Hugo (film)

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Hugo
<!see WP:ALT -->
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Martin Scorsese
Produced by
Screenplay by John Logan
Based on The Invention of Hugo Cabret 
by Brian Selznick
Starring
Music by Howard Shore
Cinematography Robert Richardson
Edited by Thelma Schoonmaker
Production
company
Distributed by Paramount Pictures
Entertainment Film Distributors (UK)
Release dates
  • October 10, 2011 (2011-10-10) (NYFF)
  • November 23, 2011 (2011-11-23)
Running time
126 minutes[1]
Country United Kingdom
United States
France
Language English
Budget $150-170 million[2]
Box office $185.8 million[3]

Hugo is a 2011 British-American-French 3D historical adventure drama film directed and co-produced by Martin Scorsese and adapted for the screen by John Logan. Based on Brian Selznick's graphic novel The Invention of Hugo Cabret, it is about a boy who lives alone in the Gare Montparnasse railway station in Paris in the 1930s. A co-production between Graham King's GK Films and Johnny Depp's Infinitum Nihil, the film stars Ben Kingsley, Sacha Baron Cohen, Asa Butterfield, Chloë Grace Moretz, Ray Winstone, Emily Mortimer, Jude Law, Helen McCrory, and Christopher Lee.

Hugo is Scorsese's first film shot in 3D, of which the filmmaker remarked: "I found 3D to be really interesting, because the actors were more upfront emotionally. Their slightest move, their slightest intention is picked up much more precisely."[4] The film was released in the United States on November 23, 2011.[5]

Hugo grossed $185 million at the box office against a budget of $150–$170 million. Hugo received eleven Academy Award nominations (including Best Picture), more than any other film that year, and won five awards: Best Cinematography, Best Art Direction, Best Sound Mixing, Best Sound Editing and Best Visual Effects.[6] It was also nominated for eight BAFTAs, winning two, and was nominated for three Golden Globe Awards, earning Scorsese his third Golden Globe for Best Director.

Plot[edit]

In 1931, 12-year-old Hugo Cabret (Asa Butterfield) lives in Paris with his father (Jude Law), a widowed, but kind clockmaker who also works at a museum. One day his father finds a broken automaton, a mechanical man designed to write with a pen, at the museum, and he and Hugo try to repair it, his father documenting the automaton in a notebook. When his father is killed by a fire at the museum, Hugo is forced to live with his resentful, alcoholic uncle Claude (Ray Winstone), and made to learn how to maintain the clocks at the railway station of Gare Montparnasse. When Claude goes missing for several days, Hugo continues to maintain the clocks, fearing that he would be sent away as an orphan by the vindictive Station Inspector Gustave (Sacha Baron Cohen) if Claude's absence is discovered. Hugo attempts to repair the automaton with stolen parts, believing it contains a message from his father, but the machine still requires a heart-shaped key that his father could not find.

Hugo is caught when stealing from the toy store owner Georges (Ben Kingsley), who looks through his father's notebook and threatens to destroy it. Hugo encounters Georges' goddaughter Isabelle (Chloë Grace Moretz) who offers to help get the notebook back. Hugo learns Georges has forbidden Isabelle from going to the cinema, and introduces the medium to her as his father had done for him. As their friendship grows, he shows her the automaton, and is surprised when Isabelle reveals she wears the key as a necklace given to her by Georges. When started, the machine draws out a scene that Hugo recognizes from his father's description of the film A Trip to the Moon. Isabelle identifies the signature, that of a "Georges Méliès", as her godfather. She sneaks Hugo into her home, where they find a hidden cache of more imaginative drawings of Méliès, but are caught by Georges, who banishes Hugo from his home.

Hugo and Isabelle go to the Film Academy Library and find a book about the history of cinema that praises Méliès' contributions. They meet the book's author, René Tabard (Michael Stuhlbarg), a film expert who is surprised to hear that Méliès may still be alive, as he had disappeared after World War I along with nearly all copies of his films. Excited at the chance to meet him, René agrees to meet Isabelle and Hugo at Georges' home to show his copy of A Trip to the Moon, hoping it will invigorate Georges. On the scheduled night, Georges' wife Jeanne (Helen McCrory) tries to turn them away, but René compliments Jeanne as Jeanne d'Alcy, an actress in many of Méliès' films, and she allows them to continue. As the film plays, Georges threatens to send them away, but Jeanne convinces him to cherish his accomplishments rather than regret his lost dream. Georges recounts that as a stage magician, he had been fascinated by motion pictures and used the medium to create imaginative works through his Star Film Company, but was forced into bankruptcy following the War, closing his studio and selling his films to be turned into raw materials. He laments that even an automaton he made that he donated to a museum was lost. Hugo recognizes this is the same automaton he has, and races to the station to retrieve it. He is caught by Gustave, who has learned that Claude's body was found some time ago, and threatens to take Hugo to the orphanage. Georges arrives and tells Gustave that he will now see to Hugo, adopting him as his son.

