Non-Sport Update's Card Talk
Hits and Misses of 2021

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February 04, 2022, 05:41 PM
mykdude
Hits and Misses of 2021
quote:
Originally posted by Raven:
Now "Nightmare Alley" did absolutely terrible.


Finally saw the del Toro version and although the movie improves as it goes along the mess in the first hour annoyed me greatly.

All of the great character connections in the original film don't exist and the traveling carnival doesn't travel. The weak beginning drags on the parts that get better.
February 04, 2022, 08:31 PM
Raven
I was watching TV the other day and an ad for Nightmare Alley came on showing snippets of scenes. It included the final scene, complete with the final line. I couldn't believe the stupidity of whoever cut it and approve it.

del Toro was trying to say something about how liars come to believe their own BS, but I think he spent too much time on his own BS. He built a whole carnival for that slow first half, and I understand it only gets tolerable when Blanchett slithers in and starts chewing on the furniture. Big Grin
February 05, 2022, 03:05 PM
mykdude
quote:
Originally posted by Raven:

del Toro was trying to say something about how liars come to believe their own BS, but I think he spent too much time on his own BS. He built a whole carnival for that slow first half, and I understand it only gets tolerable when Blanchett slithers in and starts chewing on the furniture. Big Grin


The house where they could take a bath in the original was one person renting a hotel room for everyone to use. The bath house in the new film is literally a house across the street from the carnival entrance. Has a neon sign and everything. I'm pretty sure there were ride technologies that hadn't been invented yet. Carnivals survived by not staying in one place and going to their audience. This major misstep in logistics destroyed all functionality of the first hour.

I almost felt like del Toro was telling me "You've seen the original, I don't have to bother you with this"
February 05, 2022, 04:41 PM
Raven
There's a lot wrong about del Toro's version, although everyone seems hung up on the terrific looking set decorations. Mild spoilers ahead . . .

Another thing about the carnival that didn't ring true is that everything is fake, except for the Geek. del Toro provided a whole manual for the Geek, which wasn't explicit in the original film. You never even saw him as I recall, you were just supposed to imagine the act.

I can remember seeing Coney Island as a small kid, and by that time they had done away with the worst of the freak show exploitations, which was always kept different from the carnival rides and family attractions. del Toro couldn't take this story out of the 1940's and stick to that as a premise.

Also he didn't have to spend 60M to redo a film noir. They were generally cheap movies. He spent 60M to imitate a film noire of his own making with an all-star cast, that were in turn imitating the typical characters in a film noir, all at the director's instructions that followed his own ideas.

Blanchett plays Lilith with a neon sign on her forehead that flashes femme fatale. As entertaining as she may be in the part, the hero is not supposed to know he's following the siren's call. del Toro has her vamping around so much no one could miss it. And the character development for Stan, which Cooper is somehow supposed to run through, is all thrown off by starting him with a backstory that wasn't in the original film and pretty much changes any feelings for the usually average, naive or innocent man caught in the spider's web of film noir.

Since del Toro controlled every aspect of the script, set direction and performances for Nightmare Alley I would say that, like Stan, he's not as smart as he thinks.

This message has been edited. Last edited by: Raven,
February 06, 2022, 02:39 AM
mykdude
All great points.

I think you did see the geek in the original but not much. One of the few things I did like about the new film is they went a bit deeper on the explanation of him.

Stanton goes through Zeena to Molly so fast that you don't understand why people are upset with it.

del Toro did claim he was following closer to the book which I have not read. Still, everything that matches the original film is mostly a cheaper product.

I really wish these visionary masters would leave writing and directing to someone else.