Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Once Upon a Time In...

It's Inglourious Basterds Day... 5 days until Hollywood's High Holy Night

"Once upon a time in Nazi occupied France..." was a pretty great opening for a revisionist history yarn like Inglourious Basterds. I feel safe in assuming it's the most violent film to ever use the instantly familiar "Once upon a time..." line for story positioning.

Can you think of other films that have used the "Once upon a time..." line in unusual fashion? It's a memory exercise for the comments. The only movies I can think of are the original Disney classics which even used to zero in on books opening and turning pages to put you in the right fantastical (not based on a true story) frame of mind.

I know that Disney promises that the upcoming Thanskgiving release, the 3D animated Tangled, will be a "really fresh, smart take on the Rapunzel story" but I think nobody will ever beat Stephen Sondheim for refashioning fairy tales to serve his own brilliant purposes.

13 comments:

Kimberly said...

Into The Woods is one of my favorite Sondheim musicals. "Agony" & "Steps of the Palace" being personal faves.

It's not a film but, Once Upon a Time... is the opening line to the first episode of Sex & The City the series. And the opening to (500) Days is a play off it.

Neel Mehta said...

Can you think of other films that have used the "Once upon a time..." line in unusual fashion?

Don't know if it's that unusual, but Charlie's Angels comes to mind.

par3182 said...

pleasantville

David Coley said...

If we include titles there's "Once Upon a Time in the West" and "Once Upon a Time in America," both by Sergio Leone.

Ryan T. said...

...and Once Upon a Time in Mexico. Mmm... Johnny Depp and Salma Hayek.

Jim T said...

Once upon a time there was a tavern..

Once upon a time there was light in my life..

Nothing cinematic comes to mind. :(

Anonymous said...

nothing tops Sondheim. Nothing.

Walter L. Hollmann said...

"Once upon a time, or maybe twice, there was an earthly paradise called Pepperland..."
-Yellow Submarine. Love how the narrator is so serious during it.

Fernando Moss said...

I think Inglourious Basterds will win Best Picture on sunday...

My reasoning is this: If people who vote for Avatar see The Hurt Locker as the most threatening film and viceversa, is possible that people who puts Avatr in #1 on the ballots will put The Hurt Locker in one of the last 3 spots and the same for people who ranks The Hurt Locker #1 to put Avatar at the end of ther list. As I say is possible I'm not in their heads but it could happen, but if this happen and Basters manages to get enough #2s, #3s and even #4s I think it could easily win...

Derreck said...

I want Inglorious Basterds to win. I've only seen 5 Best Picture films (and i don't intend on watching the rest anytime soon), but Basterds was just so enjoyable. Even scenes where nothing was going on were even fun to watch. There was so many likeable characters. I was always hurt when someone i liked died.

and I'm still laughing at 'ooh, that's a Bingo!" oh, Christoph.

Leith Q said...

Le Chien Andalou

Lucky said...

People keep convincing me that IB is so flawed. I don't care. It's my #1 film of the year and I hope it wins on Sunday (it won't).

Chris na Taraja said...

"A long time ago, in a galaxy far far away..." is really a fancy way of saying "Once upon a time..." I guess it's the cool seventies version for boys.

I just checked. THE PRINCESS BRIDE and THE WIZARD OF OZ do not have it.