Some time later, Georges is named a professor at the Film Academy, and is paid tribute through a showcase of his films recovered by René. Hugo joins in with his new family as they celebrate, while Isabelle starts to write down Hugo's story.

Cast[edit]

Michael Pitt, Martin Scorsese, and Brian Selznick have cameo roles.

Production[edit]

Pre-production[edit]

GK Films acquired the screen rights to The Invention of Hugo Cabret shortly after the book was published in 2007. Initially, Chris Wedge was signed in to direct the adaptation and John Logan was contracted to write the screenplay.[7] The film was initially titled Hugo Cabret. Several actors were hired, including Ben Kingsley, Sacha Baron Cohen, Asa Butterfield, Chloë Grace Moretz and Helen McCrory. Jude Law, Ray Winstone, Christopher Lee, Frances de la Tour and Richard Griffiths later joined the project. Hugo was originally budgeted at $100 million but overran with a final budget of between $156 million and $170 million.[8] In February 2012, Graham King summed up his experience of producing Hugo: "Let's just say that it hasn't been an easy few months for me—there's been a lot of Ambien involved".

Filming[edit]

Production began in London on June 29, 2010. The first shooting location was at the Shepperton Studios in London.[9] The Nene Valley Railway near Peterborough also loaned their original Compagnie Internationale des Wagons-Lits rolling stock to the studio.[10][11]

In August 2010, production moved to Paris for two weeks. Locations included the Sainte-Geneviève Library, and the Sorbonne (where a lecture hall was converted into a 1930s cinema hall) in the 5th arrondissement and the Théâtre de l'Athénée and its surrounding area in the 9th. High school Lycée Louis-le-Grand served as the film's base of operations in Paris; its cafeteria served 700 meals a day for the cast and crew.[12]

Music[edit]

The film's soundtrack includes an Oscar-nominated original score composed by Howard Shore, and also makes prominent use of the Danse macabre by Camille Saint-Saëns and Gnossienne No. 1 by Erik Satie.

Release[edit]

The film was theatrically released on November 23, 2011 by Paramount Pictures, premiered at the NYFF on October 10, 2011 and was released on DVD and Blu-ray on February 28, 2012 by Paramount Home Entertainment.

Historical references[edit]

Maillardet's automaton, an inspiration for the design
The Jaquet-Droz automaton "the writer", an inspiration for the design of the automaton in the film

The backstory and primary features of Georges Méliès' life as depicted in the film are largely accurate: He became interested in film after seeing a demonstration of the Lumière brothers' camera;[13] he was a magician and toymaker; he experimented with automata; he owned a theatre (Theatre Robert-Houdin); he was forced into bankruptcy; his film stock was reportedly melted down for its celluloid; he became a toy salesman at the Montparnasse station, and he was eventually awarded the Légion d'honneur medal after a period of terrible neglect. Many of the early silent films shown in the movie are Méliès's actual works, such as Le voyage dans la lune (1902). However, the film does not mention Méliès' two children, his brother Gaston (who worked with Méliès during his film-making career), or his first wife Eugénie, who was married to Méliès during the time he made films (and who died in 1913). The film shows Méliès married to Jeanne d'Alcy during their filmmaking period, when in reality they did not marry until 1925.

The automaton's design was inspired by the Maillardet's automaton made by the Swiss watchmaker Henri Maillardet, which Selznick had seen in the Franklin Institute, Philadelphia,[14] as well as the Jaquet-Droz automaton "the writer".[15] A portion of the scene with Harold Lloyd in Safety Last! (1923), hanging from the clock, is shown when the main characters sneak into a movie theater. Later, Hugo similarly hangs from the hands of a large clock on a clock tower to escape a pursuer like Lloyd in Safety Last!.

