Kurt Didn't Know
February 8, 2016 11:07 AM   Subscribe

In Quentin Tarantino's recent Western, The Hateful Eight, one scene involves Kurt Russell's character, John Ruth, snatching a guitar away from Jennifer Jason Leigh's character, Daisy Domergue, and promptly smashing it to pieces. The only problem? The guitar was a 140 year old original Martin on loan from the Martin Guitar Museum and was supposed to have been swapped out for a replica before being said smashed. posted by Atreides (117 comments total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
 


It's sad to learn that such a lovely piece of art/memorabilia has been destroyed. But, there's a bitter-sweetness to it. This violent act has been captured on film for future generations to see. Still, sad to see an instrument of that quality destroyed.
posted by Fizz at 11:12 AM on February 8, 2016 [2 favorites]


This seems to happen a lot.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 11:14 AM on February 8, 2016 [2 favorites]


Oh man, that look on Leigh's face where she quickly swivels to look at presumably Quentin, is so genuine it's painful.
posted by Rock Steady at 11:16 AM on February 8, 2016 [5 favorites]


Somehow this seems like an appropriate-ish tune.

(I was listening to the album just yesterday, so it's fresh in my mind.)
posted by Grangousier at 11:18 AM on February 8, 2016 [3 favorites]


Nope. Noooooope. Not clicking on that video link.

This makes me never want to watch The Hateful Eight. Not due to principle, but just because I think I'd burst into hot, bitter tears during that scene.
posted by duffell at 11:18 AM on February 8, 2016 [8 favorites]


Watching it in the theatre, and before this story came out, the scene jumped out at me, as did JJL's response. So for the purposes of the movie, I suppose it worked. Oops.
posted by Capt. Renault at 11:20 AM on February 8, 2016


I don't believe for a minute that this was a mistake. I think Tarantino has been breathing his own farts for so many years that he though this was some kind of valid artistic moment.
posted by thelonius at 11:21 AM on February 8, 2016 [70 favorites]


Reminds me of a series of photos in Ai Weiwei's exhibit here in Toronto a couple years ago. A triptych of him holding a priceless Ming vase and then dropping it. I suppose the intentionality makes a difference, and still there's some commonality.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 11:21 AM on February 8, 2016 [4 favorites]


I wish there were an amount of Quentin Tarantino less than zero that I could watch, but I'll just stick with zero I guess.
posted by Wolfdog at 11:21 AM on February 8, 2016 [24 favorites]


The money is not important in the context of making the movie, and most film makers are probably not the kind that worry too much about this stuff, or other people’s things in general. In this case I’d say that’s definitely the issue, they got what they wanted.
posted by bongo_x at 11:21 AM on February 8, 2016


Am I the only one cynical enough to think that this was intentional? The reaction on Leigh's face alone shows how much better the scene is for having destroyed a real antique. And it doesn't look like the film is out any money for it (one of the articles mentions insurance money).

On preview I see thelonius is thinking along the same lines.
posted by crazy with stars at 11:22 AM on February 8, 2016 [9 favorites]


I was kinda hoping that she would be singing this song
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 11:25 AM on February 8, 2016 [2 favorites]




Am I the only one cynical enough to think that this was intentional?

I'll see your intentional and raise you a faked.
posted by Sys Rq at 11:28 AM on February 8, 2016 [7 favorites]


It makes no logical sense to use an authentic period instrument in that scene. It's a guitar from that era so I get that they want it to be the right guitar for that era. But if you go back 130 years, that guitar would be a NEW guitar. It would not have all that well-aged checking and wear. It would be shiny and flawless. So they should have just had a luthier whip them up a prop to the same specs as that guitar. Not only a waste of a beautiful instrument, but a boneheaded move artistically as well.
posted by wabbittwax at 11:30 AM on February 8, 2016 [127 favorites]


what a terrible crime against artistic expression and skill.

the guitar getting smashed is a real shame, too.
posted by floweringjudas at 11:33 AM on February 8, 2016 [28 favorites]


that's like what, 2 days of set catering?
posted by gottabefunky at 11:34 AM on February 8, 2016 [2 favorites]


So stupid. Apart from wabbittwax's excellent point, even if it should have looked like a vintage guitar, who was ever going to know the difference? It was probably surrounded by stuff like walls made of particle board. Were they shooting real musket balls at each other? (Sadly not).
posted by colie at 11:35 AM on February 8, 2016 [2 favorites]


So they should have just had a luthier whip them up a prop to the same specs as that guitar.

Apparently there were like twelve props. They were meant to be swapped out in the cut that was supposed to exist between Russell grabbing it and Russell smashing it. Nobody told him, though. Which seems kind of inept.
posted by turbid dahlia at 11:36 AM on February 8, 2016 [1 favorite]


.
posted by blurker at 11:37 AM on February 8, 2016 [2 favorites]


Her reaction might be authentic, but to me it looks entirely anachronistic and like she's breaking character, plus she clearly looks to the crew members. If that's the reaction they were purposefully trying to get, they should have stuck with a fake one.
posted by scrowdid at 11:38 AM on February 8, 2016 [16 favorites]


I'll see your intentional and raise you a faked.

