You might like Pulp Fiction, but can you spot when it references Kiss Me Deadly (1955), Psycho (1960), The Flintstones (1960), or The Warriors (1979)? If you’re a relatively normal movie lover like me, you probably can’t. This is why you should watch this video by Jacob T. Swinney, which breaks down Tarantino’s cinematic allusions–the shots he referentially reproduced–from the biggest movies of his career.
Quentin Tarantino never went to film school. The myth is that he learned all about cinema while watching unlimited free VHS tapes at a video store. But the reality is that he was a couch potato film buff long before he ever set foot in that video store. And the encyclopedic knowledge he built from watching movies Robot-Chicken-style created the director we know today.
As he put it in a 2004 interview with NBC, “. . . all those flickering images were catalogued and filed away for future reference. Kung Fu films. Crime capers. Horror flicks. Every scene, every plot twist was memorized. Every obscure actor and director given tenure at Tarantino U.”
Of course, you don’t need to actively recognize all of these references to enjoy, or even love a Tarantino movie. And that may be his real genius. Much like Shakespeare would reference Socrates for the academic nobility in the audience before making a phallic pun for the paupers, Tarantino will plant a shot from The Searchers before the Gimp comes out of the box.
Although there’s one big difference between the Globe Theater and your average cinemaplex. I’d argue that the film viewer of today actually recognizes a lot of Tarantino’s allusions intrinsically because they have seen them before–like flavors made familiar from a dish you can’t remember. And so even if you don’t actively recall that in Bruce Lee’s Game of Death he donned the same yellow jumpsuit later worn by Kill Bill‘s Uma Thurman, if you’ve seen both movies, it still signals something to your gut: Some serious ass kicking is about to ensue.
[via Boing Boing]