- Количество слайдов: 29
Lecture 6: Los Angeles, Movies and Cars Who Framed Roger Rabbit? (1988) Directed by Robert Zemeckis Professor Michael Green 1
This Lesson • The Rise of Car Culture • Los Angeles, Movies and Car Culture • Who Framed Roger Rabbit
The Rise of Car Culture The Los Angeles Freeways Lesson 6: Part I 3
The Los Angeles Freeways • Even though L. A has fewer lane-miles per capita than many other major metropolises, freeways are one of the major trademarks of Los Angeles, along with beaches, palm trees and movie studios. • They have become part of the Los Angles myth, represented ad infinitum in thousands of movies, television shows and other media. – “CHi. PS” – O. J. /White Bronco freeway chase 4
Suburban Sprawl • Extensive and complex freeway networks criss-cross the still fast-growing region, connecting urban centers with their suburbs and exurbs as well as the areas of urban sprawl between them. • Remember, that L. A was built on a realestate boom before industry existed to support it. Unlike most cities, which grow outward from their cores, L. A. was dealing with suburban sprawl from the beginning. 5
The Growth of the Auto in the U. S • During the postwar years, as never before, the automobile became the dominant factor in American life. • Among other things, the car became the metaphor from which Americans drew their self-image of potency and strength. • “Highways spread across the landscape like a gigantic concrete blob, isolating rural towns, carving up neighborhoods and destroying street culture, bringing congestion to all major cities. ” – Marty Jeezer, The Dark Ages
The Destruction of Mass Transit • “The destruction of mass transit by monopolistic business practices made sense for GM’s corporate policy. Efficient mass transit was a barrier to expanding corporate profits. It was inevitable that GM would move to drive out all competition and increase the market for its private vehicles. ” – Jeezer • Check out the website, “The Streetcar Conspiracy” linked to the lesson.
The End of Mass-transit • At the end of World War II, the U. S. still had a healthy railroad system and the potential for modernizing its mass transit. • In 1944, Congress passed the Defense Highway Act, with the construction costs to be split 50 -50 by federal and state govs. • Though the government cited national security, the real impetus for the program came from intense lobbying by the auto industry and its allies in oil, rubber and steel.
Cars for Everybody • “As early as the 1920 s, cars had begun to saturate the economy on the basis of one car per family, leading the automakers, especially General Motors, to adopt a new marketing strategy. Continued expansion could only come through planned obsolescence – so a family would have to buy a car every few years – and through encouraging two-car families and by making the automobile necessary for commuting. ” – Jeezer
Making them Bigger • Despite urban congestion and the problem of parking space, the size of cars was increased throughout the postwar period. • Automobile manufacturers resisted bringing out small, compact cars because big cars mean bigger profits and because their motivational research departments reported that consumers craved bigness as a psychological need. 10
Example 1958 Super Oldsmobile with the 371 Rocket engine. 12
Cars and the Frontier • The lure (and myth) of the American Frontier, with its emphasis on rugged individualism, has always encouraged privatism and isolation. • Detroit manipulated and exploited these traditions with a vengeance. • Such myths play particularly well in Los Angeles, since, more than East Coast cities, L. A. has retained its identity as a frontier. 12
Another Version • In “Mass Politics and the Adoption of the Automobile in Los Angles, ” Scott Bottles argues that the historical record does not support evidence of a corporate conspiracy, despite the fact that this version has become firmly lodged in the public consciousness. • Bottles argues that Angelenos adopted the automobile in protest against the inefficient and seemingly corrupt railways. 13
Poor Mass Transit • “Southern California residents during the first three decades of the twentieth century constantly complained about the quality of rail transit. From the public’s point of view, the railways sought to benefit at its expense. ” • “Among other things, the railways deliberately ran too few cars, refused to build vital crosstown lines, bribed public officials and abused their franchises. ” – Bottles 14
The Car as Democratic Symbol • The car became a symbol of democratic technology freeing the citizenry from the shackles of the monopolistic railways. • Los Angelenos felt that cars were private and offered flexibility and convenience. 15
Opening Up the Suburbs • According to the alternate version, the public turned to automobiles because it felt the streetcar industry had failed in its promise to open up the suburbs to development. • “The automobile, people thought, could complete the job of lowering urban densities, therefore creating the ideal low-density metropolis. The key to suburban utopia was an efficient street system and inexpensive automobiles. ” – Bottles 16
Los Angeles, Movies and Cars The Fast and the Furious (2001) Directed by Rob Cohen Lesson 6: Part II 17
Cars in L. A. Movies • Not surprisingly, the Los Angeles obsession with cars and driving has been prominently represented in Hollywood movies. • The movies both reflect and feed the real-life chases that regularly occur on the Los Angeles freeways. • Many car chases are captured on video, with news helicopters ready to tape the incidents. Many are broadcast live. Some news websites have footage of car chases. 18
Some L. A Movie Chases – The Terminator (1984) and Terminator II: Judgment Day (1991) – To Live and Die in L. A. (1985) – Fletch (1985) – Set it Off (1996) – Gone in Sixty Seconds (2000) – Charlie’s Angels (2000) – The Fast and the Furious (2001) – The Lethal Weapon movies (1987 -1998) • Pause the lecture and watch clip # 1.
