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Kirk and Spock Catfight in new Kubrick Movie
January 21, 2003 12:10 AM   Subscribe

What does the Miller Lite "Catfight" commercial (Bigger clip and boobs Real Audio here), Star Trek, and Stanley Kubrick have in common? A man named Gerald Fried. After studying the controversial beer ad over and over again, I noticed that the background music is inspired by the legendary Kirk vs Spock fight theme Ritual/Ancient Battle/2nd Kroyka (shorter mp3 here) in "Amok Time" (be sure to view the trailer). Gerald Fried composed the music for this classic episode that features a love-crazed Spock defeating Kirk (and also ripping his shirt in the process). How did a lowly oboe major from Julliard get into soundtracks? He was a high school buddy of Stanley Kubrick, and composed Kubrick's first film, Day of the Fight. He went on to compose themes for Roots and The Man from UNCLE. Isn't it great what you can learn from a mindless lesbian catfight scene? More proof: during the Amok Time battle, Spock may have said to the shirtless Kirk, "Let's Make Out!!!"
posted by Stan Chin (25 comments total)

 
I feel like fighting in a really homoerotic manner now.
posted by Katemonkey at 1:58 AM on January 21, 2003


"Every time I see it, I cringe," says Laura Ries, an image guru. "It's explicit. It's degrading. It has no real message, except all men are idiots and all they think about are girls mud wrestling."

And this differs from other beer commercials how...?
posted by PrinceValium at 3:46 AM on January 21, 2003


Heh...Six Degrees of Science Fiction Soundtracks.

Another famous accompaniment form the Trek franchise was
3) James Horner's "Suprise Attack", which made its debut in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Kahn.

Variations of the piece later were intertwined with highlights from
3?) Jerry Goldsmith's own "Klingon Battle" from Star Trek: The Motion Picture; to become 4) the general refrains of Klingon music in later sequels and Trek episodes.

While Goldsmith's movements may have been partially inspired by Gerald Fried and Alexander Courage's compositions for the original tv series, "Surprise Attack" was adapted from 2) Horner's own soundtrack for the horror film Wolfen. As noted earlier, it is not unusual for musicians to borrow "riffs" from themselves or others. In Horner's case, the inspiration
for "ShapeShifting/Wolfen Run/Wolfen on Wall Street" was none other than
1) "The Unanswered Question", by classical composer Charles Ives.

I deserve a prize for that. Dos Equis, por favor.

[ I can also do Doctor Who in two: 2) Skinny Puppy, 1) Ron Grainer. Make that two beers.]
posted by Smart Dalek at 4:30 AM on January 21, 2003


I have just one question. Since when is a classical musician who attended Juilliard considered 'lowly' until he graduates to the prestigious world of beer commercials and sci-fi TV soundtracks?

Nice link, though, I never noticed how trek-like that commercial's music was.
posted by mmoncur at 4:39 AM on January 21, 2003


Stan Chin: "After studying the controversial beer ad over and over again"

And you're trying to tell us you were just listening to the music? That's like saying I buy Playboy just to read the articles.
posted by DBAPaul at 5:23 AM on January 21, 2003


I'm glad that they edited out the original "let's make out" closing line, since that was the only sexist thing about the commercial. Right?

Nice work, Stan Chin and Smart Dalek
posted by kirkaracha at 6:27 AM on January 21, 2003


Thanks StanChin! Now I know the actual name to what I'd just been calling StarTrekFightingMusic.

I tried to convince my beloved to walk down the aisle to this tune, but to no avail. She did counteroffer with the Imperial March, but wussed out in the end.

Heh heh. He said "in the end." Heh.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 6:43 AM on January 21, 2003


I haven't seen the commercial and I'm proud of that. But this is a great post. And what a classic old episode of ST!
posted by Shane at 6:57 AM on January 21, 2003


Re: it is not unusual for musicians to borrow "riffs" from themselves or others.

