Michel Hazanavicius Responds to Protest Over the Use of 'Vertigo' Score in 'The Artist'

Jean Dujardin, Berenice Bejo

Reacting to actress Kim Novak's criticism, Hazanavicius explains that he uses the score in the 1958 film to his film because he wants to express 'admiration and respect for movies throughout history.'
While it has been receiving incessant praises from critics, "The Artist" has recently been blasted by veteran actress Kim Novak over using sections of Bernard Herrmann's love theme in Alfred Hitchcock's classic film "Vertigo". Responding to the criticism, director Michel Hazanavicius explained that he used the score as a form of "admiration and respect" to the classic film.

In a statement released on Monday, January 9, the French director claimed, " 'The Artist' was made as a love letter to cinema, and grew out of my (and all of my cast and crew's) admiration and respect for movies throughout history." He added, "It was inspired by the work of Hitchcock, Lang, Ford, Lubitsch, Murnau and Wilder."

"I love Bernard Hermann and his music has been used in many different films and I'm very pleased to have it in mine," explained the filmmaker who has just been nominated as Best Director at the 2012 Directors Guild of America Awards. "I respect Kim Novak greatly and I'm sorry to hear she disagrees."

Previously, Novak, who starred opposite Jimmy Stewart in the Hitchcock classic psychological thriller, issued an open statement which expressed her anger since composer Ludovic Bource borrowed the original score of the 1958 film for "The Artist". On Monday's edition of trade publication Variety, she wrote that she felt like being raped.

"I want to report a rape. I feel as if my body, or, at least my body of work, has been violated by the movie, 'The Artist'," she stated. "The film could and should have been able to stand on its own without depending upon Bernard Herrmann's score from Alfred Hitchcock's 'Vertigo' to provide it more drama."

She continued, "They didn't need to use what I consider to be on of the most important love scenes in motion picture history by playing the 'Vertigo' score and using emotions it engenders as if it were their own. Even though they gave a small credit to Bernard Herrmann at the end, I believe this to be cheating, at very least. Shame on them!"

"The Artist", which was premiered at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival, is set in the 1927 Holllywood. The black-and-white silent drama follows Jean Dujardin's George Valentin who is a very successful silent movie star. As the arrival of talking pictures marks the end of his career, a young woman extra, Berenice Bejo's Peppy Miller, becomes a major movie star.

As for Hazanavicius, he has signed on to direct a war drama called "The Search" after helming "The Artist". The movie tells the story of a mother's search for her young son who survived the concentration camps of World War II.

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