A CINEMATIC RUNNING GUIDE

The Exec is proud to present A Cinematic Running Guide. We break down all the elements required to make sure the running in your film is up to speed. A Cinematic Running Guide is presented in proud association with NIKE. NIKE, just fucking do it already.

A Cinematic Running Guide, Nay A History

Since the burgeoning cinema at the start of the 20th Century, film makers have captured running in all its forms. From Buster Keaton, Charlie Chaplin to Fritz Lang’s Metropolis, men, women and children have run on screen. Sometimes towards the camera, sometimes away and sometimes they even ran across the shot. Cinema audiences around the world have been thrilled in whichever direction people could run in films.

And ACTION!

With the introduction of sound, running in movies became an even more immersive experience. Hollywood film makers such as Hitchcock used it to great effect in action sequences. Take North By Northwest, Hitchcock uses running towards camera AND away from a fucking plane to create an iconic scene. Without running, this scene would have been dog shit.

It’s All About The Running

Take Tony Richardson’s run-fest, The Loneliness Of The Long Distance Runner. It came just three years after North By Northwest, but already running is in the title and features heavily as a plot device and arty-farty metaphor. Ok Tony, you went to Oxford, we get it already, jeez!

But Where’s The Chariot?

Fast forward to the early 80s and running is now the entire narrative in Hugh Hudson’s Oscar winning Chariots Of Fire. But audiences were left confused because there were no chariots to be seen anywhere. What’s wrong with these crazy Brits?

Blockbuster Running

With boxing underdog movie Rocky, Sylvester Stallone took running to new, heroic heights. Sly continued to fly the flag for heroic running (mainly toward camera but away from the exploding whatever) in films as diverse as First Blood, Rambo: First Blood Part II and the inexplicably titled Rambo III. There was no Rambo II. What the fuck Sly?

Nice Try Arnie

Other blockbuster action stars tried to get in on the running, but with less success. Arnold Schwarzenegger tried with a bit of running in Conan The Barbarian. But this was mainly across the shot, which was proven to be the least effective. He even tried using running in one of his titles, The Running Man. But all anyone remembers about that film is how piss poor Mic Fleetwood was in it. I’ll be back? Nah, you’re ok man. Stay where you are.

The Running King

And now we come to the undisputed king of running in movies: Tom Cruise. Cruise tried his hand at ‘acting’ in films such as The Color Of Money, Rain Man and Born On The Fourth Of July. But he found his little running feet in The Firm. Here, Cruise discovered he could thrill audiences the world over just by sprinting towards the camera and away from scary, cuddly uncle Wilford Brimley. But he really got up to pace three years later with Brian De Palma’s Mission Impossible. The legendary scene where Tom leaps away from exploding chewing gum on a fish tank is an all time running classic. The invention and the daring to not only run toward the camera and away from the water, but in slow-mo and then under the camera is ground-breaking. I mean… shit the bed shivers up my spine.

Running The Show

Since then, Cruise has gone from strength to strength. He can run on sand, on roads, rooves, through windows and even under water. He continues to thrill and astound audiences with his running. Hardly anyone has noticed he really can’t act. And he owes it all to running. Go figure.

5 FACTS YOU NEVER KNEW ABOUT VANGELIS

ATHENS – We all know Vangelis from his superb scores for 1492, Chariots of Fire and Blade Runner, but how much do we know about Vangelis THE MAN?

Well, here Studio Exec is with his 5 FACTS: 

1. Vangelis was one of the authors of the Bible!

2. After the success of his Blade Runner soundtrack, Ridley Scott had Vangelis cryogenically frozen, arguing that ‘his future sounds have created a bendy bit in the space/time continuum which just feels awkward.’ He was defrosted briefly for the 1492 soundtrack.

3. Although Vangelis has a Greek passport, there are no birth certificates nor any evidence of him attending school. Eye witnesses of his first appearance describe a flash of blue light and then Vangelis ‘was just there’ crouching in a crater, adorned by a prodigious beard.

4. A biopic of Vangelis is currently in pre-production, directed by old friend Philip Glass, and will star John Goodman as the film composer.

5. The Oscar winning theme music to Chariots of Fire was apparently inspired by a vision that Vangelis had of men running slow motion along a beach projected on a large rectangle in the recording studios.

For more FACTS click HERE.

47 FILMS: 31. BAD TIMING

In our continuing series of 47 Films to see before you’re murdered in your dreams, we look at Nicolas Roeg’s Bad Timing.

Nicolas Roeg along with John Boorman and Ken Russell were the most active and fascinating filmmakers to come out of the British Isles during the 70s. Roeg was a former cinematographer whose credits included Doctor Zhivago and The Masque of the Red Death before he turned his hand to direction with the co-directed the gender-bending meditation on crime, stardom and identity Performance. His fragmented editing style and brutal frankness made provocative and exciting cinema in an unbelievable run of films that included Don’t Look Now, The Man Who Fell to Earth and Walkabout. Each film gnawed at the very idea of what it means to be human. Roeg was the antithesis of the Chariots of Fire school of prestige English cinema. His films are not scared of being ugly when looking at ugliness, but it is this clear-eyed courage which makes the moments of beauty and tenderness all the more meaningful.

Bad Timing comes at the end of a wonderful decade for Roeg but it wasn’t an easy decade despite the work produced (actually because of it). Performance was delayed for three years while Warner Bros struggled with what to do about it. Each film involved a battle with the studio, but the work would out. Taking its inspiration from an unread Italian novel, Bad Timing is the story of an unraveling toxic relationship. Dr. Alex Linden (Art Garfunkel) is a psychoanalyst who lectures at the university in Austria, and Milena Flaherty (Theresa Russell) is a beautiful young woman drifting through Vienna, enjoying her alcohol and her various lusts. She is recently separated from her Czech husband (Denholm Elliott). Alex does some spying on the side and when he meets Milena, he seems to have found his perfect subject. The cold repressed scientist however starts to fragment as he is unable to handle Milena striking demands, her sexuality and his own jealousy. He tries to possess her with a proposal of marriage, something she seems to ignore completely: ‘But I’m happy now,’ she says.

Their relationship is played out in flashback against the long midnight of the soul of Milena’s attempted suicide. Harvey Kietel is a police detective who is trying yo piece together the chronology of the night’s events, suspecting that Alex has raped Milena while she was comatose from her drug overdose. The Bad Timing of the title is a dark joke, about as dark as you can get. The two main timelines allows Roeg to inter-cut the most disconcerting conjunctions – sex with a tracheotomy, orgasm with the operating room, love with a vaginal swab. Romantic love is shredded by sharp need.

The editing doesn’t just make connections, it evokes the untouchable distances between times, episodes, moments – the gaps, the interstices through which what we had disappears. Stanley Kubrick would explore the same themes in his adaptation of a story by the Austrian writer Arthur Schnitzler, Eyes Wide Shut, but Roeg’s vision feels much more uncomfortable, less glossy and detached, more naked and vulnerable.

On a side note, the soundtrack features on eclectic mix of jazz, classical and rock with Keith Jarrett and Tom Waits suggesting the yearning that makes this film so moving even at its most brutal. The studio Rank were so appalled by Roeg’s movie they had their famous logo removed from the cut and famously described it as ‘a sick film made by sick people for sick people’. In other words, this is one for us.

For more of our 47 Films series CLICK HERE.