Classic Films in Music Videos: Aeroplane by Red Hot Chili Peppers

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

Director/choreographer Busby Berkeley was known for his elaborate nature and kaleidoscope-like musical numbers.

The Red Hot Chili Peppers used scenes from Esther Williams films such as "Million Dollar Mermaid" for inspiration in their music video "Aereoplane"

The Red Hot Chili Peppers used scenes from Esther Williams films such as “Million Dollar Mermaid” for inspiration in their music video “Aereoplane”

His work has been mimicked in movies such as “The Great Muppet Caper” to music videos such the the 1995 Red Hot Chili Peppers song “Aeroplane.”

The music video begins with girls in gold sequined body suits.

Esther Williams in her gold sequined costume for "Million Dollar Mermaid" (1952)

Esther Williams in her gold sequined costume for “Million Dollar Mermaid” (1952)

Berkeley directed swimming star Esther Williams in two films, “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” (1949) and the biographical film on Annette Kellerman, “Million Dollar Mermaid ” (1952.)

In “Million Dollar Mermaid,” Williams wears an aluminum crown and a gold swimsuit, made of 50,000 sequins. Williams said in her autobiography, “The Million Dollar Mermaid: An Autobiography” that it weighed her down like chain-mail.

When Williams dove into the water, the crown hit the water, she broke three vertebrae and was in a full body cast for six months, she wrote.

Also, in the Red Hot Chilli Peppers video, girls swing on trapezes- like in “Easy to Love” (1953) or “Million Dollar Mermaid” (1952). At another part in the video girls dive sideways into the pool, reminiscent of a scene from “Bathing Beauty” (1944).

Another example of a Busby Berkeley kaleidoscope-like shot can be scene at 2:51, which is similar to scene from “42nd Street” (1933). 

Thank you our friends over at Hollywood Revue for telling us the references in this video a few months ago!

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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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