That raises this to insurance fraud/Ocean's Eleven-style heist, since the Martin's Museum and their insurer are both under the impression that the guitar is no more.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 11:40 AM on February 8, 2016 [1 favorite]


Apparently there were like twelve props.

Given a skilled luthier they all could have been made to look identical and sound similar enough to pretty much anyone but an expert. No need to even have the original on set, let alone being handled in a scene.
posted by tommasz at 11:41 AM on February 8, 2016 [7 favorites]


If the scene was recorded at the tail of a very long day, I can see someone slipping off and forgetting to change a few props. The real question is why the fuck you'd need an actual 140 year old guitar as a prop.
posted by lmfsilva at 11:41 AM on February 8, 2016 [19 favorites]


Besides as reference for the prop team, what is the point of having a real antique on set? Good on the museum to stop lending out exhibits to people who have no business handling them, but that's a harsh lesson to learn.

Seems to be an echo in here...
posted by GhostintheMachine at 11:42 AM on February 8, 2016 [1 favorite]


I feel like some of you have just been waiting for an excuse to use the word "luthier"
posted by prize bull octorok at 11:42 AM on February 8, 2016 [106 favorites]


> Apart from wabbittwax's excellent point, even if it should have looked like a vintage guitar, who was ever going to know the difference?

Quentin and his bros?
posted by The Card Cheat at 11:43 AM on February 8, 2016


That raises this to insurance fraud/Ocean's Eleven-style heist, since the Martin's Museum and their insurer are both under the impression that the guitar is no more.

Perhaps, but as per the article, it was insured at purchase price. Hence their further aggravation since they won't be recouping much, if any of the true value of the guitar.
posted by Dark Messiah at 11:48 AM on February 8, 2016 [2 favorites]


So stupid. Apart from wabbittwax's excellent point, even if it should have looked like a vintage guitar, who was ever going to know the difference? It was probably surrounded by stuff like walls made of particle board. Were they shooting real musket balls at each other? (Sadly not).

Plenty of directors put in all kinds of details the audience will likely never catch. For example, in The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers the forces fighting in the Battle of Helm's Deep were wearing handcrafted chainmail under their armor, made link-by-link by the costume department. 32,000 feet over 2 years...and it almost can't be seen at all by the audience. It's hidden under the outer layers the men are wearing, in a giant battle at night in the rain. Some directors just go nuts on the details.

Kind of weird to wish the cast was murdering each other, though.
posted by Sangermaine at 11:53 AM on February 8, 2016 [2 favorites]


I've had to babysit a couple of movie crews in historic museums (sadly had just left my former workplace when Angelina Jolie moved in for a couple of months to shoot a movie) and found that while the crews tended to be full of nice people, it took a couple of repetitions of Don't Touch Anything In This Room, That's Why I'm Here to get it through. Mostly it was forestalling somebody moving briskly towards something to move it out of the way of a light or a cable or something. Had I been a part of the registrarial team that decided to lend out the work (and we probably wouldn't have wanted to but somebody higher up the food chain may have wanted the publicity), somebody from our staff would have had to be there watching and doing most of the handling of the piece. That's not to say the damage wouldn't have happened, but at least there would be a physical presence there to remind everybody that it was not a prop.
posted by PussKillian at 11:54 AM on February 8, 2016 [5 favorites]


Leigh's song and that guitar were the best parts about that dreadful movie.
posted by late afternoon dreaming hotel at 11:54 AM on February 8, 2016


I actually know a luthier, he is going to keen with rage when he sees this linked on my Facebook page. And many guitar people who will simply be angered.
posted by emjaybee at 11:54 AM on February 8, 2016 [2 favorites]


If the scene was recorded at the tail of a very long day, I can see someone slipping off and forgetting to change a few props. The real question is why the fuck you'd need an actual 140 year old guitar as a prop.

Not that I'm any kind of musician of any sort, but I'm under the impression that most classic, pristine, historical musical instruments produce some of the most amazing sounds that a musical instrument can create. The utter craftsmanship in older pieces like that makes the resulting music much deeper, fuller, more inspiring. (I mean, to my knowledge, you don't curate and take care of instruments that sound like shit.) I suspect, like many in this thread, that Tarantino is so far up his own ass, he could only deal with having the best of the best for the musical interlude. I mean, it did have pretty excellent sound, probably even moreso in person.

Anyway, that's potentially why, and it's not necessarily a very good reason, either.



.
posted by deadaluspark at 11:54 AM on February 8, 2016 [1 favorite]


The idea that Tarantino did this intentionally doesn't make much sense.

