Friday, June 27, 2008

Salvador Dalí's Fantastic Voyage

I spent last week attending the Sycamore Hill Writer's Workshop with a dozen of my betters, an intense and rewarding experience.

The "story" I brought to the workshop included a rather odd "scene" in which CNN's Anderson Cooper and a team of other 21st century reality celebrities are miniaturized in the style of the 1966 Richard Fleischer film Fantastic Voyage, exploring the interior anatomy of Osama bin Laden, only to be overtaken by hijackers. Hey, it could happen. The episode is marketed by the network as "Anderson Cooper's Fantastic Voyage."

So, imagine my surprise this morning when, polishing up this segment for submission as a short short, I discover a real world work of art based on the movie by no less than Salvador Dalí. Titled, natch, "Salvador Dalí's Fantastic Voyage" ("le Voyage Fantastique").

Bizarrely, the studio managed to recruit the Catalan surrealist to produce the world's most far out lobby cards ever. The Salvador Dali Society explains:

Inspired by the classic Science fiction film of the same name, Salvador Dalí painted Fantastic Voyage welcoming an eerie sense of surrealism and fantasy that transports the viewer into their own "Fantastic Voyage." The film concerns a group of American Scientists frantically working to save the life of a colleague. The task at hand involves a mission inside the scientist's body to remove a deadly blood clot. To accomplish this, the crew shrinks their vessel and themselves in order to access the clot. The film starred Stephan Boyd and Racquel Welch.

Dalí worked with the film's studio, 20th Century Fox, to promote the movie's New York release. The campaign was documented by filmmakers Albert and David Maysles and subsequently made into a short eight minute film titled Salvador Dalí's Fantastic Dream. The footage shows Dalí crusading around New York City using his celebrity to draw attention to the film's premiere.
The movie intrigued both critics and audiences and went to achieve box office success and was the recipient of many awards. It has since become a landmark in cinema, often praised for its use of special effects.

Dalí's painting seems to suggest an all together different "Voyage." The voyage in the film entails going inside of the human body. Dalí interprets the voyage as not going inside of the body but inside of the mind to explore its vast dimensions. Thus we are presented with a portrait of Dalí's subconscious. One can visualize the path laid out for the viewer as Dalí's "Voyage." We see reminiscense of older work suggested by the grand piano and telephone. Here Dalí sought to embody the spirit of the film rather than copy it.

We await with excitement the recruitment of Damien Hirst to produce anatomical marketing collateral for Saw V.

No comments: