Author Topic: Real animal cruelty in mainstream films  (Read 2485 times)

Real animal cruelty in mainstream films
« on: April 06, 2021, 02:11:01 PM »
No images please.

Pretty much a rarity nowadays I think but the Wake In Fright thread made me think of films where this has taken place.

My mum used to talk about a film called Charge of the Light Brigade and would say how cruel the filming methods were.

Quote
The film comes to a climax at the Battle of Balaclava, subject of Lord Tennyson's poem. The lancers charge into the valley, braving the heavy Russian cannon fire, and many are killed. Text from Tennyson's poem is superimposed on screen, coupled with Max Steiner's musical score. Director Michael Curtiz, who did not have an excellent command of English, shouted "Bring on the empty horses," meaning the "riderless horses"; David Niven used this as the title of his autobiographical book about the Golden Age of Hollywood.

The battlefield set was lined with tripwires to trip the charging cavalry horses. For the filming of this climax, 125 horses were tripped; of those, 25 were killed or had to be put down afterward. Errol Flynn, an accomplished horseman, was outraged by the animal cruelty and by director Michael Curtiz's seeming indifference. He attacked Curtiz, but they were pulled apart before any serious damage was done. The film's charge sequence later forced the U.S. Congress to ensure the safety of animals in future motion pictures; the ASPCA followed suit and banned tripwires from all films. Unlike Flynn's other blockbusters, because of the number of horses killed during the charge sequence, the film was never re-released by Warner Bros.

The film that upset me most, to the point where I was so close to leaving the cinema, was a bit in Roy Andersson's A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence, where there are loads of shots of a monkey getting electrocuted. Turns out it was a (very realistic) mechanical monkey, so I needn't have got so upset but I still don't want to see that bit of the film ever again and it was more harrowing than the scene with loads of black people getting burned to death inside some macabre musical instrument.

Are there any instances of animals being harmed as part of a film, rather than accidentally in stunts etc? I think I read that Lars Von Trier had a donkey killed in one of his films (Manderlay) and I'm sure there are others.


Re: Real animal cruelty in mainstream films
« Reply #1 on: April 06, 2021, 02:15:24 PM »
Tarkovsky's Andrei Rublev has a scene in which a horse falls about 15 feet from a collapsing balcony.  The horse was purchased from a local slaughterhouse for this scene and was shot immediately afterwards.

Sebastian Cobb

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Re: Real animal cruelty in mainstream films
« Reply #2 on: April 06, 2021, 02:24:43 PM »
Cannibal Holocaust included real animal deaths and the killing and ripping apart of a sea turtle.

Quote
Multiple cast and crew members were uncomfortable with the film's graphic content, in particular the genuine killing of animals. Yorke described the shoot as having "a level of cruelty unknown to me" and was initially unsure if he was taking part in a snuff film. When his character was scripted to kill a pig on camera, Yorke refused, leaving the duty to Luca Barbareschi. Yorke had traveled with the pig to the set and felt he had formed a relationship with the animal. When it was shot, the emotional impact of hearing the pig squeal subsequently caused Yorke to botch a long monologue, and retakes were not an option because the production did not have access to additional pigs.[12] Kerman similarly objected to the killing of the coati and stormed off the set while its death scene was filmed; he had repeatedly pressed Deodato to let the animal go in the minutes leading up to filming.[13] Pirkanen cried after filming the butchering of a turtle,[3] and crew members vomited off camera when a squirrel monkey was killed for the film.[12]

Seems like there must've been some quite wrong people behind it.

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Re: Real animal cruelty in mainstream films
« Reply #3 on: April 06, 2021, 02:54:18 PM »
Well, the usual ones mentioned are; Apocalypse Now (cow hacked to death in a tribal ceremony), and Pink Flamingos (chicken crushed to death between to actors)

Re: Real animal cruelty in mainstream films
« Reply #4 on: April 06, 2021, 03:06:02 PM »
They blew up real toads and froggies in the holy mountain :( My favourite and I love that scene, very python, but still, absolutely no need for it.

Magnum Valentino

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Re: Real animal cruelty in mainstream films
« Reply #5 on: April 06, 2021, 03:14:01 PM »
Your man eats a live seafood thing (squid I think) in Old Boy, but if that's a delicacy in one part of the world is it animal cruelty everywhere else?