Even if you think Tarantino would do that kind of thing (judging from some of the comments here apparently he's on MeFi's shitlist I guess?) would Kurt Russell or the crew? Or is the idea that Tarantino tricked Russell? But then I guess everyone else was also in on that?
posted by Sangermaine at 11:57 AM on February 8, 2016 [6 favorites]


Even Pete Townshend is like, dude.
posted by wabbittwax at 12:02 PM on February 8, 2016 [9 favorites]


Had I been a part of the registrarial team that decided to lend out the work (and we probably wouldn't have wanted to but somebody higher up the food chain may have wanted the publicity), somebody from our staff would have had to be there watching and doing most of the handling of the piece. That's not to say the damage wouldn't have happened, but at least there would be a physical presence there to remind everybody that it was not a prop.

I have a feeling the Martin Museum wouldn't have loaned the guitar out and/or would have taken more precautions as you describe, if the film production had been more forthcoming. From the second article:
All this about the guitar being smashed being written into the script and that somebody just didn’t tell the actor, this is all new information to us. We didn’t know anything about the script or Kurt Russell not being told that it was a priceless, irreplaceable artifact from the Martin Museum.
If the museum wasn't informed that the guitar would be replicated and the replicas smashed, that's pretty shitty.
posted by mama casserole at 12:04 PM on February 8, 2016 [4 favorites]


judging from some of the comments here apparently he's on MeFi's shitlist I guess?

Who isn't on mefi's shitlist, would be the more appropriate question. And the shorter list.
posted by blucevalo at 12:04 PM on February 8, 2016 [17 favorites]


Won't watch.

As a college student I had a violin that I'd left in my teacher's studio classroom smashed, case and all, by a vandal. (Campus police blamed it on a stoned guy who'd been lurking around. But in retrospect, who knows.)

So you can imagine my thoughts on seeing any instrument destroyed. Especially in service of some shitty Tarantino movie.
posted by NorthernLite at 12:04 PM on February 8, 2016


At least Ai Weiwei was making a point about the government destroying the cultural past of China. This is just dumb.
posted by Pope Guilty at 12:05 PM on February 8, 2016 [1 favorite]


They made several copies - why was the original anywhere within 1000 miles of the set?

It's like making a movie about Hendrix and accidentally lighting one of his actual guitars on fire - just don't have the real thing on set. Duh.
posted by The World Famous at 12:07 PM on February 8, 2016 [3 favorites]


prize bull octorok: I feel like some of you have just been waiting for an excuse to use the word "luthier"

I looked at this thread and wondered how luthy could it be? The answer is none. None more luthier.
posted by dr_dank at 12:09 PM on February 8, 2016 [29 favorites]


Indeed, this is the luthiest thread.
posted by grumpybear69 at 12:11 PM on February 8, 2016 [7 favorites]


Quite the luthier than thou attitude you've got there, dude.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 12:12 PM on February 8, 2016 [6 favorites]


It makes no logical sense to use an authentic period instrument in that scene.

Now that you bring it up, a lot of gritty westerns make that mistake. They build fake main streets that look like they've been around for 140 years, because it looks more real to us, when the town in the story may not be more than a few years old.
posted by Flexagon at 12:12 PM on February 8, 2016 [8 favorites]


Hey, this movie has something noteworthy about it after all!

Um, it also has an amazing score by Ennio Morricone that was nominated for an Oscar, and is his first western score in a long time, so...

And I hope it was't intentional, but I'm not going to get all bent over a guitar that sits in a museum most of the time. Did it ever get played? At least it was played once in the movie...

AND, I loved the movie and I like all of Tarantino's movies, SNARK AWAY, MF!
posted by Huck500 at 12:12 PM on February 8, 2016 [12 favorites]


"AND, I loved the movie and I like all of Tarantino's movies, SNARK AWAY, MF!"

I would but I feel that it would strike the wrong chord.
posted by I-baLL at 12:20 PM on February 8, 2016 [9 favorites]


I'm not going to get all bent over a guitar that sits in a museum most of the time.

Who even gives a rat's ass about getting lip balm on some painting of a lady who's, like, BARELY smiling? At least when I ran up to the Mona Lisa, I smooched her. How many smooches does she normally even get? Very few smooches, I'd wager.
posted by Greg Nog at 12:20 PM on February 8, 2016 [57 favorites]


And I hope it was't intentional, but I'm not going to get all bent over a guitar that sits in a museum most of the time. Did it ever get played?

I'm pretty sure Martin didn't make the thing in 1870 and stick it straight into a museum. Yeah, it got played. A lot. For a long time.
posted by The World Famous at 12:20 PM on February 8, 2016 [5 favorites]


Not the same guitar, but looks like they do play the guitars at the museum occasionally.
posted by Otis at 12:21 PM on February 8, 2016


At least Ai Weiwei was making a point about the government destroying the cultural past of China. This is just dumb.

