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Trailers On DVDs That Give Away Too Much Plot? Biggest Offenders?


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#1 of 38 OFFLINE   David Von Pein

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Posted October 29 2003 - 03:49 PM

Upon re-watching Alfred Hitchcock's popular and scary 1960 mega-hit, "Psycho", recently (plus the plentiful and pleasing extra features on the Universal DVD) it struck me at how awful [from a "spoiler" standpoint] Hitchcock's very own self-hosted Theatrical Trailer was for this film.

Or ... Is it possible that Hitch's "Tour of the Psycho set" Trailer was, in fact, NOT the "Original" trailer utilized prior to the film's first release in June 1960?

Could this "Tour" trailer (which gives away, IMO, way too much info) possibly have been put out for the "Re-release" of the film a year or two after its 1960 debut?

And, if yes, I wonder what the "Original" Trailer from early to mid 1960 was like. (If there was one.)

For anyone who has never seen Psycho previously (of which there are few I realize), I would certainly NOT recommend viewing the DVD's Trailer before watching the film.

There's not a single scene from "Psycho" used in the 10-minute Trailer, but .....

The Trailer tells the viewer (unsuspecting of plot points or otherwise) right off that we're going to see at least two brutal killings -- and WHERE we'll see them! One in the shower and one on the staircase.

I often wondered WHY Hitch wanted to reveal this much data regarding his film, which was shrouded in secrecy at the time. ("No one, but no one, will be admitted to the theater after the start of each performance of Psycho!")

What other trailers on current DVD products give away too much of the plot do you think?

#2 of 38 OFFLINE   TonyDale

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Posted October 29 2003 - 04:41 PM

It's the original trailer, alright.

But, did you happen to notice that the *victim* in the final shot of the trailer is NOT the same *victim* as in the film?

Vera Miles appears in the shower in the trailer, NOT Janet Leigh.

We are just surrealist pilgrims, melting clocks in marble halls. . .

#3 of 38 OFFLINE   David Von Pein

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Posted October 29 2003 - 05:08 PM

Yes, Tony, I did. Posted Image

A fun little bit of switch-eroo employed by Hitch there.

It WAS the Original Trailer, eh? OK, thanks. Seems odd to me, though, that Mr. H would reveal the info he did.

Hitchcock's self-hosted trailer for "The Birds", while rather dry IMO, didn't give away any details of the film if I recall. He just went on (and on and on...) about ... birds.

#4 of 38 OFFLINE   Bill Williams

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Posted October 30 2003 - 01:55 AM

Another really bad one is the trailer to Superman III. The climax to the film, in which
Superman successfully destroys the super computer,
is clearly in the trailer. What was the WB thinking when they put it together?
"I have in my heart what it takes to run with the big dogs in this life, and nobody can say otherwise."

"Attention all personnel. Tonight's movie is a holdover from last week and will be shown right after supper, which is also a holdover from last week."

#5 of 38 OFFLINE   PeterKelly

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Posted October 30 2003 - 03:14 AM

SPOILERS - but given away by trailer

Cast Away - We know he makes it and that Helen Hunt remarries.
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#6 of 38 OFFLINE   Bryan_Bortz

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Posted October 30 2003 - 04:24 AM

hehe, yeah cast away is a baad one.

I have noticed that most Chick flick's have trailers that give away almost all the plot Posted Image

Oh, and Two Towers anyone? I still don't think they should have shown him!

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#7 of 38 OFFLINE   Nick T Robot

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Posted October 30 2003 - 04:32 AM

Quote:
Oh, and Two Towers anyone? I still don't think they should have shown him!

shown Gollum?

Well, I didn't know that about Psycho, guess giving away too much in the trailers, commercials isn't a recent trend.

Some DVD art gives away too much as well, like the DVD cover of the original Planet of the Apes, with the Statue of Liberty on the beach, I guess they figured EVERYONE knows about that plot twist.

#8 of 38 OFFLINE   MarkHarrison

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Posted October 30 2003 - 07:22 AM

Here's an interesting quote from J. Michael Straczynski, creator of Babylon 5.

Quote:
There is a certain kind of literature I've come across which I've always enjoyed, in which they tell you the ending right at the beginning...then, even when you already know where it's all going to end up, they then tell you the beginning of the story, and if anything, it makes it more intense because you know what's going to happen, that these Really Awful Things are going to happen to these characters, and now it's a matter of waiting to see when they're going to happen and how; it's waiting for the other shoe to drop.

Similarly, Hitchcock had the notion that it's a wonderful/terrible thing to do to an audience to show them a bomb ticking beneath a coffee table, above which the characters are having tea, and sandwiches, and chatting merrily along utterly oblivious to what the audience knows it ticking right beneath their plates.

It's basically a staple of Greek drama, particulary tragedy: you make sure that the audience has information, sometimes advance information, that the characters do NOT have. Oedipus, which you cite, is a terrific example of this, in that you have the Greek chorus which basically tells you up front that This Is Going To End Badly. That is, in general, the *purpose* of the Greek Chorus, in part to relay backstory, but in larger measure to feed the audience information of what's coming and what it means and what the characters don't know so that they will, as result, suffer not just at the moment of revelation, but at all the elements leading up to it. So you get a double-hit, more bang for your dramatic buck.

(As it happens, btw, I saw Oedipus for the first time when I was in early junior high school, on a class trip...a very vivid and powerful production in a staging very similar to the original setting. Had a very profound effect on me, and my sense of structure. That and Marlowe's version of Dr. Faustus.)


