Saturday, 1 August 2009

Argento budget question

I've just been watching the documentary Italian Kings of B, which has a brief segment with Tony Musante. He says The Bird with the Crystal Plumage was sufficiently low-budget to be made with ends of film stock, and that Argento would say cut as soon as he felt a scene was done, while Storaro would keep shooting if there was something that interested him. What do you think is the truth of this? I'd be inclined to disbelieve him, that even at this point Argento wasn't exactly the Italian equivalent of poverty-row, but is / was buying ends of film really such a rarity for a first-time director, or a lower budget production? (After all, didn't the spare wood left behind by Lawrence of Arabia furnish spaghetti westerns shot in Almeria?)

And, indeed, does anyone have a sense of who are reliable sources and not in Italian popular cinema (e.g. Fabrizio Jovine as someone who the Lucio Fulci Remembered DVD people found to be a ‘key informant’), or anything to do otherwise triangulating sources?

The documentary itself is great; I just wish there was more of it...

3 comments:

Cinefantastique Online said...

The Musante story sounds unlikely to me. Buying short-ends is something I associate with self-financed films, usually short subjects. But may in Italy they do things differently...

Cam1020 said...

I can't imagine that being true when his father was a successful producer!

Fred said...

I'm also dubious about Musante's claims. First off, there doesn't seem to be any problematic issues with color and grain in the film, telling signs that a filmaker is using some uneven stock. Second, the film doesn't have a static camera or limited set-ups, other signs of a limited budge. And third, despite being a very talented actor, Musante has something of a reputation in the business for being "difficult" which is why he left a starring role in a top television show in the '73 called Toma which was recast with Robert Blake in the lead and re-titled Baretta. So I would not take Musante's comments at face value.