Tarantino is making a point. His point is “I think violence and brutality are cool. And, on some level, so do you, and so you're complicit. My films are a mirror: behold the rot and corruption in yourself.” (Uttered with a cokey smirk worthy of Martin Shkreli.)
posted by acb at 12:24 PM on February 8, 2016 [12 favorites]


The idea that Tarantino did this intentionally doesn't make much sense.

Tarantino's movies don't make much sense, much though he would have us believe otherwise.

Did he know? Well, how did he react? With horror? With dismay? With tears? According to the link,

"Tarantino was in a corner of the room with a funny curl on his lips, because he got something out of it with the performance."

Wasn't there, don't know. Mind you, it was ultimately his responsibility to let people know if they have something like a priceless artifact on hand.

I'm not going to get all bent over a guitar that sits in a museum most of the time.


Your privilege. Out of curiosity, what would you get bent over? Ai Wei Wei and the vase? The Chapman brothers and the Goya prints? The Taliban and Bamiyan Buddha?
posted by IndigoJones at 12:25 PM on February 8, 2016 [8 favorites]


I think Tarantino is a great director, but I wouldn't put it past him to not tell Kurt Russell they were going to swap guitars. My gut says it was probably a mistake that he loved.

Anyway, I'm definitely upset about the loss of this guitar. It's a great thing to have in a museum case, for one: a case keeps it safe so visitors can see how guitar bodies have changed shape, how the tuning system is implemented, and other details that illustrate how much something like the guitar has been constantly changing.

But that particular guitar was a historic artifact. There's always the argument to be made that you don't really need to keep stuff like that around, but it means something to people like me to be able to see something that was built at a time when the Civil War wasn't even over. Seeing something like that can give you a sense of place in history.
posted by teponaztli at 12:25 PM on February 8, 2016 [8 favorites]


I'm pretty sure Martin didn't make the thing in 1870 and stick it straight into a museum.

If he did, though? I respect that.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 12:26 PM on February 8, 2016 [6 favorites]


AND, I loved the movie and I like all of Tarantino's movies, SNARK AWAY, MF

Settle down, Beavis.
posted by octobersurprise at 12:30 PM on February 8, 2016 [10 favorites]


Liked the movie. Did not like the smashing of the guitar, intentional or otherwise.
posted by AugustWest at 12:38 PM on February 8, 2016 [1 favorite]


How many smooches does she normally even get? Very few smooches, I'd wager.

She said she wanted a nice lickery kiss
posted by ian1977 at 12:38 PM on February 8, 2016 [4 favorites]


I don't know about the Martin Museum but a lot of smaller institutions are run by a handful of volunteers with one or two full-time paid staff, so they may not have realized all the questions they should have asked before making the loan. Everyone in my office jokes about being the department that is responsible for telling people no, but this is the kind of thing where you ask a lot of pointed questions and then make them sign a very long loan contract.

Lots of museums with musical instruments do play them occasionally. Others, especially if they're not specialty museums, will put slack strings on (so the wood isn't stressed) and preserve them more as a piece of furniture - something there to show the craftsmanship, the decorative concepts going on at the time period, that sort of thing.

If you're interested in historical musical instruments, I have heard only good things about the National Music Museum in South Dakota. I haven't been there yet but a friend of mine who is a lutenist adores the place.
posted by PussKillian at 12:49 PM on February 8, 2016 [1 favorite]


The Tarantino conspiracy theories are pretty cringey. I mean, it's possible...But your motivations for arguing that it probably happened are nothing to do with any knowledge that would enable you to make that assessment.
posted by howfar at 12:53 PM on February 8, 2016 [10 favorites]


The only people who know what happened between Tarantino and that guitar are Tarantino and the guitar. But when you scamps get together you're worse than a sewing circle.
posted by wabbittwax at 12:55 PM on February 8, 2016 [23 favorites]


Guitarantino
posted by ian1977 at 12:56 PM on February 8, 2016 [9 favorites]


[A few comments removed, cut it out.]
posted by cortex (staff) at 12:58 PM on February 8, 2016 [1 favorite]


To those who have expressed an opinion regarding whether or not QT schemed to have the real guitar destroyed, I'd be interested in hearing why you believe this to be the case (or not).
posted by DrLickies at 1:05 PM on February 8, 2016


Just because you are characters doesn't mean you have character.
posted by Celsius1414 at 1:07 PM on February 8, 2016 [1 favorite]


judging from some of the comments here apparently he's on MeFi's shitlist I guess?

Isn't everyone on some subset of MeFi's shitlist?
posted by aught at 1:09 PM on February 8, 2016 [5 favorites]


To those who have expressed an opinion regarding whether or not QT schemed to have the real guitar destroyed, I'd be interested in hearing why you believe this to be the case (or not).