Basically his arguement is that sometimes it's not the outcome that's truly interesting, but how you get there.

#9 of 38 OFFLINE   MatthewLouwrens

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Posted October 30 2003 - 08:02 AM

Quote:
Oh, and Two Towers anyone? I still don't think they should have shown him!
I suspect you mean Gandalf? I entirely agre. My old flatmate was wanting to know whether he came back, and I refused to tell her. ANd then, there he is in the trailer, on the poster, everywhere. Very annoying.

Personally, I like the Psycho trailer - I think it's very funny and humourous. He may reveal that some events happen at one place or another, but he doesn't reveal too much. It's a great trailer.

As for JMS's comment about Greek drama - I entirely agree with his comment, if that is how the filmakers structure the film. But if a filmaker wants to make a film with some suspense, and then the trailers go and spoil that suspense by revealing too much, it is not a good thing.
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#10 of 38 OFFLINE   Sean Frost

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Posted October 30 2003 - 10:32 AM

What Lies Beneath had a major spoiler in the trailer.

It reveals that Harrison Ford is the killer

"There was....there was this guy, he had knives for fingers"

#11 of 38 OFFLINE   Will_B

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Posted October 30 2003 - 10:40 AM

Star Trek Nemesis, the last one, gave away everything: That Shinzon was Picard's clone, that Picard would climactically ram the Enterprise into the enemy ship, that Data would climactically jump across the expanse of space. Every moment that may have made for an exciting climax was shown in detail in the preview.
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#12 of 38 OFFLINE   Geoffrey_A

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Posted October 30 2003 - 06:30 PM

Here's one, Free Willy. A movie I personally can't stand, but was always amused by the trailer, which is a summary of the entire film. The trailer shows Orphan boy, makes friends with whale, people try to kill whale for insurance money or something, boy conspires to save whale, bad guys try to stop them, boy saves whale, whale jumps dramatically over kid to freedom, title, fade to black. Yeah, why am I gonna go see this movie now?
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#13 of 38 OFFLINE   John Alderson

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Posted October 30 2003 - 11:29 PM

Star Trek III's trailer showed the Enterprise getting destroyed after the film makers had gone through lots of trouble to avoid letting that info slip out ahead of time.

#14 of 38 OFFLINE   Brian Kidd

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Posted October 31 2003 - 01:20 AM

KANGAROO JACK's trailer gave away that the film would suck before anyone could find out for themselves. Posted Image
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#15 of 38 OFFLINE   Russell G

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Posted October 31 2003 - 01:49 AM

Quote:
KANGAROO JACK's trailer gave away that the film would suck before anyone could find out for themselves.


I thought that was a public service announcement, not an actual trailerPosted Image

I actually try to avoid trailers (easy to do, as I rarely go to a film in the theaters) as they are getting to detailed in what well happen. I prefer the trailers like the first "Kill Bill" teaser, that shows allot without telling the story. I think Robert Zemekis is the worse for giving away major plot points. I remember reading a actical on him around the time of Castaway and What Lies Beneath where he says that now a days an audience wants to know what they are going to get in a movie before they go, and that it is the trailers job to tell them. Posted Image

#16 of 38 OFFLINE   Brian Knolhoff

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Posted October 31 2003 - 05:24 AM

....and Star Trek Generations's trailer ALSO showed the Enterprise getting destroyed! Seems to be a recurring theme...

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#17 of 38 OFFLINE   Adam_ME

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Posted October 31 2003 - 05:36 AM

This is why I avoid trailers at all costs. If I'm sitting in a movie theater and a trailer for a film I'm interested in seeing starts to play, I shut my eyes and cover my ears til it's done. It made for a much more enjoyable experience when I saw The Italian Job since its trailer literally summarized the entire flick, including the ending.

I'll make an exception for Spielberg's trailers though. He's the only director in the biz who won't reveal anything from the third act of his films in their ad campaigns. The Lost World trailers never showed the mainland sequence. A.I. had hardly any footage from the movie in the teaser and trailer. And Minority Report showed hardly any of the last 20-30 minutes in the ads.
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#18 of 38 OFFLINE   MarkHarrison

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Posted October 31 2003 - 08:24 AM

Quote:
As for JMS's comment about Greek drama - I entirely agree with his comment, if that is how the filmakers structure the film. But if a filmaker wants to make a film with some suspense, and then the trailers go and spoil that suspense by revealing too much, it is not a good thing.


I'm with you 100% on this one. Most trailers suck because they give too much away.

What I was refering to, although I wasn't clear enough, is that I don't think Hitchcock would have put that stuff in the Psycho trailer unless it was information he wanted the audiance to have. I think he knew exactly what he was doing when he made the trailer.

#19 of 38 OFFLINE   FrankT

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Posted October 31 2003 - 01:06 PM

I agree with the The Italian Job trailer it was one of the worst for me in recent memory. You almost did not have to see the movie.

#20 of 38 OFFLINE   Josh Pounds

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Posted October 31 2003 - 03:22 PM

I said this in another thread, but let me say it again.

There exists somewhere on a DVD commentary (I simply do not remember which one), a director lamenting about this very thing...about how too much of the story is given away in the trailers.

He then explains that the advertising execs believe it is their job to "save" the movie, so they will simply do anything to get butts in the seats that first weekend. IF this means giving away major plot points by showing "exciting" scenes, it will happen.

I don't know about y'all, but the question put in my mind by a movie trailer is what makes me want to see it. I enjoy the "novelty" trailers that show absolutely nothing from the film, they just build interest.


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