Wednesday, January 28, 2015

The Red Dragon & the Woman in the Sun: Symbolism in Manhunter

Let's take an in-depth look at one of the most unique thrillers of the 1980s.

In the 1986 film, Manhunter, Michael Mann makes heavy use of color saturation, a variety of camera angles and other visuals to convey a heightened sense of mood and tension. All of these elements give greater insight into the movie’s theme and its character development. This is especially apparent during the scene where Rheba McClane spends the night over at Francis Dollarhyde’s house. Even though the scene only lasts for about six and a half minutes, it is a crucial part of the film because it helps the audience understand and sympathize with Dollarhyde, despite that he is a serial killer and Manhunter’s primary antagonist. At the same time, however, there is a sense of disease and apprehension that looms over the relationship between Dollarhyde and Reba.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Notable Disney Songs that Didn't Make the Cut (Part 1): 1937-1968

As a semi follow up to my past article, Animated Films that Never Were (Disney Edition), I have decided to write about ten musical numbers that the company axed either in favor of other songs or due to pacing issues. Given that Disney is over ninety years old, it has a very long and interesting history. There are many fascinating 'what ifs' and 'could have beens.' (In fact, Disney's Frozen, had a grand total of seven songs deleted from its original lineup.) So let's take a look behind the scenes at some of the company's decisions to see if any of the music they decided to scrap is actually worth listening to.*

1. Music in Your Soup (Snow White, 1937)

Disney's Snow White was a huge undertaking for the then relatively small studio. Before it was released, feature length animated films were unheard of in Hollywood, and many critics referred to it as 'Disney's Folly.' The critics, of course, were ultimately proven wrong. However, Snow White had a very long and complex production history which lasted a total of four in a half years. "Music in Your Soup" fell victim to this. The musical sequence, animated by Ward Kimball, involved Snow White teaching the dwarves how to eat like gentlemen rather than noisily slurping their soup. The song would have taken place directly after the scene were the dwarves are washing before dinner. Ultimately, "Music in Your Soup" was cut because it simply didn't fit within Snow White's time constraints. Walt Disney actually felt bad about cutting the scene (along with another taking place in the dwarves' bedroom). To make it up to Ward Kimball he let him design and be lead animator on Jiminy Cricket in Pinocchio (1940).