Whats Up, Doc?


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Luckily Tim was superb and the crew was superb. As a matter of fact, to prove my point we actually did the shot twice. The first one broke your heart. Most directors have no idea how to direct actors. Did you write the script of Paper Moon? I was sent a script called Addie Pray which was based on a book. Those two scenes were the only two scenes that remained after the rewriting. I finally came up with it the night before we shot it. I came up with the title Paper Moon , which nobody at Paramount liked.


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I thought Addie Pray sounded like a snake or a lizard or something. You know those paper moons that you sat in at carnivals and they took your picture? Just release the title. With great difficulty. Did you have to overcome some difficulty with her father? Jesus no, I had to keep Ryan from killing her. Get the lines right, Tatum! It was a scene between Ryan and Tatum which played without a cut, and it was the end of the first act where they have this big argument about the Bibles. Two miles down the road there was a place where we could turn around and come back, but turning around took five or six minutes because the road was so narrow.

We did it twenty-five times the first day. I remember putting my arm around Ryan and walking up the road while I calmed him down. The next day it rained, and the day after it rained and we shot some other stuff, and a few days later we came back and did it again. We got it the second day on something like the sixteenth take. It was a night scene so it took us about three hours to light it.

She started riding the Ferris wheel, eating popcorn, eating candy corn, eating peanuts, and by the time we were ready to shoot she was sick. She was on the floor. You had to scare her into doing it right. After about five weeks she really got into it and started to enjoy the shooting and was much better.

When we were casting the film, Paramount told me John Huston had wanted to make it with Paul Newman and his daughter. How did you come to make Daisy Miller? I read a script of Daisy Miller that was pretty bad, but when I got to the end and all of a sudden she died I was very moved. What does it all add up to? Deciding to do something really comes down to whether it moves me emotionally, or whether it makes me laugh. I made Daisy Miller because it moved me. What persuaded me to do it is the complete misunderstanding of Daisy Miller by the young man. He judges her. We had Freddie Raphael write another version of the script based on a few conversations we had about making it darker, more dramatic.

So I went back to the book and rewrote every scene, and ended up keeping only a couple of his ideas, like setting the tea scene in the baths. The script went to arbitration and he ended up getting credit on the film. Why do you think the film was so badly received?

I think the script is very faithful to the book and I think the book is wonderful. People find it difficult to accept a character like Daisy Miller in that milieu. If you put her into a western nobody would have any difficulty believing that character. But the minute you put her into a European milieu, which is sort of sophisticated and highbrow and artistic, people find it hard to believe that anybody could be that crude. She was supposed to be that way, yet you were supposed to like her anyway. Actually, what changes is you. But it is true that pictures have a way of changing their shape and color.

Mainly my father, who was a painter. It must have had a profound effect on me. He was influenced by the postimpressionists, but because of his Serbian heritage his work had some kind of Byzantine overlay, which meant the colors were brighter. Daisy Miller is one of the few pictures of mine I can look at and not feel like I actually had anything to do with it, which is nice.

Looking at your own work is like looking in the mirror. We were both staggering out in the morning for some sort of interview, and there was a mirror next to the elevators to let you know how you look. Ryan was already standing there looking in the mirror. You had the great fortune of knowing Fritz Lang and John Ford. Do you think those relationships helped you with your own filmmaking?

All directors steal from each other. I was talking to Howard Hawks about the shot in Red River when the cloud comes in and covers the funeral. I was fortunate because I got out to Los Angeles in Many of the great directors of the early period were still alive then, and some of them were even still working. I tracked them down and asked them as many questions as I possibly could. Have you ever uttered a declarative sentence?

He could really talk once you got him going. It must have been gratifying that such a young guy was asking them so many questions. They were all aware that even though I was writing for Esquire I was actually a theater director and an actor. It was like putting myself through a unique film school that had as its faculty all the great directors. Almost all of them began in the silent era.

They are the foundation of everything that came afterwards. One of the main things I learned from the older directors is not to let the dialogue dictate how you make the picture. I like what Allan Dwan said, that when we switched from silent pictures to sound, the whole artistry was gone. For me, the material, the story being told, dictates the style. I feel that one of the dangers in picture making is that style has become more important than content.

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But substance with no craft is equally problematic. Was it you who pioneered the idea of going back and interviewing the old directors? The French did it first.

