06 January 2023


After watching a number of 'the making of' and 'behind the scenes' videos on YouTube, I realized I was allowing the illusion, the magic of some movies, to fade into ... reality. I don't need to know how a screen performer had chronic halitosis, false teeth, a toupee (although many are so easy to spot I don't know how I missed it). Don't need to know how crude a performer was on the set, or how certain special effects were done. I always thought they filmed the Mount Rushmore scenes in NORTH BY NORTHWEST at Mount Rushmore. It was a set.

I like a movie to draw me into its world. Science Fiction movies and mysteries lose a lot of their wonder when I know how the sausage was made.

A little-appreciated movie filmed in New Orleans, PANIC IN THE STREETS with Richard Widmark and the wonderful Jack Palance, featured gritty realism and excellent acting. No sets. The way to do it. It's great going back to Royal Street, Magazine Street and Jackson Square in 1950.

It's different with novels and short stories because that's what I write. How a writer crafted their story or put together a novel is interesting. If you build a building, you wanna know how others build their buildings. This is a lot of what we do here at SleuthSayers.

But I feel differently about movies. When I watch a movie with my wife, she always seems to figure out what's going to happen or who did it in a murder mystery. I don't for a couple reasons. First, I like to let the director and screenwriter take me there. Second, I think like a cop when I watch mysteries. I'm a homicide detective and most movies do not show the reality of a murder investigation. Some do but most don't.

Back to short stories and novels, where the CGI takes place in the reader's mind. I have my own vision of DUNE, and none of the movies have matched it. The latest is by far the best and there are looks in it I never envisioned. I don't want to know how director Denis Villeneuve pulled it off. I just let it flow over me.

I don't try to figure things out in a novel. I rather let the writer take me there. That's just the way I read. I find it funny when someone reads one of my books and tells me they figured out who did it in the first thirty pages because I rarely know who did it until I'm near the end. Lately, I don't even know how the book's going to end at all.

That's all for now.



  1. I must say I am relieved the Mount Rushmore scenes were on a set- Eve Marie Saint was wearing high heels in that chase!

  2. I prefer not to know there are wires and ropes and a green screen in a movie. I like the magic of the moment.
    And, like Eve said, if I like a scene in a book, I will go back and dissect it to see how it worked, but even then if it is written well enough, I may get caught up in the scene and suddenly find myself at the end.

  3. Your post reminds me of the days when I was working on a project, which was "UK study visa consultant " and when the project ended, all of our consultants team was sent to a movie after an official closing lunch. I was having the same though and illusions as you. It is amazing how we perceive things although we know that there are some visual effects outsmarting us.


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