Classic movies in music videos: Otherside by the Red Hot Chili Peppers

This is July’s edition of Comet Over Hollywood’s film references in music videos.

The 1920 German silent film “The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari” is the story of a Francis recalling his memory of a carnival show. Dr. Caligari has a somnambulist Cesare who wakes up during the act. When Cesare is going to stab Francis’s fiancee, he kidnaps her instead. The film ends with an odd twist.

Scene from "The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari" (1920)

Scene from “The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari” (1920)

The video for the Red Hot Chili Peppers single “Otherside” from 2000 was influenced by the 1920 film starring Conrad Veidt.

“I was on a crazy sleeping schedule and I saw this movie on TV and I saw this movie that looked so bizarre,” bassiest Michael “Flea” Balzary said in an interview. “It stuck in my mind and I wanted to make a rock movie to me.”

Caligari’s German Expressionism art style was the inspiration for the video, but the plot is not used with in the video.

Filmed in black and white, the video was modeled after German Expressionism, they used Cubism and M.C. Escher art work, said video director Jonathan Dayton.

“We did look at Caligari, and we looked at a lot of German Expressionist film,” Dayton siad. But it was also very important to avoid ‘Caligari.’ It was both inspiration and something to work around, because it has such a strong, specific style, and there have been other videos that have completely ripped it off.”

Check back next month for August’s classic film in music videos.

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Movies in music videos: 1983 by Neon Trees

This is June’s edition of Comet Over Hollywood’s film references in music videos.

In the film “Big,” a 12-year-old boy makes a wish on a Zoltar fortune teller machine at the fair to be grown up. The next day, he is a 30-year-old man in the form of Tom Hanks.

Twelve-year-old Josh wishes to be older in "Big" (1988).

Twelve-year-old Josh wishes to be older in “Big” (1988).

Neon Trees lead singer Tyler Glenn channels the 1988 movie in his 2010 music video “1983.” However, Glenn does the opposite.

In the music video, Glenn goes to the fairground as an adult in a suit and makes a wish on a Zodiac fortune teller machine. He is transported to younger days, dressed in 1980s punk clothing and hanging out with his friends at the fair.

Big” may not fit into the definition of a classic film, but it is great movie and notable that it is well enough remembered to be in a contemporary music video.

Check back next month for July’s classic film in music videos.

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Classic film in music videos: Oh Father by Madonna

This is May’s edition of Comet Over Hollywood’s classic film references in movies.

Citizen Kane (1941) was named the greatest film of all time by the American Film Institute in 1998.

But prior to this, Madonna used themes from the Orson Welles film in her 1989 music video “Oh Father,” according to writer E. Ann Kaplan.

A scene similar to Citizen Kane in Madonna's video "Oh Father"

A scene similar to Citizen Kane in Madonna’s video “Oh Father”

The whole video is shot in black and white. At the beginning of the music video, a priest is looking out the window, watching a little girl spin and play in the snow. Inside, the little girl’s father is lying over her mother as she dies.

Madonna's video was modeled after his scene of Agnes Morehead as Mary Kane watching young Charles Foster Kane playing outside. (Screen capture by Comet Over Hollywood)

Madonna’s video was modeled after his scene of Agnes Morehead as Mary Kane watching young Charles Foster Kane playing outside. (Screen capture by Comet Over Hollywood)

The scene is similar to young Charles Foster Kane playing in the snow as his parents are inside, preparing to send him away with guardian to be raised in luxury. When Kane is taken away from his parents, he acts rebellious and is expelled from several universities.

The song and video were Madonna’s attempt to accept her mother’s death and her father remarrying.

“I had to deal with the loss of my mother and then had to deal with the guilt of her being gone and then I had to deal with the loss of my father when he married my stepmother. So I was just one angry abandoned girl. I’m still angry,” she is quoted as saying in a 2002 biography “Madonna: An Intimate Biography” by Randy Taraborelli. 

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Classic films in music videos: Born this Way by Lady Gaga

This is March’s edition of Comet Over Hollywood’s classic film references in music videos.

Vertigo (1958)

Vertigo (1958)

Last March, Kim Novak was up in arms when “The Artist” (2011) used a portion of Bernard Herrmann’s score from the Alfred Hitchcock film “Vertigo” (1958).

It’s surprising that she wasn’t equally upset after Lady Gaga used Herrmann’s prelude to the film “Vertigo” in her music video “Born This Way.”

Born This Way” was the first single released from the same name album “Born This Way.” Both the video and single debuted in February 2011.

