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Gualtiero Jacopetti was born in Barga, in Northern Tuscany, in 1919. During World War II, he served in the Italian Resistance to fascist dictator Benito Mussolini. After the war, on the advice of his friend and mentor Indro Montanelli, he began to work as a journalist. He co-founded the influential liberal newsweekly Cronache (considered to be a direct predecessor to l'Espresso) in 1953, only to be forced to shut down production after publishing risque photographs of actress Sophia Loren which caused the paper to be charged with manufacturing and trading pornographic material (a charge which also earned Jacopetti a year-long prison sentence). He subsequently worked as a journalist, editor, newsreel writer, actor and short-subject film maker. He also worked on screenplays for René Clément (The Joy of Living, 1961) and Alessandro Blasetti (Europa di notte, 1959) before undertaking his own career as a director.
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The success of Mondo Cane inspired an entire genre of documentaries featuring lurid or shocking subjects, which came to be known as mondo film. Jacopetti and Prosperi (who would become film-making partners for the remainder of Jacopetti's directorial career) went on to make several more entries into this genre, including Women of the World (with Paolo Cavara), Mondo Cane 2, Africa Addio and the faux-documentary Goodbye Uncle Tom. In the 2003 documentary The Godfathers of Mondo, Jacopetti describes the style they used to make these films: "Slip in, ask, never pay, never reenact."
Following the critical and commercial failure of the faux-documentary Goodbye Uncle Tom (which reviewer Roger Ebert called "...the most disgusting, contemptuous insult to decency ever to masquerade as a documentary"), Jacopetti and Prosperi attempted a fictional film, 1975's Mondo candido (a modern version of Candide by French philosopher Voltaire). Jacopetti went on to write (but not direct) one further documentary, 1981's Fangio: Una vita a 300 all'ora (which follows the career of Formula One driver Juan Manuel Fangio) before returning to print media for the remainder of his career.
Despite their early success with Mondo Cane, controversy followed Jacopetti and Prosperi's careers. New York Times reviewer Pauline Kael dismissed Mondo Cane, claiming that its advocates were, "too restless and apathetic to pay attention to motivations and complications, cause and effect." Criticism became even more pronounced with Africa Addio, which Roger Ebert called "brutal, dishonest, and racist" and claims that it "slanders a continent". Ebert's review was not based on the original film but on an edited version for US audiences. This version was edited and translated without the approval of Jacopetti. Indeed, the differences are such that Jacopetti has called this film a "betrayal" of the original idea. Notable differences are thus present between the Italian and English-language versions in terms of the text of the film. Many advocates[who?] of the film feel that it has unfairly maligned the original intentions of the filmmakers.
Jacopetti claimed his intent was to create films that "...would play on the big screen whose subject was reality." In the 2003 documentary The Godfathers of Mondo, Prosperi went on to claim criticism of their work was due to the fact that, "The public was not ready for this kind of truth." Both directors denied staging anything for their films, with the exception of Mondo Cane 2 which they acknowledge does contain some staged or recreated footage.
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is a 2003 American slasher film directed by Marcus Nispel (in his feature directorial debut), written by Scott Kosar, and starring Jessica Biel, Jonathan Tucker, Erica Leerhsen, Mike Vogel, Eric Balfour, and R. Lee Ermey. Its plot follows a group of young adults traveling through rural Texas who encounter Leatherface and his murderous family. It is a remake of Tobe Hooper's 1974 film of the same name, and the fifth installment in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre franchise. Several crew members of the original film were involved with the project: Hooper and writer Kim Henkel served as co-producers, Daniel Pearl returned as cinematographer, and John Larroquette reprised his voice narration for the opening intertitles.
The film was released in the United States on October 17, 2003, received mostly negative reviews from critics, and grossed $107 million at the box office on a budget of $9.5 million. A prequel was released in 2006, titled The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre was the first film to be produced by Platinum Dunes, who would go on to produce remakes of several other 20th-century horror films.
