SEINFELD movie allusions

Discussion in 'TV Shows' started by Rex Bachmann, May 17, 2003.

  1. Rex Bachmann

    Rex Bachmann Screenwriter

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    Booooored again. Seinfeld trivia time. This may have been treated somewhere in an article or at an on-line site before, but, if so, I haven't seen it. Therefore, I propose to do it here.
    Tell all you know about the allusions to real films in the series Seinfeld. Spoofs, parodies, quotes (dialogic, musical, and/or visual-filmic), etc.
    As far as I can determine, these are the films alluded to or referenced during the course of Seinfeld:
    (1) Apocalypse Now ("The Chicken Roaster" (#140))
    (2) Basic Instinct ("The Package" (#139))
    (3) Chapter Two ("The Letter" (#38))
    (4) The Elephant Man ("The Pick" (#53))
    (5) Emmanuelle ("The Movie" (#54) & "The Smelly Car" (#61)
    (6) The English Patient ("The English Patient" (#151))
    (7) Friday the Thirteenth ("The Frogger" (#174))
    (8) The Godfather ("The Bris" (#69))
    (9) JFK ("The Boyfriend" (pts. 1 & 2) (#s 34-35))
    (10) Looney Tunes movie cartoons ("The Opera"(?) (#49))
    (11) Midnight Cowboy ("The Mom and Pop Store" (#94))
    (12) Nixon ("The Cadillac" (pt. II) (#123))
    (13) Platoon ("The Fatigues" (#138))
    (14) Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan ("???" (#???)) (Can you believe it, I, of all people, can't remember which episode these were referenced in!!!)
    (15) Star Trek III: The Search for Spock ("???" (#???)) (Can you believe it, I, of all people, can't remember which episode these were referenced in!!!)
    (16) Superman: The Motion Picture ("The Race" (#96))
    (17) The Way We Were ("The Diplomat's Club" (#108))
    (18) The Wolf Man ("The Junk Mail" (#159))
    __________________________________________________ ____________
    (19) ??? ("The Betrayal", the "time-reversal Seinfeld episode" (#162); perhaps this is merely a literary allusion and not a filmic one?)
    (20) ??? ("The Switch" (#97), where "Babs" Kramer reveals Cosmo's given name; I assume that the lush jazzy music score and the film noire-ish dialog refer to some movie; can you identify either?)
    (21) ??? ("The Cadillac" (pt. II) (#123); I assume the chase scene between Kramer and the Plaza Cable guy, Nick, across Manhattan, both the (vaguely familiar) tense music and the staging, allude to some famous film scene. (Maybe from a Hitchcock film???).)
    Take any ONE of these and do as detailled a comparison of the parody elements or allusions in the specific episode to the corresponding aspects of the original film as you can. Tell how they reference or spoof the movies concerned. Keep in mind not everyone has seen the original or seen it more than once and, so, may have forgotten the details. Set the scene in each, where necessary. It should go without saying, doing a comparison, of course, presupposes that one knows BOTH the episode AND the original well enough to do a competent job (one reason I think I'll forego trying to do any of these myself).
    CHOOSE ONE PER CUSTOMER, PLEASE! (unless you have other film references to add to the list), at least for a couple of days while everyone has a chance. Of course, anyone may comment on a prior analysis or further describe the same film connexions.
    Caveat:
    Real films whose titles are mentioned in episodes, but which in no way have anything to do with the content or style of the story they appear in, such as Schindler's List ("The Raincoats" (pt. 2) (#83)), or Plan 9 from Outer Space ("The Chinese Restaurant" (#16), "The Postponement" (#112)), do not count here. Likewise, the made-up film titles (e.g., "Blame It on the Rain"), unless they reference a real film. Leave them out of the discussion, please.
    If you know of other film allusions, references, or parodies in Seinfeld episodes not mentioned here, please speak up in as much detail as you can manage.
     
  2. Kevin Porter

    Kevin Porter Supporting Actor

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    Believe the one you are referring to in the Cadilliac is a takeoff of the movie Marathon Man. I could be wrong
     
  3. Dave Miller

    Dave Miller Supporting Actor

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    I'm sure this thread will bloom like the other Seifeld threads and it just proves how well written this show was. Can't wait for season sets on DVD.
     
  4. Matt Pasant

    Matt Pasant Second Unit

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  5. George Hunka

    George Hunka Extra

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    In re #162 (The Betrayal): It's both a literary and a filmic reference to Harold Pinter's play Betrayal (1978, I think), which was eventually filmed with Ben Kingsley, Jeremy Irons and Blythe Danner. The plot has to do with a man whose wife sleeps with his best friend, and it's told backwards in much the way the Seinfeld episode is. (Note: The groom's name in this episode is "Pinter" as an additional clue to the attentive.)
     
