JUMP CUT
A REVIEW OF CONTEMPORARY MEDIA

Notes  

I want to thank Peter Kramer for invaluable advice and patient reading of the text.

1. A "photographic history" of the studio was already published by Macmillan, who announces it as "beautiful photographic history of Working Title Films, the most successful international independent British film company of the last 20 years."
http://www.panmacmillan.com/books
/november/laundrettesandlovers

verified: Jan. 20, 2004.

2. Doris Toumarkine, "Box Office Title: Kodak Award winners Bevan and Fellner Makes Movies That Work." Film Journal International, July 9, 2004.
Online: www.filmjournal.com
verified: July 9, 2004

3. Erinna Meztler, Philip Wickham. The STATS. An Overview of the Film, Television, Video and DVD Industries in the U.K. 1990-2001. BFI, 2003.

4. Four Weddings — U.S. gross: $52.7 mil.;
overseas: $193 mil.;
Notting Hill: $116 mil, resp. $247.8;
Bridget Jones's Diary: $71.5, resp. $208.6.
Source: www.boxofficemojo.com.

5. Gramercy distributes pictures in the $5 to $10 million range produced by Polygram or Universal and tries to stay away from the blockbuster's summer months. See Tiiu Lukk, Movie Marketing. Opening the Picture and Giving it Legs, Hampstead Enterprises, 1997.

6. Lukk, 1997: 4-5. See also Sarah Street, Transatlantic Crossing. British Feature Films in the USA. New York-London: Continuum, 2002, pp. 203-204.

7. David Kosse, Universal's head of international marketing, in: "Makers of Notting Hill film hope for quick climb to riches," Alice Rawsthorn, Financial Times, April 24, 1999.

8. "...because [with] the seasonality of the movie, come the beginning of January it won't carry the same pertinence as it will before Christmas. [As with any picture] that has a Christmas theme to it, now you feel all warm and glowing about it [but] come the 26th of December you don't want to know about it." Tim Bevan in Martin A. Grove, "'Love' looms as hit for Uni," Working Title, Oct. 15, 2003, Hollywood Reporter.
www.hollywoodreporter.com/thr
/icopyright_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=2002205

9. David Kosse in Rawsthorn, quoted.

10. Peter Adee, U's marketing chief: "It's a calculated risk. But we really feel we're not in direct competition with Star Wars. We're a whole different thing. We really believe that every movie somehow finds its place." In "Grant vs. Goliath in summer gamble," Dade Hayes, Variety, Mar.11-17, 2002, vol. 386, p. 16.

11. See, e.g., PRANGE, Stephanie (2004), "Relationship Between DVD and Theatrical Closer Than Ever." In Video Store Magazine, Ap. 25-May2, 2004 .

12. "It's increasingly common for DVDs to be used as promotional tools for entertainment franchises. For instance, Miramax Home Entertainment is streeting a special edition of Bridget Jones's Diary on Nov. 9 to hype the theatrical release of sequel Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason 10 days later." Eliza Gallo, Video Business, Sep. 13, 2004, 24:37, p. 6.

13. E.g., Buena Vista Home Entertainment repriced Bridget Jones's Diary for their Valentine's Day promotion, and MGM does the same for Four Wedding and a Funeral. Dab Bennett: "Movies That Are Sweet for Valentine's Day." Video Store Magazine, Nov. 21-27, 2004, 26:48, p. 19; "Studios roll out romance for Valentine," Anon., DSN Retailing Today, Nov 8, 2004, vol. 43, p. 26.

14. E-mail correspondence, Jan. 20, 2005. The extras are sometimes provided by another company — for Four Weddings and a Funeral special edition DVD, it was Special Treats Productions. As Tammaro says, the brief is based on a few key factors in the case: the target audience; the tone of the movie; key themes resonating through the film; and director/talent involvement.

15. See e.g. the charts on videobusiness.com.

16. For the role of reviewers as cultural "framers", see, e.g., Ulf Hedetoft, "Contemporary Cinema: Between Cultural Globalization and National Interpretation," in Mette Hjort, Scott Mackenzie eds., Cinema and Nation. London-New York: Routledge, 2000, pp. 278-297.

17. Adam Dawtrey: "Passport to big B.O." Variety, Nov. 10-16, 2003, vol. 392, p. A4.

18. A Texan as the "quintessentially British" Bridget Jones was a highly discussed topic for the reviews and the reports related to the film. It seems clear that the rumor was welcome and supported as a marketing tool. See Daily Telegraph, Aug. 26, 2000 — Christa D'Souza interview, "Over Here, Miss Zellweger!," where Zellweger's alleged undercover work in the Bridget Jones's Diary's publisher Picador is described („Working Title ... felt that this experience would best equip her for the role"). Or The Times' Alex O'Connell, "The Office Secret of Bridget Jones," May 13, 2000: "The secret of an office's unusually classy 'work experience girl' was revealed yesterday. She was a Hollywood actress working undercover to prepare for the part of the English heroine Bridget Jones." The information is also "revealed" in the "behind the scene featurette," and Zellweger describes here the effort to assimilate herself and to became "English." These descriptions, highlighting and appeasing the worries about the cultural impropriety of a Texan actress, invoked the Robert De Niro-Raging Bull actorial myth so pervasively it can be hardly missed:

"She [Zellweger] moved to England months before the shoot, worked with a dialog coach and maintained her British speech patterns throughout her stay, was employed by a publishing firm, and — in the best tradition of De Niro's Raging Bull — was reported to have gained over twenty pounds for the role. She became Bridget."

Dan Ramer on an U.S. web site, DVDfile.com.

19. He already has had a 10-year long history in British TV in 1994 and a few mildly successful films with a good critical acclaim (Improptu, Bitter Moon) — but he was far from having the international star status.

20. I would even dare to suggest that it is shame (as the leading affect of characters, reflected by viewers) that is one of the most pervasive "attractions" of these massively popular films. Shame, as an affect pervasively present in the times of the second modernity, "…tends to come to the fore as a feature of psychic organization." (Anthony Giddens, Modernity and Self-Identity. Self and Society in the Late Modern Age, Oxford-Cambridge: Polity Press, 1991, p. 69).

21. And of a flock of other books, not mentioned in the clip, with such fascinating titles as: How to be happy, dammit: A cynic's guide to spiritual happiness, or How to make your man behave in 21 days or less using the secrets of professional dog trainers.

22. "As a genre, they are tales dominated by a plucky heroine who searches for her place in the big city — usually New York, London or Los Angeles — while holding down a job in such trendy settings as advertising, fashion or media and often juggling a bit of romance … Hollywood has been thinking pink ever since Bridget Jones's Diary — the British best seller by Helen Fielding — became a worldwide publishing sensation and later a 2001 hit film, grossing $71 million domestically…" Borys Kit, Hollywood Reporter, Aug.26-Sep.1, 2003, vol. 380, p. 1

23. Andrew Higson, English Heritage, English Cinema: Costume Drama since 1980. Oxford University Press: Oxford, 2003, p. 36. The exploitation of Pride and Prejudice — and its TV adaptation — by Bridget Jones's Diary (both in story and casting) is minutely described, in an academic discourse by Amy Sargeant: Darcy, Mark Darch and the Velveteen Rabbit. In Anna Antoni (ed.), Il cinema e I suoi molteplici, Udine: Forum 2003, pp. 375-382. And the same is done, significantly, in the Featurette on both DVD editions.

24. Martin A. Grove, "'Love' looms as hit for Uni," Working Title, Oct. 15, 2003, Hollywood Reporter.
www.hollywoodreporter.com/thr
/icopyright_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=2002205

25. See, e.g., "It's Notting Hill, but not as I know it," Deborah Orr, Independent Review, May 20, 1998; or the Bridget Jones's Diary review in Guardian: "Richard Curtis's London, swirling with picturesque snow, is that weird imaginary place, that ersatz London-from-another-planet we saw in Notting Hill." Peter Bradshaw, April 13, 2001.

26. "Real life" dangers and promises for the Notting Hill locality are commented on by Richard Curtis in the British press: "I'm sure our film will contribute to the demise of Notting Hill as we know and love it and I apologize for that in advance. It will put Notting Hill even more on the map than it is already…" Dzifa Benson: "Local heroes of WII." Evening Standard, 17.2.1999.


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