Re: Real animal cruelty in mainstream films
« Reply #6 on: April 06, 2021, 03:30:42 PM »
It was as long ago as 1940 that the American Humane Association became involved in officially monitoring Hollywood productions after a scene in the previous year's Jesse James in which a horse was deliberately ridden/pushed (it's not clear from the footage) over a fifty foot cliff into water and subsequently drowned or had to be destroyed due to injuries.

neveragain

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Re: Real animal cruelty in mainstream films
« Reply #7 on: April 06, 2021, 03:46:28 PM »
There was a family-friendly dog film (My Life As A Dog?) that was revealed to be quite cruel or just recklessly unprofessional with regards to a scene involving lots of water. Nearly drowned some dogs is what I mean to say.

GoblinAhFuckScary

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Re: Real animal cruelty in mainstream films
« Reply #8 on: April 06, 2021, 03:51:27 PM »
Pig beheading in Godard's Weekend

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Re: Real animal cruelty in mainstream films
« Reply #9 on: April 06, 2021, 04:00:19 PM »

Cruel mischief acted upon gopher in Caddyshack

Thomas

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Re: Real animal cruelty in mainstream films
« Reply #10 on: April 06, 2021, 04:10:46 PM »
I know that attitudes have evolved, and we have more data about animal sentience now, but there seems to have been a wilful, arrogant blindspot around animal suffering with some of these deeply sensitive, existentially inclined filmmakers.

'Boohoo, the human condition'
*guts a live horse with a spoon*

The living animal becomes a gory prop in service to the mature and cinematic exploration of humanity's relationship with the universe - it's almost fitting. I suppose some of these post-war directors were thinking 'we've just dragged ourselves through war, famine, and holocaust - who gives a fuck about a horse? It's going to die anyway, it might as well be in extreme torment on camera'.

I imagine there's a bit of it in Herzog's back catalogue.

EDIT: also monke punch lizar

GoblinAhFuckScary

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Re: Real animal cruelty in mainstream films
« Reply #11 on: April 06, 2021, 04:35:12 PM »
yeah herzog (the absolute madman) killed literally thousands of rats in Nosferatu

Quote
However, some scenes were shot in nearby Schiedam after officials, in a "who-could-blame-them" move denied him permission to let loose 11,000 rats for a scene that was to be filmed in the city. (Many of the opening scenes revolving around Dracula’s home were filmed in Czechoslovakia.) The rodents also proved problematic as Herzog ordered 12,000 white rats to be shipped from Hungary to the Netherlands where he then had them died grey in a process that killed half of them outright. Not surprisingly, behavioral biologist Maarten ‘t Hart, who was hired to supervise the rats quit and leveled charges of animal cruelty towards Herzog.

https://www.news-gazette.com/arts-entertainment/isolation-the-true-horror-in-herzogs-nosferatu/article_5646492f-35e7-59a7-a47f-251beb425159.html

Re: Real animal cruelty in mainstream films
« Reply #12 on: April 06, 2021, 04:41:44 PM »
The monkey screaming on the cross in Even Dwarfs is pretty indefensible both ideologically and aesthetically. Herzog claims it was tied down with cotton wool rather than nailed there, but it's still a low point in his filmography. Herzog has made some of the most remarkable films of the 20th century, but his self-mythologisation and Teutonic charms are such that he can handwave away a lot of shit.

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Re: Real animal cruelty in mainstream films
« Reply #13 on: April 06, 2021, 04:55:53 PM »
I know that attitudes have evolved, and we have more data about animal sentience now, but there seems to have been a wilful, arrogant blindspot around animal suffering with some of these deeply sensitive, existentially inclined filmmakers.

yeah that's a good point. it something that bothers me a lot with authors that i otherwise really like such as Haneke and Herzog (well until the 80s).

i watched that mediocre documentary about the filming of Apocalypse now the other day and the lack of self-awareness is staggering. what's the fucking point of destroying whole ecosystems for the sole purpose of entertainment? and regarding the killing of the bull, there seems to be a different between it happening during a ritual (although that doesn't make it okay) and being in service of fuelling a filmmaker's coked up fantasies.

Thomas

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Re: Real animal cruelty in mainstream films
« Reply #14 on: April 06, 2021, 06:02:50 PM »
yeah that's a good point. it something that bothers me a lot with authors that i otherwise really like such as Haneke and Herzog (well until the 80s).

With some auteurs it obviously extended to human suffering, too. There's a host of classic directors and actors who seemed to have regarded rape especially with an almost romantic admiration, and some who were clearly thrilled to inflict trauma on (usually female) actors in the name of the bigger picture. John Landis' own head got so big he had to cut off those of his actors to make space.

