The secret life of objects review,yoga videos for cyclists,secret agent book online ontario - Step 1


We like to call the movie studios dream factories, but only part of that phrase is accurate. The set, clearly kept in mothballs for future use, resurfaces for a cameo appearance in Minnelli’s Two Weeks in Another Town, ten years later in 1962, with added-on opera box modules. Also in The Bad and the Beautiful, on what is presumably a naked sound stage, Minnelli makes a witty allusion to the fancy MGM flooring, a standard fixture in their costume dramas. Sometimes a set is so striking, making such an indelible impression, that you cannot forget it.
If Chinese restaurants leave no part of the pig and the chicken unused, the same might be said of the studios and the props they used. It is fun to imagine movie studios being as profligate in their spending as sultans in Arabian Nights fantasies, but absurd to imagine that every movie made was propped from scratch and that every set was decorated without resorting to the vast resources of objects that the studio already owned. But, of course, there are movie hounds whose eyes are always grazing all over the frame, especially if it is a movie we know well or by a director we love or a movie that we have seen over and over again.
Speaking for myself, although I have a fairly good memory, I certainly do not have a photographic one. The male companion to this sculpture can also be briefly glimpsed in The Dark Corner gallery. But it comes into its own several years later, when we can get a really good look at it, however briefly, as a prop on a roof terrace, in Cinemascope. To make a full-fledged, all-out study of this – the appearance of parts of sets, the re-use of props in studio films would not only be a sign of madness but would probably lead to madness, as well.
We shall probably never know for sure how many guest appearances it made between those two films. Anyone interested in trying to track down sightings of the chandeliers and wall sconces is on their own. Another discovery, quite by accident: mirrors used in two different 20th Century Fox films, in rather well-known scenes in well-known films, are actually the same mirror. The same sculpture, sans pedestal, can be glimpsed briefly, if only barely, in a night-time scene as part of a fountain in Sirk’s The Tarnished Angels (1958). Subsequent to writing the bulk of this article, I saw De Palma’s Scarface (1983), also by Universal, on TV.
It is an aspect of movies we do not think about too often – or do not want to think about. These heads are alive, they look, they breathe smoke from their nostrils, they turn, they follow the movements of the artists, who don't see them. For example, the courtroom set at the end of Leave Her to Heaven (1945) is so foregrounded that I immediately recognised it, while dial-flipping, in 20th Century Fox’s The Black Swan, made three years earlier in 1942, also serving as a courtroom, but with palm trees outside the attention-getting oeil de boeuf windows. Every studio had a prop warehouse where they would keep the many props and furnishings they owned. They never expected audiences to see them more than once and certainly not to remember details from the films years later.
One could, for example, look through all the available (and that, I suppose, is the operative word), let us say, period movies made by 20th Century Fox over the course of a handful of years, or all of MGM period movies to discover bits of sets, sofas, fireplaces, mantelpieces, doors, window casements, lamps, etc. However, I happened to catch Henry Hathaway’s vastly entertaining Seven Thieves (1960), also by 20th Century Fox. A friend gave me a gift of a boxed set of lesser-known and mostly lousy Rock Hudson titles, one of which was Douglas Sirk’s Has Anybody Seen My Gal? The statue gathering dust in the Universal-International prop storage, waiting until someone could find an occasion to use it, was a copy or another version of a sculpture that, at one time, was more prestigious and more highly-regarded than it is now. The same sculpture turns up in the Alte Nationalgalerie in East Berlin in Hitchcock’s Torn Curtain (1966).
Just the other night, I saw again, for the first time in a very long time, Ophuls’ sublime Letter From an Unknown Woman (1948), made at Universal. We want (or, perhaps it would be better to put this in the past tense: wanted) the film to cast its magic spell. We know that even although Hollywood studios lavishly threw money at their productions, at the same time, the studio heads and the producers were also penny pinchers. Perhaps this is how the objects which surround us behave, taking advantage of our habit of believing them to be immobile.
What the contents in the refrigerator talk about, as they sometimes do in cartoons, and in TV commercials, when the refrigerator door is closed, the lights are off, and the owners of the house are not around. The larger studios had standing urban street sets which would they would use if the movie was set in the streets of New York or Chicago or Boston.


