by Bud Buck, 11/26/99
Bud: The "bar" has been raised for movie going in the
modern era. Listen to this typical fan.
Fan: I'm trying to decide between the movie with the shocking language, and the
movie where the stars don't have their clothes on. On one hand I've heard the
language, you know? Nothing really new there. But then the thought of seeing stars
from the neck down ... I've seen other people that way. Are stars really much
different than the rest of us?
Bud: The quandary of the age. Which offensive movie to choose? And this problem
has a ripple effect which extends to those who distribute classic old movies ...
people like Harriet Tyler.
Harriet: How can I get someone to watch Citizen Kane? It's arguably the best movie
ever made, but because there's nothing terribly shocking about it ... people raised
on our recent cinema have no interest. But we have these tools to update the films,
and while it's not the same as the original, it's better that people see them
in an altered form than not at all. That's why I decided to look seriously at
Bud: Nakedizing old movies ... the current hot button in Hollywood. Is it right
to alter an old film to give it new life? Parker Desmond is the inventor of the
Parker: We assign a code to the body shapes as they appear on the screen. The
computer recognizes the code ... and does a swap ... replacing the original image
with a body that we recorded in our computer's memory.
Bud: And you can place this new body in any scene?
Parker: It's photographed from every conceivable angle, and the computer does
Bud: (vo) The body, by the way, is totally nude. Harriet Tyler.
Harriet: When you first see Charles Foster Kane and realize that he's not wearing
any clothes ... it's a real shock. Now a purist would say "this is not the
way Orson Welles intended the film to be seen." But .. in a way ... it's
better. It has a real "emperor's new clothes" quality to it. And the
fact that he's one of just three nakedized people in the film ... increases it's
Bud: The other "nakedized" people in this technologically altered Citizen
Kane are Dorothy Comingore, who plays the pathetic would-be opera singer Susan
Alexander, and Agnes Moorhead.
Parker: Why did we "nakedize" Agnes Moorhead when she's not a pivotal
character in Citizen Kane? Well, we did it because a lot of people remember her
as Samatha's mother on the old "Bewitched" TV series, and it was another
way to get attention.
Bud: I can't help but notice that the bodies you put on these characters are ...
well ... unusual, in a very ordinary sort of way.
Parker: You mean the bodybuilder aspect of it?
Bud: Yes, I just don't see the logic of having Orson Welles in this film being
so ... sculpted.
Parker: That's what people want to see.
Bud: But it doesn't fit the character.
Parker: Nakedized films aren't about character.
Bud: (vo) Not everyone in Hollywood is happy about this trend. Film critic Samantha
Temple is leading an effort to ban the alteration of classic films.
Samantha: This is a travesty. These are works of art. Classics.
Bud: Many classic works of art are undressed.
Samantha: Not after the fact. This is like chiseling the clothes off the Statue
And don't get me wrong. I LIKE naked people. But there's a time and a place for
everything, and this just doesn't fit.
(sfx: milling crowd)
Bud: (vo) But it's becoming obvious that "name" stars without clothes
will draw fans to the box office, and that fact may be the one element that will
push "nakedized" classic films to the fore. Distributor Harriet Tyler
is satisfied with the revamped "Citizen Kane," and has plans to expand
her catalog of "nakedized" films.
Harriet: The African Queen with Humphrey Bogart and Katherine Hepburn. And we're
very close to a deal where Demi Moore will appear as Hepburn's body. Also, we're
thinking seriously about nakedizing "Animal Crackers" with the Marx
Brothers. The success of "The Full Monty" showed us nude people can
get laughs just as easily as people who are dressed. More easily, maybe.
Bud: Nakedizing classic films. It likely will come down to a fundamental battle
between values ... and money. And how that will turn out ... (laugh) ... time
will tell, I suppose, but don't expect any surprises.
This is Bud Buck.
Dale Connelly Reporting Home