Is Using A Piece Of Existing Music In A Film To Underline An Emotion 'Rape' - Or Just The Way Cinema Works?

from the how-art-works dept

"The Artist" may have won several Golden Globes, but there's at least one person who apparently hates the film because of some music it uses:

The director of The Artist has defended using music from Alfred Hitchcock's Vertigo in his Oscar-tipped film after a complaint from its [Vertigo's] star Kim Novak. In a full-page ad in Monday's edition of trade paper Variety, the actress said "rape" had been committed with the use of Bernard Herrmann's score.

Here's what the 78-year-old lead actress of Hitchcock's 1958 classic sees as the problem:

By featuring the music [of Bernard Herrmann], she went on, the makers of The Artist, were guilty of "using emotions it engenders as if it were their own".
But that's what thousands of films do when they use pre-existing themes or entire songs as a sonic background to key moments in their stories. Indeed, some films use dozens of songs in this way, as the length of the scrolling credits at the end attests. Does that mean Novak believes all these to be "rapes", too, and the film-makers "guilty" of using the emotions as if they were their own? Surely it's more a matter of building on the achievements of others - and acknowledging that fact, as was done in "The Artist" (although Novak called it "cheating")? In other words, this is just how art works.

Follow me @glynmoody on Twitter or identi.ca, and on Google+



Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  •  
    icon
    Ima Fish (profile), Jan 20th, 2012 @ 11:48am

    Use of emotions engendering as if it were their own... that's a paddling.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 20th, 2012 @ 11:54am

    Wait, what, she's still around?

    Well, I guess if your career's dead, you gotta get attention somehow.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Jan 20th, 2012 @ 12:44pm

      Re: Wait, what, she's still around?

      Dude, give her a break... She's 78 years old. Old people get a pass in my book.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Jan 20th, 2012 @ 1:26pm

      Re: Wait, what, she's still around?

      Well I guess if you can't create you borrow. I'm glad she pointed this out, I will make sure to avoid the film.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      •  
        icon
        PaulT (profile), Jan 22nd, 2012 @ 11:27am

        Re: Re: Wait, what, she's still around?

        In that case, you'd better avoid every film that has used a pop song or pre-existing score track, every book that quotes another work (most of Stephen King's output, for example), every collage, mashup, every song that's ever used a sample, every cover version, every remake, every sequel, every movie based on a TV show or vice versa and everything directly based on a previous work or historical events, including most of Shakespeare's output.

        Not doing so would make you a hypocrite, after all.

        Or, you could stop being a moron and enjoy the film for what it is. Even Hitchcock remade his own films, FFS, and virtually every film he made was based on a book - including Vertigo...

         

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    MrWilson, Jan 20th, 2012 @ 12:01pm

    Oh the irony! She's guilty of using the emotions that the term "rape" engenders as if it were her own. Rape victims probably wouldn't have a problem with her use of the term, right?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Joe, Jan 20th, 2012 @ 12:05pm

    Well it's a good thing she wasn't in Psycho or Jaws- how many tv/ movies have used that music to piggy back on those emotions...

    And just because this is the web so we need a good conspiracy theory - we're heading into awards season and the hollywood papers are full of 'for your consideration' ads. Perhaps this is an introduction of political style negative attack ads into the voting process.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    icon
    Mike42 (profile), Jan 20th, 2012 @ 12:08pm

    This is the mentality that so many people who aren't educated/experienced in the arts have. If they can recognise any piece of a work in another work, they simply poo-poo it as a rip-off. But the more art you see, the more you realize that everything is a rip-off of something. There is nothing new under the sun. Once you come to this realization, you can get past this immaturity and actually appreciate the work for what it is (or isn't). I went through the same stage in my late 20's. Too bad she's still there at 79.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 20th, 2012 @ 12:16pm

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    icon
    Grae (profile), Jan 20th, 2012 @ 12:18pm

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-16482624:
    Novak, 78, also said in the advertisement: "I feel as if my body - or at least my body of work - has been violated by the movie."

    The statement was headed by the words: "I want to report a rape".

    And these are the sort of asinine things people say when you combine entitlement culture (thanks, big content!) with rape culture.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 20th, 2012 @ 12:46pm

    rape

    Feminists argue simultaneously that rape is an act of violence and that men are responsible for rape. Violence doesn't require a penis so why are women excluded? Novak applies the same logic to this as she is excluding her own kind, those who she agrees with, from the copyrapists.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      icon
      Jeffhole (profile), Jan 20th, 2012 @ 12:57pm

      Re: rape

      Because it's specifically penis violence. I think. You and I may just not be angry enough at the world and penises to understand it.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      •  
        icon
        btrussell (profile), Jan 20th, 2012 @ 10:16pm

        Re: Re: rape

        My penis regularly makes bad decisions for me.

