Monday, August 29, 2011

2001 analysis - part 6: Representation of gold; rel. to 'Pulp Fiction'


This section of A Space Odyssey's lunar lander, shown during Heywood Floyd's flight to the moon, is reminiscent of the interior of a bank vault or gold bullion depository. The color gold is being used to represent gold bars (e.g., the segments pointed to by the white arrows - click image to enlarge), symbolizing that Floyd is moving something of monetary value to the moon.

Pulp Fiction's Ringo, with gun in hand, looks inside of the black briefcase (being held by Jules), while he's robbing the customers in the diner the two men are in. Note how the shape of, and connections between, the segments of the cushions of the diner seat-backs (e.g., as indicated by the white arrows at the far left of the screencap), are similar to those of some of the gold segments surrounding the passageway in the above screencap from 2001. As discussed in the Pulp Fiction analysis on this blog, each of four characters in Tarantino's movie (Jules, Ringo, Vincent, and Marsellus) holds his own belief regarding what is in the briefcase; Ringo believes it contains gold. (Jules himself never physically looks inside the case during the movie, but he believes it contains enlightenment (in the Buddhist sense)).


Thursday, August 25, 2011

Manhunter - Analysis of the Movie - part 1: Introduction; Will's similarity to the killer


[Image at left from the Wikipedia 'Manhunter (film)' page; "Manhunter michael mann film poster",[a] licensed under fair use via Wikipedia.]

Welcome to the analysis of Manhunter. Buttons at the bottom of each post enable navigation through the parts of the analysis. Posts in this analysis having to do with the hidden plot, such as this post, are marked with the words "[Hidden plot related]" under the post title; if you are only viewing the hidden plot explanation, you may skip over the other parts. You may want to view the table of contents.

Manhunter is a 1986 thriller film based on Thomas Harris's novel Red Dragon. Written and directed by Michael Mann, it features Brian Cox as the popular character Hannibal Lecter (although the character's name is spelled "Lecktor" in this film) and stars William Petersen, Joan Allen, Kim Greist, Dennis Farina and Tom Noonan.

Petersen plays Will Graham, a former FBI profiler who captured the infamous Dr. Hannibal Lecktor and was almost killed in the process; he is so traumatized by the event that he retires from the FBI. His former boss, Jack Crawford, calls him out of retirement to help find a killer called "The Tooth Fairy" who is murdering entire families. Crawford wants Graham on the case because Will has an uncanny ability to empathize with a killer. [b]

Above left: There is suggestion right from the beginning of the movie that Will is in some ways like the killer, the Tooth Fairy (Francis Dollarhyde). In an early scene in which Will and his wife, Molly, are in bed together, Will licks her neck several times (click image to enlarge). This is suggestive of what we later discover to be Dollarhyde's propensity for biting his female victims. Above right: A hard visual clue we are given of a likeness between Will and Dollarhyde is given in two scenes (taken together) which take place early in the movie: we notice that Graham follows the same path and sees the exact same physical objects on the steps leading to the Leeds family's bedrooms (as shown here), as did Dollarhyde when climbing these same steps in the scene before the movie title display. Since the Leeds family was one of Dollarhyde's victim families, the physical explanation for the two men's views being identical is that the crime scene has been preserved; but nevertheless, the fact that we, the Manhunter audience, are shown the two essentially identical scenes (Dollarhyde climbing the Leeds' stairs, and later, Graham climbing them), is to get across the idea that Graham is like the killer, in one or more respects.

a. Poster for Manhunter: The poster art copyright is believed to belong to the distributor of the film, De Laurentiis Entertainment Group, the publisher of the film or the graphic artist.
b. Wikipedia, 'Manhunter (film)'. Web, n.d. URL =


Monday, August 22, 2011

2001 analysis - part 5: Hints from Tarantino's 'Pulp Fiction'


Above left: Dr. Heywood Floyd 'celebrates' his daughter's birthday by video telephone communication with her, from the space station, on his way to the moon. Above right: Floyd's little girl as she appears to him while he's conversing with her. Left: The opening 'diner scene' from Pulp Fiction. 'Pumpkin' (aka 'Ringo'), seated on the right, and 'Honey Bunny' (aka Yolanda) are getting ready to rob the diner at gunpoint. During their pre-robbery discussion, Ringo describes to Yolanda a bank robbery scenario he previously heard about. This part of their conversation appears below.

Ringo: I heard about this one bloke, he walks into a federal bank with a portable phone, he gives the phone to the teller, the bloke on the other end of the phone says, 'We got this guy's little girl. If you don't give him all your money, we're gonna kill 'er'.

Yolanda: Did it work?

Ringo: Fuckin' A it worked, that's what I'm talkin' about. Knucklehead walks into a bank with a telephone, not a pistol, not a shotgun, but a fuckin' phone, cleans the place out, and they don't even lift a fuckin' finger.

Yolanda: Did they hurt the little girl?

Ringo: I don't know. There probably never was a little girl in the first place. W-well the point of the story isn't the little girl. The point of the story is, they robbed the bank with a telephone!!

The little girl mentioned in the Pulp Fiction diner conversation is a reference to Heywood Floyd's daughter, and the idea of robbing a bank with a telephone is a hint that A Space Odyssey's Heywood Floyd is involved in some kind of 'robbery'.


Friday, August 19, 2011

2001 analysis - part 4: A correspondence with Quentin Tarantino's 'Reservoir Dogs'


The six astronauts prepare to descend into the excavation at the TMA-1 site on the moon. They all look essentially identical with their spacesuits on.

The six men in dressed in identical black and white suits are the main characters from Quentin Tarantino's Reservoir Dogs. Shown here in the slow-motion opening scene they are, from left to right, Mr. Blonde, Mr. Brown, Mr. White, Mr. Orange, Mr. Pink, and Mr. Blue. They are meant to correspond, in some sense, to the six astronauts from 2001 shown above. [Image from the Wikipedia 'Reservoir Dogs' page,[a] licensed under fair use via Wikipedia.]

a. Screenshot from film copyright 1992 Miramax Films.


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