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"The Artist" has been lauded as one of the most charming movies of the year, but not even the adorable antics of superstar canine Uggie has impressed movie icon Kim Novak. The star of Alfred's Hitchcock's 1958 classic "Vertigo" has put out a press release and taken out a trade ad over her displeasure with the similarities between 'The Artist''s music and that of Hitchock's favorite composer. She says that hearing Bernard Herrmann's score for "Vertigo," as used in "The Artist," has left her in a "state of shock" that she compared to being raped.
"I want to report a rape," Novak wrote in her anti-"Artist" missive: "My body of work has been violated by 'The Artist.' This film took the Love Theme music from 'Vertigo' and used the emotions it engenders as its own. Alfred Hitchcock and Jimmy Stewart can't speak for themselves, but I can. It was our work that unconsciously or consciously evoked the memories and feelings to the audience that were used for the climax of 'The Artist.'"
Although Herrmann, whose other works include the memorable scores to "Cape Fear" and "Psycho," is given a screen credit, Novak isn't satisfied: "There was no reason for them to depend on Bernard Herrmann's score from 'Vertigo' to provide more drama. 'Vertigo's' music was written during the filming. Hitchcock wanted the theme woven musically in the puzzle pieces of the storyline.... I believe this kind of filmmaking trick to be cheating. Shame on them!"
"She was sitting in her living room, she put the DVD in, and then went into an absolute state of shock and devastation," Novak's manager Sue Cameron told Deadline. "She is very, very upset."
Deadline speculates that Novak's campaign may cost her her Academy membership, as there are rules against publicly maligning a movie in contention for awards, especially one that's considered the Oscar frontrunner. The Weinstein Company, which released "The Artist," hasn't yet issued a response, but when Moviefone asked director Michel Hazanvicius about the "Vertigo" music cue last year, he was aware it might be controversial.
"It was a dilemma for me. I really feel like the music has been done to death. That's actually not the one that's in 'Vertigo.' It's another orchestration made by Elmer Bernstein in the '70s. So, it's a very specific one. But, it was a dilemma because I knew it was something -- not blasphemy -- but something that could hurt people. I think it's so perfect, but, also, it makes sense for the movie. [...] In a way [the 'Vertigo' score] makes sense. Not to the story of 'Vertigo' -- some people told me, 'Yeah, but it makes sense, because 'Vertigo' he wants to bring her back to life.' It was -- I'm not so poetic. It was just the sensuality of the music was just so good for the sequence."
UPDATE: Hazanavicius responded to Novak's complaints via THR and said that he respects her and is "sorry she disagrees" with the music choice.
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