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Thoughts on Dallas

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Mar-24-2012 2:25 PM

Just watching the original again and am still impressed with just how great the entire cast is. But my favorite arc is that of Dallas. He just has this weariness in his face that is perfect. And the way he goes from at least semi-confident leader to "just get me the hell home" to "I don't know what the hell to do, anymore" . You gotta feel for this guy. So per my id, I'm wondering what you all think about keeping the planned sex scene in the Alien. I know from interviews that Scott, Weaver and Skerrit all seem to think the movie gets on better without it, that, to paraphrase one of them from an interview i read eons ago, that the future in Alien is a sexless place for these blue collar schlubs. That there would just not be any time for it. Actually, I think it would have worked depending on where it was placed. The scene as written has Ripley coming in and essentially, well, wearing the pants with Dallas playing a much more passive role. It dovetails quite nicely with the sense of Dallas growing ever weaker as commander and Ripley becoming the clear hero(ine). And the way it was written was excellent, not over the top explicit or lovey dovey. Plus, does anyone really believe that traveling to and fro these planets, that folks aren't going to get it on? Also, when Ripley throws Ash against the wall and nearly breaks down, the impact would be that much greater. He has essentially just killed her guy. Finally, wouldn't it be kind of cool to see the Scott's bios of the Nostromo crew filmed? I read them and they are quite good. What would be the by line for a Kane movie or a Parker movie and for the rest?

23 Responses to Thoughts on Dallas


Mar-24-2012 5:05 PM

"Finally, wouldn't it be kind of cool to see the Scott's bios of the Nostromo crew filmed? I read them and they are quite good. What would be the by line for a Kane movie or a Parker movie and for the rest?" Why would it be? Isn't one of the aim of the film going at what is sexual and gender identity and how do we relate to it? Also one might ask why didn't Ridley put the bios in the film? Perhaps he didn't need to.


Mar-24-2012 5:46 PM

"Also one might ask why didn't Ridley put the bios in the film? Perhaps he didn't need to." My point is not that Scott should have included the bios in the movie, but that the actors do such a good job and the bios are so rich that they would make interesting movies or at least shorts on their own. Nothing more. Yes, sexual and gender identity and our relation to it is a theme one can see in the movie which is why the screenplay's scene b/w Dallas and Ripley is so interesting. As are some of the cut scenes such as the longer birth sequence where Dallas is pleading with Ash for help and Ash spits orders at him with contempt. The asexual robot ordering the emasculated leader around. Such great little details. That was one I wish Scott did keep.


Mar-24-2012 6:28 PM

I did read the bios, they are rich, especially those concerning Lambert's possibly homosexual relationship with Dallas, perhaps you are right. Perhaps Ridley should have done trailers with the bios of the crew, like if they were tuna cans, each seemingly unique and yet endlessly replicable...


Mar-24-2012 8:40 PM

I am sure you know a lot about smelling like tuna. And sexual relationships with.


Mar-25-2012 11:30 AM

[i]that the future in Alien is a sexless place for these blue collar schlubs. That there would just not be any time for it[/i]. Well, it hardly seems possible that there wouldn't be any time for it, considering that these journeys are so long they spend most of them in artificial hibernation. Still, it does somehow feel like such a scene would have been out of place (or maybe it's just that I'm so used to the movie as-is?) -- given all the weird sexual undertones of what [i]was[/i] shown, actual literal sex wouldn't quite fit.


Mar-25-2012 12:02 PM

dallas!dallas! are you hitting on me? Seriously why wouldn't actual literal sex wouldn't quite fit? Would it be too direct is that what you mean?


