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Film: A Movie
A Movie is an experimental 12-minute short film from 1958 made by Bruce Conner. Conner did not shoot any original footage, instead assembling a series of stock footage clips to make a montage. While there is no story as such, the film seems to be making a point regarding the glorification of violence and war, the overlap between military aggression and sexuality, and the futility of man's achievements. While the first part of the film shows more exciting imagery—racing cars, cowboys chasing Indians, a charging elephant—the latter portion of the film shows darker and more disturbing injury, such as a dead elephant being butchered, corpses of soldiers killed in war, the Hindenburg explosion, and nuclear bomb explosions.

Conner would go on to make several more artistic film collages over his career. A Movie has a place on the National Film Registry.


Tropes:

  • The Cavalry: One of the clips is a scene from some old Western showing The Cavalry chasing some Indians.
  • Cool Airship: Subverted with film clips of the Hindenburg in flight, followed of course with the famous Oh, the Humanity! film of the Hindenburg burning.
  • Credits Gag: The title card "End of Part Four" pops up in the first minute of the film. The End pops up for the first time less than a minute and a half into the film, and reappears several times after. The title and Conner's name also pop up several times, including once when "MOVIE" is reversed.
  • Dead Guy on Display: One of the clips shown in the later, darker portion of the film is a brief clip of the corpses of Benito Mussolini and his companions being strung up in Milan.
  • Fanservice: The first clip is a shot, presumably from some old stag film, of a very attractive topless woman taking off her stockings.
  • Hindenburg: Part of the "things crashing and falling" montage.
  • Le Film Artistique: So very, very much.
  • Match Cut: A montage in the earlier part of the film shows several clips of things in motion, with match cuts from clip to clip. The Cavalry chasing Indians cuts to a car driving at high speed, which cuts to a charging elephant, which cuts to race cars racing (and crashing).
  • Montages: Essentially the whole film is a 12-minute montage. The first part of the film is a montage of what might be considered exciting or positive images—the naked woman, The Cavalry in hot pursuit, cars zooming by, a tightrope walker high above a city. The latter portion veers more towards death, destruction, and failure. The charging elephant from the first part of the movie is contrasted later by a dead elephant being butchered. The National Geographic Nudity lady is contrasted with a clip of what appears to be African tribesmen shivering, in some kind of distress. The latter portion of the film contains several clips of people and things crashing and falling down, such as water skiers wiping out, the Hindenburg crashing and burning, the famous clip of the Tacoma Narrows bridge collapse, planes crashing, and ships sinking.
  • National Geographic Nudity: There is a clip of a brown-skinned, topless woman balancing a huge tower of fruit on her head.
  • Phallic Weapon: One montage starts with a submarine captain looking through a periscope. The film then cuts to a sexy woman in bra and panties. The next clip shows the submarine firing a torpedo. Then there's a clip of an atomic bomb test. The sexual imagery is not subtle.
  • Ray of Hope Ending: Seemingly the result of the final clip, which shows a scuba diver exploring a sunken ship, then pans up to show the sun, visible through the water.
  • Stock Footage: The entire film consists of this.
  • Tightrope Walking: There's a clip of a tightrope walker in an urban setting, as well as a clip of two contortionists working on a platform high above a city street.
Invasion of the Body SnatchersNational Film RegistryThe Apartment
Mon OncleFilms of the 1950sThe Naked Truth

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