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Somewhere Cinematic: Hollywood Movies On Hollywood

Posted December 02, 2010 to photo album "Somewhere Cinematic: Hollywood Movies On Hollywood"

Sofia Coppola’s award-winning Somewhere is the latest in a line of films that examines movies and movie stars. Nick Dawson casts an eye over some of the best.

Slide 1: Introduction
Slide 2: A Star is Born (1937)
Slide 3: Sullivan's Travels (1942)
Slide 4: Sunset Blvd (1950)
Slide 5: Singin' in the Rain (1952)
Slide 6: Inside Daisy Clover (1965)
Slide 7: Nickelodeon (1976)
Slide 8: My Favorite Year (1982)
Slide 9: The Player (1992)
Slide 10: Living in Oblivion (1995)
Slide 11: Hollywoodland (2006)
Slide 9: The Player (1992)

Slide 9: The Player (1992)

After a period in the wilderness during the 1980s, director Robert Altman returned to the top with The Player, his scathing satire of the movie industry. Adapted by Michael Tolkin from his own novel, The Player centered on movie executive Griffin Mill (Tim Robbins) whose job is under threat and is receiving threatening postcards from one of the numerous screenwriters whose pitches he has scornfully rejected. Mill tracks down the person he thinks is sending the postcards, David Kahane (Vincent D’Onofrio), but after Kahane provokes him, Mill kills Kahane in an uncontrollable rage. Altman’s film is a treat for cinephiles: it is packed with movie references and in-jokes, and has cameos by everybody who’s anybody in Hollywood, from marquee names such as Bruce Willis and Julia Roberts to writer-directors like Alan Rudolph and Buck Henry. The film begins with an incredible eight-minute continues take that is Altman-esque to the extreme, effortlessly gliding around the studio lot from character to character and conversation to conversation, and at the same time namechecking A Touch of Evil and Rope, two movies which also have masterful long opening shots. In his assessment of the film Vanity Fair’s Stephen Schiff wrote that “The Player is about how the industry crushes the originality out of anyone who participates in it — any Player, be he writer, director, or production chief” – however a film this endlessly creative is proof that a true talent such as Altman’s simply cannot be suppressed.