Trying to piece together creative jigsaws Alley of nightmaresIt’s hard to start anywhere other than Todd Browning WhimsicalA 1932 film that, when it was first released, was considered so horrific that it took 30 minutes in the United States and was completely banned in the United Kingdom. Like Alley of nightmares This is a strange study of human darkness set in a carnival sidshow wild world. Made of what Whimsical Both were unique and, at the time, annoying, real sideshow performers using Browning.
Even now, if you visit the Del Toro office, you’ll find two star life-shaped statues of it: Johnny One, an early 20th-century carnival sideshow performer who was born without the lower half of his body, and was billed as a “half-boy” sideshow. , And Ku Ku, another carnival sideshow performer, born Mini Ulsi, who was born with Vircho-Sekel Syndrome, which gave her a very small size and a small head, which was billed as “Ku” in the sideshow – Ku the Bird Girl.
But when it came Alley of nightmares On screen, Del Toro says he consciously tried not to fall into the trap of referencing Whimsical Very straightforward. “I thought people, by the reflection of pure muscle, would think I was going to do it,” Del Toro said. Instead, he turned to another lesser-known work of Browning, Quick staffAbout the life of a high-rise builder looking for emotional and financial stability. “So, it’s Todd Browning but not the way you would expect.”
In contrast to Cooper’s Stan, and equivalent, when the film enters its middle and last third, Kate Blanchett plays the role of psychiatrist Dr. Lilith Ritter, the film’s female death. It’s a dazzling performance, enhanced by Blanchett’s clarity of comprehension and a set so richly stylized that it makes him look like he’s performing a slow, cautious ballet camber in a part of an Art Deco museum.
“For me, the main thing is intelligence, an intelligence that exists. And I think Kate is one of the most intelligent people I’ve ever met and brought it to every part,” said Del Toro. “It was almost like double tech. , Where he never did [a role like this before]? Because he was literally born to play that character.
“The same is true of Bradley,” Del Toro added. “I think the gravity and the darkness he brings to Stan never did. And the way he behaves, moves, takes time, intelligence makes him real. So, those two, I called them jokingly, when I was going to get Cate Blanchett, I called Bradley and said, hey, King Kong, I’m going to see your Godzilla. And I said, you will destroy the blocks and blocks of the city together.
One of the most interesting aspects Alley of nightmares That is, for a filmmaker who does mostly basic work, it brings a work to the desk of Del Toro that existed not only as a novel but also as a 1947 film, starring the iconic film actor Tyrone Power as Stan. (Reflecting Gresham’s original work on William Lindsay in 2010, Pulitzer Prize-winning critic Michael Derda said that “as a portrait of the human condition, Alley of nightmares This is a terrifying, very painful masterpiece. “
The 1947 film was directed by Edmund Golding, directed by Daryl F. Januk, then head of 20th Century Fox Studios, to lighten the tone of the film and make some changes to the book’s story. When he sat down to write a new screenplay adaptation, Del Toro said he had no doubt in his mind that he wanted to remain faithful to Gresham’s original ending.
“The way Bradley, Kim [Morgan, the film’s co-writer, and del Toro’s wife] And I’ve talked about it, we’ve always talked about our calculations, “Del Toro said.” [someone like] Zanuck because when you come into the studio, and you come to the actor, you say, look, the last one is a contract breaker. Even if we test it and people want to burn the theater, that’s the end of it.
“It’s not a whim to be sharp, it’s not a whim to be dark, it’s a film about today’s concerns, truths, lies, beliefs, perceptions, closed systems of reassurance of prejudice, hoaxerism that has grown and flourished. A populist way. What are you going to end without the truth? “Del Toro adds.” You show a man the truth of his life, it doesn’t change, he just gets worse. And then in the last two minutes, all the masks fall off and you have an incredible moment. “
There is a curiosity point of difference. In the book, Stan develops his mental function as he professionally transforms himself into Reverend Carlyle. And it seems that Gresham, in the book, consciously wanted to say something about the idea of how fear is used as a tool in the commercialization of faith. But in Del Toro’s adaptation, Stan takes the stage name The Great Stanton, which makes him feel more like a magician than a false prophet.
“That’s what I call the Elmar Gantry part of the novel, and I think it’s already been perfected a few times,” said Del Toro, referring to the 1960s film. Elmer GantryBased on a novel by Sinclair Lewis, a confident strategist and a female missionary sells religion in a small town in America. (The film won an Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay by its writer / director Richard Brooks in 1961.)
“What I haven’t seen is a man hunting for people who are looking for specific comfort,” Del Toro added. And that’s something he thinks he knows best. In 1997, his father, Federico del Toro Torres, was abducted in Guadalajara and held for 72 days until a ransom was paid.
“Early on, some psychologists came to talk to my mother, and they said, ‘We know where your husband is, we can take you there if you believe us,'” Del Toro recalls. “And I remember, please, leave the house. But seeing my mother holds that hope. So, I saw this effect directly. And for me, it’s not a speech. “
When his father died in 2018, Del Toro added, he left him a watch. “That’s what I tried, and for the first time in my life I realized that Dad had a wrist smaller than mine,” said Del Toro.
“I don’t know how or why it’s important as a moment, but it’s in this movie,” he added. “And as a storyteller, I remind myself that I have to talk about things that I believe or believe to be true. Because I think when you publish a story, it resonates with the people of Ether and they find themselves in it and get excited by it. And if it’s true for you, it resonates nicely, even if it’s the opposite. “
A nightmare Ally Primer
Blueprints of all monster films, and profoundly influential works in Guillermo del Toro. Adapted from a stage play based on Mary Shelley’s 1818 novel, Frankenstein The story of human monsters. This echoes the central plot point – the story of how a man’s ambition and arrogance set the monster inside, only to return and destroy that monster. Alley of nightmares.
One year after he directed Universal’s now iconic horror masterpiece Dracula (1931), Todd Browning directed this controversial film for MGM; The story of the brutal manipulation of Hans (Harry Earls), a sideshow performer by the beautiful trapeze artist Cleopatra (Olga Baklanova), who conspires with the powerful Hercules (Henry Victor) to oust Hans from his legacy.
Quick staff (1933)
Probably Browning’s best film, with an insulting footnote: The Scandal Off Whimsical Last year, MGM did not give him on-screen credit. Quick staffBased on a play by John McDermott RivetsStories of high-rise skyscraper construction workers, especially Con Man Gunner Smith (John Gilbert), Kick Bucker Riley (Robert Armstrong) and gold miner Mary (May Clark) next to him.
Alley of nightmares (1947)
Edmund Golding directed the adaptation of Jules Forthman’s William Lindsay Gresham’s novel. In this version of the film, Tyrone Power plays Stan Carlyle, Joan Blondell as stage claimant Gina, and Helen Ritter as psychologist Lilith Ritter. In a poignant footnote, Gresham took his life in the same room at the Carter Hotel in New York in 1962, where he wrote the first draft. Alley of nightmares. (The hotel closed in 2014.)
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