I often wonder what my director trademark would be if I were indeed a director. I'm not a 100% but I'm thinking it would probably have something to do with cats, a character eating a sandwich and Jesus lurking in the background. I guess those would be fairly obvious ones to spot but what the hey we can't have it all. I've always been obsessed with trying to spot director trademarks so as a special Tuesday treat I've compiled a few of my faves to always keep an eye out for. Let me be clear that these aren't necessarily my favorite directors- rather their trademarks are my favorites.
Stanley the manly has several trademarks usually having to do with classical music and really long shots done in one take. The two that I find the most interesting- and the ones that people often miss however are the bathroom shots, and the shots of a character with his head bent downwards and his eyes looking up.
The Bathroom Shot: The key to discovering the bathroom shot is realizing that these aren't just any old bathrooms. The bathrooms in these said shots are usually extravagant in some way- and the scene that uses said bathroom is usually of great importance. My favorite- and probably most people's favorite example of this would have to be from The Shining.
It's a key scene of course- Delbert Grady informs Jack that he's always been the caretaker but just look at how incredibly awesome that bathroom is! The deep reds- is possibly one of the greatest bathrooms that ever lived!! Of course there is another bathroom that deals with importance....but I blocked out all that rabid granny, moldy boob action a long time ago....ugh.
Other great bathroom shots:
Full Metal Jacket- Gomer Pyle shoots his head off
A Clockwork Orange- Alex reveals his true self after singing "Singin in the Rain" while in the bath.
Eyes Wide Shut- Crack ho OD's in Sydney Pollacks hugely extravagant bathroom early on in the film. Tom Cruise goes to check the situation out.
The Kubrick Stare: This is a trademark that I always sort of knew about but never really paid attention to until I saw this photograph. What does this positioning of the head and the face mean? Is the character in question debating two extremes? Are they truly at war with themselves and the concept of good and evil? Having the head go one way and the eyes a different way would certaintly suggest this- and when you look at the characters it's a pretty obvious assumption to make. This trademark is definitely one of the more interesting ones to me- and I would argue one of the more subtler ones, until you take a step back and really notice it.
The Trunk Shot: I remember discovering this trademark long before my friend who was a diehard Tarantino fan ever did. The day I told him about it he was blown away, how could he miss it- he wondered in a anguish. Indeed- how you ever miss a trademark that is so prominent in each and every film.
On a sidenote I have not seen Inglorious Basterds- can anyone verify the "trunk shot" in that?
Does a ditch shot count?
Daddy issues: Stevie has gone on record saying that his childhood wasn't the happiest- due to his parents divorce, he often had trouble connecting with his father, which is probably the best reason for the existence of many of his main characters having that very same problem.
E.T. : Eliot's father left town to sleep with some tramp.
Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade: Lets us all in on the secret that he never had the best relationship with his dear old dad.
Jurassic Park: We learn that little Timmy and his annoying sister's parents were divorced- leading to Timmy almost reaching out towards Dr. Grant as a substitute father figure. An idea that Dr. Grant is not comfortable with but later adapts to and lets the little tykes sleep on his shoulders while the Brontosaurus eat leaves around them.
Hook: Peter obviously has some poor parenting skills- neglecting his sons baseball game for instance! Tsk Tsk.
M Night Shyamalan
Home Invasion: Sure your first director trademark you might think of would be the all too annoying twist ending- but I like to point out the little less obvious! Home Invasions are startlingly and overtly present in a lot of Shyamalan's films.
The Sixth Sense: In the beginning, Vincent (Donnie Walhberg!) invades Malcolm's home wearing his underwear and toting a gun!
Unbreakable: The ending crime that allows David to save the day involves the home invasion that results in the death of the two parents and the saving of the two girls.
Signs: The aliens invade the farmhouse.
The Village: The evil porcupines invade the homes of the villagers.
Oldsmobile Delta 88: Longtime fans of Raimi's shouldn't find this one as a surprise as the car makes a cameo in just about every Raimi film- most famously as the car in The Evil Dead- and more recently as Slyvia Ganush's car in Drag Me to Hell. Heck it even pops up in Spider-Man movies!
Well that's all for now! Did I leave your favorite director's trademark out? Let me know!