Several viewings of the film L'Arrivée d'un train en gare de La Ciotat are portrayed, depicting the shocked reaction of the audience—although this view is in doubt.[16]

Emil Lager, Ben Addis, and Robert Gill make cameo appearances as the father of Gypsy jazz guitar, Django Reinhardt, the Spanish surrealist painter, Salvador Dalí, and the Irish writer James Joyce, respectively. The names of all three characters appear towards the end of the film's cast credit list.[17]

The book that Monsieur Labisse gives Hugo as a gift, Robin Hood le proscrit (Robin Hood the outlaw), was written by Alexandre Dumas in 1864 as a French translation of an 1838 work by Pierce Egan the Younger in England. The book is symbolic, as Hugo must avoid the "righteous" law enforcement (Inspector Gustave) to live in the station and later to restore the automaton both to a functioning status and to its rightful owner. There is also a depiction of Montparnasse derailment, when at 4 pm on 22 October 1895 the Granville–Paris Express overran the buffer stop at its Gare Montparnasse terminus.

Reception[edit]

Box office performance[edit]

Hugo earned $15.4 million over its Thanksgiving weekend debut. It went on to earn US$73,864,507 domestically and $111,905,653 overseas, for a worldwide gross of $185,770,160.[3] Despite praise from critics, Hugo was cited as one of the year's notable box office flops. Its perceived failure was due to competition with Disney's The Muppets and Summit's Breaking Dawn Part 1.[18] The film was estimated to have made a net loss of $100 million.[19] Producer Graham King said that the film's box office results were painful. "There's no finger-pointing—I'm the producer and I take the responsibility," he said. "Budget-wise, there just wasn't enough prep time and no one really realized how complicated doing a 3D film was going to be. I went through three line-producers because no one knew exactly what was going on. Do I still think it's a masterpiece that will be talked about in 20 years? Yes. But once the schedule started getting out of whack, things just spiraled and spiraled and that's when the avalanche began."[20]

Critical reception[edit]

The film currently holds a 94% "Certified Fresh" rating on aggregate review site Rotten Tomatoes based on 205 reviews, with an average score of 8.3/10. The site's main consensus reads, "Hugo is an extravagant, elegant fantasy with an innocence lacking in many modern kids' movies, and one that emanates an unabashed love for the magic of cinema."[21] Metacritic gave the film an average score of 83 out of 100, based on 41 reviews, indicating "universal acclaim".[22]

Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times gave the film four out of four stars saying "Hugo is unlike any other film Martin Scorsese has ever made, and yet possibly the closest to his heart: a big-budget, family epic in 3-D, and in some ways, a mirror of his own life. We feel a great artist has been given command of the tools and resources he needs to make a movie about—movies."[23] Peter Rainer of The Christian Science Monitor gave it a "B+" grade and termed it as "an odd mixture: a deeply personal impersonal movie" and concluded that "Hugo is a mixed bag but one well worth rummaging through."[24] Christy Lemire said that it had an "abundant love of the power of film; being a hardcore cinephile (like Scorsese) might add a layer of enjoyment, but it certainly isn't a prerequisite for walking in the door" besides being "slightly repetitive and overlong".[25] Michael Phillips of the Chicago Tribune rated it three stars and described it as "rich and stimulating even when it wanders" explaining "every locale in Scorsese's vision of 1931 Paris looks and feels like another planet. The filmmaker embraces storybook artifice as wholeheartedly as he relays the tale's lessons in the importance of film preservation."[26] Joe Morgenstern of The Wall Street Journal said that "visually Hugo is a marvel, but dramatically it's a clockwork lemon".[27]

Hugo was selected for the Royal Film Performance 2011 with a screening at the Odeon, Leicester Square in London on 28 November 2011 in the presence of the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall in support of the Cinema and Television Benevolent Fund.[28] Richard Corliss of Time named it one of the Top 10 Best Movies of 2011, saying "Scorsese's love poem, rendered gorgeously in 3-D, restores both the reputation of an early pioneer and the glory of movie history—the birth of a popular art form given new life through a master's application of the coolest new techniques".[29] James Cameron called Hugo "a masterpiece" and that the film had the best use of 3D he had seen, surpassing even his own acclaimed films.[30]

Top ten lists[edit]

The film appeared on the following critics' lists of the top ten films of 2011:

