I’m reading Russell Hoban’s TURTLE DIARY (which was made into a movie I haven’t seen yet with Glenda Jackson and Ben Kingsley and is not yet on MUBI) and there’s the following passage:
“Someone got out of a taxi and I got in. Just like a film, I thought. People never have to wait for taxis in films. Old films that is. They never used to get change when they paid for anything either, they just left notes or coins and walked away.”
And another passage:
“It was the sort of situation that would be ever so charming and warmly human in a film with Peter Ustinov and Maggie Smith but that sort of film is only charming because they leave out so many details, and real life is all the details they leave out.”
Which details of life (almost) never reach the screen or which narrative films dó show one of those details?
The first film I can think of is “Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles”.
Also the dishwasher scene in “Rachel Getting Married”
Also a lot of slapstick is based upon the difficulties of daily gestures or actions that never survive the dramatic treatment of reality: trying to move a piano upstairs (THE MUSIC BOX), trying to crack a nut (COUNTY HOSPITAL), trying to get undressed in a dressing room that’s too small for two persons (THE CAMERAMAN),…
I once saw a incredibly funny laurel and hardy scene but I can’t find it back anymore. It’s a scene that’s based upon passing eachother things at dinner. “Can you pass me the salt, please?” asks someone and another asks for the milk etc. so that everyone is passing something around and nobody manages to start eating. Can someone help me track down this scene?
In films people never have to put on makeup.
Test newly invented medicine in controlled studies.
Rehabilitate after serious injury.
In old movies, people never have to go to the bathroom.
In fact, according to Donald Spoto, HItchcock caused the censors more concern with his determination to show Janet Leigh flushing the money down the toilet in PSYCHO than with the graphic violence of the shower scene. You weren’t supposed to show people flushing the toilet, let alone using one.
They never seem to lose their appeal when they wake up. There’s always the slightly-but-still made up woman or the guy with the sexy bedhead. No need to brush the teeth or go for a quick pee either….
They never say useless and inane things that waste everyone’s tiem.
Because in films, there are scriptwriters. As opposed to real life.
Also, unless the film is about being poor, film characters never have to produce income.
Another passage in TURTLE DIARY:
“In films people like Paul Newman and Burt Lancaster leap into vehicles they’ve never seen before, cars, lorries, buses, locomotives, anything at all, and away they go at speed. Sometimes they have to fight with someone first, knock him out before they can drive away. Well of course that’s how it is in films. How can reality be so different.”
Also, people in films never seem to doodle, except of course in “Mr. Deeds Goes to Town” in which the word as used in this sense was invented by screenwriter Robert Riskin.
People in films almost never seem to have any trouble finding parking space, and most of them never miss the bus, except…
In films people never have to strangle somebody for more than a few seconds to kill them.
Sometimes grabbing their shoulders firmly is sufficient.
Also, police investigators never have to deal with laboratory backlog when testing forensic evidence.
In 30es and 40es films, even though the radios are tube-driven and need to warm up, they tend to come on almost immediately and usually right at the beginning of a sentence.
If a character is showing 8mm (or 16mm) home movies, they never turn the focus or do any adjustment of the projector, and in most cases, the projector is set up wrong.
In general, people in films never talk while chewing food (unless it’s a deliberately offensive scene.)
Female cops or detectives are usually dressed and made up as if they are going out to dinner.