I read the magazine in the late fifties and early sixties, and it seemed perfectly natural to go and interview those people I was interested in. Did you ever think about going to Europe and doing for French and English directors what you were doing for American filmmakers? My focus was on American movies and directors because I was going to make American films.

I think something that has hurt American cinema of late is that younger filmmakers have gone after Antonioni and Fellini. Such pretension! Had you really seen all the films you discussed with the directors you interviewed? But remember that film culture in New York in the fifties and sixties was a vibrant one, and there were a lot of opportunities to see rare films back then. People were starting to take film very seriously.

I was marginally involved with a group of filmmakers and avant-garde artists that became known as the New American Cinema group, people like Lionel Rogosin and Jonas Mekas. Adolfas Mekas asked me to be in his film Hallelujah the Hills , but I turned him down because of the nudity. By the time I was about twenty I had sketched an idea for a film I wanted to make called The Land of Opportunity , about a young couple in New York who get everything for free. They either steal it or somehow promote it for free.

I just had the idea, and never even wrote the script. Dan was the first person to show classic American films rather than foreign films, which the Thalia and most of the art houses were doing. He was following the Cahiers lead and started an American revival house which was a very influential theater for a number of years. I had help from Andrew Sarris and Eugene Archer, and wrote all the program notes.

We think you would be the right person to organize the retrospective. He was in Europe shooting The Trial. After the film had opened I get a phone call. Why did you want to meet me? Your written work seems almost anti-academic. One critic said that Paper Moon is a homage to thirties filmmaking.

What nonsense! The film is set in the thirties, but I never saw a single film like that made in the thirties. His point of view is entirely valid. There was a Renoir series a few years ago here in town. What a wonderful film that is! The music recording is not so good. Sometimes the cutting is a little too fast, and sometimes the cutting is a little too slow.

But who cares? The magic is gone. It used to be exciting when Douglas Fairbanks jumped up onto a table. The whole idea of suspension of disbelief has evaporated. Buster Keaton and Harold Lloyd did all their own stunts, which is what makes them so brilliant. Long takes. Part of the greatness of movies is showing something happen in real time. And all the cutting and hand-held camera that goes on just makes you aware of the process. What does it add? Certainly not realism. What do you make of Easy Rider? It seems to be the antithesis of your own work, which looks quite conservative in comparison.

It was quite a radical film for its time even though the story was told in a classical style. Easy Rider really began with The Wild Angels. Peter Fonda basically plays the same character in both films. It started a whole genre and without it there would be no Easy Rider. Peter and Dennis Hopper came to Roger Corman and asked if he wanted to make Easy Rider , but Roger turned it down because they wanted half a million dollars.

Of course the two of them ended up winning the prize at Cannes and making a fortune. Did you come up with the original idea for Nickelodeon? It was a pet project of mine because I found the whole silent era so fascinating. Film is the only art form that was born within our lifetime. All the stories in Nickelodeon are largely true because they were told to me by the directors who had been making films back then, people like Leo McCarey, Allan Dwan and Raoul Walsh. A director went missing, so Dwan sent a telegram to his boss explaining what had happened, and received a reply telling him that he was the new director.

Too many compromises, like having to make it in color, and the casting.

Peter Bogdanovich’s ‘What’s Up, Doc?’ brought screwball back to life

I wanted a younger cast, but the studio wanted big star names. What are your thoughts on music in films? It seems to me that the visuals should do absolutely everything. Too many movies today are told through the music. What I do like is when the music plays against the visuals, like if you have fast-paced images and something going on musically which acts as a counterpoint, or somebody playing a funny song in a sad scene.

It sounds as if the singing in At Long Last Love was recorded live. That was a folly of mine. It was an ambitious but flawed film for which I can only blame myself. My favorite musicals are the Lubitsch films of the late twenties and early thirties. One of the things that made The Love Parade and The Smiling Lieutenant so exciting was that you knew they were singing live. The orchestra was right off-camera. He might have been exaggerating, but for me it made sense not to postsynch, because the immediacy of the whole thing would be lost.

I wanted to make a musical where they were acting the songs and singing them live. Everybody thought this was crazy, but I was riding high at the time. They each had an antenna combed into their hair that could pick up an electric signal sent from an electric piano, so on the set the actors were hearing the music.

Actually, none of them were really singers, although that was the fun of it. The point is that these people are superficial. They can only express themselves through songs written by someone else. So it was a rather personal film for me, and the Cole Porter song that made me want to make the movie is the first scene I wrote but is one of the last scenes in the film [singing]:.

What was the concept behind the Directors Company? I remember that Frank Yablans, the head of Paramount, walked in and hated the whole idea. For any picture that cost up to three million dollars we could make anything we wanted. For a million and a half or under we could produce a film directed by someone else.

I was looking forward to making all kinds of films, including one with King Vidor called The Extra about James Murray, the actor in his film The Crowd , and a film with Orson based on a Joseph Conrad novel. The whole thing really was a great idea on paper, and we should have made a lot of pictures, but Francis and Billy ended up wanting more money up front. Everyone in the company ended up doing well on Paper Moon , which was the only picture that made money, because I threw the film into the mix to jump-start the company.

I had a deal to make that film long before we formed the Directors Company but thought it would be a good idea to sweeten the pot for everyone. That was a big error on my part, because I ended up losing a lot of money. Do you shoot lots of cutaways for protection? Being young in the business, I assumed that was the way everybody did it, but found out later that some directors, like Capra and Stevens, would shoot a lot of coverage. Part of my training was to think only in terms of what is needed.

The one thing that the old-timers spoke about most often was their pride in being able to make films quickly and economically. I shoot very tight, and because of that editing goes very quickly. It was the same thing with Paper Moon and Daisy Miller. I think running around covering things from every angle can ruin the morale on a set, particularly when you have a big, complicated setup and everybody has to work like a sonofabitch to get it right.

With scenes where you have to do several takes to get it right, do the performances ever change? In movies something happens and it only happens once. John Ford said that he thinks the best things in pictures happen by accident. Henry Fonda told me this story about Ford directing Mister Roberts.

He was kind of shaky and nervous. It was a long scene, about four or five pages, and Ford set up the camera, and we started to roll—it was outside on a ship—and Jesus, Bill was just terrible. His hands were shaking and he could barely remember his lines. Did you see that cloud move in there? What a hell of a shot that was! But basically I know what the scene is about and how many angles I need to cover it. If you have a scene that plays well in a single shot, then just leave it alone. Maybe shoot four or five takes, but forget about coverage.

No reason to cut. Lewis was shooting a bank robbery and got it only with a single camera from inside the car. I asked him about this entire ten-minute shot. Did he get any coverage? Can you say anything about casting? I once asked Hitchcock about the difference between casting an unknown actor and a star in a picture.

You slow up as you go by the accident and see somebody. He just walks on the screen. That instant familiarity is what you are paying him for. Have you ever run into any problems with actors? I think you have to be some kind of actor to be a good director, because essentially you have to hear the words in your mind. Keep that. Of course there are a million ways to do that. In fact, there are as many ways to do that as there are actors, because every actor is different.

Some directors did all the time. Lubitsch, for example, acted out every role: the maids, the butlers, every role. It was a little broad but you got the idea. I got encouragement with this method of directing from James Cagney.

But only five are really directors. Is it easier to do six less expensive pictures than one expensive one? Making an expensive film is the worst thing in the world. In fact, his name on those had been Leslie Kovacs. Otto Preminger once said to me that there were two kinds of good cameramen. When we started work on Paper Moon it was going to be in color. I sent Polly to look for locations and take photos. She drove all over the South, in Tennessee and Georgia, before we decided on Kansas.

She brought the pictures back and maybe half were in color and half were black and white. It looks wonderful. The film was set in the thirties and here were all these black-and-white pictures with modern cars, with motorcycles, with modern signs, but in black and white it still looked like it was the thirties. I also thought the film would be too cute in color, with these two attractive, blue-eyed blond people.

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It would have looked like a Disney picture. Filters like that emphasize the contrast between light and dark. The use of black and white was kind of revived for a while, because Mel Brooks did Young Frankenstein and Fosse did Lenny. Is your relationship with Verna Fields, who has edited several of your films, important to you? Verna is originally a sound editor.