Mar-26-2012 1:40 PM

@infidel Think of all the time mining and preparing, though. It seems no matter what or when, someone will find time. That is what makes the sex scene as written work. Dallas is just too tired to have sex yet Ripley, the only one of the crew who seems to have any energy, the "earth mother" as I heard one pseudo intellectual critic describe her, is still very sexual and energetic. She just can't get through to Dallas, much less rescue him. There is a line from Dallas as Ripley makes her moves. "You should have come sooner." The scene basically cuts after that. I think the difference between Ripley's forceful but still caring sexual pursuit and the Alien's "rape" of Kane would have been interesting to see on screen. Remember that look she gives him when he basically says, "I'm going into the vents"? It is is his last gasp at being the heroic man but he can barely face her. Good stuff. Heustess, like Dallas I am too tired to hit on anyone.


Mar-27-2012 3:12 AM

The first time I watched Alien I thought Dallas was the hero and that B**** Ripley was going to get it at any moment. Even after the vent scene I still expected Dallas to jump out at some point and save the day. I realise now it was mostly through Hollywood stereotypes I perceived theses things... oh and I was 6 or their about.

the coming

Mar-27-2012 4:40 PM

I watched Alien today aswell, and thought exactly the same thing about Dallas the guy is such a good actor...the scene where Brett gets killed and they are talking about the alien 'it's man's huge' you can see Dallas feels so guilty about breaking quarantine, and knows this whole mess is his fault... I mean the guilt on his face is so real that I honestly believe he must have felt that emotion for real


Mar-27-2012 5:05 PM

If such scenes were in the film to begin with, I might of been able to "get" the movie the first time around in all matters which didn't involve the alien stalking people. Actually, the only relationships I knew existed on the first showing was the mutual loathing between Ripley and Ash, and of course the work-buddy relationship between Parker and Brett. In one scene, Ripley gives an unusually long stare when Dallas assigns himself to the vent shaft. That's about the only clue to a relationship between them. Even the lovers' tiff scene with Ripley barking at Dallas in the hallway wasn't obvious enough without the stare scene to help build the bigger picture. [quote]I mean the guilt on his face is so real that I honestly believe he must have felt that emotion for real[/quote] Agreed! That was gold.

the coming

Mar-28-2012 11:14 AM

@gehirn are you suggesting Dallas and Ripley were doing it? Also why do you think Ash and Ripley hated each other, even before he broke quarantine


Mar-28-2012 1:05 PM

@gehirn You said it perfectly. Along with the buddy relationship of Parker and Brett, the movie would have been helped by a clear establishment of Ripley and Dallas. It would have made their losses (one directly after the other) more powerful. It would also add to Lambert's freaking out as she doesn't have a "partner" and Ash of course is the loner/traitor. But now maybe I am reaching. @ the coming Skerrit is an underrated actor for sure. MASH, Alien, A River Runs Through It, Dead Zone, the guilty fun of Top Gun . . . He just seems to pick too many goofy ass movies at times. Or ones where he always plays some kind of sheriff. My friend calls him Tom Sheriff. The Onion had a bit once that had a list of least popular websites: in the top five was That shit did make me laugh out loud.


Mar-28-2012 11:36 PM

@ the coming I reckon everyone hated Ripley's 'by the book method' and the closet thing to friend she had on the ship was the cat haha


Mar-29-2012 10:33 AM

@Pro II I thought the same about Dallas the first time I saw it. Same age, same stereotype. Dammit, why did a girl have to be the hero? Pretty funny. The "by the book" comment points out another one of Dallas' weaknesses. He goes by the book when he should break the rules (listening to Ash, "Company policy is to do what the hell they tell you to do") and breaks the rules when he should be a bit more by the book. (bringing Kane on board, taking off before repairs are fully complete). Although Ripley might have gotten on my nerves, too. Damn, those actors are good. Looking at the script, I realize how much Scott also took from Altman in his direction. That whole 70s improv around the dialogue as written, everything is so conversational. I am not saying it works in every movie but is sure as hell worked in this one. The sequels lose that quality more and more.

the coming

Mar-29-2012 2:50 PM

@dallas so you mean they have an outline of the dialog and then they improv a little? works great if you ask me, makes things gritty and real Dallas was definitely lacking discipline, he's the kind of guy that wants to be just left alone, hence why he would satisfy the company orders, but then get lazy about other small things which he knows his superiors wouldn't give a shit about anyway I've worked with a few Dallas' in my lifetime...hell I think I'm a Dallas


