I was reading the movie ads the other day and it made me long for the good old days. Back then, by neddies, a movie ad meant something. It said things like "Doom Alley," then "Robert Mitchum" and "Jane Russell," then offered a lurid headline like:
She was a 12 o'clock girl in a 9 o'clock town.
Well, neighbors, what you now see in film ads are (a) whose film it is, (b) who the film was presented by in association with, and (c) what Siskel & Ebert and Joel Siegel and whoever is on duty at People magazine say about this film.
Never mind critics' quotes. They usually are taken out of context and don't have much real meaning. It is the other stuff that can send you around the bend.
For example, take the "Dirty Dancing" ad I saw in the New York Post. It said the movie was A VESTRON PICTURES Presentation in association with A GREAT AMERICAN FILMS LIMITED PARTNERSHIP A LINDA GOTTLIEB Production.
That's what it said, lots of upper-case stuff but no punctuation or anything. A little farther down it said: Produced by LINDA GOTTLIEB.
I guess that's in case you didn't see the line about the film being a Linda Gottlieb production. But at least it didn't say A LINDA GOTTLIEB FILM. Good for you, Linda Gottlieb.
That sort of thing has gotten completely out of hand.
Consider the ad for "The Hidden." It identifies this proceeding as A Film by JACK SHOLDER. Farther down in the ad you read: Directed by JACK SHOLDER.
Same deal with "Like Father Like Son." The ad calls it A ROD DANIEL FILM. Read on and you see: Directed by ROD DANIEL.
Regard the ad for "The Last Emperor." Mercy, this is A Film by BERNARDO BERTOLUCCI. Farther down, you'll note: Screenplay MARK PEPLOE With BERNARDO BERTOLUCCI. And: Director BERNARDO BERTOLUCCI.
Behold "The Princess Bride," billed as A NEW FILM BY ROB REINER.
But at least they're trying to say something different here. But lo!, farther down in the ad they ruin everything. They say: Directed by ROB REINER.
That gets kind of lame after a while. And so does the repetition of the same old names in most of the ads nowadays.
In "Bride," Reiner is cited four times--as in A REINER/SCHEIMAN Production, Produced by ANDREW SCHEIMAN and ROB REINER, Directed by ROB REINER, and the A NEW FILM BY ROB REINER that started the whole thing off.
In the ad for "Baby Boom," two parties named Nancy Meyers and Charles Shyer prove worthy competitors. Their names appear three times.
A welcome bit of restraint is seen in the ad for "Surrender." There, Aaron Spelling makes do with only two mentions, once after the phrase In Association With, and again after Produced By.
Let's hear it for Aaron Spelling.
Sometimes, if your loupe is handy and the light is good, you can see down there in the fine print exactly who is in these things that are a film by or were presented by in association with.
I make reference to actors and actresses.
But they may be a vanishing breed in films. I mean, if this sort of thing keeps up, the average fan won't care about the cast. Saturday night will come along and a guy will turn to his true love and say:
"Hey, want to trot on down to the Bijou and see that new Paramount Pictures Presents a Jaffe/Lansing Production thingie?"