I know people who work for/have worked with him, and he's got a public persona. Based on both of those the notion is not as hard to believe as it might be with other people. Beyond that, I really don't care very much, sheesh.
posted by teponaztli at 1:20 PM on February 8, 2016


Ugh, if it HAD to be destroyed, why'd it have to be in service of such an ugly, pointless mess of a movie?
posted by Windigo at 1:27 PM on February 8, 2016 [1 favorite]


To those who have expressed an opinion regarding whether or not QT schemed to have the real guitar destroyed, I'd be interested in hearing why you believe this to be the case (or not).

As a publicity stunt, to whip up outrage/interest in a movie that's a box office flop. This seems especially likely since the guitar story only emerged late in the release cycle. If the film had done better, we might not be hearing about the "accident." Instead, 500,000 stoned people will probably pay for it to stream just to see the guitar scene.
posted by Scram at 1:45 PM on February 8, 2016


Well, we do know that Q is an El Kabong fan. Remember that part in the Kill Bill 2 sequence between Uma and Daryl?
posted by valkane at 1:50 PM on February 8, 2016 [1 favorite]


My kid plays a Martin guitar that my uncle built from a kit, and it's just a really lovely object.

The thought of some self-important Hollywood twit ruining a guitar, that holds historical value (instead of sentimental value, like ours), makes me just…mad.

Movies may be art, but I am not sure that any Tarantino spatter-fest is as valuable as a beautiful instrument, considering how much music it has and will ever produce.
posted by wenestvedt at 1:52 PM on February 8, 2016


I'm both a guitar player and a Tarrantino fan. This issue was discussed pretty heavily on one of my guitar forums last week, and the only thing people could agree on was bemoaning the loss of the guitar, which was terrible and avoidable. Was Tarrantino a scheming asshole who planned this all along? A guy who tried to salvage something "useful" from a regrettable and avoidable tragedy? Or just the guy forced to answer for a distracted prop master or stage manager? I don't know, and I don't know if it matters. It's very regrettable however it went down.

That said, I have watched Pete Townsend (live) and Jimi Hendrix (not live, sadly) destroy guitars, amps, and entire stages full of gear to the cheers of many thousands of people. I've never understood gratification-through-destruction - I'm just not wired that way, I guess. Obviously, some people are. Some people also watch NASCAR and F1 contests explicitly hoping to see the crashes - again, not my thing, but I acknowledge that it is something that some people do.

There was an awful lot of stage blood spilled in The Hateful 8, but AFAIK the guitar was the only item that was actually "hurt". In Django Unchained, Leonardo DeCaprio famously cuts his hand FOR REAL in the banquet scene, and keeps filming, a scene that made it into the final cut of the movie. So I guess this isn't the first time this sort of thing has happened in a Tarrantino movie. Or in other movies, for that matter.
posted by mosk at 1:56 PM on February 8, 2016 [3 favorites]


As a publicity stunt, to whip up outrage/interest in a movie that's a box office flop. This seems especially likely since the guitar story only emerged late in the release cycle. If the film had done better, we might not be hearing about the "accident." Instead, 500,000 stoned people will probably pay for it to stream just to see the guitar scene.

So....your thesis is that, when making a film, Tarantino was concerned that it might do badly. In response to that, instead of attempting to do any of the things that has previously made him a commercially successful film-maker, he deliberately destroyed a valuable item, in order to be able to generate publicity for the film, should he require it? He didn't release information about this deliberate act of vandalism early on, for example in order to boost the first weekend, and actually help the film's impact. He was too cunning for that, and instead held back until it was bound to make no difference to the commercial prospects of the film - presumably in order to throw the Internet Columbo Squad off his scent.

OK.
posted by howfar at 2:03 PM on February 8, 2016 [20 favorites]


Instead, 500,000 stoned people will probably pay for it to stream just to see the guitar scene

I just did the research and it turns out Tarantino-boy's audience is mainly stoned slackers.
posted by todayandtomorrow at 2:06 PM on February 8, 2016


I'm not watching a snuff film.
posted by Xyanthilous P. Harrierstick at 2:08 PM on February 8, 2016 [8 favorites]


I don't believe for a minute that this was a mistake. I think Tarantino... though this was some kind of valid artistic moment.

I watched the scene, and there's no place for a cut. The articles say there was supposed to be a cut and the guitar being swapped, but there's no place for that to happen. Which makes me skeptical that a cut was intended.
posted by not that girl at 2:09 PM on February 8, 2016 [1 favorite]


Isn't it more logical that there's no place for a cut because they went with the version of the scene that didn't include a cut?
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 2:11 PM on February 8, 2016 [13 favorites]


A member of our group will celebrate his 100th birthday in about two weeks. He used to bring his Martin D-28 to our jams. I got to play it a few times. He said he bought in new in 1936. He sold it last month for $20K. He now plays a fairly decent parlor guitar--says the smaller size is easier on his old bones, and I believe him, but I also think he moans in his sleep. Yes, unless they are being strummed, guitars are merely a few bits of wood, bone and some wire. Leigh doesn't seem like a skilled guitarist, yet I could hear the seasoning in the wood.