I remember showing her Targets , much of which was shot silent. Who cut it? Can you do the sound? I asked her to cut The Last Picture Show but she was busy so I ended up cutting the whole thing myself. Donn Cambern is credited on the picture, but all he did was order the opticals from the lab and make sure they looked okay. At the time Donn was editing Drive, He Said next door, so we gave him the credit. I asked Verna if she would cut it. Are you sure you want me to do this? What I do is sit with the editor and look at the dailies and pick the takes I want.

She earns her entire salary at moments like that. What do you think is the most important tool that a director needs? Good actors. And the most important skill? The ability to speak to actors and get performances from them. The second most important thing is a sense of where the hell to put the camera. The third most important thing is to know when to cut. Some directors know how to cut and know how to deal with the camera but have no idea how to talk to the actors, so you have very interesting camerawork and good cutting and you have an interesting picture from a formal point of view, but the heart is missing.

Some people know all three, and they make pretty good pictures. Where do you put the camera? I think there is one ideal place where the camera should be at any one time, and the job of the director is to find it. Hitchcock always insisted that every scene should have a point of view. Cancel Resend Email.

What's Up Doc ~ 2 B or not 2 B Tickets, Thu, May 30, at PM | Eventbrite

Add Article. Critics Consensus Barbra Streisand was never more likable than in this energetic, often hilarious screwball farce from director Peter Bogdanovich. Want to see. Super Reviewer. View All Photos 6. Movie Info. Things get even more complicated the next day when Judy's underwear-filled overnight bag gets mixed up with Howard's rock bag, which gets mixed up with Mrs. Van Hoskins' bag of jewels, which gets mixed up with Mr. Smith's bag of top secret government papers.

All sides converge at Larrabee's mod townhouse and the chase begins. Retaining Hawks' machine-gun pace as well as the sly pop culture referentiality of Billy Wilder , Bogdanovich and writers Buck Henry, David Newman, and Robert Benton updated the opposites-attract screwball convention for contemporary times. O'Neal gently parodied not only Grant but also his own Love Story preppy, while Kahn represents stiff-wigged s manners as opposed to Streisand's long-haired, pants-wearing free spirit. The happy ending, in which Cole Porter-belting youth wins out over old manners, found favor with audiences, as What's Up, Doc?

Classics , Comedy , Romance. Peter Bogdanovich. Jul 1, Barbra Streisand as Judy Maxwell. Ryan O'Neal as Howard Bannister. Madeline Kahn as Eunice Burns. Kenneth Mars as Hugh Simon. Austin Pendleton as Frederick Larrabe. Sorrell Brooke. Sorrell Booke as Harry. Joe Amsler. Stefan Gierasch as Fritz. Mabel Albertson as Mrs. Van Hoskins. Michael Murphy as Mr. Jerry Brutsche. Graham Jarvis as Bailiff. Richard E. Liam Dunn as Judge.

Ted Duncan. Phil Roth as Mr. Donna Garrett. John Hillerman as Mr. Ted Grossman. George Morfogen as Rudy, the Headwaiter. Randy Quaid as Prof. Robert H. Emmet Walsh as Arresting Officer. Eleanor Zee as Banquet Receptionist. Kevin O'Neal as Delivery Boy. Loren Janes. Dean Jeffries. Paul Condylis as Room-Service Waiter. Fred Scheiwiller as Jewel Thieve. John Moio. Carl Saxe as Jewel Thieve. Jack Perkins as Jewel Thieve.

Victor Paul. Paul B. Kililman as Druggist. Gil Perkins as Jones' Driver. George Robotham. Christa Lang as Mrs.

What Does “What’s Up, Doc?” Mean?

Stan Ross as Musicologist. Peter Paul Eastman as Musicologist.

Ehhhh, what's up, doc?

John Byner as Head. Eric Brotherson as Larrabee's Butler. Paul Stader. Elaine Partnow as Party Guest. Jack Verbois. George R. Burrafato as Eunice's Cabdriver. Richard Washington. Jerry Summers as Smith's Cabdriver. Morton C. Thompson as Airport Cabdriver. John Allen Vick as Airport Driver. Don Bexley as Skycap. Leonard Lookabaugh as Painter on Roof. Candace Brownell as Ticket Seller.

Sean Morgan as Banquet Official. Fred Stromsoe. Joseph Alfasa as Waiter in Hall. Chuck Hollom as Pizza Cook. William M. Niven as Painter. Paul Baxley. Bud Walls. Glenn H. Randall Jr.


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