Is Using A Piece Of Existing Music In A Film To Underline An Emotion 'Rape' – Or Just The Way Cinema Works?

from the how-art-works dept

The Artist” may have won several Golden Globes, but there’s at least one person who apparently hates the film because of some music it uses:

The director of The Artist has defended using music from Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo in his Oscar-tipped film after a complaint from its [Vertigo’s] star Kim Novak.

In a full-page ad in Monday’s edition of trade paper Variety, the actress said “rape” had been committed with the use of Bernard Herrmann’s score.

Here’s what the 78-year-old lead actress of Hitchcock’s 1958 classic sees as the problem:

By featuring the music [of Bernard Herrmann], she went on, the makers of The Artist, were guilty of “using emotions it engenders as if it were their own”.

But that’s what thousands of films do when they use pre-existing themes or entire songs as a sonic background to key moments in their stories. Indeed, some films use dozens of songs in this way, as the length of the scrolling credits at the end attests. Does that mean Novak believes all these to be “rapes”, too, and the film-makers “guilty” of using the emotions as if they were their own? Surely it’s more a matter of building on the achievements of others – and acknowledging that fact, as was done in “The Artist” (although Novak called it “cheating”)? In other words, this is just how art works.

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Comments on “Is Using A Piece Of Existing Music In A Film To Underline An Emotion 'Rape' – Or Just The Way Cinema Works?”

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Re: Re: Wait, what, she's still around?

In that case, you’d better avoid every film that has used a pop song or pre-existing score track, every book that quotes another work (most of Stephen King’s output, for example), every collage, mashup, every song that’s ever used a sample, every cover version, every remake, every sequel, every movie based on a TV show or vice versa and everything directly based on a previous work or historical events, including most of Shakespeare’s output.

Not doing so would make you a hypocrite, after all.

Or, you could stop being a moron and enjoy the film for what it is. Even Hitchcock remade his own films, FFS, and virtually every film he made was based on a book – including Vertigo…


Well it’s a good thing she wasn’t in Psycho or Jaws- how many tv/ movies have used that music to piggy back on those emotions…

And just because this is the web so we need a good conspiracy theory – we’re heading into awards season and the hollywood papers are full of ‘for your consideration’ ads. Perhaps this is an introduction of political style negative attack ads into the voting process.


This is the mentality that so many people who aren’t educated/experienced in the arts have. If they can recognise any piece of a work in another work, they simply poo-poo it as a rip-off. But the more art you see, the more you realize that everything is a rip-off of something. There is nothing new under the sun. Once you come to this realization, you can get past this immaturity and actually appreciate the work for what it is (or isn’t). I went through the same stage in my late 20’s. Too bad she’s still there at 79.


Novak, 78, also said in the advertisement: “I feel as if my body – or at least my body of work – has been violated by the movie.”

The statement was headed by the words: “I want to report a rape”.

And these are the sort of asinine things people say when you combine entitlement culture (thanks, big content!) with rape culture.

Rose M. Welchsays:

Re: rape

Feminists argue simultaneously that rape is an act of violence and that men are responsible for rape. Violence doesn’t require a penis so why are women excluded?

Feminists don’t argue that men are solely responsible for rape, or that women can’t or don’t rape.

Novak applies the same logic to this as she is excluding her own kind, those who she agrees with, from the copyrapists.

Novak’s comments show that she is not a feminist, anyway, so your entire comment is both wrong and irrelevant.


“Novak, 78, also said in the advertisement: “I feel as if my body – or at least my body of work…”
Thought she was an actress, not the director.
I enjoyed the use of “Claire de Lune” in Ocean’s 11, in the scene shot at the Bellagio fountain. Classic. I also enjoyed it in about six other feature films, where its high emotional value added immeasurably to the filmmaker’s art.
Ahh, you say, but this is Bernard Hermann’s film score, not a piece of classical music. My counter: While we once regarded film scores as little more than “mood music” played down low in the background, composers like Hermann have elevated film scores to a higher status… recognized for their inherent value… listened to without watching the movie! It’s a legitimate re-use, I believe, to evoke a mood and tell a story with a powerful piece of music. (Guess I have to go see this now…)


Rape, you say?

Well, let’s go ahead and take the movies vagina (and possibly the butthole too, some people amirite?) to a hospital, have ’em break out a rape kit and fus-ro-dah that shit and if the test comes back positive for seminal secretions or other foreign DNA then sure, rape happened. If not, then I think we can safely blast this old crone out of a circus cannon into the Atlantic.


Oh great..

This is just what we need – another hyperbolic propaganda term to demonize copying.

I can just imagine the copyright maximalists now…

Hey Fred, did you see this comment? It’s *pure gold*. Rape is way worse than stealing – we need to stop calling infringement ‘piracy’ and ‘theft’, and start calling it ‘rape’ instead!

Justin Levinesays:

Overthrowing the old cultural paradigms

I’m beginning to think that the overall problem with copyright/remix/SOPA culture is largely a generational one. One generation that has now grown up communicating in a digital environment and those who haven’t. Much like the shift with marijuana legalization, mixed-race marriage, attitudes on homosexuality, etc., we may have to simply wait for the older generation to die off before we can inherit a politically safe environment for a re-mix/file-sharing culture.

I think appealing to reason won’t work here. Their entire mindset is too fixed in the past. 30 years from now, will there be any Congressional candidate who can claim that they never downloaded a file from MegaUpload or similar ‘cyber-locker’ services? Never posted an infringing video to YouTube?

Hopefully, the propaganda used by the old guard in the current information war will be looked upon with the same sense of bemusement as the ‘Reefer Madness’ film is with regards to the dangers of marijuana.

Just like what every generation says about the one that came before it: ‘They just don’t get it.’


Re: Overthrowing the old cultural paradigms

This is a generational divide. Ages 20-35 have never known a world without computers and the internet. Most of them started kindergarden from schooling online.

For them “ownership” means something totally different. It’s not a physical thing and it’s disposable. But it is doing what they want to, when they want to and how they want to.

The content industry is still arguing among themselves who owns what and who will deliver it for the last 10 years and they will never figure it out.

The apathy is that average people don’t won’t wait. They have moved on.

Blaming consumers for doing what they want to is NOT capitalism.


Re: Overthrowing the old cultural paradigms

“Hopefully, the propaganda used by the old guard in the current information war will be looked upon with the same sense of bemusement as the ‘Reefer Madness’ film is with regards to the dangers of marijuana. “

Better parallels might be the McCarthyist witchhunts that blacklisted many talents, the Hays Code and Hollywood opposition to home video. The industry is filled with folly that have seen them try to actively damage itself, only to be looked upon with wonder by people who haven’t bought into the same propaganda.


I'm confused..

So they couldn’t be bothered to create some quality music for the film, instead they copied music from a legendary movie like Vertigo? I’m sorry but she does have a point, music becomes very attached emotionally to a movie, and when you rip that out to try and use for benefit in your own movie it’s a cheap move. It’s understandable if you want to use some classical music or other piece, but you don’t just rip off someone else’s original soundtrack for your own movie.

How Many?

I wonder how many in the audience for The Artist have ever seen Vertigo? I’d guess much less than fifty percent. Maybe this is a homage, you know, a way of celebrating a classic score and a classic film and introducing them to a whole new generation of moviegoers… Who might even be motivated to now watch Vertigo for the first time.

Wouldn’t that be a good thing?

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