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VERTIGOED: A Press Play mash-up contest

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by Press Play Staff
January 18, 2012 8:02 AM
21 Comments
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EDITOR'S NOTE: You may have heard that Kim Novak, costar of Vertigo, took out an ad in Variety protesting the use of Bernard Herrmann's Vertigo score in Michel Hazanavicius’s modern silent film The Artist. "I WANT TO REPORT A RAPE," the headline blared. "I FEEL AS IF MY BODY—OR, AT LEAST MY BODY OF WORK—HAS BEEN VIOLATED BY THE MOVIE, “THE ARTIST," Novak wrote, and went on to decry the “USE AND ABUSE [OF] FAMOUS PIECES OF WORK TO GAIN ATTENTION AND APPLAUSE FOR OTHER THAN WHAT THEY WERE INTENDED.” Novak's word choice was unfortunate -- more than one person, including yours truly, said that was akin to somebody sitting through the Star Wars prequels and witlessly declaring, "George Lucas raped my childhood."  

Press Play contributor and film editor Kevin Lee followed this Novak/Lucas line of thought to its logical -- or illogical -- end. Just for the hell of it, he matched the Vertigo cue used in The Artist with the last three minutes of the Death Star battle in Star Wars, Episode IV: A New Hope, uploaded it, and sent the link to several Press Play contributors to get their reactions.  

And it's here that things got interesting: rather than generate cheap laughs at the expense of Novak, Lucas, The Artist or Star Wars, the mash-up inspired delight. Simply put: Kevin's experiment confirmed that Bernard Herrmann's Vertigo score is so passionate and powerful that it can elevate an already good scene -- and a familiar one at that -- to a higher plane of expression. Score one for the master of film scoring!

We encouraged Kevin to put the same piece of music under a bit from Star Wars: Episode I, The Phantom Menace and the training sequences from Rocky and Rocky IV. Same result: The scenes seemed deeper, subtler and more haunting, solely because of Herrmann's music.

Kevin joked that these clips had been "Vertigoed" -- a reference to the low-budget "Swedeing" of Hollywood movies in the cult classic Be Kind, Rewind. The term stuck, and inspired us to declare a Press Play "Vertigoed" contest. 

THE RULES:

1. Take the same Herrmann cue -- "Scene D'Amour," used in this memorable moment from Vertigo -- and match it with a clip from any film. (You can nick the three-minute section from one of Kevin's mash-ups if it makes things easier.) Is there any clip, no matter how silly, nonsensical, goofy or foul, that the score to Vertigo can't ennoble? Let's find out!

2. Although you can use any portion of "Scene D'Amour" as your soundtrack, the movie clip that you pair it with cannot have ANY edits; it must play straight through over the Herrmann music. This is an exercise in juxtaposition and timing. If you slice and dice the film clip to make things "work," it's cheating. MONTAGES WILL BE DISQUALIFIED.

3. Upload the result to YouTube, Vimeo, blipTV or wherever, email the link to pressplayvideoblog@gmail.com along with your name, and we'll add your mash-up to this Index page. 

The Press Play Vertigoed contest ends at 5 PM Eastern time on FRIDAY, JANUARY 20.  No mash-ups posted after that time will be considered. Press Play staff will choose a winner over the weekend and award a $50 Amazon gift certificate. The pairing that our judges decide is most imaginative and altogether satisfying will win the prize. The victor will be announced Monday, January 23. 

Now get Verti-going!

