August 24, 1997
WHAT do the films “Conspiracy Theory” and “Cop Land” have in common?
Well, “Cop Land” cost $20 million to make, while Mel Gibson got $20 million to make “Conspiracy Theory” But beyond that, it’s all in the nose.
In both films, characters walk around during the action with maimed noses. In “Cop Land” it’s Sylvester Stallone, courtesy of anÂ early car crash, hi “Theory” it’s Patrick Stewart, thanks to a big bite from Gibson. Regardless of the reasons, the two movies continue the tradition of prominent cinematic noses.
Of course, there are those stars whose schnozzes are as known as their talents: Barbra Streisand, Jimmy Durante, Bette Midler, Howard Stern. Then there are the Pinocchio films; Disney’s animated puppet saw his nose grow in the 1940 classic, while Jonathan Taylor Thomas did the liveaction version in last year’s film.
Another long-nosed film icon has been the lovelorn Cyrano de Bergerac.
The romantic Frenchman’s sad tale has been told on the screen at least five times. The most famous renditions are Jose Ferrer‘s Oscar-winning portrayal in 1950 and Gerard Depardieu’s Oscar-nominated work in 1990. And don’t forget Steve Martin’s comic take
on the classic story in 1987’s “Roxanne.” The scene in which Martin lambastes a jerk for making fun of his nose is one of the funniest scenes in recent film history.
Lee Marvin won an Oscar for the 1967 comedy-western “Cat Ballou” for playing two characters, one of which is an evil gunslinger with a silver artificial nose. In “A Fish Called Wanda” 11987), wacky crook Kevin Kline sticks t rench fries up Michael Palin’s nose to
set him to reveal crucial information.
But the most prominent nose in film history is Jack Nicholson’s in “Chinatown” (1974), which is slashed by director Roman Polanski in a pivotal scene. No word on whether Nicholson used a stunt nose.