Monday, March 9, 2009

The 47th Minute Project 2: Electric Boogaloo

Not that the title of this post should be in any way an indication of the identity of this week’s screen-shot…

Since there was some confusion last week, we’ll start with this week’s mystery film:

You may recognize that man on the left—he’s done enough work for money (hint, hint), but gosh: who’s that Nixonian fellow to the right? And what’s with those Budweisers on the counter? Hmmmm…

So what film is this the 47th minute (that is to say, when the DVD counter read "47:00") to?
Leave your guesses in the comments section; thanks!

As For Last Week’s The 47th Minute Project…

Congratulations to “Tonya” and “Fred” (if those are your real names; The Secret Police of Ivanlandia will be checking up on you…) for their correct guesses: Yes, last week’s 47th Minute Project was The Beatles’ wonderful animated film Yellow Submarine.

A special no-prize to Darius Whiteplume for his great, very educated (albeit wrong) guess of Fantastic Planet, a flick that would be a perfect double feature with Yellow Submarine. Both are trippy, with visual styles that are distinctly un-Hollywood, more influenced by Germany and Eastern Europe graphic styles closer to Švankmajer than Disney.

Darius is the creator of a multitude of blogs, but I particularly like Adventures In Nerdliness, Sublime Depravity and Dirty & Nerdy.

Yellow Submarine in a flick I’ve loved since I was a kid. It was aired quite frequently on Metromedia Channel 5 (now a Fox affiliate) in NYC back in the day.

But after a recent viewing, I noticed (and I was surprised I missed this before) that despite Yellow Submarine’s message of love & peace, the flick’s structure is that of a war movie—specifically the “secret mission/behind enemy lines” subgenre that includes The Dirty Dozen, The Lord of the Rings films, The Secret Invasion (although it beat Dirty Dozen into the theaters with the “convicts on war-time suicide mission” plot, The Secret Invasion is a terrible movie that I only mention because of its very cool poster [below]), Guns of Navarone, Saving Private Ryan and even parts of John Wayne’s The Green Berets: Our heroes sneak into hostile territory to, well, you get the idea.

(And if you’ve read this far, I’ve just given you another hint as to the identity of this week’s entry into The 47th Minute Project.)

But it’s a smart movie for the Yellow Submarine creative team to use a simple plot that audiences would be familiar with—The visuals have the potential of overwhelming the uninitiated, so you gotta throw the audience a bone…

With a conventional structure, directors and designer George Dunning, John Coates and Heinz Edelmann could go bonkers in other ways. And they did. Whew, they sure did…
Which ties in with something I once heard about the Beatles: Either George Martin or Brian Epstein told the Fab Four that if you really want to be successful, pay attention to both what the mainstream is into as well as what the avant-garde (for lack of a better word) is doing. Then try and find the middle.

It’s a line that’s always changing, of course, something few people keep in mind. I think it’s a formula that David Bowie has used well. Maybe Radiohead, but time will tell. Others, like David Byrne, not so well. I think it certainly worked for The Beatles.

[I’ll be on a diplomatic mission to Chicagolandia next week, and therefore the next 47th Minute Project may be postponed. It’ll just given you more time to make an educated guess. Just don’t make me scream, “You’re late!” (final hint)]


  1. Could that be Sean Connery??? The Anderson Tapes?

  2. Tonya,
    I *love* your answer even if it's incorrect. (Although it does prove you recognize the man to the left--feel free to try again!)

    The Anderson Tapes is a great flick (and until the one-hour mark, I consider it a PERFECT movie) and will be including in a future Ivanlandia posting (about movies set in NYC in the gritty 1970s).

  3. Making a semi-educated guess... "King of New York" (1990)? Used Walken's t-shirt under sports coat as a guide :-)

    Thanks for the plugs!

  4. Wow, another awesome but wrong guess--Darius, your detective work is inspired. King of New York is a movie I really need to see again (haven't seen it in about 10 years).

    If anybody reads the comments, here's another hint: While parts of this week's entry in the 47th Minute Project take place in NYC, the beginning and end do not.

  5. I am full of wrong answers :-) I'll hunt some more.

  6. OK. My last guess, based on you hint. Is it "McBain" by any chance?

  7. Sorry Darius, this week's entry is neither the "McBain" of Walken or Rainier Wolfcastle.

    However, you're getting warmer...and you know what, critics compared McBain unfavorable to this week's entry--a film that came out about 10 years before McBain. (Now that's a hint.)

    Please keep guessing!

  8. OK, first i was thinking "THE DEAD ZONE", but after rereading the myriad clues you left, i determine it can be none other than "THE DOGS OF WAR"!

  9. Mr. Mannix,
    You are correct! Congratulations!
    Hopefully later today I'll be able to post all about this neat flick.
    --Ivan of Ivanlandia