On December 5, 2001, Creature Corner.com reported that Michael Bay's newly created company Platinum Dunes (which was created in order to produce low-budget films), had set its focus on remaking The Texas Chain Saw Massacre. Early announcements on the site indicated that the story would be told in flashback with actress Marilyn Burns, who starred in the original film, reprising her role as an aged Sally Hardesty recounting the events in the film. It was later announced that the filmmakers had already purchased the rights to the original film.
Early in the film's production the original filmmakers Tobe Hooper and Kim Henkel would be writing a script for the film, but it was unknown at the time whether or not their script would be used. In June 2002, it was announced that Marcus Nispel would direct the film in his directorial debut. Nispel said that he was initially against the idea of remaking the film, calling it "blasphemy" to his longtime director of photography, Daniel Pearl, who had shot the original film. Pearl, however, encouraged Nispel to join the project, as he wanted to bookend his career with Chainsaw films.
It was later announced that Scott Kosar signed on as the film's screenwriter.As in the original 1974 version, it is loosely inspired by the real-life crimes of Wisconsin serial killer Ed Gein. Gein's crimes had also inspired novels such as Psycho and The Silence of the Lambs, both of which were later adapted into subsequent films.
The screenplay was written by Scott Kosar, who went on to write the screenplays for The Machinist and Platinum Dunes' remake of The Amityville Horror.The film was Kosar's first professional job as a screenwriter and later recalled feeling both thrilled and honored at the prospect of writing the screenplay for the remake. Kosar also realized early on that he was dealing with "one of the seminal works of the genre" and one that could not be bettered. When discussing with the film's producers, Kosar felt that the new film shouldn't try to compete with the original film, as he felt that it was made under different circumstances.In earlier drafts Erin, the film's main character, was revealed to be nine months pregnant throughout the film but was removed from later drafts at producer Michael Bay's insistence.
Actor Andrew Bryniarski, who starred in Bay's Pearl Harbor and stayed friends with him afterwards, personally met with producer Bay and asked him for the role of Leatherface. Another actor, named Brett Wagner, was cast for the role before Bryniarski, but, on the first day, the actor was hospitalized and fired for lying about his physical abilities. Without an actor for the film's main antagonist, the filmmakers called and asked if Bryniarski still wanted the role, which he accepted. To prepare for the role, Bryniarski ate a diet of brisket and white bread in order to get his weight to nearly 300 pounds. Bryniarski would later reprise his role as Leatherface in the film's prequel.
Nispel favored shooting the film in California, but Bay suggested Texas, where he had previously shot three times. Principal photography began in Austin in July 2002 and lasted 40 days. Nispel intentionally shot the film in a different style, using more traditionally narrative elements, as he did not want to make a shot-for-shot remake replicating the original film's documentary-like style. Cinematographer Pearl explained from an on-set interview: "People ask me, 'Is it going to be as gritty and grainy as the last one I did?' No. I did that. There's no point in making the exact same film with the exact same look."
The weather during filming was very hot and humid. Bryniarski, who portrays Leatherface in the film, did all his own stunts and was forced to wear a "fat suit", which increased his near-300 lbs to 420 lbs. The suit also heated up quickly, so the actor had to ensure that he drank a lot of fluids before a shoot. Leatherface's mask was also a problem; the mask was made out of silicone and was difficult for the actor to breathe through. The crew had many prop chainsaws for actor Bryniarski to use, such as chainsaws that put out smoke, and live chainsaws.
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre was released in North America on October 17, 2003, in 3,016 theaters. It grossed $10,620,000 on its opening day and concluded its opening weekend with $29.1 million, debuting at number 1 at the U.S. box office. Within 17 days of its release, the film had grossed over $66 million in the US.
The film opened in various other countries in the following months (including a Halloween release in the United Kingdom) and grossed $26.5 million, while the North American gross stands at $80.6 million, bringing the worldwide gross to $107 million. The film's budget was $9.5 million, making it the highest-grossing film of the franchise even when adjusted for inflation. Adjusted for inflation as of 2018 the film would have grossed over $162 million.
Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes shows an approval rating of 37% based on 156 reviews; the average rating is 4.87/10. The consensus is: "An unnecessary remake that's more gory and less scary than the original." Metacritic, another review aggregator, calculates an average of 38%, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews". Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B+" on an A+ to F scale.