This detail from a Guardian article about animal cruelty in cinema is pure Brass Eye[1] -

Quote
The writer Curzio Malaparte, in a 1943 essay about Mussolini, describes a traditional Tuscan holiday entertainment in which working-class men, hands tied behind their backs, would batter cats to death with their shaven heads.
 1. a production which, it seems, was lovingly careful in its treatment of on-set animals.

Re: Real animal cruelty in mainstream films
« Reply #15 on: April 06, 2021, 06:05:36 PM »
There's a very long take in Satantango where a girl tortures a cat and then goes back to poison it. Tarr says there was a vet on set and it was unharmed, but something had to have happened. I had to fast-forward through it.

GoblinAhFuckScary

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Re: Real animal cruelty in mainstream films
« Reply #16 on: April 06, 2021, 06:30:51 PM »
There's a very long take in Satantango where a girl tortures a cat and then goes back to poison it. Tarr says there was a vet on set and it was unharmed, but something had to have happened. I had to fast-forward through it.

I mentioned in the Wake in Fright thread that Tarr blatantly lied about this.

Re: Real animal cruelty in mainstream films
« Reply #17 on: April 06, 2021, 06:39:24 PM »
The Errol Flynn film mentioned upthread was 1936.

The last film to use the 'standard' Running W technique for tripping a horse? 1983.


Re: Real animal cruelty in mainstream films
« Reply #18 on: April 06, 2021, 06:42:27 PM »
The one that surprised me somewhat was Shout at the Devil which has an extended poaching scene. Apparently, its all trick shot so Moore and Marvin aren't involved but ... its actual footage of elephants being shot ... !

BlodwynPig

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Re: Real animal cruelty in mainstream films
« Reply #19 on: April 06, 2021, 06:54:58 PM »
Deliverance

Re: Real animal cruelty in mainstream films
« Reply #20 on: April 06, 2021, 07:15:29 PM »
Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid

Re: Real animal cruelty in mainstream films
« Reply #21 on: April 06, 2021, 07:36:45 PM »
I caught the chariot Race from Ben Hur the other day. Those horses can not have enjoyed the experience.

Re: Real animal cruelty in mainstream films
« Reply #22 on: April 06, 2021, 07:39:38 PM »
Chicken in 'Pink Flamingos'?

Chedney Honks

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Re: Real animal cruelty in mainstream films
« Reply #23 on: April 06, 2021, 07:46:48 PM »
Jurassic Park

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Re: Real animal cruelty in mainstream films
« Reply #24 on: April 06, 2021, 08:49:09 PM »
Vase De Noces. Someone had to mention it. May as well be me.

GoblinAhFuckScary

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Re: Real animal cruelty in mainstream films
« Reply #25 on: April 06, 2021, 08:51:42 PM »
It's not really a mainstream movie and it's a documentary but this is probably one of the most horrifying things I've ever seen. Apparently had a very strong affect on a young David Lynch?


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Re: Real animal cruelty in mainstream films
« Reply #26 on: April 06, 2021, 08:52:49 PM »
I know that attitudes have evolved, and we have more data about animal sentience now, but there seems to have been a wilful, arrogant blindspot around animal suffering with some of these deeply sensitive, existentially inclined filmmakers meat eaters.

Fixed that for you.  State of these threads where people bemoan the suffering of animals on film, shortly before tucking into their meat supper.  Some of the most horrendous animal suffering that I've seen on film has been footage from slaughterhouses.

chveik

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Re: Real animal cruelty in mainstream films
« Reply #27 on: April 06, 2021, 08:57:04 PM »
Fixed that for you.  State of these threads where people bemoan the suffering of animals on film, shortly before tucking into their meat supper.  Some of the most horrendous animal suffering that I've seen on film has been footage from slaughterhouses.

well this is the films subforum. (and fyi i don't eat meat)

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Re: Real animal cruelty in mainstream films
« Reply #28 on: April 06, 2021, 09:07:30 PM »
A chicken gets beheaded in Charlie and The Chocolate Factory. Could be stock footage though.

Re: Real animal cruelty in mainstream films
« Reply #29 on: April 06, 2021, 09:08:48 PM »
well this is the films subforum. (and fyi i don't eat meat)

neither here... though I'm not vegan. I will eat eggs, for instance. I'm a little bit on-side with Herzog when it comes to chickens.

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