I guess it's possible that the scenes could have been cut pretty much anywhere--hell, we used to think that funny-looking kid (Deliverance) really played the banjo. Anyhow, I have to believe that the destruction of the Martin on the movie set was an accident--the result of carelessness. Yes. So be it. Even so, from somewhere deep in the nethermost bowels of Hell a pack of demons are on their way to gather all those hapless souls who had a finger in this deed. I'll may be in Hell before Russell and Tarantino arrive, if so, I'll be at the gates to greet them.

You guys joining us there will know me when you arrive: I'll be the guy slapping Russell on the back of the head every few minutes.
posted by mule98J at 2:26 PM on February 8, 2016


I feel like some of you have just been waiting for an excuse to use the word "luthier"

If I were a luthier, I would have a van advertising my services with a portable workshop inside. The personalized plate would read "DROSS".

Anybody who stopped me on the street and got it would be bought drinks.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 2:44 PM on February 8, 2016 [12 favorites]


I'll be the guy slapping Russell on the back of the head every few minutes.

To be fair, it's pretty clear that Kurt Russell didn't realize he was destroying something priceless.
posted by teponaztli at 2:45 PM on February 8, 2016


Surely I'm not the first guitarist here who noticed that Leigh can't play guitar? Why put that guitar in her hands in the first place?
posted by CincyBlues at 2:47 PM on February 8, 2016


P.S. I am a very sad man
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 2:47 PM on February 8, 2016


The "smashing a priceless guitar" scene will now replace the trunk shot as the thing that's in every one of the films made by those goatee'd nerds in your class at film school.
posted by chococat at 2:56 PM on February 8, 2016 [2 favorites]


Mrs. Hobo refuses to watch the film version of Billy Elliot (we've seen the musical live on stage) after I told her about the piano-smashing scene. And that was clearly a cheap upright.

PS: Is Tarantino some kind of racist Charles Dickens who gets paid by the N word?
posted by rum-soaked space hobo at 3:17 PM on February 8, 2016 [1 favorite]


I like to imagine that Martin sneakily lent them a copy of the real guitar and are now laughing at all the free publicity this will bring them.
posted by Lanark at 3:22 PM on February 8, 2016


posted by not that girl I watched the scene, and there's no place for a cut. The articles say there was supposed to be a cut and the guitar being swapped, but there's no place for that to happen. Which makes me skeptical that a cut was intended.

In the clip provided, the scene cuts at 2:35, 2:57, 3:04, and 3:11--plenty of opportunities to swap the hero guitar for the prop. The cut at 3:44 suggests Leigh's reaction alerted everyone to the mistake.
posted by mattdidthat at 3:30 PM on February 8, 2016 [4 favorites]


A scheme worthy of Lex Luthier!
posted by Omnomnom at 3:47 PM on February 8, 2016 [20 favorites]


Omnomnom wins!
posted by ian1977 at 3:50 PM on February 8, 2016


My reasoning for thinking that it wasn't planned is that too many things have to go exactly right to get the intended result. Also, the same trick could be pulled off by giving Leigh a copy and telling her it was the real deal.
posted by billyfleetwood at 3:51 PM on February 8, 2016


Edward James Olmos did this once in Battlestar Galactica, going off script and smashing a super intricate model boat that was on loan from a museum.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 4:00 PM on February 8, 2016 [1 favorite]


That raises this to insurance fraud/Ocean's Eleven-style heist, since the Martin's Museum and their insurer are both under the impression that the guitar is no more.

Well sure, the comment you're responding to didn't make any kind of sense and doesn't stand up to even a moment's casual thought, but if we spent time thinking about things then how will we have time to snarkily declare that we're just, like, so over Quentin Tarantino?
posted by IAmUnaware at 4:00 PM on February 8, 2016 [4 favorites]


Surely I'm not the first guitarist here who noticed that Leigh can't play guitar? Why put that guitar in her hands in the first place?

I'm a guitarist, and she appears to be doing just fine. She's hitting the right notes and staying on rhythm. I'm not enough of a music history guy to know whether the technique she's using is correct for the period or if someone back then would have been just strumming or whatever, as opposed to the three-finger right hand technique she's using. And I haven't seen the movie yet, but I assume her character's not supposed to be some super-amazing guitar hotshot who sold her soul down at the crossroads, thus explaining why in a period piece she would play like someone who might impress modern guitarists. If she were playing like Lead Belly or Merle Travis or something, I would think that would be problematic.
posted by The World Famous at 4:20 PM on February 8, 2016 [6 favorites]


So....your thesis is that, when making a film, Tarantino was concerned that it might do badly. In response to that, instead of attempting to do any of the things that has previously made him a commercially successful film-maker, he deliberately destroyed a valuable item, in order to be able to generate publicity for the film, should he require it?

