Friday, January 26, 2018

As to copying assertion against "The Shape of Water"

In the context of a story about alleged plagiarism involving "The Shape of Water," the Telegraph reported on
"what did" influence Guillermo del Toro :

Del Toro has previously said that elements of the film were inspired by a film he saw as a child, the 1954 horror movie Creature from the Black Lagoon, starring Julie Adams. "I’ve had this movie in my head since I was six, not as a story but as an idea," he told the Los Angeles Times.

"When I saw the creature swimming under Julie Adams, I thought three things: I thought, ‘Hubba-hubba.’ I thought, ‘This is the most poetic thing I’ll ever see.’ I was overwhelmed by the beauty. And the third thing I thought is, ‘I hope they end up together.’”


Wikipedia gives quotes from Julie Adams on Creature:

No matter what you do, you can act your heart out, but people will always say, "Oh, Julie Adams - Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954).".

[on Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954)] Oh, it was a real shock when we saw the Creature. And you can see from the pictures in the book that I look a little awestruck, kind of taken aback when I saw it at first. I thought it was quite wonderful, extraordinary, and a little scary which of course is exactly what it was supposed to be.

[on Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954)] I think the best thing about the picture is that we do feel for the Creature. We feel for him and his predicament and where he is and so on. I think that's a very positive thing really. I like that we feel sympathy for the Creature.

CinamaBlend has a useful discussion of how disagreements can be resolved without outlandish charges and resultant stonewalling:

It is great to hear that everyone involved just sat down for a conversation and discussed the similarities person to person instead of waging an online finger pointing war. That says a lot in this day and age. This should hopefully clear up any doubts or qualms people had about The Shape of Water and allow them to enjoy what is a truly magical film. It would have been a true shame if the cloud of possible plagiarism had hung over the head of Guillermo del Toro's passion project as the home stretch to the Oscars begins.

Plagiarism can sometimes be a serious thing in Hollywood, and no one wants to see original works -- works that people put their heart and soul into -- poached for ideas to be repackaged and sold for profit. But it seems that was not the case here. If there is one thing Guillermo del Toro is known for it is his imagination; he has enough stories and creatures floating around in his head to fill a hundred lifetimes of films without needing to plagiarize from someone else. He's also generally open and asks for permission when he borrows ideas, as happened when he borrowed the gills idea from his star Sally Hawkins.

What makes The Shape of Water great and worthy of awards is not its groundbreaking originality. It succeeds because of how well its story is told, how emotionally acted and lovingly crafted. The film is very much a classic Beauty and the Beast tale meets Creature from the Black Lagoon. It is at its heart a fairy tale, and fairy tales are not known for their originality, they are meant to simply tell a universal story or teach a lesson. There are certain archetypal stories that speak to us as a species, they are universal and timeless, told and retold, across all mediums like in the oral tradition. So even though Guillermo del Toro and the filmmakers behind The Space Between Us may have told a different story, it's easy to see how some similarities may have bled through. In this case, this is not due to malfeasance, but to common interests and a shared human condition.

There were distinct copying issues. CinemaBlend addresses one.
See post by Nick Evans No, The Shape of Water Didn't Plagiarize A Short Film

UPDATE on 22 Feb 2018, from the Guardian:

Jonathan Bailey, editor of the website Plagiarism Today, says the wording of the law regarding plagiarism is fairly woolly. “In the US, it’s down to whether an ordinary observer, not an expert in film-making, would recognise that A is based on B. That’s a very loose standard,” he says. But he believes the proliferation of claims against The Shape of Water may work in its favour. “It’s become a back-burner issue, and part of that is because of the conflicting and competing allegations. The first one was debunked so easily that there’s a sense that the issue has already been dealt with. In a weird way, the first case may have weakened the subsequent ones, with news fatigue setting in.”

Del Toro might be comforted by the fact that claims multiply during awards season, when the promise of prestige and money fills the air. The makers of The Hurt Locker were sued unsuccessfully by US army sergeant Jeffrey Sarver, who claimed he was the inspiration for the main character. Hans Zimmer was sued, also without success, over the score for 12 Years a Slave. And Kim Novak took issue with The Artist over its use of music from her most noted film, Vertigo. “I want to report a rape,” she announced in a full-page ad in Variety, exhibiting that sense of proportion for which actors the world over are renowned.



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