Havisham to be … well, an awful person. Having her consider becoming her former mentor is an interesting way around the book’s ending, and Pip’s “rescue” ties her back to him in a romantic fashion.

Maybe I should watch this sequence again; sometimes, the more you get used to a film, the better it becomes. And I could definitely stand watching this great picture at least one more time. Especially if I’m looking to understand the ending better.

That just might happen.

Skip’s Quips: The Song Process Remains the Same

Blog Sketch 082813If I had a dime for every movie that finishes up with some sort of awful song at the end, I’d be rich.

When did this trend in cinema start? It seems like every picture nowadays has some kind of rock tune playing over the final credits – and usually, they’re not that memorable. Once in a while, you get something along the lines of George Harrison’s “Dream Away,” which concluded Time Bandits. But it’s usually a noisy, guitar-heavy sound blast with screaming vocals. Not my cup of tea.

I like when filmmakers take the time to end their movies in interesting ways. A song can be appropriate, such as Simon & Garfunkel singing the “The Sound of Silence” in the remaining images of The Graduate. That ditty provided insight into the ways the main characters were feeling: lost and hopeful at the same time. I don’t see that kind of commentary, however, in most of the melodies ending films. And that should change. Directors can easily find songs that are germane. They don’t have to be just filler.

I don’t like watching filler onscreen. The credits can be just as much a part of a film as the dialogue; they can add something integral. Why can’t an ending song do the same?

Mundane melodies be damned. Let’s have topical tunes close more pictures … and more attention paid to these cinematic parts. A good, relevant ditty can keep fannies in the seats throughout the end of a movie. It would keep me in my place, for sure.

And that’s nothing to sneeze at. Or scream at, for that matter.