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Martin Scorsese goes to lengths at the start of The Key to Reserva to
present it like it's buried treasure he's discovered; his enthusiasm
seems genuine, even funny (i.e. when he goes on about if Hitchcock were
alive he'd direct it, but he's not, so...) and then he presents what
he's directed- missing pages from a few pages of script that were never
shot by Hitchcock. But as the film unfolds, which seems like the
greatest homage, as opposed to a real abandoned script, to the master
of suspense ever made, there's the eerie feeling it is just that. I
loved seeing Scorsese go into a kind of master's class demonstration of
how to emphasize all of the obsessions, which were highlighted in the
screenplay... And yet, it also seemed a little fishy. It wasn't until
later on that a friend, who also saw the short, told me it was fake.
Curses! And the birds at the end too were part of the gimmick I bet!
All kidding aside, it's a splendid tribute to Hitch, with a dastardly sense of timing with the scene at the opera, a strange amalgamation of the tensest of Hitchcock's grab bag calling to the likes of Sabateur (ironically, or just oddly enough, twenty years ago Dario Argento, a disciple of Hitchcockian suspense to a very-much Italian horror degree, had a sequence almost just like this one in his film Opera). Simon Baker plays the killer, and there's a timing to his movements that suggests something like perfect clockwork, a kind of divine madness that comes more out of technique then in storytelling. Then again, it's the story itself, however short, that brings it out as such. In the end it's all a big goof by Scorsese played on the audience, but a brilliant one, and he puts himself in the background knowing of his own persona in the process. Matter of fact, that's the real key to reserva, if you'll forgive the not-quite pun: process is the way it goes, be it timing a murder to an orchestration, or a dolly shot or crane move to just the right pitch.
And, of course, always with a knowing grin as with the master's best work... which reminds me, you'd never know it, but it's a wine commercial!
I have been a longtime fan and imitator of Alfred Hitchcock from day one. I opened up the file for "Key To Reserva" and I had to watch many times. As explained in the prologue, Martin Scorsese found some notes depicting a three minute scene from an unrealized Hithcock film called "The Key To Reserva". Scorsese decided to film the three minutes in the style of Hitchcock, basically the style of late 1950's Hitch ("The Man Who Knew Too Much", "North By Northwest", even "Torn Curtain") Not Marty style, Hitchcock style. Well, it was like Hitchcock came back from the grave (actually his ashes) and lensed this great piece. We have a hero in a blue business suit, ala Roger Thornhill, seek out a hidden key in an elegant theater box. It's pure Hitchcock, even down to the crazy Hitchcock logic (The key is hidden in a place that would be scientifically impossible. But we're watching Alfred entertainment us, not teach us.) Our villain hardly looks like a villain. He looks like anybody can mop the street with him, but watch it, still waters run deadly and deep. Throw in references to "Rear Window" "Notorious" "Saboteur" a Bernard Herrmann score, and you got one tasty cinematic snack!
Scorsese does Hitchcock, how awesome is that! This is basically one
fine homage to the master of suspense from a great and acclaimed
director of this age. Beware though that this is not really a movie,
it's in fact a cleverly and originally done advertisement.
It in fact is a complex advertisement for a Catalan winery, disguised as a short movie directed by none other than Martin Scorsese, based on a lost script for an Alfred Hitchcock movie (which of course is not true). It really must have gotten some publicity and the advertisement also obviously won some awards. The movie focuses on some behind the scene's work, in documentary style, in which Scorsese discusses his golden find and why he made the film. It also even features Scorsese's editor Thelma Schoonmaker, to make it all seem all the more legit. The movie further more also features the entire short, which got based on the 3 pages of the 'lost script'. The short is entirely done in Hitchcock style and features many tongue in cheek references to some classic Hitchcock moments.
Quite funny how many people actually still believe that Scorsese found really a lost Hitchcock and this movie got based on it and therefor this movie is also a real and serious one. On the other hand, if there are still so many people who think this is real, than you could also wonder if the advertisement truly worked out, since so many people did not and still don't 'get it'.
As a whole, this short is a fun one to watch. It's quite amusing to see Scorsese raving and babbling on about his great find and it shows that Scorsese is actually quite a good and amusing actor on his own, as he had already proofed before in some movies, in which he often played a very small role.
But of course it's mostly all about the short, based on the 3 pages script, which got entirely done in the style of Hitchcock. The Hitchcock fanatics should get a real kick out of it, since Scorsese seemed to have gotten every little detail right. No doubt Scorsese himself is also a great admirer of Hitchcock's work. Things such as lighting, camera-work and angles, editing and even the look of the actors are spot on. It on top of that also features lots of references to some classic Hitchcock movies, such as; "North by Northwest", "Rear Window" and "Notorious", among many others.
Seems like Freixnet will also do more movies such as this one in the future.
A nice homage, as well as a great and clever advertisement.