Critic Publication Rank
David Denby The New Yorker 1st[31]
Sean Hobbit Freelance 1st
Elizabeth Weitzman New York Daily News 1st
Harry Knowles Aint It Cool News 1st[32]
Shawn Levy The Oregonian (Portland) 1st[33]
Glenn Kenny MSN Movies 2nd
Peter Hartlaub San Francisco Chronicle 2nd[34]
Richard Corliss Time 2nd[35]
Roger Ebert Chicago Sun-Times 4th[36]
Lisa Schwarzbaum Entertainment Weekly 4th[37]
Peter Paras E! Online 5th
N/A MTV 5th[38]
Todd McCarthy The Hollywood Reporter 6th[39]
Peter Travers Rolling Stone 6th[40]
N/A TV Guide 7th[41]
J. Hoberman The Village Voice 8th[42]
Noel Murray A.V. Club 9th[43]
Mark Kermode BBC Radio 5 Live 9th[44]
Kim Morgan MSN Movies 9th[45]
Keith Phipps A.V. Club 9th[46]
Sean Axmaker MSN Movies 10th[47]
Glenn Heath Jr. Slant Magazine 10th[48]
Jeff Simon The Buffalo News N/A[49]
Manohla Dargis The New York Times N/A
Phillip French The Observer N/A

Accolades[edit]

