This narrative short motion picture was produced for a course in filmmaking with filmmaker Marilyn Rivchin at Cornell University during Mark’s undergraduate studies. A spoof of Hollywood spy movies, the story follows an unlucky average Joe into whose hands accidentally falls a canister of top secret microfilm. Effortlessly, the inexperienced protagonist foils each and every enemy spy sent to dispense with him. With similar references and jibes, it echoes Austin Powers – International Man of Mystery and yet preceeded that film by more than five years. Though not as profound as some of his other projects, it remains one of Mark’s personal favorites. A making-of documentary, Seriously Gratuitous: The Making of Gratuitous Violence, was also produced.
The short was produced on 16mm, technically silent but with a crude sound sync created by Mark. The total cost of the film was about $600, virtually all of which was for film stock and developing. Mark is particular proud of having shot at a 2:1 ratio, i.e., he used a full half of the film footage shot in the final edit of the film.
The film had its premiere screening in the Willard Strait Theatre, Willard Strait Hall, Cornell University, May 10, 1992.
View the YouTube Video
The digital video was captured by Allan Meritt in January 2007 and posted by Mark on YouTube on January 22, 2007. You can watch the entire video right here by just pressing the Play button immediately below — all parts will automatically play in order. Or, you can visit YouTube to see the video or post a comment.
- Rest Room Rumble
- Microfilm MacGuffin
- Car Chase
- Regroup #1
- White Dragon
- Regroup #2
- Regroup #3
- Regroup #4
- Elevator Music/Vermin
- Orchid Returns
- You Could’ve Been Something Special (Love Theme from Gratuitous Violence) — Lyrics by Mark S. Meritt and Rudy Cosenza
Music and Lyrics © & 2007, 1992 Mark S. Meritt