To Live and Die in L. A. (1985) Directed by William Friedkin
Other Examples • Falling Down – Michael Douglas, sick of the gridlock, climbs out of his car during rush hour. • Pause the lecture and watch clip #2 • L. A. Story – Steve Martin communes with a freeway sign. • Pause the lecture and watch clip #3 – The movie lampoons road rage on the L. A. freeways. • Pause the lecture and watch clip #4
Pulp Fiction • In Quentin Tarantino’s alternate L. A, the car is a prominently featured motif. Some examples: • Vincent picks up Mia in a 1964 Chevy Chevelle. • The booths at Jack Rabbit Slim’s are all classic cars. • Jules and Vincent’s relationship is established in a car. A crucial turning point occurs in the same car. • Winston Wolf’s drives an Acura NSX. • A body (and a car) are disposed of in a car crusher. • The Bruce Willis section of the movie features a Checkered Taxicab, a Honda, a Camaro and a Harley • Pause the lecture and watch clip # 5. • Check out the website linked to the lesson.
Who Framed Roger Rabbit Who Framed Roger Rabbit? (1988) Directed by Robert Zemeckis Lesson 6: Part III 23
Background on The Movie • Directed by Robert Zemeckis (Back to the Future, Forrest Gump, Contact) and written by Jeffrey Price and Peter S. Seaman, based on a novel by Gary K. Wolf. • It was revolutionary for its time. Though not the first attempt to combine live action and animation – Mary Poppins and Song of the South had done it, among others – it was the first to do it so comprehensively and with such technological sophistication.
Influence • The movie started a new era in animation – more specifically revived animation as a viable commercial form, and introduced CGI. – Tiny Toons, Animaniacs – The Simpsons, South Park, Beavis and Butthead – Disney feature animation renaissance • The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin – Can be argued that the success of the film led to Disney being receptive to Pixar’s proposal for first animated feature, Toy Story.
Brand Synergy • The movie featured an amalgamation of characters from Disney, Warner Brothers, and many other studios, as well as an executive producer credit by Steven Spielberg. • This became more important to the blockbuster filmmaking 1980 s, especially as ancillary markets became a huge deal. • Warner Brothers would only allow the use of Bugs Bunny, if he received equal amount of screen time and lines as Walt Disney's biggest star, Mickey Mouse.
Course Concepts • Race, Class and Gender – The ‘toons have been allegorized as second class citizens and Toontown allegorized as a ghetto. See the essay linked to the course. • Film Noir – Detective film with all the typical tropes • • • Murder Femme Fatale Conspiracy at the highest levels Down and out, cynical detective Pays homage to Chinatown
Course Concepts (continued) • Cars and Freeways – The film fictionalizes the conspiracy from your reading, in which corporations try to put street cars and public transportation out of business. – Also features a talking car, many chases, etc. • Self-reflexive Hollywood and Los Angeles – Many insider jokes about Hollywood – Many references to Hollywood’s golden age of animation. • High Concept – You will learn about this in the next lesson
End of Lecture 6