        Ironically, those same decisions keep me from having to flog it.

        I cannot stay mad at my penis.

         

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      icon
      Rose M. Welch (profile), Jan 22nd, 2012 @ 7:30am

      Re: rape

      Feminists don't argue that men are solely responsible for rape, or that women can't or don't rape. Novak's comments show that she is not a feminist, anyway, so your entire comment is both wrong and irrelevant.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 20th, 2012 @ 12:46pm

    rape

    Feminists argue simultaneously that rape is an act of violence and that men are responsible for rape. Violence doesn't require a penis so why are women excluded? Novak applies the same logic to this as she is excluding her own kind, those who she agrees with, from the copyrapists.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      icon
      Rose M. Welch (profile), Jan 22nd, 2012 @ 7:31am

      Re: rape

      Feminists argue simultaneously that rape is an act of violence and that men are responsible for rape. Violence doesn't require a penis so why are women excluded?

      Feminists don't argue that men are solely responsible for rape, or that women can't or don't rape.

      Novak applies the same logic to this as she is excluding her own kind, those who she agrees with, from the copyrapists.

      Novak's comments show that she is not a feminist, anyway, so your entire comment is both wrong and irrelevant.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    icon
    Vidiot (profile), Jan 20th, 2012 @ 12:49pm

    "Novak, 78, also said in the advertisement: "I feel as if my body - or at least my body of work..."
    Thought she was an actress, not the director.
    I enjoyed the use of "Claire de Lune" in Ocean's 11, in the scene shot at the Bellagio fountain. Classic. I also enjoyed it in about six other feature films, where its high emotional value added immeasurably to the filmmaker's art.
    Ahh, you say, but this is Bernard Hermann's film score, not a piece of classical music. My counter: While we once regarded film scores as little more than "mood music" played down low in the background, composers like Hermann have elevated film scores to a higher status... recognized for their inherent value... listened to without watching the movie! It's a legitimate re-use, I believe, to evoke a mood and tell a story with a powerful piece of music. (Guess I have to go see this now...)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      icon
      btrussell (profile), Jan 20th, 2012 @ 10:23pm

      Re:

      "...played down low in the background..."

      I wish this was still true.

      When I want to see a movie I buy it, err license it.

      When I want to hear music, I'll license the song/album.

      Now I can't watch a movie because I can't hear dialogue for music and sound effects.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    icon
    Jeffhole (profile), Jan 20th, 2012 @ 12:53pm

    Rape, you say?

    Well, let's go ahead and take the movies vagina (and possibly the butthole too, some people amirite?) to a hospital, have 'em break out a rape kit and fus-ro-dah that shit and if the test comes back positive for seminal secretions or other foreign DNA then sure, rape happened. If not, then I think we can safely blast this old crone out of a circus cannon into the Atlantic.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 20th, 2012 @ 12:53pm

    I don't know which is more amazing - that people think we should reinvent the wheel every time a new car is made or that marketing/pr execs have been able to spin this into something people believe?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    icon
    W Klink (profile), Jan 20th, 2012 @ 12:55pm

    Dolly zoom

    And I suppose that every time a film uses the dolly zoom (pulling the camera out and zooming in at the same time), they're also stealing from Vertigo.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 20th, 2012 @ 12:58pm

    Oh great..

    This is just what we need - another hyperbolic propaganda term to demonize copying.

    I can just imagine the copyright maximalists now...

    Hey Fred, did you see this comment? It's *pure gold*. Rape is way worse than stealing - we need to stop calling infringement 'piracy' and 'theft', and start calling it 'rape' instead!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Justin Levine, Jan 20th, 2012 @ 1:00pm

    Overthrowing the old cultural paradigms

    I'm beginning to think that the overall problem with copyright/remix/SOPA culture is largely a generational one. One generation that has now grown up communicating in a digital environment and those who haven't. Much like the shift with marijuana legalization, mixed-race marriage, attitudes on homosexuality, etc., we may have to simply wait for the older generation to die off before we can inherit a politically safe environment for a re-mix/file-sharing culture.

