Movie Mom

Movie Mom


Who Inspired Lucas and Spielberg?

posted by Nell Minow

Two of the greatest story-tellers of the 20th century say that they both learned how to tell a story from the illustrations of Norman Rockwell. George Lucas (“Star Wars”) and Steven Spielberg (“Close Encounters of the Third Kind,” “Jurassic Park,” “Jaws”), close friends and sometime collaborators (the Indiana Jones movies) both collect the work of America’s foremost illustrator because they love the way he packs an entire story into just one frame.

For the first time, their collections are being made available to the public at the Smithsonian’s American Art Museum in Washington D.C. until January 2, 2011 in an exhibit called Telling Stories. In a movie accompanying the exhibit, the film-makers talk about how as children they scrutinized every detail of the pictures to understand the story behind each one and how that inspired their visual styles. Spielberg talks about two paintings in particular that continue to inspire him — one of an author at his typewriter dreaming up a story about Daniel Boone and one of a boy holding on for dear life to the end of a high dive board, peering down at the endless space below. He says the first inspires him to tell stories and the second is how he feels every single time just before he signs on to do another film.

Rockwell has been taken for granted, marginalized, and dismissed as corny by those who think that art has to be anguished and the era of representation is over. But shows like this one are recognizing that he deserves to be seen as an artist of the first rank in ability and importance. He is not unaware of despair, squalor, and pain. Indeed, it is all there in his pictures, if you look. But his images are aspirational, inspiring us to live up to the values and dreams of our forefathers and, when we fail and fail again, to start over.

The Smithsonian has an online slide show of the highlights of the exhibit. And visitors to Stockbridge, Massachusetts should be sure to visit the Norman Rockwell Museum. The images are always powerful, but the chance to see the brushstrokes and the work that went into all of the preliminary sketches will deepen your appreciation for Rockwell as an illustrator and an artist of the first rank. I highly recommend his autobiography, My Adventures as an Illustrator: Norman Rockwell, the DVD NORMAN ROCKWELL: An American Portrait, and the catalog of the show, Telling Stories: Norman Rockwell from the Collections of George Lucas and Steven Spielberg. But most of all, I recommend seeing Rockwell’s pictures, masterful in technique and in spirit.



Previous Posts

Is This the End of Television?
Last week both cable giant HBO and broadcast giant CBS made announcements that signal the end of television as we know it.  Both responded to the clear message of the market and said that they would make their content available in the form and via the delivery system consumers prefer -- the interne

posted 3:24:08pm Oct. 22, 2014 | read full post »

Dylan Baker on Directing for the First Time in the Fact-Based High School Football Movie "23 Blast"
Dylan Baker is probably best remembered for playing some of the most horrific villains imaginable ("The Good Wife," "Happiness").  But his extensive career has included wild comedies ("Planes, Trains, and Automobiles," "Anchorman 2"), historical drama (he was Robert McNamara in "13 Days"), and even

posted 8:00:11am Oct. 22, 2014 | read full post »

Best Movies About Writers
Flavorwire has put together a great list of the 50 best movies about writers. It's always tricky to make a writer interesting on film. On one hand, you have the advantage of a character who is likely to be witty and eloquent. Movies are written by writers, so they have some insight and appreciatio

posted 3:37:07pm Oct. 21, 2014 | read full post »

Great News About Now You See Me 2
You didn't think Arthur Tressler was going to let them get away with it, did you? I am very happy that one of the most entertaining films of 2013, Now You See Me is getting a sequel and the stars, including Mark Ruffalo, Jesse Eisenberg, Dave Franco, Michael Caine, and Woody Harrelson, are back, alo

posted 8:00:59am Oct. 21, 2014 | read full post »

In the Footsteps of St. Peter
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l4c7qh9hMVY[/youtube] David Suchet (PBS' Hercule Poirot) is the host of In the Footsteps of St. Peter, out tomorrow on DVD.

posted 3:55:57pm Oct. 20, 2014 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.