The five minute video begins with Lady Gaga speaking over the “Vertigo” dream like music, calling the video and song “the manifesto of Mother Monster.”

Born this Way video:

Vertigo theme:

As referenced in a 2010 Comet Over Hollywood post, Lady Gaga has referenced Alfred Hitchcock in other songs such as “Bad Romance” with the lines:

““I want your psycho, Your vertigo stick, Want you in my rear window, Baby you’re sick””

Gaga also references Kim Novak in the single “So Happy I Could Die” from the album The Fame Monster with the line “I am that Lavender Blonde.”

In her early days of acting, Kim Novak was publicized as the Lavender Blonde or the Lavender Girl at Columbia studios. They tinted her blonde hair with lavender highlights, frequently dressed her in shades of purple and forced her to decorate her apartment in the color, according to the book “Leading Ladies: The 50 Most Unforgettable Actresses of the Studio Era.”

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Classic films in music videos: “Time is Running Out” by Muse

This is January’s edition of Comet Over Hollywood’s classic film references in music videos.

The English alternative band Muse released the track “Time is Running Out” in the United Kingdom in 2003 and the United States in 2004.

The single was from their third studio released album, Absolution, but was its breakthrough hit in the United States.

In the music video, the band sings on a round table as military personnel sit and dance around the table.

The "war room" in "Dr. Strange Love: or How I Stopped Worrying and Learned to Love the Bomb."

The “war room” in “Dr. Strange Love: or How I Stopped Worrying and Learned to Love the Bomb.”

Dr. Strangelove or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (40th Anniversary Special Edition)

The room in the video resembles the “war room” from “Dr. Strange Love or: How I Stopped Worrying and Learned to Love the Bomb” (1964), a comedy satirizing the nuclear war scare of the 1950s and 1960s.

“Time is Running Out” by Muse:

Lead singer of Muse, Matthew Bellamy said in a 2009 interview that foreign policy books influence his lyrics. This may explain his Dr. Strangelove reference in the video.

“George Orwell’s “1984,” you can hear a bit of that creeping into the album (Resistance). I read a lot of foreign policy, political think-tank type books. The Grand Chessboard, by Zbigniew Brzezinskiis a book about America’s desire for hegemonic primacy, world dominance, how they manage the Eurasian land-mass. That sort of Dr. Strangelove style thinking. I love these sort of mad thinkers,” Bellamy said.

The war room scene from “Dr. Strangelove”:

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Classic films in Music Videos: “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” by Kenny G

This is December’s edition of Comet Over Hollywood’s classic film references in music videos.

Going with the Christmas season, is the song “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” played by Kenny G in 1997.

Though I’m not a Kenny G fan, I have to admit this is a very heartwarming video.

It stars classic film star Burgess Meredith, who’s career ranged from “Idiot’s Delight” (1939) to his role of the Penguin in the 1960s Batman TV show.

Meredith appears to be a projectionist at a movie theater who is sad, lonely and missing his family at Christmas.

He reminisces on past Christmases by watching clips of classic holiday films such as “Meet Me in St. Louis” (1944), “Miracle on 34th Street (1947), “It’s a Wonderful Life” (1946), “Little Women” (1949), “A Christmas Carol” (1938) and “Bells of St. Mary’s” (1945).

Meredith was 90 when this video was filmed. He died that same year of melanoma and Alzheimer’s disease, making this video a little more heartbreaking than it already is.

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Classic Movies in Music Videos: Gone by *NSYNC

This is October’s edition of Comet Over Hollywood’s classic film references in music videos.

Last October for Halloween, Comet spotlighted the Backstreet Boys “Everybody” music video because of its horror film themed video. It only seems appropriate to blog about their “competitors” *NSYNC a year later.

Justin Timberlake spoofing Charlie Chaplin in the music video “Gone.”

This month, I’m spotlighting *NYNC’s 2001 single, “Gone.” The video is probably the most boring video the band ever made. Filmed in black and white, Justin Timberlake dramatically and sadly sings about the loss of his girl friend and the other band members randomly pop up behind him during the chorus.

However, the first 40 seconds of the video are of the band pretending to be in a silent video with Timberlake dressed as a clean cut version of Charlie Chaplin’s character, the Little Tramp. We see this unexplained nonsense again the last 10 seconds of the video.

I’m not sure why *NSYNC decided to put a silent film spoof at the beginning of the video, unless they figured the video was so boring that it needed to be lightened up a bit.

Check back next month for another classic film reference in music videos!

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