Interesting you should mention that. I was watching The French Connection the other night, and I noticed that the music that accompanied any "staking out" bore a striking aural resemblance to the "stalking" music from Jaws. Anybody know of any legitimate connection there? Was Steven Spielberg a big French Connection fan?
posted by *burp* at 6:59 AM on January 21, 2003


The music is great! It really enhances the camp. People who aren't familiar with "Star Trek Fighting Music" will still sense it and those in the know will appreciate it even more. I haven't seen the ad on TV, the cut the "Let's Make Out" line? Bah! That totally makes the ad. It's a good strategy - pandering to the LCD with the boobies, and appealing to the smart/ironic/modern studies/film-school crew with parody so they feel good about themselves for getting the joke. And they still can appreciate the boobies since they're ironic boobies. Brilliant.
posted by mimi at 7:13 AM on January 21, 2003


I don't think they cut out the line; they just shot two different endings, one for prime time/network broadcast and a later/cable version. I've seen both about 800 times in the last couple of days. (Mostly against my will.)

Stan, great research job. Somewhere, whoever put the ad together is smiling because hey, someone got it.
posted by chicobangs at 9:32 AM on January 21, 2003


I think it's just absolutely abhorrent that you've neglected to mention the great homage made to Fried's work in The Cable Guy.

Potentially the best scene in the movie, Jim Carry actually sings the music while fighting Matthew Broderick.
posted by thanotopsis at 9:55 AM on January 21, 2003


And they still can appreciate the boobies since they're ironic boobies.

Well, as long as they're at least 36C and jiggle they can be postmodern if they want.
posted by jonmc at 10:11 AM on January 21, 2003


"Every time I see it, I cringe," says Laura Ries, an image guru."

Perhaps I should know, but what is an image guru?
posted by tommasz at 10:22 AM on January 21, 2003


Kudos to Stan for tying these together, and especially for the link to that Amok Time analysis... er... conspiracy theory. I assume everybody on this thread is already familiar with the phenomenon of Kirk/Spock romantic fiction, and while that page labors mightily to make something real & happnening out of the latent homoerotic elements, they're certainly there - and not just in Star Trek, of course. I was reading "The Boys King Arthur" to my son and marveling at the frequency of knights kissing, knights sleeping together (in the literal sense) and assorted questionable activites. Haven't yet come across the page, though, where Sir Lancelot says to Sir Gawaine, "Let's make out."
posted by soyjoy at 10:53 AM on January 21, 2003


Isn't it great what you can learn from a mindless lesbian catfight scene?

Truer words were never spoken...
posted by jonson at 11:46 AM on January 21, 2003


soyjoy: I was reading "The Boys King Arthur" to my son and... (in the literal sense)

Isn't everything in a book "in the literal sense"?
posted by blue_beetle at 11:51 AM on January 21, 2003


While I'm no image guru, I, too, cringe whenever I see that ad -- despite all of its (apparently rich) cultural touchstone... um, touching.

(Of course, I no longer see much of the ad in question, anyway; I change the channel -- as I do with every possible Coors Light ad -- as soon as it comes on.)
posted by *burp* at 12:24 PM on January 21, 2003


Far as I can tell, an Image Guru is someone who can't find work at an ad agency.

We are all Image Gurus. Yes, even you.
posted by chicobangs at 2:34 PM on January 21, 2003


burp, no, John Williams is just a hack.
posted by zixyer at 2:38 PM on January 21, 2003


Yet another beer commercial along similar lines. (NSFW) Don't know about the composer.
posted by Wet Spot at 6:38 PM on January 21, 2003


So you were researching it, then. Great job, Stan Chin!
posted by qbert72 at 9:28 PM on January 21, 2003


the ad is pretty typical, kind of funny, but the last line is what gets me.. "let's make out". ha!

degrading? To whom? men? women? So, a lot of men are scum, not all of them. A lot of women are bimbos, not all of them.
posted by tomplus2 at 9:38 PM on January 21, 2003


Catfighting "lesbians." How else is Miller gonna get frat boys (and horny hetero Star Trek geeks, apparently) to buy their swill? They sure can't advertise the taste ...

Excellent post, Stan! The Star Trek battle music fills a great big hole in my mp3 collection!
posted by octobersurprise at 12:08 AM on January 22, 2003


"Every time I see it, I cringe," says Laura Ries, an image guru."

That's the line I noticed too, tommasz. You'd think someone concerned with her own image, as well as other images, would come up with a better name than that to describe herself.
posted by LeLiLo at 12:49 AM on January 22, 2003


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