First order of business: the AMPAS - the oh-so-reputable Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences - Research and Preservation website recently came out with a replenished database of archival production art from a host of historical movies, one of which is Poltergeist. One such Poltergeist document is Steven Spielberg's hand-drawn storyboard of a chunk of the "Living Room" sequence (see this document at the AMPAS site here), that sequence I so heavily singled out in my "On 'Poltergeist'" post as a thing of beauty... and strongly suspected was an example of Hooper's directorial mark. Instead, here we have evidence showing Spielberg drawing out frames seen verbatim in that finished product, and also painstakingly formulating the scene's pristine character formations, with careful namings scribed over stick figures (and this latter aspect - the scene's careful and continual blocking formations - being one of the major things so beautiful about the scene). Besides adding more evidence to the rumor of Poltergeist being essentially a Spielberg-directed film, this new Exhibit A seems to strike out the idea of Hooper being the sole "artist" of this particular scene - an idea I'll admit to have been freely, unreservedly entertaining, until now. Fucking AMPAS, amirite?
Well, there was some minor crestfalling when I made this little discovery, but alas, it is also something I feel needs to be posted here at THAS in immediacy, as an un-ignorable part of the chronology of this blog and my progress in cultivating the idea of Hooper as a serious filmmaker. Of course these four sheets of paper do not totally prove Hooper's complete remove from the creation of this scene - for one, it's hardly the entire scene and heck, they're just some storyboards!; two, who was calling the shots on set, the actual day of shooting, is still an important factor; and three, perhaps this storyboard was collaborated on? Quite possibly? But anyway, niggling over Poltergeist is one of the least things I wanted to do with this blog, so I'm willing to throw the baby completely out with the bathwater here and hand over this film completely - but, of course, not, for as long as Hooper claims (though they may just be claims...) that he does feel an ownership of Poltergeist, and that he (of course, whether Spielberg rumors are true or not) had a major part in the production, the idea of his mark being on Poltergeist must be kept alive, and pondered, until complete disclosure proves otherwise.
Ultimately, really, this new find ends up serving mostly as a firm reminder to me that, as much as I want to, I cannot dismiss Spielberg, and that he is not the complete slouch I'm always tempted to mark him as being. That the whimsical, soaring, sprightly choreographing of this scene is starting to seem, yes, very much like primo Spielberg stylization that I have indeed seen in his films -- much more than what my brain was telling me previously. Still not a fan of the man, but he is undoubtedly responsible for a good helping of dynamic, magical cinematic symphony of his own sort throughout his career (that is, symphony of his hyper, crass, Big Mac filmography...).
To wrap up, a possible loss on the Hooper front, but a minor, foreseen one.
Order of business #2: I shall from now on start creating blog posts on here for every ANNEX post I write, so as to encourage and provide place for comments or any discussion concerning those posts. I shall also start going back and creating blog posts for all prior ANNEX posts (with matched dates of publishing) so those can also be commented on or discussed by anyone wishing. This will also make my posting seem more abundant, so hooray.
Will there be more non-Hooper related blogging? I have been considering it, as a fruitful strategy to exhibiting my tastes and giving my appreciation of Hooper some proper broader context, but whether this shall come to pass is up in the air.
This ANNEX<->blog backlogging will be of a completion period TBD, and shall be worked on at my own pace (likely a slow one).
Those are all the orders of business.