  6. John_Lee

    John_Lee Supporting Actor

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    This may have been addressed in the above posts, and I just missed the reference, but what was the theme of the episode where Jerry and George hatch the menage a trois scheme, that the girl and guy were 'into?' There was a film noir riff used as background music throughout that I recognized, but could never pinpoint.
     
  7. BrettB

    BrettB Producer

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    Wasn't that Cape Fear being spoofed when Jerry had a nightmare after turning in Uncle Leo for stealing books?
     
  8. Timon Russo

    Timon Russo Stunt Coordinator

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    George's line about affairs seeming so adult, like with stockings, martinis and William Holden. Was that about Network? I have only seen a few William Holden films, and he did have an affair in that one.
     
  9. Steve Phillips

    Steve Phillips Screenwriter

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    Wasn't there an entire episode built around them stopping to eat on their way to see PLAN 9 FROM OUTER SPACE?
     
  10. Hunter P

    Hunter P Screenwriter

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    Don't know the episodes:
    Steetcar named Desire -- Elayne is introduced to Jerry's aunt Stella while hopped up on medication. "Stella! Stella!"
    A Cry in the Dark -- Elayne is at a party and says in an Aussie accent, "Maybe a dingo ate your baby."
     
  11. Rob Speicher

    Rob Speicher Supporting Actor

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  12. MarkHastings

    MarkHastings Executive Producer

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    The episode where Elaine is trying to figure out a description for the Himalayan walking shoes. She's out in the rain and finally figures out the line and reaches toward the sky in triumph...

    That reminded me a lot of the break out scene in "Shawshank Redemption"
     
  13. Rex Bachmann

    Rex Bachmann Screenwriter

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    Quote:



    (14) Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan . . . .
    (15) Star Trek III: The Search for Spock . . . .





    Matt Pasant wrote (post #4):


    Quote:



    Khan and Search for Spock was referenced in the episode: The Foundation . . . .

    Jerry: Oh, I don't know. I told them her death takes place in the shadow of new life. She's not really dead if we find a way to remember her.






    Yes, I just saw it again the other evening.

    The first sentence is what Kirk says near the end of Wrath of Khan, during Spock's funeral ceremony, before the launch of his burial tube into orbit around the new "Genesis" planet. The second, I believe, is said a scene or two later on the bridge to Dr. Marcus and the rest of the senior bridge crew in order for Kirk to comfort himself and the rest. (Spock has given "Bones" McCoy the command to "remember", before sacrificing himself for the "good of the many" in a radioactive chamber.)

    The comedy of the scene derives from the fact that Seinfeld is using the quote to comfort the Rosses when, in fact, he really has nothing to say to them. The character is basically bared as "empathy- and sincerity-challenged". [Hardy har-har!]

    This turn of events leads to the the re-occupation of George's time when he is drafted to head up (be inactive figurehead of) the Susan Ross Memorial Foundation. In George's anger at Jerry for taking him away from his life of lounging around in his underwear, eating blocks of cheese, we get the next "quote" from The Wrath of Khan. Jerry reminds George of the movies and leaves the diner. Alexander (George) is then subjected to the revolving-camera overhead spin shot and the character, venting his frustration at a now absent Jerry, yells "Khan!" at the ceiling from his seat, just as Kirk, left trapped in the interior of an asteroid/moon by Khan Noonian Singh, yells into his communicator. The show even adds the echo effect from the movie (as if George's voice were bouncing off of rock formations). This is a filmic quote, not just a quote of dialog, since the camera angles and effects are reproduced from the film.

    Meanwhile, in the rest of the episode, Kramer tells Elaine, who is having doubts about her ability to run the J. Peterman company in his absence, that she must get in touch with her katra, or "spiritual essence", a term and concept borrowed directly from The Search for Spock, where Spock's katra is located and put back into his body. (McCoy to Spock: "It seems I've got all your marbles.") She's inspired to trust Kramer because he claims to have found his own katra by taking ka-ra-TAY. She later finds out that his inspiration is derived from fighting 10-year-old opponents and her confidence plunges into the old "crapper", as they say, as her first big decision as acting head of the company, the implementation of the "urban sombrero" line of hatwear and accessories, goes down in failure and ridicule.

    Thus, the two ST references from two separate characters, Jerry and Kramer, which are meant to inspire and felicitate, lead, instead, to trouble and frustration for the show's other two major characters, George and Elaine, respectively.
     