I think under the this-is-just-publicity theory, Tarantino's lying about destroying a valuable guitar. That seems most economical to me anyway.
posted by crazy with stars at 4:30 PM on February 8, 2016


First, I love guitars.

For heaven's sake. Whatever you think of his films, these speculative theories are just unkind. Occam's razor tells me on a complex film set, shit happens. Don't say Macbeth, right? This doesn't need some conspiracy theory explanation, where Quentin is the biggest asshole on earth. It was a mistake.
posted by adept256 at 4:55 PM on February 8, 2016 [4 favorites]


I'll also note that Quentin is a music lover. Every soundtrack on his films are amazing.
posted by adept256 at 4:56 PM on February 8, 2016 [4 favorites]


Oh my God, in another time in my life, I was a professional prop designer and builder. There are a couple of rules everyone in props (I think) knows.

1) Assume that the prop will break.

2) Since you're assuming the prop will break, try to convince your director you don't really need "authentic from the period props."

3) Since directors never listen, try to own every prop you use in the show.

4) If the only solution is to borrow the rare prop item, let the person you're borrowing from know over and over again that it will most likely come back damaged and try to get them to say they won't lend it to you. Because if everyone refuses to lend it to you, the director will settle for something else and will still feel like you exercised due diligence in trying to track it down.

5) Since that almost never works, once you've borrowed your rare and valuable prop, go through extreme lengths to protect that rare prop, including not letting it out of your site ever and explaining to the actor that it is rare and irreplacable.

6) Assume it will be broken anyways and consult a thesaurus for the best synonyms for "I'm sorry."

Frankly, I would have been more surprised if they'd borrowed a rare guitar and hadn't destroyed it. If an actor hadn't destroyed it, it would have been stepped on by a lighting guy looking up instead of down or by an extra putting their cold drink on it. Something would have destroyed it eventually. Theatre and film sets are no place for objects you want to protect.
posted by Joey Michaels at 5:04 PM on February 8, 2016 [23 favorites]


Well sure, the comment you're responding to didn't make any kind of sense and doesn't stand up to even a moment's casual thought, but if we spent time thinking about things then how will we have time to snarkily declare that we're just, like, so over Quentin Tarantino?

Hi. I wrote the comment you're talking about. It was a fun bit of speculative maybeing for entertainment purposes, and it makes perfect, simple sense if you actually do think about it instead of just talking about thinking about it.

They could have easily faked the whole thing. The how is obvious without having to resort to any wacky heist tropes: Lying. Maybe they just made it up, full stop. (That's no fun, though, so let's say maybe they swapped a perfect replica for the real thing ahead of time and just never told anybody, and maybe the real one's sitting in Tarantino's coke vault next to a jar containing both Hitler's brain and Dillinger's wang, or maybe the Martin people sent out a fake in the first place and are collecting insurance on an intact item still in their possession and are using the ill-gotten money to buy another old guitar they can pretend to have smashed in another movie and just keep doing that over and over forever and ever until the world runs out of guitars. Or maybe reverse vampires.) The why is pretty obvious: We're talking about The Hateful 8 and the Martin Guitar Museum.
posted by Sys Rq at 5:12 PM on February 8, 2016 [2 favorites]


Everybody knows Dillinger used an IBM, man.
posted by The World Famous at 5:31 PM on February 8, 2016 [1 favorite]


Martin, in business since 1833, has a wonderful collection of pre-1900 guitars. Many of them are still playable, and get played. Not by the general public, but by specific musicians for specific purposes.

See Inventing the American Guitar by Robert Shaw and Peter Szego
posted by blob at 6:16 PM on February 8, 2016 [1 favorite]


To those who have expressed an opinion regarding whether or not QT schemed to have the real guitar destroyed, I'd be interested in hearing why you believe this to be the case (or not).

QT is, by all appearances, something of a violence fetishist. So the idea that he could quietly forget to yell "Cut!" and experience the thrill of an irreplaceable historic artifact being destroyed is sufficiently plausible to me that I'm not prepared to dismiss it out of hand.
posted by LastOfHisKind at 6:31 PM on February 8, 2016 [2 favorites]


Man, Encyclopedia Brown has a lot of sock puppets and sure turned into a cynical old man.
posted by bondcliff at 6:34 PM on February 8, 2016 [4 favorites]


QT is, by all appearances, something of a violence fetishist. So the idea that he could quietly forget to yell "Cut!" and experience the thrill of an irreplaceable historic artifact being destroyed is sufficiently plausible to me that I'm not prepared to dismiss it out of hand.


So you made up a thing in your head, and you like how it sounds.
posted by Celsius1414 at 6:47 PM on February 8, 2016 [14 favorites]


Is there something wrong with that?

