There Are No Words For What's Happening With Kim Novak

Back in January, actress Kim Novak issued a statement decrying the use of Bernard Hermann's theme from Alfred Hitchcock's Vertigo in eventual Oscar-winner The Artist, igniting a flurry of debate by calling it an act of rape. (“I want to report a rape," she declared. “My body of work has been violated by The Artist.") And whether or not you agreed then that it was an appropriate way to describe an act of artistic citation -- the Academy Award-winning team behind The Artist would call it homage -- Novak is back with another stunner that may reignite the conversation. "I didn't use that word lightly," she said in a report by The AP's Derrik J. Lang today. "I had been raped as a child."

Speaking about her upcoming honors at the TCM Classic Film Festival, the Artist controversy came up and Novak explained that she felt similarly when she learned of the film's use of the Vertigo theme as she did when she was the victim of actual rape years ago.

"It was very painful," said Novak. "When I said it was like a rape, that was how it felt to me. I had experienced in my youth being raped, and so I identified with a real act that had been done to me. I didn't use that word lightly. I had been raped as a child. It was a rape I never told about, so when I experienced this one, I felt the need to express it."

"I never reported my real rape, so I felt the need to report this one," said Novak, who left Hollywood in the 1970s for Big Sur, an isolated section of California coastline, before eventually relocating to Oregon. "I felt that someone needed to speak up because the music has been taken advantage of too much. I hope that in the future, maybe somehow it will do some good."

Pretty awful, and kudos to Novak for speaking out, but where do we even go from here? You can't discount Novak's personal experience or how she felt about The Artist's musical choices except to say that the one act isn't really quite like the other. Clearly she knows the implications of using the word "rape" and did not use it offhandedly or without thought. But does this revelation shake up the argument that "rape" is at least a bit harsh a term for one film borrowing from another? Read more from Novak here and chew on this for a bit, Movieliners.

Kim Novak Clarifies 'Rape' Comments on 'The Artist's' Use of 'Vertigo' Music
[AP via THR]

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  • stolidog says:

    Well, let's hope she doesn't visit Movieline anytime soon or she'll be raped all over the place with all these "The Artist" banner ads.

    feel better.

  • Patrick Hallstein / McEvoy-Halston says:

    Re: But does this revelation shake up the argument that "rape" is at least a bit harsh a term for one film borrowing from another?

    I believe she would say that "rape" is a fair term for one film's rape of another. It felt like rape for her, so for her "borrowing" does not ground the real. To vote in The Artist when the majority of Americans are disintegrating, kind of felt like a sadistic, euphoric act, upon understanding you're part of a class that is going to go untouched, unmarked -- indulge, exult, party and taunt away, for the world even seems to be for it! If the film even trespassed a dominating manhandle on a legend it was ostensibly only uplifting, and this registered, I think the academy would have allowed it; indulged in this too a bit.

  • j'accuse! says:

    I don't have a position on the use of Vertigo music in The Artist, because I haven't seen the latter. That being said, she's clearly not in a good place and I'm sorry to hear that. If you take her statements about her past at face value (and I do), she's clearly not in the same position as Johnny Depp or Kristen Stewart when they made their "rape" comments, so...yeah. Not sure what to say except I'm sorry she's had it rough, and I'm sorry to hear that she's recently had those memories dredged up.

  • Max Renn says:

    I'm sorry to hear about her childhood trauma, but using a musical cue from another movie and calling it "rape" is ridiculous.

  • sardine1 says:

    If she was raped -- and I don't take it for granted that she's telling the truth -- then my heart truly goes out to her, but her using that description in regards to a legally contracted music sample that she did not write is still an insult to every person other than her who has suffered that, and no different than if Richard Dreyfuss were to use that word in relation to the Close Encounters theme being used somewhere.

  • Faffy says:

    If you think "using a musical cue from another movie and calling it 'rape' is ridiculous," I can easily top that.

    For many years, Leonard Martin's annually updated "Movie and Video Guide"-- once THE go-to reference source before the IMDb-- carried a "BOMB" review for Arthur Hiller's 1972 film version pf "Man of La Mancha" that ended with this bit of hyperbole:

    "Beautiful source material has been raped, murdered and buried. [PG]"

    At least Novak didn't say, "It felt like being raped on top of Hitch's grave, then watching helplessly as they dug up the coffin and violated his corpse, then being stuffed in the coffin with him and buried alive."

    • S.T. VanAirsdale says:

      WOWWWW. I honestly don't want to know what Maltin's excuse is.

      • Patrick Hallstein / McEvoy-Halston says:

        I am not saying this snidely but ... where will you be if your take on Weinstein becomes less mainstream? Someone reacting to a man with a legitimate cause as if he had clubbed your children over the head with a seal or something?

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