Moving Pictures Discussion **Spoilers**

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Moving Pictures Discussion **Spoilers**

Postby Tonyblack » Sun May 06, 2012 9:19 pm

**Warning**

This thread is for discussing Moving Pictures in some depth. If you haven’t read the book then read on at your own risk – or, better still, go and read the book and join in the fun.

For those of us that are going to join in the discussion, here are a few guidelines:

Please feel free to make comparisons to other Discworld books, making sure you identify the book and the passage you are referring to. Others may not be as familiar with the book you are referencing, so think before you post.

Sometimes we’ll need to agree to disagree – only Terry knows for sure what he was thinking when he wrote the books and individuals members may have widely different interpretations – so try to keep the discussion friendly.

We may be discussing a book that you don’t much care for – don’t be put off joining in the discussion. If you didn’t care for the book, then that in itself is a good topic for discussion.

Please note: there is no time limit to this discussion. Please feel free to add to it at any time - especially if you've just read the book.

And finally:

Please endeavour to keep the discussion on topic. If necessary I will step in and steer it back to the original topic – so no digressions please!

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Moving Pictures by Terry Pratchett
Originally published 1990

Image

Introduction
Introduction
There’s something dreadful under the hill in Holy Wood and it’s trying to escape. It weaves its special kind of magic in the minds of the citizens of the Discworld and makes them invent... cinema!

With a cast of thousands including – Alchemists, Wizards, Milkmaids, Dwarfs, Trolls, Dogs, Demons and 1000 ELEPHANTS!

-------------------------------------

When it first came out, I loved this book – I mean really loved it. It was probably my favourite one for a long time after. But it’s possibly at the far end of my favourites now. It’s a funny book and it has so very much going for it. We get to meet Ridcully for the first time and the Faculty arrives fully formed. It’s the introduction of not only Ponder Stibbons (possibly my favourite wizard) but also Gaspode the Wonder Dog…

And yet, once you get past the funny book and all the very clever movie references, the whole thing goes a little flat. Once you have found all the movie references it’s a bit like completing a crossword. You feel a certain achievement and then you are left looking for another one.

I’d like to see as many of the movie references posted here as possible. Not everyone is into movies and they may have missed a lot of them. Now at this stage, I could post a link to the annotation on L-Space, but I won’t. If you’ve spotted a movie reference then share it with us. Don’t just go quoting L-Space.

This is the last of the Discworld discussions – it’s taken us three years to get here, but we’ve finally done it. We may do some more in the future – the non-Discworld books, but for now I feel like a rest. :)

As it’s the last one, let’s make it a good one.
"Goodness is about what you do. Not what you pray to."
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Re: Moving Pictures Discussion **Spoilers**

Postby LilMaibe » Sun May 06, 2012 11:24 pm

Something I always wondered: How many 'spirits of holy wood' were there? I always had the feeling there was the actual spirit and some sort of eldritch parasite, latter which got held back by the guardian.
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Re: Moving Pictures Discussion **Spoilers**

Postby Jan Van Quirm » Mon May 07, 2012 1:31 pm

Well it's not quite the end of Discworld is it - have we done Snuff 'officially' yet? ;)

I still love MP but there are so many other good and great books that it's definitely gone down the pecking order. Ironically I was ready to jack in reading Discworld after Wyrd Sisters :shock: I got really cross over the blatant (and at the time I thought, not very clever) ripping off of Shakespeare that the satire went right over my head and the comedy just seemed too 'forced' - I thought that Terry was already just going through the motions and prepared myself to give up on the series. :o Fortunately Pyramids came along and restored my faith!!!!! :o :o :o

And then MP came along with Gaspode and Terry became a literary demi-god for me on a par (but definitely on a different wise-cracking pedestal) to Tolkien. I fell in irretrievably infinite love with the nice little talking doggie as well as (but a tad less) CMOT and Ridcully in this book, which not only is chockfull with movie refs but also the history of the silver screen from the deformed rabbit days to King Kong and all stops in between.

