These go up to eleven (recorded in Dubley)

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These go up to eleven (recorded in Dubley)

Postby Doc Holliday on Tue Apr 18, 2006 2:14 pm

John Rhys Davies declares that "Improvisation is, by its very definition, 98.5% garbage" - and I suspect he was being conservative. Which all goes towards making the remaining amount all the better an accomplishment.

When they do work, everyone benefits - the script, the character, the direction and so forth. Rhys-Davies himself is no stranger to the art - for me the "Here's to swimming with small bearded women" homage to JAWS in ROTK:EE was rubbish - but there's no denying the comedy in his "That still only counts as one!" line a little later in the same movie.

Speaking of JAWS, let me save us all the bother of around 250 irate posts re: The USS Indianapolis, given Spielbergs final revelation as to who gets the credit (Robert Shaw simply reduced the speech without really changing the dialogue - not the effect I'm gauging here, though I see the argument FOR).

Brando was famous for his improv - but undermines his claim perhaps, by needing to stick the other 98.5% of his dialogue onto his co-stars forehead - The Horror, The Horror.

(and Brits, The Wild One is the subject of tonight's Hollywood Greats - BBC1, 10.35. A Streetcar Named Desire follows a little later - a must-see).

Whatever your view on the American Pie movies - any scene beginning "JIM!" are comedy gold - and I give you Eugene Levy, a past and current master of the art.

And of course, there's that Rock Act on the perennial comeback trail, Spinal Tap......and pretty much everything else Sir Guest produces.

So from the comic to the sublime, lets have your roll-call one time please, for all those fine fine moments of improvisation......
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Postby brendonconnelly on Tue Apr 18, 2006 2:18 pm

The line-up scene in The Usual Suspects is, effectively, a string of out-takes, corpsing and improve scattered all over it like magic... er... pixie... dust....

Bill Murray. Often.
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Postby Nachokoolaid on Tue Apr 18, 2006 2:44 pm

brendonconnelly wrote:The line-up scene in The Usual Suspects is, effectively, a string of out-takes, corpsing and improve scattered all over it like magic... er... pixie... dust....

Bill Murray. Often.


And what's funny, that bonding moment in the line-up worked so well, that if they would have shot what they had written, the film would have suffered for it.

And if the "That still only counts as one" line was an improv, props to Mr. Davies.

Best improv ever was Jeremy Irons presenting at the Oscars last year.

Right when he started speaking, there was a loud sound (like a gun shot) off-camera, and he very dryly looked relieved and stated, "They missed." I was laughing for minutes.
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Postby Cpt Kirks 2pay on Tue Apr 18, 2006 2:46 pm

Interestingly someone reckoned that on 'Who's Line Is It Anyway', they don't actually come up with those lines on the spot, but there's a sort of rehearsal improv or something they do, before you see them deliver the funny on the show.

Which is cheating a bit to say the least. But reassuring to us inferiorly funny feeling people resulting from watching that show.
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Postby HollywoodBabylon on Wed Apr 19, 2006 1:02 pm

What about the films of Lars Von Trier or Thomas Vinterberg especially during their 'dogma' period? I think whole scenes were improvised by the actors....sometimes to great effect, sometimes not.
Wasn't 'The Blair Witch Project' improvised nearly all the way through, also?
However, the most bizarre example of improvisation (of sorts) that I know of (and I think I've posted on this before) has to go to Werner Herzog's 'Heart Of Glass' where the cast were literally hypnotised by the director throughout the movie.
Only Herzog would ever dream of doing this!
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Postby King Of Nowhere on Sat Apr 29, 2006 11:24 pm

HollywoodBabylon wrote:What about the films of Lars Von Trier or Thomas Vinterberg especially during their 'dogma' period? I think whole scenes were improvised by the actors....sometimes to great effect, sometimes not.!


case in point "the idiots"
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Postby TheBaxter on Sun Apr 30, 2006 2:00 am

when it comes to improvised moments in film, i don't think anything beats indy pulling the gun and shooting the scimitar-wielding dude in raiders.
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Postby Tubbs Tattsyrup on Sun Apr 30, 2006 5:19 am

Cpt Kirks 2pay wrote:Interestingly someone reckoned that on 'Who's Line Is It Anyway', they don't actually come up with those lines on the spot, but there's a sort of rehearsal improv or something they do, before you see them deliver the funny on the show.


I do improv at a theatre company here so I'll try to set this sort of straight. I can't speak for Whose Line, but what the people I perform with do is: we have practices every week to beef up skills and what not, and we warm up before shows, but every show, what we actually say/do onstage is totally improvised. What we do in practice/warm-up is not repeated, any more than stuff is repeated from show to show. I'd say that the Whose Liners are similar. You "rehearse" to get your energy up, or to get better at improv. Not to prepare what you're going to do.

Anyway, with films including improv, a lot of it is in how you edit the improvised parts. I heard "Best In Show" was edited from hundreds of hours of dialogue (not sure if that's true), and that movie rules. Same for Tap. There's a movie called Living In Oblivion that quite nicely parodies improvised dialogue, though - when called to improvise his lines, the main star in the film-within-a-film just says his normal scripted dialogue but with lots of ums, you-knows, isn't-its, etc.

Classic improvised scene: in Goodfellas, when De Niro, Pesci and Liotta have dinner with Pesci's character's mom (actually Scorsese's mom). The whole "hit a deer" dialogue and everything. Great!
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Postby TheBaxter on Sun Apr 30, 2006 1:39 pm

ooh... reminded me off another classic improvised moment, which is DeNiro's "you talkin' to me?" speech in Taxi Driver
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