  14. MarkHastings

    MarkHastings Executive Producer

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    Rex,
    What about the episode where Frank Costanza cooked all that Jewish food for the Jewish Singles night. The scene where he recalls the day he poisoned all the men (during his time as an army chef)? That HAD to be a scene from some war movie, especially the way he dramatically lights the cigarette and turns toward the lamp (as they fade into the flashback)
    Or when he says "I sent 12 of my best men to the latrine that night!" [​IMG] that's GOT to be a line in a movie...possibly a general recalling a time he sent 12 of his men to their graves?
     
  15. Rex Bachmann

    Rex Bachmann Screenwriter

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    MarkHastings wrote (post #14):
    Unfortunately, I'm no expert on non-sf/non-horror movies, and I haven't seen Platoon for a couple of years at least, but I do remember that, in the film, the voice-over narration is done by Charlie Sheen's character, Pvt. Chris Taylor, through whose eyes the audience sees just about everything that goes on in the story and who's writing to someone back home telling of his adventures and his outlook on life that's being shaped by the war experiences he and his mates are having. So, my first reaction would be to say the private's, if anybody's, observations are being parodied.
    Alternatively, now that I think about it, the Costanza line sounds exactly what the "good sargeant" of Platoon, Elias Grodin (played by Willem Dafoe), might have said to the "evil sargeant", Bob ("Scarface") Barnes (played by Tom Berenger), who doesn't seem to care about the men he sends out to die, in one of their several violent skirmishes with each other. But, again, I haven't seen the movie for a number of years, so take that with a grain of salt.
    Note from my original list (post #1) how many Oliver Stone films have been chosen by the show's writers and producers for parody.
     
  16. Rex Bachmann

    Rex Bachmann Screenwriter

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    John_Lee wrote (post #6):
    [QUOTE=
     
  17. Rex Bachmann

    Rex Bachmann Screenwriter

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    Steve Phillips wrote (post #9):
     
  18. Rex Bachmann

    Rex Bachmann Screenwriter

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    Hunter P wrote (post #10):
    Episode #27, "The Stranded" At a Long Island party held by people she and Jerry do not know, but somehow George gets them invited to, she makes this remark to a woman who's going on and on near her pretentiously about her baby. This is the episode where Jerry and she agree ahead of time to pat themselves on the head if either of them finds him/herself in a boooooring situation and needs a social rescue on the part of the other.
     
  19. Rex Bachmann

    Rex Bachmann Screenwriter

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    Addenda:
    The Godfather: Part III (1990): "Don" Michael Corleone: "Every time I think I'm out,---aaahhh . . . they keep pulling me back innn!" I've never seen this movie, but I assume "Don" Corleone is referring to getting into "legitimate" businesses and escaping his and his family's criminal past. George repeats the line exactly with reference, I believe, to Susan Ross's death and his continuing involvement with the Rosses and their daughter's memorial foundation(???) (episode #???).
    Reference is made to Frankenstein (1931) in "The Stand-In" (episode #80), where Kramer, in order to prove to Jerry (and to himself) that he "still" has the "taut body of a young Swedish boy", buys a pair of too tight blue jeans which, once donned, cannot be removed (Elaine: "Kramer, they look painted on." (???)). In babysitting a neighbor's young son, Kramer's shadow/effigy, stiff-legged, limpy walk with outstretched arms and raised wire hair (à la Elsa Lancaster in The Bride of Frankenstein), frightens the boy and, so, Kramer has to spend much of the episode chasing him through the streets to convince him it's safe to come home. I'm not totally sure, but is there a filmic quote and parody of stock "villagers with torches in"---what else?---"hot pursuit"-scenes included in that episode?
     
  20. Rex Bachmann

    Rex Bachmann Screenwriter

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    (4) The Elephant Man ("The Pick" (#53))
    (7) Friday the Thirteenth ("The Frogger" (#174))
    (9) JFK ("The Boyfriend" (pts. 1 & 2) (#s 34-35))
    (10) Looney Tunes movie cartoons ("The Opera"(?) (#49))
    (12) Nixon ("The Cadillac" (pt. II) (#123))







    No one seems to want to do any of these, so I will attempt some of them.

    (4) The Elephant Man

    In "The Pick" (#53), Jerry strives mightily to dissuade the glamorous model he had met on his first-class airplane flight just the week before (episode #52, "The Airport") that she has not seen him picking his nose with his fingers. She flatly refuses to believe him. As she leaves the Calvin Klein corporate offices, with Jerry in pursuit, to enter an elevator, she says in exasperation: "I know what I saw." Jerry then changes his tune, from one of innocence (with the patented Seinfeld whine: "No piiiiick. There was no pick.") to one of defensiveness: (approximation) "And what if I did do it? Would it be so baaad?" She ignores him as she gets on the elevator and pushes the floor button. As the door closes, Jerry shouts "I am a human being! If we pick, do we not bleed?" To the crowd that's gathered around this little scene: "I am NOT an animal!", echoing the words of John Merrick, the "Elephant Man", from the movie of the same name.


