Wednesday, 17 December 2008

5 Classic Trailers

Last Friday Béla Tarr's latest masterpiece, The Man from London, finally 'opened' in the UK, on one screen in, appropriately, London. In place of a rant about why the hell it’s taken the film so long to reach theatres (or, rather, a theatre), I thought I'd write a post inspired by the film's sublime trailer. I first saw the film at Edinburgh International Film Festival in 2007, and in a fit of excitement over the prospect of being able to see it again on the big screen, I scoured the net in the hope of finding a trailer for it, and this is what I found:

Although this shot doesn't appear in the film itself, it still perfectly sums up the mood, the style and the themes of the film. In his review of the film in
Sight & Sound, Michael Brooke talks about a similar shot in the film, commenting on the way that the camera movement has the result of making the protagonist appear like he's going nowhere, in that instance seemingly never getting any nearer a church which looms large behind him. On a metaphorical level, both the shot Brooke discusses and the shot used in the trailer perfectly encapsulate the film's theme of being trapped and of never being able to break free, to 'get' anywhere in life, while at the same time never losing site of the possibility of freedom from the daily grind. In other words, the very essence of the film has been distilled perfectly into the trailer, and thus even here the film's masterful synthesis of form and content are revealed.

As well as getting me excited about what a genius Tarr is, the trailer has also got me thinking about other great film trailers. The two that immediately sprang to mind were the ones for
Bresson's L'Argent and Kubrick's The Shining. Unfortunately, I haven't been able to find the former online to embed in this post, but its mesmeric montage of cash machines slamming shut is really quite something, and it almost makes a purchase of the DVD worthy by itself. The trailer for The Shining is another one shot affair and is equally mesmeric, and which, thanks in no small part to its excellent use of music, fills the viewer with an ever increasing sense of despair as the shot continues:

Another trailer which I think has a really great use of music is the trailer for Scorsese's The Departed. However, the Scorsese trailer I've decided to include in my list is this one for Gangs of New York:

It may well just be because of my almost infantile love of this particular film, but there's something about this trailer which is just so exciting and thrilling. Or, in other words, it's another trailer which, for me at least, again perfectly encapsulates the film itself.

When I sat down to write this blog about trailers, I wanted to round my number out to five, because, well, it felt like a round number. With this in mind, I knew that I wanted to include something truly classic from the Hollywood of yesteryear. And so, as my final choice, I present you with the truly classic trailer for The Wolf Man. It's really not an exaggeration to say that they don't make trailers like this anymore... I leave it to you decide if that's a good or a bad thing...

Bookmark and Share

No comments: