What is your favorite literary allusion on film?
Best allusion 1a: The Coen Brother's "O Brother Where Art Thou?" I just watched this again recently and it is really well done. It is chockablock -- and famously so -- with allusions to Homer's "The Odyssey".
Tied is 1979's "The Warriors" -- a version of Xenophon's "The Anabasis". In the book a small army of Greek mercenaries go to Persia to help Cyrus defeat Artaxerxes and seize power. Cyrus is killed and the Greeks are trapped in enemy territory with no sponsor and fight their way back home. "The Warriors," though rough in film execution -- is a great transplant of that narrative to the New York City of the 1970s. Even having the Warriors go from Coney Island to the interior of NYC and then fight back to the coast mimics Xenophon's story.
I struggled with this one for literally months. I didn't want to go with the obvious (Trek, Dickens, Melville, etc.). And then I remembered that The Naked Gun is based on Shakespeare's The Tempest. (Seriously, the producer says so on the DVD commentary. He's obviously joking... but it would explain how they managed to get John Houseman to appear in the movie!) And if you're reading this on Sunday, it means I never came up with a better answer.
Floyd has made two great calls, but I'm going in a different direction. I would have said Rollerball for best. Rollerball is an allusion to Brave New World. I love this film because it shows what for a danger individual achievement is to collectivism and it shows how even people who think they are good can be evil. But there's something better! Wall-E. Wall-E also is an allusion to Brave New World and it contains the same messages as Rollerball... but it's ALSO an allusion to the story of Noah's Arc from the Bible. Fantastic! A double allusion. How rare is that?
Worst has to be any movie that has it's hero fall in the shape of a cross when they get shot. That's heavy-handed, grade-school allusion BS.
Panelist: Tennessee Jed
Well, a good one that comes to mind is O Brother Where Art Thou? which lauded to Homer's The Odyssey. It was well written and directed, and made the country aware of Alison Krauss & Union Station. I cannot think of any horrible examples at this time.
What’s a literary allusion anyway?