The strongest and best them is the Blown Away/Gone with the Wind storyline which also has the Sam Goldwyn and David Selznick production struggle featuring strongly - my favourite part of the whole skein is the not-so-subliminal product placement policy... :angelic-innocent:
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Re: Moving Pictures Discussion **Spoilers**

Postby Tonyblack » Mon May 07, 2012 1:52 pm

Did you know that Samuel Goldwyn was born Schmuel Gelbfisz - which I believe means something like Goldfish. The 'pune' about calling the alchemist Silverfish make even more sense. :)

Let me get this straight before anyone thinks I hate this book - I don't! I always enjoy reading it. It is well written and funny and we see the birth of so many favourite characters. We see the start of the Burser's decline into Dry Frog Pills land, we see an unformed Ponder Stibbons and, as Jan pointed out, we see Gaspode. I read somewhere that Terry was planning to kill Gaspode off in this book. :o I'm glad he didn't. He's one of the most important parts of this book because he demonstrates the difference between the glamour and clever tricks of Laddie and a true Wonder Dog like himself. It's a perfect example of how Holy Wood magic works.


Incidentally - I found myself reading Laddie's parts in Arnold Schwarzenegger's voice for some reason . . . :?
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Re: Moving Pictures Discussion **Spoilers**

Postby Tonyblack » Mon May 07, 2012 1:55 pm

Jan Van Quirm wrote:Well it's not quite the end of Discworld is it - have we done Snuff 'officially' yet? ;)


I think that one has been well covered already and I've linked to it in the list of discussions along with UA and I Shall Wear Midnight. ;)
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Re: Moving Pictures Discussion **Spoilers**

Postby Sister Jennifer » Wed May 09, 2012 12:29 am

Throughout the book I liked the metronomic, Clickaclickaclicka. Click. It's quite sinister. That last click on the reel breaking the spell.
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Re: Moving Pictures Discussion **Spoilers**

Postby raptornx01 » Wed May 09, 2012 6:16 am

Yeah, i liked that too. he did that again with Thief of time with the Tick. they just added that little extra layer to the stories.
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Re: Moving Pictures Discussion **Spoilers**

Postby S@mwich » Wed May 09, 2012 10:39 am

So far this is my favourite disc-world novel, behind of course any of the witches novels. probably my reason for that is my granddad, he loves movies and has shared his massive collection of the best (they are old though) and so with that I really appreciated some of the references plus the development of cinematography.
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Re: Moving Pictures Discussion **Spoilers**

Postby Tonyblack » Wed May 09, 2012 2:11 pm

It's certainly chock-full of movie references and it's great fun to spot them. The problem for me is that once you have found all the references, the story falls a bit flat on rereading. :?

Don't get me wrong - I think it's an excellent book, very funny and well written, it just doesn't have the depth that some of the other books have. Although the commentaries about 'celebrity' and especially at the premier when Victor and Ginger are known by so many people where the Patrician isn't, is very well observed. :)
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Re: Moving Pictures Discussion **Spoilers**

Postby Mary Skater » Wed May 09, 2012 2:40 pm

I haven't read the book in quite a while, but two things come to mind and still make me smile:
Victor's exam paper. "What is your name?" -- "Let's see him get 82% with this one!"
And the giant woman climbing the tower, clutching the screaming ape.
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Re: Moving Pictures Discussion **Spoilers**

Postby Tonyblack » Wed May 09, 2012 3:15 pm

Mary Skater wrote:I haven't read the book in quite a while, but two things come to mind and still make me smile:
Victor's exam paper. "What is your name?" -- "Let's see him get 82% with this one!"
And the giant woman climbing the tower, clutching the screaming ape.


The giant woman clutching the ape works for King Kong and Attack of the 50 Foot Woman. Clever bit of writing there Mr P. :lol:
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Re: Moving Pictures Discussion **Spoilers**

Postby raisindot » Wed May 09, 2012 7:46 pm

I agree with Tony. As one of Pterry's 'cultural parody' books (like Soul Music, Eric, and, to a lesser degree, Unseen Academicals and Wyrd SIsters), the enjoyment of Moving Pictures rests more in recognizing all of the movie references rather than in the story and characters, all of which are pretty shallow in comparison to the 'better' books that preceded it and the true masterpieces that would soon follow. In that respect, its narrative more closely resembles the Hollywood stories of P.G. Wodehouse than any other DW book.
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Re: Moving Pictures Discussion **Spoilers**

Postby Sister Jennifer » Wed May 09, 2012 11:18 pm

It's probably impossible to write a book about moviemaking & celebrities without being superficial.

Bertie Wooster is nothing if not shallow no matter what country he might be in.

The similarities of MP to our own movie history just goes to show what a funny old multiverse we live in.
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Re: Moving Pictures Discussion **Spoilers**

Postby raisindot » Thu May 10, 2012 1:18 pm

Sister Jennifer wrote:It's probably impossible to write a book about moviemaking & celebrities without being superficial.

Bertie Wooster is nothing if not shallow no matter what country he might be in.



Try The Day of the Locust, by Nathaniel West. A bit dated, but still perhaps the best fiction book about the industry ever written.

And Wodehouse's Hollywood stories and books didn't feature Bertie and Jeeves. The characters were usually Hollywood stereotypes--the overbearing, vulgar Hollywood tycoon, his air-headed mistress/starlet, and generally a beautiful but smart young innocent girl from Kansas hoping to become a starlet and falling in love with an equally vapid young actor.
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Re: Moving Pictures Discussion **Spoilers**

Postby Jan Van Quirm » Thu May 10, 2012 2:43 pm

I don't think that MP is superficial necessarily - the main thrust of it of course deals with the nature of superficiality and the smoke and mirrors of movieland (and literally theatrical magic even if you don't count alchemy with the smoke qualification... :P ) so yes, granted it's going to be presenting superficial characters and plotlines. What I find intriguing is the underlying theme in modern terms of wanting your 15 minutes of fame and/or an easy, fast route to wealth and milking it for all you're worth.

All the main characters in this succumb to this - even Gaspode although he retains his edge of cynicism and sense of reality (or healthy paranoia) in that they all go along with the mania that moving picture industry instigates in some manner, even if it's just to cash in on the by-products which is explored to greatest comedic effect by the Dibbler uncle and nephew act and of course by Gaspode. So it's not just about flashy movie stars celebrity its also about the 'lobsters' and bottom feeders that move in and exploit or spin off the hunger for the dream. It's also looking at the motivation for people wanting to put themselves through this kind of maximum exposure to 'be as big as you can be' and dangers that raging need invites - it being Discworld from the Dungeon Dimensions.

Ginger actually is a quite a deep character if you look past the langorous bits and think more about how she is before she gets her big break and once there, her desperation to keep the ball rolling so she won't have to go back to the 'little place you've probably never heard of'. For that facet of her role, I was reminded of one of the seamier stories from the silent era of Hollywood comedies and the dramatic fall from grace of one of the major stars of that era, Fatty Arbuckle who was caught up in investigations into the alleged rape and death 4 days later of a 'starlet' at a 'hotel' where abortions where performed. When Ginger comes into the story her desperation for success and literally for food when they go off to the commissary does strike the first echoes of the darker side of Holy Wood and this awful feeling of addicted longing for the star trip at any cost, no matter what you have to do to get it.

Having mentioned the Dungeon Dimensions, for me this is the last really meaningful time that they feature in a DW book (I don't really count Eric as it's more to do with demonology ;) ), after this Terry's excursions into magical nemesis gets more focussed on Dragons and Elves et al for a better class of antagonist. Do you think this is because he ran out steam for trans-dimensional monsters in this book?
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