A pot­ted his­tory of the high-con­cept film

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - Cover Story -

1 AR­RIVAL OF A TRAIN AT LA CIO­TAT STA­TION (1895)

The pitch: All right, Mar­cel. You have a sta­tion. You have a train. The train comes into the sta­tion. Sound’s mun­dane, yes? But here’s the thing. It all hap­pens on a big white sheet hang­ing in a dark­ened room. It will catch on. I swear.

2 FREAKS (1932)

The pitch: There’s this bunch of car­ni­val freaks, one of whom in­her­its a bunch of money and gets se­duced by the avari­cious trapeze artist. Then they . . . Okay, for­get that bit. It’s about freaks.

3 I WALKED WITH A ZOM­BIE (1943)

The pitch: Look, I know zom­bies are a hard sell. It’s not as if they’re ever go­ing to be­come the stuff of comic books, hit movies, pas­tiches of Vic­to­rian nov­els and se­ries on – what’s that new-fan­gled thing called? – tele­vi­sion. But it’s about a beau­ti­ful woman who walks out with a co­matose ghoul. They’ll love it.

4 ROPE (1948)

The pitch: Okay, lis­ten care­fully. It’s about two guys who kill their pal and then have a bunch of peo­ple round for cock­tails. But that’s not the hook. It’s all filmed in one con­tin­u­ous take. The gim­mick is go­ing on be­hind the cam­era. Sure, the au­di­ence will give a damn. They’re not mo­rons. Are they?

5 HARVEY (1950)

The pitch: So, it’s about a drunk whose best friend is an imag­i­nary rab­bit. Good, isn’t it? Yeah, so it’s mak­ing fun of a se­ri­ous symp­tom of sub­stance abuse. Lighten up. This is 1950. No­body cares about that stuff yet. 6 THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL (1951)

The pitch: What’s the only thing more ex­cit­ing than lot’s of stuff hap­pen­ing? Noth­ing hap­pen­ing, that’s what. This alien ar­rives and – to teach us a les­son – makes all sources of power grind to a halt. They’ll call it a clas­sic in 50 years.

7 JESSE JAMES MEETS FRANKEN­STEIN’S DAUGH­TER (1966)

The pitch: What are the two big­gest gen­res at the drive-ins? West­erns and hor­ror flicks. So, let’s get a gun­slinger on screen with a sexy rel­a­tive of Dr Franken­stein. There’s more. We put the film on a dou­ble bill with Billy the Kid vs Drac­ula.

HARVEY

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