I enjoyed the video, but while watching it, it occurred to me that maybe it wasn’t completely accurate. I’m looking forward to the HE faithful to setting the record straight.

  • actionlover

    The reason it always seemed improv to me is the sound quality change, as if the street dialogue was looped later, and the original audio was kept for the yelling at the cab. Also, the “extras” look like genuine bystanders, and non-choreographed actors. The taxi driver looks and sounds authentic too.

    But I’m not sure.

  • Jeffrey Wells

    Jerome Hellman is.

  • CinemaPhreak

    So was Peter Bart and look how that turned out…

  • reverent and free

    Voight and Hoffman have both said it was unscripted. Voight’s angry look at the cab as it passes feels natural in any case.

  • reverent and free

    Here come the quibbles: Dr. Strangelove would be a better choice than A Clockwork Orange. With the arm spasm scene you know that Sellers is improvising live in that take, since you can see Peter Bull cracking up over his shoulder. With A Clockwork Orange, the song is sang through the whole scene, so while McDowell may have had the idea, it was certainly fine tuned and directed take after take. The same with R. Lee Ermey in FMJ. He came up with his lines, but does that mean he came up with them on the spot in the take we see in the film?

    And if “Here’s looking at you kid” was improvised, which one? In Paris or at the hanger.

  • Jeffrey Wells

    Wells to reverent and free: Can you suggest why Hellman, the producer who was watching over every aspect of production on this film, would LIE on an audio commentary? Did you LISTEN to what he said on the video? They hired the driver, they rehearsed it, etc. It enhances an actor’s rep to claim he/she came up with a line on the spot, and that line was kept in the film and became famous, etc. That’s an understandable motivation. What would be an understandable motivation for Hellman to LIE about what he says here? He has no stake in this one way or the other. Why would he lie?

  • George Prager

    Moveiline and Awards Daily have no interest in the truth. They’re just looking for pageviews.

    It seems unscripted because they just put a camera on the two without any permits.

  • CinemaPhreak

    One the one hand, you have Hoffman who, if you’ve read William Goldman’s book, is a very human actor and therefore prone to lapses in memory (if we want to be charitable). Wells is on the money about his motivation.

    On the other, you have the producer who in all likelihood was not on the set that day. Unless it’s a big set piece, first day of shooting, etc, the named producer rarely comes down to watch them shoot. It’s not very hard to imagine a scenario where the cab scene’s paperwork was all faked after the fact in order to avoid issues with insurance. Doesn’t reflect too well if you cant control your set and your two leads were almost whacked by a taxi.

  • Wrecktem

    Isn’t there a difference between “unscripted” and “improvised?” Unscripted means that the dialogue wasn’t in the shooting script. It could have been something worked out during a rehearsal or while they were blocking the scene or discussed between the actors and the director between camera setups. I’m sure this shit happens all the time.

    Improvised means that it was made up while cameras were rolling. Does that happen a lot? Maybe. Depends on the director and how much film he’s willing to burn.

  • CitizenKaned4Life

    “Improvised means that it was made up while cameras were rolling.”

    Are you sure? I mean, we’re kind of getting into semantics now, but isn’t a lot of what passes as “improvisation” these days just riffing on what was previously written on the page, and/or what the actor(s) and director talk about before actually shooting?

    Film’s expensive, and doubly so everyone’s time when a camera is actually rolling. I honestly don’t think there is a lot of “pure” improv these days; I think there’s definitely more of the “premeditated” SNL variety.

  • CitizenKaned4Life

    Fucking spam…how obnoxious.

    I really don’t know how you deal with this shit on a daily basis, Wells!

  • littlebigman

    I recently Interviewed Hoffman and this very subject came up. My impression is that Hellman is accurate in that the cabbie was staged but that the “Im walking here” line itself was staged.

    By the way, Hoffman said he would have gone with Casey Affleck to play David Sumner but has not seen the remake.

  • Mark

    “What would be an understandable motivation for Hellman to LIE about what he says here?”

    Because Hoffman fucked his wife, obviously.

    As far as the video, it’s pretty lame. Not only does it rip off a 2-year old Spike list, but I hate that Private Ryan story of the brothers.

    And how is there no love for Christopher Guest flicks? “Don’t look at the fat ass losers or freaks, look at me!” is gotta Top 5. You could probably do a better list consisting of all Anchorman scenes.

  • BobbyLupo

    “What would be an understandable motivation for Hellman to LIE about what he says here?”

    His motivation would be “It looks really bad for a production to let the taxi almost hit the two leads.”

    The director has also consistently said it was “real”. Why would *he* lie in a way that diminishes his own ability — if he directed a scene that every believes is “real”, that speaks well of him.

  • BobbyLupo

    That’s not to defend the video; a lot of what they say is specious or outright wrong (in both directions; giving Bill Murray credit for *only* “It’s in the hole” is a disservice). “Here’s looking at you, kid” was not unscripted, it was written into the script because Bogart used to say it to her.

  • BobbyLupo

    points for the ‘Simpsons’ ref at 4:06, though.

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