THE HOLLYWOOD EYE: What Makes Movies Work by Jon Boorstin

THE HOLLYWOOD EYE: What Makes Movies Work

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Absorbing study of the nuts and bolts of flimmaking, by a writer and producer whose credits include work with Alan Pakula on All the President's Men and other Pakula films over 20 years. Boorstin breaks the Hollywood film clown into three main attacks: the voyeur's eye, the vicarious eye, and the visceral eye, with nearly all films combining these. Two other forms he discusses are the docudrama ("". . .a bastard form. . .it asks a question historians shun: the emotional why. . ."") and the documentary. The voyeur's eye seeks ""the simple joy of seeing the new and the wonderful."" The vicarious eye ""sees with the heart. . .puts our heart in the actor's body: we feel what the actor feels, but we judge it for ourselves."" The visceral eye arouses ""gut reactions of the lizard brain--thrill of motion, joy Of destruction, lust, blood lust, terror, disgust."" Among his highlights is a discussion of sound and the colossal boost each Hollywood film gets by re-creating sound effects. He tells of the first cut of All the President's Men being a disaster because each cut from actor to actor had been ""greased"" with tiny dialogue overlaps that destroyed a cut's punch. Editing out the grease restored tension. In Sophie's Choice, Meryl Streep's superbly acted scene of keeping her son while surrendering her daughter to the Nazis is followed by the letdown of the following scene in which Stingo at last beds Sophie. ""Instead of the scene of orgiastic lust Stingo describes [in voice-over], Pakula gives us a restrained, melancholic union, discreetly observed. . .the moment suffers for it."" Valuable peeks behind the visible and invisible magic of movies.

Pub Date: Nov. 21st, 1990
Publisher: HarperCollins