    (7) Friday the Thirteenth

    One of the threads in "The Frogger" (#174) concerns Jerry's attempt at a break-up with yet another girlfriend, Lisi. The scene ends up being a montage of their disputes in which Jerry gets to say drippy things such as (approximate) (in a hurt voice) "We'll I'm just a human being. Sorry!" (as he slams the door in her face). At the end of the montage, the two realize their break-up has taken about ten(?) hours in her apartment, which is not far from Riverside Park. Jerry realizes that it is almost night fall and, earlier in the episode, he's been warned by Cosmo Kramer about the Park serial murderer, nicknamed the "Lopper" (presumably because he beheads his victims), "Headso", and the "Denogginator" (the latter a reference to The Terminator???).

    When Jerry steps outside of the building and starts down the steps, the scene is eery, set to old-fashioned horror-movie music (on a synthesizer, I think). There's a thick fog right close by the building, and out of it just as Jerry steps warily down the stairs comes a hulky figure who looks to be wearing a hockey mask and be carrying something under his arm (a human head?). Jerry bolts back to the door of the building and entreats Lisi to let him in so they can work out their differences. As soon as he's in the door, the figure passes by looking up at it and is revealed to be one of the men George has hired to help him move the "Frogger" electronic game machine that he's bought from a soon to be closed pizza joint he used to eat and play in as a teenager. This he's trying to do without turning off the machine's power and losing the record for most points scored on it. The man, when revealed out of the fog, has no mask on and is carrying a large battery, or some such other instrument that's supposed to keep the machine going during transport. No Jason Voorhees!


    (10) Looney Tunes movie cartoons ("The Opera"(?) (#49))

    Jerry, dressed in his tuxedo while he and Elaine are waiting for tickets to get into an opera performance, breaks (spontaneously) into the "Looney Toons" cartoon fanfare: "This is it. Tonight's the night. . . . . Oh, what heights we'll hiiiit. On with the show, this is iiiiit!" sung to the little high-stepping dance-march that Bugs Bunny always does in his tux. I don't remember what, if anything, sets off this "performance", but Elaine is not amused.

    (9) JFK ("The Boyfriend" (pts. 1 & 2) (#s 34-35))

    The filmic quote in this episode, as everyone should know by now, is the flashback re-creation of an incident that happened years before and, as Newman says, changed his and Kramer's lives in a "very profound and meaningful (?) way" forever. He and Kramer go on to tell of the "spitting incident" that happened at the end of a Mets (play-off?) game years before. The "quotes" and parodies are of the famous Zapruder films of John F. Kennedy's assassination, with its faded, purplish-toned colors and the intricacies of the angle and trajectory of the spitball that hit both Kramer and Newman, who'd been taunting the Mets and, particularly Keith Hernandez, all game long, and turned their heads around. It takes Jerry's intervening theory of the "second spitter" to thoroughly dissuade Elaine from putting too much credit in what they say (not that she seemed to care at all): "That is ONE . . . magic . . . luguee!" Later, Keith Hernandez himself gets to recount his recollection of the incident, and a resolution is reached.

    (12) Nixon ("The Cadillac" (pt. II) (#123))

    At the end of a "bitterly contested" vote, representatives of the various condo buildings in the Florida senior-citizen retirement community Del Boca Vista oust Morty Seinfeld as condo president through a highly political impeachment process because of alleged peculation of condo funds on his part (which jealous and suspicious neighbors, especially loud-mouthed Jack Klompus, think must be how he can afford his brand-new Cadillac). The deadlock---or reversal---in the vote comes when one of the voting representatives, Mrs. Choate, recognizes Seinfeld Jr. as the man who mugged her of her marble rye bread on the streets of Manhattan. ("Gimme that, y' old bag!", episode #121, "The Rye".)

    Morty's exit from the condo development, including his resigned, but mock-cheery wave to a crowd of residents just before he enters his Cadillac, accompanied on each side by wife or son, and with the rousing, yet saddening soundtrack of John Williams's playing very much in the foreground, recalls President Richard M. Nixon's reluctant (and much televised) exit from the White House lawn in the summer of 1974 after resigning in order to escape impeachment for "high crimes and misdemeanors" in office. I assume this is faithfully recreated in Oliver Stone's 1995 film (which I have never seen). Well played . . . for laughs.

    You may add or correct as you see fit.
     

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