--Matt Zoller Seitz

1. STAR WARS: EPISODE I - THE PHANTOM MENACE by Kevin B. Lee

2. ROCKY by Kevin B. Lee

3. ROCKY 4 by Kevin B. Lee

4. THE GREAT DICTATOR by Jonathan Amerikaner

5. ALIEN by William D'Annucci

6. BONNIE AND CLYDE by James Grebmops

7. STRAW DOGS by James Grebmops

8. AKIRA by Greg Stevens

9. VAMPIRE'S KISS by Jake Isgar

10. THEY LIVE by Chris Mastellone 

11. INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS by Brandon Brown

12. GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO by Miguel Martinez 

13. OLDBOY by Steven Santos

14. SWINGTIME by Rocco Sardoni 

15. THE JETSONS by Rocco Sardoni

16. Mädchen in Uniform by Matthew Cheney

17. WALL-E by Donka Aleksandrova

18. Edward Dmytryk's THE SNIPER by Catherine Grant

19. NIGHT MOVES by John Levy

20. BLOODSPORT by Andre Khazar

21. INDIANA JONES AND THE RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK by Brad Hansen

22. BADLANDS by Emma Phelps

23. FERRIS BUELLER'S DAY OFF by Hugh Lilly

24. THE BIG LEBOWSKI by Will Woolf

25. EASY RIDER by James Grebmops

26. 127 HOURS by Jason Bellamy

27. DESTINATION INNER SPACE by R.Q. Dale

28. Martin Arnold's ALONE. LIFE WASTES ANDY HARDY by Hoi Lun Law

29. BRAVEHEART by Michael Pollard

30. MINORITY REPORT by Cole Smith

31. TOP GUN by De Maltese Valk

32  THE ROOM by De Maltese Valk

33. HAROLD & KUMAR ESCAPE FROM GUANTANAMO BAY by Lynn Guest

34. HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HOLLOWS, PART 2 by Rob Cooper

35. THE THIN RED LINE by Cole Smith

36. TROLL 2 by Gustavo Costa

37. DEEP IMPACT by Richard Bellamy

38. ANIMAL HOUSE by Chip Midnight

39. ZOOLANDER by Athena Stamos

40. HANGOVER 2 by Richard Haridy

41. BLACK SWAN by Jason Bellamy

42. THE RIGHT STUFF BY Matt Rosen

43. AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON by Bri Frazier

44. GOD TOLD ME TO by John Keefer

45. GUMMO BY David Jenkins

46. JEANNE DIELMAN by David Jenkins

47. WET HOT AMERICAN SUMMER by Brandon Nowalk

48. PEE-WEE'S BIG ADVENTURE by Emmy Serviss

49. THE LION KING by Brandon Nowalk

50. LITTLE DARLINGS by Tanya Goldman

51. THE NOTEBOOK by Tanya Goldman

52. ED WOOD by Justin Smith

53. TOY STORY 3 by Bri Frazier

54. MEAN GIRLS by Kate Aldworth

55. BOOGIE NIGHTS by Jonathan Pacheco

56. HEAT by Jim Gabriel

57. STAR TREK II: THE WRATH OF KHAN by Jake Isgar

58. MEAN STREETS by Anthony Vitello

59. Fritz Lang's METROPOLIS by Guy Handelman

60. TRADING PLACES by Peter Scully 

61. SECONDS by Matt Maul

62. TOY STORY 2 by Jason Haggstrom

63. MELANCHOLIA by Maximilien Proctor

64. BLADE RUNNER by Dan Seagraves 

65. SILENCE OF THE LAMBS by Brittany Carter

66. SPEED RACER by Jim Gabriel

67. THE WIRE by Jason Mittell

68. PSYCHO by Matt Cheney

69. MY VIDEO FOR BRIONA (viral video) by Joseph Carson

70. VERTIGO by Matt Rosen

71. EL TOPO by Maximilien Proctor

72. DON'T LOOK NOW by Maximilien Proctor

73. DRIVE by Maximilien Proctor

74. MATILDA by Barrak Sitty

75. PLAYTIME by David Blaylock

76. THE 400 BLOWS by David Blaylock

77. CHILDREN OF MEN by Matt House

78. E.T. by Chris McCullah

79. 4 MONTHS, 3 WEEKS & 2 DAYS by Matt Rosen

80. A PERFECT WORLD by Ethan Murphy 

81. OUT OF SIGHT by P.J. Rodriguez

82. OLD SCHOOL by Colleen Koestner

83. RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES by Steven Boone

84. FREDDY GOT FINGERED by Dan Seagraves

85. TERMINATOR 2: JUDGEMENT DAY by Dan Seagraves

86. OBSESSION by Brandon Brown

87. Hannibal by Arnzilla

88. SEVEN by Sasha Stone

89. NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN by Sasha Stone

90. JACKASS NUMBER TWO by Kevin B. Lee

91. PAN'S LABYRINTH SCENE 1 by Alex Mekos

92. PAN'S LABYRINTH SCENE 2 by Alex Mekos

93. EVANGELION 2.22 by Larson Yellowhair

94. KISS MY DEADLY by P.J. Rodriguez 

95. TOY STORY 2 by David Blaylock

96. NORTH BY NORTHWEST by David Blaylock

97. THE FIVE OBSTRUCTIONS by David Blaylock

98. VINTAGE DODGE CAR COMMERCIAL by Jeremy Butler

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21 Comments

  • Jake | January 23, 2012 1:06 AMReply

    Can't get enough of the FERRIS BUELLER, BASTERDS, JETSONS, AMERICAN WEREWOLF, and MEAN GIRLS entries.

  • Joe | January 22, 2012 11:44 PMReply

    Wow...7K views on the Zoolander one! And well deserved, it's the best one by far.

  • Frank Coppola | January 22, 2012 3:59 PMReply

    I love ALIEN by William D'Annucci. I've watched his mashup three times. What's really impressive is I think about it at various times of the day. Way to go.

  • Madeline Elster | January 21, 2012 11:51 PMReply

    I'd say either TROLL 2 or INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS. One is hilarious, the other is perfect.

  • Eric | January 21, 2012 6:03 PMReply

    I'm pulling for Alien. Eerily beautiful.. The last scene becomes a tragic and heroic ballet.

  • Domenick Fraumeni | January 20, 2012 10:59 PMReply

    I second the ALIEN piece. To turn a horror/action climax into something sad and almost romantic brings home the point of how just altering one element of a movie can dramatically alter it.

