The Magic of Movie Sets with Wendy Goodman & David Edelstein

19 July, 2018

Have you seen Cleopatra? The design editor at New York, Wendy Goodman, has seen it 13 times. And counting. Film critic (also at New York) David Edelstein doesn't understand why. But these two esteemed voices of design and film criticism agree on most everything else when it comes to cinema. Their talk on designers, directors, the art of set design delights the cinephile and popcorn-movie-lover alike. They gush about their favorite sets, from Citizen Kane to Boogie Nights, and discuss how design elements can make or break a film.

Metropolis, Fritz Lang, 1927

[On Metropolis] “Lang celebrates the power of architecture to elevate humanity while he simultaneously laments its capacity to stifle it. To me one of the things that makes a movie a masterpiece is when even the design contains a contradiction.”

David Edelstein

Rear Window, Alfred Hitchcock, 1954

[On Rear Window] “The action takes place in this one room and looking out as a voyeur, we're the voyeurs as they are the voyeurs. It is one of the most heavenly films. With a very simple construct.”

Wendy Goodman

The Truman Show, Peter Weir, 1998

“I look at sets as metaphor. I want to see how the director's vision or the writer's vision is manifest in the environment. What is the relationship, how is the character seen in the space? What is the relationship between architecture and the worldview of the director?”

David Edelstein

The Shining, Stanley Kubrick, 1980

[On The Shining] “Well, I'm just scared of hotels after this film. The set design in this film was so extraordinary. I mean, just following that little figure down those halls and those twins...”

Wendy Goodman

The Last Emperor, Bernardo Bertolucci, 1987

[On The Last Emperor] “I love this, of course, it's very lavish. It was the first time the Forbidden City was used as a location. So I just love this film.”

Wendy Goodman

Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, Mel Stuart, 1971

[On Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory] “First of all, that chocolate river looks like something else. I think his sets are hideous.”

Wendy Goodman

Blade Runner, Ridley Scott, 1982

“Our lives are surrounded by artifice and we're affected by that. Somehow the idea of life is to break through into the real.”

David Edelstein

Words by The Editors.

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