List of awards and nominations
Award / Film Festival Date of Ceremony Category Recipient(s) Result
Academy Awards[50][51] 26 February 2012 Best Picture Graham King and Martin Scorsese Nominated
Best Director Martin Scorsese Nominated
Best Adapted Screenplay John Logan Nominated
Best Cinematography Robert Richardson Won
Best Original Score Howard Shore Nominated
Best Art Direction Dante Ferretti, Francesca Lo Schiavo Won
Best Costume Design Sandy Powell Nominated
Best Visual Effects Robert Legato, Joss Williams, Ben Grossmann, and Alex Henning Won
Best Film Editing Thelma Schoonmaker Nominated
Best Sound Editing Philip Stockton and Eugene Gearty Won
Best Sound Mixing Tom Fleischman and John Midgley Won
Argentine Academy of Cinematography Arts and Sciences Awards[52] December 5, 2012 Best Foreign Film Graham King, Timothy Headington, Martin Scorsese, and Johnny Depp Won
Alliance of Women Film Journalists[53][54] 10 January 2012 Best Picture Graham King and Martin Scorsese Nominated
Best Director Martin Scorsese Nominated
Best Adapted Screenplay John Logan Nominated
Best Cinematography Robert Richardson Nominated
Best Editing Thelma Schoonmaker Won
American Society of Cinematographers[55] 12 February 2012 Outstanding Achievement in Cinematography in a Feature Film Robert Richardson Nominated
Art Directors Guild[56] 4 February 2012 Period Film Dante Ferretti Won
Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts Awards[57] 27 January 2012 Best Film – International Graham King and Martin Scorsese Nominated
Best Direction – International Martin Scorsese Nominated
Boston Society of Film Critics Award 11 December 2011 Best Director Martin Scorsese Won
Best Film Graham King and Martin Scorsese Nominated
Best Cinematography Robert Richardson 2nd Place
Best Editing Thelma Schoonmaker 2nd Place
British Academy Film Awards[58][59] 12 February 2012 Best Director Martin Scorsese Nominated
Best Cinematography Robert Richardson Nominated
Best Original Score Howard Shore Nominated
Best Sound Philip Stockton, Eugene Gearty, Tom Fleischman and John Midgley Won
Best Editing Thelma Schoonmaker Nominated
Best Production Design Dante Ferretti and Francesca Lo Schiavo Won
Best Costume Design Sandy Powell Nominated
Best Makeup and Hair Morag Ross and Jan Archibald Nominated
Critics' Choice Awards 12 January 2012 Best Picture Graham King and Martin Scorsese Nominated
Best Director Martin Scorsese Nominated
Best Young Actor/Actress Asa Butterfield Nominated
Best Adapted Screenplay John Logan Nominated
Best Cinematography Robert Richardson Nominated
Best Editing Thelma Schoonmaker Nominated
Best Production Design/Art Direction Dante Ferretti, Francesca Lo Schiavo Won
Best Score Howard Shore Nominated
Best Costume Design Sandy Powell Nominated
Best Visual Effects Robert Legato Nominated
Best Sound Philip Stockton, Eugene Gearty, Tom Fleischman and John Midgley Nominated
Chicago Film Critics Association[60][61] 7 January 2012 Best Film Graham King and Martin Scorsese Nominated
Best Director Martin Scorsese Nominated
Best Cinematography Robert Richardson Nominated
Best Score Howard Shore Nominated
David di Donatello Awards[62] 4 May 2012 Best Foreign Film Hugo Nominated
Detroit Film Critics Society[63] 16 December 2011 Best Film Graham King and Martin Scorsese Nominated
Best Director Martin Scorsese Nominated
Florida Film Critics Circle Awards[64] 19 December 2011 Best Director Martin Scorsese Won
Best Film Graham King and Martin Scorsese Nominated
Best Production Design/Art Direction Dante Ferretti and Francesca Lo Schiavo Won
Golden Globe Awards[65][66] 15 January 2012 Best Director Martin Scorsese Won
Best Motion Picture – Drama Graham King and Martin Scorsese Nominated
Best Original Score Howard Shore Nominated
Golden Trailer Awards[67] 31 May 2012 Best Animation/Family "Imagine" Nominated
Best Animation/Family TV Spot Hugo Nominated
Grammy Awards[68] 10 February 2013 Best Score Soundtrack For Visual Media Howard Shore Nominated
Hugo Awards 2 September 2012 Best Dramatic Presentation (Long Form) Martin Scorsese and John Logan Nominated
Indiana Film Critics Association Best Film Graham King and Martin Scorsese Nominated
Best Musical Score Howard Shore Nominated
Las Vegas Film Critics Society 13 December 2011 Best Film Graham King and Martin Scorsese Nominated
Best Family Film Hugo Won
Best Film Editing Thelma Schoonmaker Won
Best Youth in Film Asa Butterfield Won
National Board of Review[69] Best Film Graham King and Martin Scorsese Won
Best Director Martin Scorsese Won
New York Film Critics Circle Award 29 November 2011 Best Director Martin Scorsese 2nd Place
Best Film Graham King and Martin Scorsese 3rd Place
Online Film Critics Society Awards 2 January 2012 Best Picture Graham King and Martin Scorsese Nominated
Best Director Martin Scorsese Nominated
Best Cinematography Robert Richardson Nominated
Phoenix Film Critics Society 27 December 2011 Best Picture Graham King and Martin Scorsese Nominated
Best Director Martin Scorsese Nominated
Best Adapted Screenplay John Logan Nominated
Best Cinematography Robert Richardson Nominated
Best Production Design Dante Ferretti Won
Best Costume Design Sandy Powell Nominated
Best Visual Effects Robert Legato Won
Best Live Action Family Film Hugo Nominated
Satellite Awards 19 December 2011 Best Picture Graham King and Martin Scorsese Nominated
Best Director Martin Scorsese Nominated
Best Art Direction and Production Design Dante Ferretti and Francesca Lo Schiavo Nominated
Best Cinematography Robert Richardson Nominated
Best Visual Effects Robert Legato Won
San Diego Film Critics Society Awards 14 December 2011 Best Production Design Dante Ferretti Won
Best Film Graham King and Martin Scorsese Nominated
Best Director Martin Scorsese Nominated
Best Adapted Screenplay John Logan Nominated
Best Cinematography Robert Richardson Nominated
Best Editing Thelma Schoonmaker Nominated
Best Score Howard Shore Nominated
Saturn Awards[70] 20 June 2012 Best Fantasy Film Hugo Nominated
Best Actor Ben Kingsley Nominated
Best Performance by a Younger Actor Asa Butterfield Nominated
Chloë Grace Moretz Nominated
Best Director Martin Scorsese Nominated
Best Writing John Logan Nominated
Best Music Howard Shore Nominated
Best Costume Sandy Powell Nominated
Best Production Design Dante Ferretti Won
Best Editing Thelma Schoonmaker Nominated
Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association Awards[71] 5 December 2011 Best Director Martin Scorsese Won
Best Art Direction Dante Derretti Won
Best Film Graham King and Martin Scorsese Nominated
Best Acting Ensemble Hugo Nominated
Best Adapted Screenplay John Logan Nominated
Best Cinematography Robert Richardson Nominated
Best Score Howard Shore Nominated
World Soundtrack Academy 20 October 2012 Best Soundtrack Award Howard Shore Nominated
Composer of the Year Nominated
Young Artist Awards[72] 6 May 2012 Best Performance in a Feature Film - Leading Young Actor Asa Butterfield Nominated
Best Performance in a Feature Film - Leading Young Actress Chloë Grace Moretz Won

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External links[edit]