To put it another, blunter way – it was very likely, as a cost-saving device, an economic imperative to utilise to the fullest every board, plank and canvas flat on the studio stages. Let us imagine warehouses as big, and as crammed with junk, as well as a few stray treasures, as those housing the trophies of Charles Foster Kane’s manic buying sprees, seen at the end of Citizen Kane (1941). In fact, films were so disposable that almost all the copies were destroyed after they had played all the theatres where they could be played, in order to reclaim the valuable silver nitrate used in film stocks’ emulsion. Similarly, access to VCR and videocassettes gave me the idea and encouraged me to make several films in which scenes from various movies that were never intended to be seen in juxtaposition to each other, could, through the magic of current-day technologies, find themselves cheek to jowl with one another in unholy and previously undreamed of combinations. Guess what you can see in the background of the Monte Carlo casino, the location for the movie’s big heist? Here is the earliest of the Benzoni sightings, although I would be reluctant to swear to it. The same stairwell appears in Sirk’s Magnificent Obsession, two years later, this time as part of a hospital set. What do the props in the prop shop say to each other about the movies they were in once the doors are closed? Since they shot so many films, these sets were permanent fixtures and lowered the overhead of building each location from scratch for every new film. And sometimes the way it was re-used is much more extravagant and imaginative than the use to which it was originally put. Sets and parts of sets would get recycled, with lower-budgeted films probably benefiting the most from the cast-offs of the major productions, although even major productions cannibalised sets and parts of sets, architectural trim, chandeliers, wall sconces, sections of staircases, doorways, etc. They give the necessary detail to a background so that a room does not feel empty, so that it seems lived in.
The studios understood the financial benefits of a certain kind of ecology and re-cycling long before the rest of us would. At one point, I started to make compendium film about the representation of art and artists in Hollywood films. I wonder, however, if De Palma, who made his career by pillaging and cannibalising Hitchcock, knew or knows the illustrious resumés and antecedents that these props have, and what a soft spot in his heart Sirk had for them.
To put it another way, the prop had gotten ample use as a resident artifact at Universal Studios, without even taking into consideration its very likely guest appearances in Universal’s TV movies and series. We do not want to be reminded that it was a cost-conscious business like any other business – in which expenditures had to be kept down and every nickel accounted for. If they seemed to be creating magic for their audiences, it was probably a less magical experience for the film workers themselves, including the actors, who would trudge to the same sound stages in film after film, with the lighting and the sets and the props being re-arranged, seemingly transforming a familiar environment into what was meant to be a brand new location. In these films, the props come to mean something much larger and more important than what they actually are.
The fictitious lives of objects that only exist to perpetuate other fictions as they get recycled from movie to movie.
Some studios, like MGM, even had a permanent swimming pool – seen in The Philadelphia Story (1940) and, then, for its many Esther Williams films.
In addition to which, photographed from different angles, with different lenses, lit differently and in a new setting, they are usually unrecognisable. Studios never dreamed that there would be a category of moviegoer, sometimes called cinephiles (sometimes called worse things), who would see the same film or films over and over again. Five years later, the whatever-it-is has a fresh coat of paint on it with gold highlights and reappears in On the Riviera, separating the two Danny Kaye’s from each other.
Evidently, the Universal art department picked up a couple of Benzoni’s at a two-for-one auction. They become metaphors for the social, psychological and emotional situations they passively and unwittingly participate in.
They all have tags, detailing their histories and their provenances – which movies they were in, how close they were to the camera, how prominent in the frame, how long they were on screen.
Grahame sees the perfect dining room table and (as unlikely as it may be) complete with chairs, already set with silverware and china and floral arrangements, for a scene of a film adaptation of Powell’s novel.
They blend in with the surroundings because they are not perceived in the same way as they were in a previous incarnation. Nor did they dream that cable TV would situate various different movies from the same studios in random juxtapositions so that viewers decades later could see connections between the films that were invisible to viewers at the time.
