Watch: De Palma's 'Most Difficult Shot in Movie History' Video Essay
"Now this seems absurd, right? … Why would you spend $80,000 of your budget just for this one image?" What do you think is "the most difficult shot in movie history?" It's probably not the one you're thinking of, not any of Stanley Kubrick's shots, not any of the Lumière Brothers' shots. Nah, it's a shot from one of Brian De Palma's films. And it was a flop. The film is The Bonfire of the Vanities, a 1990 adult drama about a Wall Street hotshot played by Tom Hanks, whose life begins to unravel after his mistress runs over a teen. Now, why is there an interesting $80,000 shot in this? Editor / filmmaker Patrick H. Willems got caught up learning about the making of this epic flop and the story of the iconic Concorde jet landing at JFK shot that cost so much. He put together a 20 minute video essay not only examining the shot itself, but why it matters, why it's so important for cinema. All-in-all a fascinating examination of only 10 seconds of a movie.
Thanks to Kottke for the tip on this one. Patrick's brief intro from YouTube: "Brian De Palma's infamous 1990 bomb The Bonfire of the Vanities has one the craziest, most difficult shots ever attempted. So let’s look at the story behind it, how it was done, and what it all means." The Most Difficult Shot in Movie History (And Why It Matters) is a video created and edited by Patrick Willems - you can watch more of his videos on his YouTube channel or subscribe to his Patreon or follow him on Twitter @patrickhwillems or also on Instagram @patrickhwillems. We also featured his video series "The Uncanny X-Men" years ago, about what if X-Men was directed by Wes Anderson. This new essay was co-edited by Ryan Alva, with research by Raven Thigpen. The book is "The Devil's Candy: The Anatomy of a Hollywood Fiasco" by Julie Salamon. And the movie, The Bonfire of the Vanities, opened in 1990 (at Christmas!) and is available on YouTube and iTunes.