This isn't a trial, ffs. We're just shooting the shit. That is allowed.

(Here, hold this target...)
posted by Sys Rq at 6:51 PM on February 8, 2016 [4 favorites]


The reason why QT did it was PR. All my 'conspiracy' friends were like 'I've never heard of this movie until now! PR move!'
posted by 922257033c4a0f3cecdbd819a46d626999d1af4a at 7:35 PM on February 8, 2016 [1 favorite]


Via Occam's razor: the culprit should be a person very close to the crime. I'd be looking for an actor with a method approach mania, a huge ego, and/or an evil sense of humor. But, only his hair-dresser knows for sure.
posted by cleroy at 8:19 PM on February 8, 2016


Ugh.

It's already kind of asinine IMO to use a really, really valuable guitar, other than as a sort of conspicuous consumption move. Worse yet to be so careless.

Seriously, does Tarantino need to go back and repeat kindergarten? When you borrow something, be extra careful with it, FFS.
posted by desuetude at 9:59 PM on February 8, 2016 [2 favorites]


The sensitive defending of Quentin Tarantino is cracking me up.
Why do people suspect he let it happen? They know who he is.
posted by bongo_x at 10:16 PM on February 8, 2016 [1 favorite]


All this would have been avoided if the guitar just had a custodian from the museum on set, enjoying a few Hollywood days on QT's budget.

Also, I've been on a big budget movie set and the discipline around all props was ultra-focused, simply because breaking one can cost an hour or two. People were not tripping over wires etc.
posted by colie at 11:06 PM on February 8, 2016


Broken guitar? So what.
posted by hal_c_on at 2:11 AM on February 9, 2016


trunk shot

I was hoping that meant it was shot by an elephant. I am disappointed. I don't know why they don't employ elephants: they're smarter and more agile than you think, they can get the camera way up high and they work for peanu... No, wait! Come back!
posted by Grangousier at 2:17 AM on February 9, 2016 [1 favorite]


It's simple. Tarantino made the switch before filming started. The guitar everyone thought was real was just one of the fakes.

The real one is sitting in a vault in Tarantino's basement.
posted by Brachinus at 8:03 AM on February 9, 2016


I don't know why they don't employ elephants

Bastards keep stepping on expensive guitars.
posted by Wolfdog at 8:10 AM on February 9, 2016


The real one is sitting in a vault in Tarantino's basement.

Nope, it's a prop too. The real guitar has been retired for 15 years and is living like a king in Patagonia.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 8:12 AM on February 9, 2016 [9 favorites]


There oughta be a law like how a felon can't make money selling his story or admit evidence that was obtained illegally. They should've made Tarantino shoot the scene again with a fake prop and discard all of this footage except the copy that goes to Martin for whatever lawsuit they'd like to file.
posted by straight at 8:14 AM on February 9, 2016


Nope, it's a prop too. The real guitar has been retired for 15 years and is living like a king in Patagonia.

You can joke, but I just read a thing speculating that Jeb Bush accidentally gave the Spear of Destiny to Marco Rubio because his grandfather pulled that same "Steal the real one, give a fake-fake to one person to be ostentatiously destroyed, give a supposedly-real-fake to another to hide, keep the real-real one for yourself" trick off with the Nazis. I mean, it was set up as a joke, but maybe the real joke is that it really makes you think. About whether Marco Rubio actually possesses a magical artifact.
posted by Copronymus at 8:20 AM on February 9, 2016


MARCO RUBIO: [To sword, which he holds reverently] Show me again the power of conservatism, and I'll let nothing stand in our way. Show me, Chang, and I will finish what you started.

GHOST OF CHIANG KAI-SHEK: I think you are very confused
posted by prize bull octorok at 9:13 AM on February 9, 2016 [1 favorite]


Reminds me of a series of photos in Ai Weiwei's exhibit here in Toronto a couple years ago. A triptych of him holding a priceless Ming vase and then dropping it. I suppose the intentionality makes a difference, and still there's some commonality.

Pedantic Art Trivia: Ai Weiwei smashed a plain generic Han-era shipping urn worth "a few thousand dollars" (he actually smashed two of them, his photographer missed the shutter the first time). An antique Chinese decorative ceramic for display with intricate patterns would be worth... a whole lot more.

Smashing "priceless" Ming Vases was a common trope in old Hollywood screwball comedies, which Weiwei probably might have watched on late night TV when he was a student in the USA.

I think the most expensive Chinese vase ever sold was a 19th century Qing vase which auctioned for more than 50 million pounds a few years ago (rated for insurance at 800 pounds before it was appraised, of course). I could guess that an exceptional example of a decorative Ming vase is actually worth a great deal more than that now.
posted by ovvl at 3:16 PM on February 9, 2016


"It's actually an 18th century Quianlong vase..." as Mary Anne Dominic told Jason Taverner...
posted by ovvl at 5:26 PM on February 9, 2016


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