They become encrusted with layers of meaning as they diagram a cumulative network of relationships and plot complications around themselves and become imbued with a fetishistic meaning beyond that which the plot accords them. They compare notes, they tell each other stories about the hilarious and awful things that happened on their sets.


This was invariably used in many, many MGM films over the years, regardless of who the director was, primarily in period movies when they needed to simulate a royal court, a lavish hotel, a fancy mansion, a chateau, and so on. Minnelli’s The Bad and the Beautiful, which was shot between April and June 1952, was released in December 1952. Several scenes later, when they shoot the movie in question, it is being used exactly as we previously saw it.
Similarly, no one could even imagine, although certainly cinephiles may have had amorphous, unarticulated dreams of as-yet uninvented inventions like the VCR and DVD, which would make movies available in ways that they never had been before.
We are all familiar with the signature portrait of Gene Tierney as Laura in Otto Preminger’s Laura (1944). One sees a film and one cannot, for whatever reason, forget a prop, or an artifact, or a doodad. The ability to compare and contrast and even describe in detail specific aspects of movies has always had pitfalls for those writing about film because of our faulty or imprecise memories of them. Originally, Preminger commissioned an artist to paint her portrait but was not satisfied with the results.
In a way, they all become the tuxedo jacket that passes from hand to hand in Tales of Manhattan (1942), bearing witness to many lives and many stories. They brag to one another about their pedigrees and credits, their shining moments, and their favourite films. The partial set is not necessary for the short twenty-second, single-shot scene in The Bad and the Beautiful, in which Kirk Douglas rehearses with Lana Turner – but it certainly enhances it. And then one sees the same object in another film, made of course, by the same studio, from the same vintage. In this respect, the VCR and now the DVD player is an invaluable tool in scholarship, analysis, and even enjoyment.
Instead, he had her pose for a photo shoot and had the photo touched up to look like a painting.
Just as we do not want to know that that most delightful of movies, Jacques Tati’s Playtime (1967) was the most expensive French movie made at that point, that the cost overruns bankrupted Tati, forced him to give up the rights to his previous films, and severely curtailed his subsequent ability to make movies. Which actors they liked working with, who were the best cameramen and lighting technicians, the times they were almost dropped and smashed to smithereens, or overlooked completely. It appears in film after film, And, of course, once you really notice it, you can’t stop noticing it. Viewers are not supposed to concern themselves with the ever-shifting landscape of details in the background. Some very resourceful art director or set decorator, when they were shooting On the Riviera (1951) with Tierney, remembering Laura, decided to use the portrait to decorate the villa she lives in with her husband, one of the two Danny Kaye’s. Apartments and sets I appeared in and which famous actors and actresses fondled me, or manhandled me, or glanced admiringly at me, or ignored me completely.
We are so used to seeing it in black and white, it is quite a shock to see it in colour; it seems a little vulgar, too. Although it is possible, just possible, that objects are not nearly as starstruck or as impressed with Hollywood movies as the rest of us are.
Art directors, set directors, prop masters probably all had encyclopaedic memories of the treasures stored in their warehouses. I could hardly wait to check out the Written on the Wind DVD to see if the sculptures in the two different films matched.
Their jobs were to dress sets on budget or even below and make them look as expensive as possible.
Cocteau, as usual, may have said it best in his diary kept during the making of Beauty and the Beast (1946), writing about the still extraordinary effect of the human faces encased in the architectural details flanking the fireplace in the Beast's palace. Unlike most art dealers in real life who seem to specialise in one or two areas, he has a huge gallery filled with tons of sculptures and paintings (from the 20th Century Fox prop rooms, no doubt) from almost every period imaginable, including a Vermeer, a patently fake Raphael, and tons of Chinese ceramics.
When you’re going back and forth editing various scenes, seeing the same footage over and over again, you develop a familiarity with the material you not would ordinarily have.
Objects which are placed in a scene just to fill up space, begin to assume an importance they were never meant to have. It is also used in a casual tracking shot, as incidental art in a well-appointed apartment in Julien Duvivier’s Tales of Manhattan (1942), also a Fox film, a portmanteau movie tracing the history of a tuxedo jacket as it passes from one star-filled vignette to another.



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