Wednesday Sledgehammer Irony

on September 23, 2009 by Steve Simels


what's up tiger lily.jpgSo for some reason this morning I was having a mordant chuckle over the fact that Alannis Morisette once recorded a song called "Isn't It Ironic" (whose litany of ironic stuff that happened to her included things "like rain on your wedding day" that were actually just bummers) when my mind strayed back to the great Movie Colorization Debate of 1986.

I'm sure you recall that; it was right after Ted Turner decided to piss off film buffs all over the world by threatening to put a mustache on the Mona Lisa. Well, no, he didn't actually do that, but he did colorize Casablanca, hideously, and he refused to rule out doing the same to any film in his library, including Citizen Kane. "Last time I looked, they're my movies" he said said at the time.

And I remembered that among the filmmakers most vehemently opposed to the then-new process was Woody Allen who, along with 18 colleagues including Billy Wilder and Joe Dante, was a signatory to a strongly worded letter from the Director's Guild opposing it.

"Determining the colors that people wear, or what colors the walls are and so on are major creative decisions," Allen said in the letter. "To have a group of people from the outside making those decisions is criminal and ludicrous. "

Well, let's just say that there was a certain, uh, irony attendant to that statement, when you consider that twenty years earlier, Allen had made his debut as a director with the hilarious What's Up, Tiger Lily?. Which comprised a pre-existing Japanese James Bond-ish spy thriller whose soundtrack Woody had erased and replaced with his own gag dialogue. Turning it into, in his phrase, a wholly other film.

Here's the reissue trailer with a few scenes to give you the idea.

Ah well, as Emerson said, consistency is the hobgoblin of small minds. Or something.

In any case, you can -- and very definitely should, because you'll laugh your tushie off -- order the DVD of What's Up, Tiger Lily? over here.


Tags: Alannis Morisette, Ted Turner, Billy Wilder, Joe Dante, What's Up, Tiger Lily?

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