The Key To Reserva is a film buff's ten-minute joy drawn from seeing a
born master filmmaker play around with a geeky little experiment. In
under the amount of time it takes to get a coffee refill at Sitwell's,
one sees a nearly complete suspense thriller, bookended by director
Martin Scorsese's preface and reaction.
He announces his intention before we see the actual cut of the film, which is that he is trying to do justice to Hitchcock's style by doing it as he believes Hitchcock would do it today, as it is of a lost script for Alfred Hitchcock Presents. When we see the movie, though, it actually translates into the awkward cartoonishness of De Palma. However, it's fascinating for any film buff.
Key to Reserva, The (2007)
*** 1/2 (out of 4)
Nine-minute short from Scorsese has him playing himself as he uncovers three and a half pages of an unfinished Alfred Hitchcock screenplay. Not much was known of this project but for fun Scorsese decided to film those pages and try to keep it as close to what Hitchcock would have done had he been directing it himself. If you're a fan of Scorsese or Hitchcock then this is a must see even though it's nothing more than an eventual product placement. It was great fun seeing Scorsese return to the short film because he certainly delivered the goods with not only his performance but his stab at directing like Hitchcock for those three and a half pages. The opening sequence, a homage to North by Northwest were just great as was the ending, which I won't spoil but it too is a homage to one of Hitch's most famous movies. Rear Window and Vertigo are also mentioned as is a joke about the lost portions of Greed. This film certainly isn't meant to be anything serious but it is a lot of fun for fans of the director.
"The Key to Reserva" is the most innovative piece of film-making I have seen for a long time. It was recommended to me by a fellow Hitchcock enthusiast but actually seeing it really blew me away. The plot was so unexpected and the execution by Scorsese, a master of cinema, was flawless. The moment I reached for my phone to tell my buddies about this masterpiece it started ringing anyway with my pals also wanting to spread the news! But now we all have the same question for Martin Scorsese: 'Will you please finish writing and shooting the film?' Yes, yes I know you can't emulate that other master, Alfred Hitchcock, but 'The Key to Reserva' can take on a life and indeed style. of its own with barely a backwards nod. This can be a winner in the right hands and Scorsese has shown that he has the magic touch and is just the man to do it. So, Sir, please take us out of our agony and say you will. From Tim Costello, Ireland.
From one Hitchcock fan to another: Bravo, Marty Scorsese! Given the
task of producing a commercial for Freixenet Wines, the prominent
director enthusiastically crafted an endearing homage to the Master of
Suspense, in the guise of a "rediscovered" Hitchcock script. 'The Key
to Reserva (2007)' is that very rare thing an advertisement that is
absolutely a joy to watch, so much so that you can easily ignore the
advertising itself and consider the prized Freixenet wine-bottle just
another of Hitchcock's unlikely MacGuffins. The film even tries to
obscure the fact that it is merely a commercial, with Scorsese starring
as himself in a documentary framing device that sees him excitedly
boasting about his plans to film three fragmented pages from an
unproduced Hitchcock script. One is hardly likely to fall for the ruse
nowadays, but, when the short first emerged on the internet, I have no
doubt that many people were swindled, even if the promise of
Marty-doing-Hitch would have seemed simply too amazing to be true.
Scorsese's 'The Key to Reserva' opens with screeching violins over opening credits that might have been designed by Saul Bass. We fade into the strings of a violin, as a musician twangs vigorously at his instrument, and Scorsese pulls off a breathtaking crane shot over the heads of the orchestra audience and into the entrance hall that would have made Hitchcock proud. What follows is an exciting amalgamation of homages to the director's greatest set-pieces, including references to 'Notorious (1946),' 'Rear Window (1954),' 'The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956)' and 'Vertigo (1958)' right at the end, there's also a very subtle nod towards 'The Birds (1963),' though you'll have to pay close attention! Hitchcock's film-making techniques are recreated in a slightly-exaggerated but nonetheless affectionate way, and Scorsese delights in exploring the singular stylistic touches - the spectacular long-shots, the overstated angles, the use of light and shadow to inform the audience that our oblivious hero is about to be confronted - that made the director such an influential figure in American cinema.
Some directors, such as Brian DePalma, have made a living out of homaging The Master of Suspense, but to witness one of cinema's contemporary greats expressing such gratitude towards Hitchcock is something else altogether. Scorsese even establishes himself as quite an entertaining actor, his self-portrayal occasionally touching on Woody Allen in terms of neurotic, boyishly-excited energy. Even long-time editor Thelma Schoonmaker gets an appearance, adding another layer of authenticity to the ingenious framing device. Scorsese's film-within-a-film is almost completely wordless, undoubtedly following in the footsteps of a similar set-piece in 'The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956),' and that the story opens mid-stream adds a hint of tantalising ambiguity. But do you know what would be even better? Nothing would thrill me more than for Martin Scorsese to re-hire screenwriter Ted Griffin, expand these "rediscovered" pages into a feature-length treatment, and release 'The Key to Reserva' into cinemas by 2011. I'd be first in line, and nobody would be admitted after the opening credits.
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