Dragnet vs The Untouchables

(Welcome to Seeing Double, a series where two strangely similar films released around the same time are put head-to-head. This week: 1987’s Dragnet and 1987’s The Untouchables.)

Hollywood is a land of mystery. Who killed the Black Dahlia? Was Marisa Tomei the real winner of 1993’s Best Supporting Actress Oscar? Why is Jai Courtney still a thing?

One of the less salacious and controversial mysteries to come out of Hollywood though involves the occasional appearance of “movie doubles” – films from rival studios with highly similar plots/subjects that are released in close proximity to each other. Think Volcano and Dante’s Peak or Deep Impact and Armageddon. There’s little upside to both studios sticking to their guns and moving forward with the production as history shows that more often than not one of the pair falls by the wayside at the box-office, so why even head into production on a film you know another studio has already begun? Are original ideas that hard to come by in Hollywood? (This is a rhetorical question.)

This month is the 30th anniversary of both Dragnet and The Untouchables, and while at first glance they might not seem like another pair of duplicates, I’d argue to the contrary. Both films are big screen adaptations of popular ’50s/’60s television cop shows that at some point starred Harry Morgan, both feature lead actors who were known entities but still a year or three away from their biggest success, and they were released just three weeks apart in June of 1987. The films take wildly opposing approaches to the material itself, and their fates both at the box-office and in the critical eye may have differed because of it.

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VOTD: Edgar Wright’s 1993 Mash-Up ‘Gun Fetish’

We post a fair amount of montages here on /Film, but this one’s extra special. Back in 1993, well before the days of Final Cut Pro, a 19-year-old Edgar Wright holed himself up in an editing suite for several weekends to put together this montage, “Gun Fetish.” The clips are pulled from VHS tapes, which explains the low quality. Even so, it’s apparent that Wright has an excellent sense of rhythm and timing, as well as real affection for the films he’d go on to reference and parody in work like Spaced, Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, and Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World. Watch it after the jump. Be forewarned — the video is, as Wright puts it, “a little NSFW and spoiler heavy.”

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Watch A Brief History of Movie Title Designs

As part of the screening put together in relation to the SXSW Title Design Competition, Ian Albinson from the website The Art of the Title Sequence put together a nice two and a half minute compendium of excellent film titles. (That features an occasional piece of television, too.) For any long-time film lover, this little video will probably elicit quite a few responses simply on the strength of the title cards on display. I queued several films to re-watch after exposure to just a few seconds of their titles.

Check out the collection after the jump. Read More »

Cool Stuff: Robert De Niro Times Six Print

denirotimessixIn January, Nakatomiinc released an awesome print by Tim Doyle, which was an homage to Bill Murray‘s many great roles. The print sold out fast, and doyle began work on the second in the series: Robert De Niro Times Six which takes a look at  the many characters that Robert has played over his career: Godfather 2, Taxi Driver, Deer Hunter, Raging Bull, The Untouchables, and Jackie Brown. The print is extremely widescreen (as seen after the jump), 6 inches high by 36 wide, 4 colors, printed by D and L.  Signed and Numbered. Nakatomiinc is selling two different editions, a regular edition (shown after the jump) for $30 (only 150 prints) and a Glow in the dark Blue Variant (shown above) for $50 (only 25 prints).

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