Yeah - you always know when Hollywood is hurting: they pull out 3D and Sensurround (remember that?) and William Castle's "Tingler" electro-shock effect and, of course, Smell-O-Vision which I think Mike Todd (of all people) originated and then John Waters did his variation of Odorama scratch 'n' sniff cards for Polyester.

The whole "first person" thing in cinema never really works, does it? Mind you, allowing Robert Montgomery to play Marlowe (let alone direct) was a big mistake from the get go. It would be interesting to do a comparison between those films that tried and the current entertainment of first person shooter games, which only work because the viewer/user actually drives the action/plot forward.

Rouben Mamoulian's version of Dr. Jekyll had an interesting first person transformation scene with Frederic March but, thankfully, they didn't attempt to carry that device throughout the entire film. Artistic gimmickry ALWAYS seems to pop up in the industry, and not just when the industry feels nobody's giving them their undivided attention. Usually it's when a director has enough clout to get away with anything. Hitchcock's faux "one shot" in Rope comes to mind, as does Mike Figgis' Timecode. Gance's Napoleon, now that you mention it, with his wide screen triptych is another.

And ... I'm on a roll here, can you tell? ... wasn't there an HBO series that had an episode directed by Robert Zemeckis where they used old footage of Bogart and he died and it was all done first person? Or was I just so fucked up and drunk that I imagined that? Zemeckis is a primo "gimmick" director, seemingly basing entire projects around his desire to play with the latest technology; not always doing the best work with it but at least having fun and being able to say: "Nyah nyah! I did it first." I guess making scads of cash at the box office is what allows him to continue playing like that. Lucky bastard.

Have you ever read "Harrow Alley"? It was published in Scenario magazine quite a while back, whilst they were still in business, and I have a copy if you'd like to borrow it. The story of the life of that script is a compelling tale all on its own. I started transcribing it a couple of years ago into proper script format (it always pissed me off how they fucked with the format for that magazine but it was the only way they could reasonably produce a quarterly publication with 4 screenplays and interviews) and found the experience pretty cool since it forces you to physically work through the writing of a piece; but I never finished doing it - I wanted to post it so everyone else could nab a copy. Hmm, maybe I'll get back on that. It's in my hard drive somewhere.

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