    I think appealing to reason won't work here. Their entire mindset is too fixed in the past. 30 years from now, will there be any Congressional candidate who can claim that they never downloaded a file from MegaUpload or similar 'cyber-locker' services? Never posted an infringing video to YouTube?

    Hopefully, the propaganda used by the old guard in the current information war will be looked upon with the same sense of bemusement as the 'Reefer Madness' film is with regards to the dangers of marijuana.

    Just like what every generation says about the one that came before it: 'They just don't get it.'

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      icon
      Jeffhole (profile), Jan 20th, 2012 @ 1:27pm

      Re: Overthrowing the old cultural paradigms

      Or we could get a head start and...scrub the old "data".

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Jan 20th, 2012 @ 1:43pm

      Re: Overthrowing the old cultural paradigms

      This is a generational divide. Ages 20-35 have never known a world without computers and the internet. Most of them started kindergarden from schooling online.

      For them "ownership" means something totally different. It's not a physical thing and it's disposable. But it is doing what they want to, when they want to and how they want to.

      The content industry is still arguing among themselves who owns what and who will deliver it for the last 10 years and they will never figure it out.

      The apathy is that average people don't won't wait. They have moved on.

      Blaming consumers for doing what they want to is NOT capitalism.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      icon
      PaulT (profile), Jan 22nd, 2012 @ 11:37am

      Re: Overthrowing the old cultural paradigms

      "Hopefully, the propaganda used by the old guard in the current information war will be looked upon with the same sense of bemusement as the 'Reefer Madness' film is with regards to the dangers of marijuana. "

      Better parallels might be the McCarthyist witchhunts that blacklisted many talents, the Hays Code and Hollywood opposition to home video. The industry is filled with folly that have seen them try to actively damage itself, only to be looked upon with wonder by people who haven't bought into the same propaganda.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    icon
    weneedhelp (profile), Jan 20th, 2012 @ 1:08pm

    78-year-old

    78-year-old
    um 78-year-old
    see 78-year-old
    GET OFF MY LAWN!!!!!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    icon
    jupiterkansas (profile), Jan 20th, 2012 @ 1:10pm

    Listen to Mussorgsky and you'll hear Bernard Herrmann. Listen to Schumann and you'll hear Mussorgsky. All art is derivative.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 20th, 2012 @ 1:22pm

    I'm confused..

    So they couldn't be bothered to create some quality music for the film, instead they copied music from a legendary movie like Vertigo? I'm sorry but she does have a point, music becomes very attached emotionally to a movie, and when you rip that out to try and use for benefit in your own movie it's a cheap move. It's understandable if you want to use some classical music or other piece, but you don't just rip off someone else's original soundtrack for your own movie.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      icon
      weneedhelp (profile), Jan 20th, 2012 @ 1:32pm

      Re: I'm confused..

      music becomes very attached emotionally to a movie - I am quite sure the music will grow to love its new movie.

      when you rip that out - Ohhhh Noooossss it is no longer in Alfred Hitchcock's Vertigo? What did they replace it with?

      Confused indeed.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      icon
      Suja (profile), Jan 20th, 2012 @ 5:17pm

      Re: I'm confused..

      music becomes very attached emotionally to a movie

      uhhhhhh.......

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    icon
    CheMonro (profile), Jan 20th, 2012 @ 3:03pm

    How Many?

    I wonder how many in the audience for The Artist have ever seen Vertigo? I'd guess much less than fifty percent. Maybe this is a homage, you know, a way of celebrating a classic score and a classic film and introducing them to a whole new generation of moviegoers... Who might even be motivated to now watch Vertigo for the first time.

    Wouldn't that be a good thing?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    dwg, Jan 20th, 2012 @ 3:42pm

    Wait...

    ...isn't "using emotions . . . as if [they]were their own" what actors do?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    icon
    Suja (profile), Jan 20th, 2012 @ 5:17pm

    her stupid comment raped my brain, i'm calling my lawyer

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    icon
    Michael (profile), Jan 21st, 2012 @ 12:50am

    Oh boy. I can already hear Flight of the Valkyries

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Save me a cookie
  • Note: A CRLF will be replaced by a break tag (<br>), all other allowable HTML will remain intact
  • Allowed HTML Tags: <b> <i> <a> <em> <br> <strong> <blockquote> <hr> <tt>
Follow Techdirt
A word from our sponsors...
Essential Reading
Techdirt Reading List
Techdirt Insider Chat
A word from our sponsors...
Recent Stories
A word from our sponsors...

Close

Email This