  • Bob Gutowski | January 20, 2012 10:46 PMReply

    So much good stuff. I like how my pal Bill D'Annucci's ALIEN/VERTIGO blend makes it seems as though Ripley thought she had left her murderous lover behind, and is forced to finally destroy him through a musical haze of the passion they'd known.

  • chuck cirino | January 18, 2012 7:56 PMReply

    Old news. Swap these two soundtracks: The 'trench' scenes from "Star Wars: A New Hope" with the 'trench' scene from "633 Squadron". It's a perfect fit. I experimented with this over 20 years ago.

  • Ali Arikan | January 19, 2012 4:42 AM

    "I used to 'Vertigo' movies before it was cool!" God go with you; you trailblaizer, you...

  • Dexter | January 18, 2012 7:11 PMReply

    Nobody did A PLACE IN THE SUN yet?

  • Wookiee | January 18, 2012 8:43 AMReply

    Akira is my favorite so far. and i wont mention Wall-e, because they stole my idea D:< (before i could even think of it, no less!)

  • ProgGrrl | January 12, 2012 12:14 PMReply

    Brilliant idea.

    My favorite thing about this whole Novak/Vertigo/Artist kerfluffle is that this Hermann theme is an unbelievably obvious "rape" of the very famous love theme from Wagner's Tristan & Isolde. So. Whatever.

  • Scottie Ferguson | January 20, 2012 1:26 AM

    Makes me wonder if you've ever bothered listening to Wagner's "Tristan und Isolde", as Herrmann's work surely echoes the piece, but is far from being "an unbelievably obvious 'rape' of the very famous love theme". You may need to take another listen.

  • Matt Zoller Seitz | January 11, 2012 3:24 PMReply

    Just added a clarifying sentence: "The pairing that our judges decide is most imaginative and altogether satisfying will win the prize." Hope that helps.

  • Ronnie D. | January 11, 2012 1:33 PMReply

    What is the contest? The piece in which the music best fits the scene, or worst fits the scene? i.e. "Is there any clip, no matter how silly, nonsensical, goofy or foul, that the score to Vertigo can't ennoble? Let's find out!" It's not very clear what you are looking for.

  • monty | January 11, 2012 1:16 PMReply

    The German captions are a great touch. Together with the music they bring out a flavor I hadn't noticed before in the very familiar Death Star sequence. May have to re-watch the film with German audio just to see if that effect works throughout.

    Thanks kevin!

  • Christoph Hochhäusler | January 11, 2012 9:41 AMReply

    I think Novak's feelings deserve respect. To call the use of Herman's score „rape” is certainly a poor choice of words, but I see no reason to make fun of her. She has a point and while we have gotten used to a culture of remix and reappropriation, she obviously did not. Herman did write the score for a specific use, and for a much worthier film. I can see why she gets upset. Of course Herman himself „stole” quite a lot from Wagner (Tristan und Isolde, Parsifal) for his Vertigo-score...

  • Christoph Hochhäusler | January 11, 2012 4:59 PM

    @Kevin,
    it really is a stupid use of words, I agree. Also, there is a reason why the Vertigo score is one of the most widely used temp scores --- it fits pretty much everywhere, because it follows it's own logic, has very little 'mickey mousing' elements unlike many other Hollywood scores now and then.

    As far as I know, nobody tried a 'reunification' of the Dreileben films, but feel free ... I'd be curious to see a new version. (happy you like it).

  • Kevin B. Lee | January 11, 2012 10:37 AM

    Christoph, I don't think anyone responsible for this article or contest intends to disrespect Novak's point of view (though I take exception to the rather crude way she expressed it, which for one thing is disrespectful to victims of rape). But as you say, we live in different times and values concerning cultural creation than we did 50 years ago. I think a work should be judged not by whether it re-appropriates an existing work, but how successfully it does so. (By that measure I think the use of Bernard Herrmann's score in THE ARTIST is pretty uninspired and misguided).

    Also, I'm curious, has anyone explored the possibility of a "supercut" version of DREILEBEN in which the three sections are interwoven into one continuous narrative? I don't mean to suggest this in any disrespectful way towards the work of you, Christan Petzold or Dominik Graf. (DREILEBEN was one of my favorite films of 2011 and I love how the separate films have a dialogue with each other much like the correspondence between the three of you that inspired the project). It's just how a "remix" mind works.

  • aragorne1970 | January 11, 2012 2:45 AMReply

    kim novak is jut an old and angry lady

  • Bandito | January 11, 2012 9:48 AM

    @ARAGORNE1970 Maybe, but Novak speaks for a lot of people of all ages who have a very narrow and precious concept of what art is and what constitutes property and free expression in this era of corporate totalitarianism. Lee's video graffiti here honors the original work better than any straightforward but hollow Hollywood tribute.

    Also, the shit is funny as hell.

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