Mar-29-2012 11:35 PM

@the coming Yes and No. There is a full script, the actors just change the dialogue in the moment as they see fit. Sometimes most of it stays sometimes most of it doesn't. It got really popular as a "style" in American flicks in the 70s after Robert Altman pissed off his screenwriter for MASH (another Skerrit classic) who would not even accept the Oscar because, according to him, what the actors said was not what he wrote. Actors like Brando did it before but it was the thing to do after Altman. Sometimes it flops if the actors suck. Reading the Alien script and watching the movie I'd put money down that is what Scott is doing. Plus, he wrote all those bios for each character that are as important as the screenplay. Scott himself said he didn't really direct the actors, he made them eat, breath and shit those bios and then just said action. Too much of the script is changed. Those actors were all fucking brilliant. And Paxton and Biehn from Aliens were no slouches, either. Imagine Aliens with no Hudson! Aren't we all a Dallas at some point? I think that is why he is my favorite character from the first one, he is just a poor slob who wants to be left alone. I don't know if the bios are online still, but they are brilliant, too. Dallas in his younger days was much more like Ripley, full of energy but also willing to break the rules, impetuous as Yoda would say. He was in the military and an action he took that tried to save lives ended up getting a lot of people killed. That was the end of his military career. And by the beginning of Alien, he is just as you described. Damn what a cast.

the coming

Mar-30-2012 5:59 AM

Yeah I also like how the actors don't wait their turns to say something, sometimes cross talking over each other, just adds to the realism. That's a shame about Dallas, sounds like the doctor from Alien 3 who caused the deaths of many and is being punished by his superiors...


Mar-30-2012 2:32 PM

@ the coming I am convinced that the doc from Alien 3 is a reimagining of Dallas. The writers just used things from the bio and script that were never filmed: He is established as a (probable) male lead His death comes much earlier than expected His fatigued character He has a "connection"/love scene with Ripley And your point about his punishment And you know I think it works in Alien 3. Charles Dance is excellent as the doc. Ripley being some sexless mother figure over 4 movies would just have been too much.

the coming

Mar-30-2012 5:25 PM

yeah Charles Dance is the best thing in Alien 3...his death is such a shame the Alien constantly kills everything Ripley forms a bond with I still think it would have been a better movie if at least Hicks survived, why kill everyone? anyway as for Dallas, besides all his flaws he did man up and go down the ventilation shaft, so he was an honourable person in the end


Mar-30-2012 5:35 PM

I think the implication, from a deleted scene in Alien, is that sex in space is common. Ripley asks Lambert if she ever slept with Ash. Seems like casual sex was the norm. Plus the line from Parker "I'd rather be eating something else." Is this hinting at past sexual relations between the various crew members? Also, this is in line with Scott's Heavy Metal/Metal Hurlant influences. The first story I ever read in that magazine included interracial lovers having sex on a spaceship. I would later find that this was not an uncommon trope in that mag.


Mar-30-2012 6:01 PM

@ the coming Yeah, Dallas in the end proves his worth. To beat a dead horse (or Dallas) the script has him much more aware and alert and well, heroic. He confronts Ash about Kane and leaves the key to mother with Ash with the implication that if he doesn't make it back, and Ash doesn't give the key to Ripley per his orders, Ripley will know for sure this guy is a traitor. Which is what happens. Also, in the SJ ship, he orders Kane to not touch anything or wander around and is pissed when Kane doesn't listen. So I'll just pretend Scott kept all of that.


Mar-30-2012 6:03 PM

@Biehn_Bandit yes. I understand why the Ripley-Lambert exchange was cut, but the Dallas-Ripley scene should have stayed, just placed earlier, maybe while Kane is still being worked on by Mother. Having them get together right after Kane is killed is stretching it a bit

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