January 10, 2012

Did THE ARTIST Rape Kim Novak?

There is a bit of an Oscar brouhaha that started yesterday when Kim Novak took out a full page ad in VARIETY that begins with the statement "I want to report a rape" and then continues to say that "my body -- or at least my body of work -- has been violated by the movie The Artist.  She is referring to a section of the film which uses some iconic movie music from the Hitchcock classic VERTIGO.  I have to say when I saw THE ARTIST I was a bit startled to hear Bernard Hermann's music in the midst of the films's original score, as it is so utterly identified with Hitchcock.  Some people have gone so far as to call Hermann's work on that film the best Hollywood score of all time.

However, by using it for a few minutes in THE ARTIST (a film that is chock-full of visual homages to other classic films and directors) has the director really committed a rape? I think not.  You know, this is actually the second time that a Hollywood star has wildly misused this word in the last few months. Back in the fall, Johnny Depp talked about how photo shoots make him feel like he'd been "raped", a statement so ridiculous that he actually had to a apologize for it a few days later.

There are already some calls for Kim Novak to retract her statement or at least apologize. I'm sure Harvey Weinstein has been trying to call her today to give her a piece of his mind.  But the bottom line is THE ARTIST is a homage and the Hermann score is used in that manner.  In a sense, it's one artist paying his respects to another...something that filmmakers do all the time.