Kim Novak slams 'The Artist' for using 'Vertigo' theme; 'Artist' director Michel Hazanavicius responds

the_artist

Image Credit: Courtesy of Cannes Film Festival

Vertigo star Kim Novak, 73, isn’t happy that Oscar favorite The Artist uses sections of Bernard Herrmann’s iconic love theme from Vertigo in its score. The Artist‘s composer Ludovic Bource borrows heavily from the Hitchcock classic, and although the film does credit Herrmann, Novak still feels that the insertion of Vertigo‘s famous music into The Artist is “cheating.”

To express her anger, the actress took out a full-page ad in today’s edition of trade publication Variety, which reads:

FROM THE DESK OF
KIM NOVAK

I WANT TO REPORT A RAPE.

I FEEL AS IF MY BODY—OR, AT LEAST MY BODY OF WORK—HAS BEEN VIOLATED BY THE MOVIE, “THE ARTIST.”

The film could and should have been able to stand on its own without depending upon Bernard Herrmann’s score from Alfred Hitchcock’s VERTIGO to provide it  more drama. Much of VERTIGO‘s music was written during, not after, filming—that was the way Hitchcock worked. The Love Theme was woven musically in with the puzzle pieces of the storyline. In my opinion, the combined efforts of the composer, director, Jimmy Stewart, and myself were all violated.

I AM THE ONLY ONE WHO CAN SPEAK NOW. They didn’t need to use what I consider to be on of the most important love scenes in motion picture history by playing the VERTIGO score and using emotions it engenders as if it were their own. Even though they gave a small credit to Bernard Herrmann at the end, I believe this to be cheating, at the very least. Shame on them!

IT IS MORALLY WRONG FOR THE ARTISTRY OF OUR INDUSTRY TO USE AND ABUSE FAMOUS PIECES OF WORK TO GAIN ATTENTION AND APPLAUSE FOR OTHER THAN WHAT THEY WERE INTENDED. IT IS ESSENTIAL TO SAFEGUARD OUR SPECIAL BODIES OF WORK FOR POSTERITY, WITH THEIR ORIGINAL AND INDIVIDUAL IDENTITIES INTACT AND PROTECTED.

Kim Novak

Well, it appears that negative ad-campaigns aren’t just for to political elections anymore! In response to Novak’s decisively harsh words, The Artist‘s director, Michael Hazanavicius, has just released a statement of his own:

The Artist was made as a love letter to cinema, and grew out of my (and all of my cast and crew’s) admiration and respect for movies throughout history.  It was inspired by the work of Hitchcock, Lang, Ford, Lubitsch, Murnau and Wilder. I love Bernard Hermann and his music has been used in many different films and I’m very pleased to have it in mine. I respect Kim Novak greatly and I’m sorry to hear she disagrees.

What do you make of this sudden battle of words? Do you think Kim Novak’s cry may actually hurt The Artist‘s Oscar chances (it is eligible for Best Original Score), or is it just a rant that will blow over? Did you notice the film’s use of Vertigo‘s music while you were watching?

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