19 December 2005

Art in the Movies



I’m thinking about art that shows up in Hollywood productions, not the relative merits of these sorts of movies-as-art. That would be an interesting post though.

A fantastic movie full of fantastic art is The Age of Innocence. Someday, I’ll make a list of every famous and not famous painting sitting there understatedly in the background of nearly every shot. It will be a big job, but I would actually enjoy doing it. Maybe it has been done. If so, I want the list so that next time I watch it the experience will even more fantastic than it already is.

There are other movies where the art factor is so blown out of proportion that it becomes irksome and frustrating. For me, What Dreams May Come is one such movie. At first, it was kind of neat that Robin Williams kept flitting from one painting-made-alive into another. It was a creative way to tie his story to his wife’s life. After several repetitions of this theme it began to look not so much like creativity but the lack of it. I found myself wondering which famous painting was going to be plagiarized next, and wishing the art director had paid a little less attention during their art history lectures.

Of course, we can’t forget movies-using-art scandals. James Cameron didn’t have permission to use all of the art that met its demise on the Titanic, and had to settle out of court to avoid being sued.

I’ve also been creating a list in my mind of all the movies I’ve ever seen that involve art-theft. It’s a pretty long list.

If you have a favorite art-filled movie, let me know.

6 comments:

Jason Heilpern said...

I have to admit that I really liked What Dreams May Come, however I never noticed until you pointed it out that he does switch from painting to painting. It was interesting to go back and watch that movie with that in mind.

katperkins said...

The only art theft movie I could think of is that one with Audrey Hepburn. I think her dad was a forgery artist and I remember something about stealing a statue from a museum. I was pretty young when I saw it.

joe said...
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d.g. said...

For better or worse, the strongest artwork-in-a-movie association I have is still Georges Seurat's
A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte in Ferris Bueller's Day Off.

As for art theft in movies: The Thomas Crown Affair was the first that came to mind, but how can anything possibly compare to the Marx Brothers classic Animal Crackers?

joe said...

The movie kat is referring to is How To Steal A Million, one of my favorites!

Jonas said...

Mr. Bean the movie. He steals a priceless masterpeice because he did something to ruin it. He stole it to try and fix it and take it back without anyone knowing.