Marble House

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Title: Marble House
Creator: hollywoodgrrl
Date: August 2009
Format: DivX .avi
Length: 5:19 minutes
Music: "Marble House" by The Knife
Fandom: Doctor Who
URL: vid announcement
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Marble House is a Doctor Who fan vid by hollywoodgrrl. It was reviewed by such_heights on October 9, 2009 at the vid commentary LJ community.[1] In addition the vidder offered her own extended vid commentary. The vid premiered at Vividcon 2009.

Vidder's summary: ""There's one thing I always wanted to ask Jack. Back in the old days. I wanted to know about that Doctor of his. The man who appears out of nowhere and saves the world; except sometimes he doesn't. All those times in history where there was no sign of him... I wanted to know why not." — Gwen Cooper, Torchwood: Children of Earth.

Like many vids that use real World War footage from documentaries,[2] the vid was criticized for the practice (see comments below). Others pointed out that the vid is centered on a Doctor Who episode that takes place just before World War I and the threat of war forms a central theme. By using real footage the vidder is underscoring the point that the actions of the Doctor (or in some cases inactions) lead to real human suffering and deaths of millions.

The vid inspired meta commentary which compared this vid to the Handlebars Doctor Who vid which can be read here.[3]


  • "Seriously, the introduction is just about the most beautiful thing I've ever seen, it's such a perfect summation of the grandeur and wonder of Doctor Who. And then of course you go and rip its heart out. I love your musicality, as ever, there are so many cuts in this that I love - my favourite, I think, is at 3:37 from the Doctor to Martha, that's just chilling. That last section, the Doctor walking away just when the Earth needs him most - it is so brutal, so much bigger than all the angst entailed in the show itself. Why doesn't he save us from ourselves? You're right, it's exactly Gwen's question. I really hope you do feel like doing a commentary at some point, because I pretty much want to roll around in everything this vid is showing."[4]
  • " I particularly loved the shots of those nameless kids firing guns in with the footage of the trenches where they will one day find themselves. It really drove home the tragedy just around the corner which haunts those episodes. It is such a fantastic vid."[5]
  • "I interpret the vid a bit differently than most people, which isn't new...At first I was reading as the Doctor has the choice to run off in the TARDIS, while the humans have to stay and face the fights. The Doctor plays with humanity, including John Smith, without having to face the darker aspects of it. He can go hands off whenever he wants. The Doctor can deal with aliens fine, but he doesn't stick around for humanity's darkness. That he leaves to us (and Torchwood I suppose). The Doctor leaves humanity to its own darkness. A darkness that isn't supernatural, but coming from within ourselves, which makes it all the more frightening, especially for The Doctor, who wants to love humanity. He just wants to run away from the darkness in our hearts."[6]
  • "Oh, wow, this is like being punched in the heart. I love DW, and I love it for its ridiculousness, but as soon as you take a step back, oh wow are the assumptions behind it psychopathic or what."[7]
  • "I finally got around to watching "Marble House," and while it was a beautifully crafted vid, it made me very uncomfortable. The vidder uses real footage from WWI, which upset me, because those people are real men who went through hell (and most of whom probably died). IDK, I just feel that it's kind of wrong to use real people's suffering to make a point about a fictional character. Is it just me?" [8]
  • "On one hand, there's a long history of using real human suffering for art or to make an artistic point, and I don't think the derivative nature of fanvids makes them not art; whether or not it's making a point about a fictional character doesn't make a difference either way with me. And WWI has had a *huge* impact on English arts. Otoh, is there a difference between a horrid story and actual footage or still photography? (Yes.) Does it matter that WWI has been over for 90 years and that no one who remembers it is still alive? (Possibly? That part isn't necessarily exculpatory, but I think we'd come down a lot harder if the vidder used footage from a contemporary war or genocide.) What about the episodes that the vid draws from themselves? The shadow of WWI loomed over HN/FoB; could you have made the vid (and made it as powerful) without referencing WWI?" [9]
  • "I thought the footage was pretty central to what the vid's all about. It provided a context to HN/FOB that deepens the story and criticized those eps' sentimentalizing of history. If the show had used the real WWI footage, I'd agree with you about it being exploitative. But in a fanwork I think it's appropriate; the vidder used the footage respectfully and was inviting discussion of just this kind. Seeing this kind of ambition from vidders is awesome and I'm not about to criticize that."[10]
  • "How does the footage make a difference? It's history. This happened. We can't cover our eyes to the misery and death of the world and pretend it never happened. We need to constantly remind ourselves how awful war can be and I applaud the vidder for putting it in this context. The vidder's own notes say that this vid asks a question: it does not try to supply an answer at all. It's wondering why the Doctor didn't interfere and stop it...The footage is public domain after all this time and none of the soldiers or their families could possibly be affected by it being used in classrooms, on the history channel or in a fanvid. I think that it's as far from exploitation that you can get since the vidder is inviting people to discuss, remember and in a way, mourn the loss of these young boy's lives by giving them all a face..."[11]
  • "I'm going to get film-geek technical on you for a second, so please indulge me. The Russian filmmaker that 'invented' the montage film technique in the 1920's (aka rapid cutting between clips to infer a meaning between those two images) says that "montage is an idea that arises from the collision of independent shots" wherein "each sequential element is perceived not next to the other, but on top of the other". The vidder is overlaying the actual footage to ENHANCE the meaning behind the vid and for me, it was not so much about 'making a point' as it was an attempt in trying to understand and relate to a character through the lens of endless war - and isn't that just a way that we understand and analyze ourselves? Near the end, footage of real WWI soldiers is intercut with the young schoolboys firing guns and it chokes me up every time I watch because it reminds me just how young the boys were that we sent to Hell, after telling them false tales about heroism. It's a way to to applaud and memorialize those soldiers, not exploit their suffering. The same way that multiple movies and miniseries are trying to find the heart or humanity in a war story. Of course, this is all just my opinion and I can't say you were wrong for feeling uncomfortable but perhaps that was the vidder's intent? To make the viewer think, frown or squirm in their seat a bit and then ask themselves why they reacted this way."[12]
  • " It's funny, actually, because I don't really agree with the point the vid makes (have even written meta about it), but I still love the vid to absolute distraction, and whole heartedly agree that it's a point worth making! And how!"[13]


  1. WebCite for the vid commentary.
  2. Examples are Testify (Starsky & Hutch), Right In Two (Supernatural) and Jesus for the Jugular (Carnivale). Not surprisingly the vidder credits obsessive24's Jesus for the Jugular as inspiration for the vid.
  3. WebCite for elisi's essay "DW Essay: Time Lord Nature. (Handlebars and Marble House)" dated October 1, 2009.
  4. WebCite for feedback on page 1 at the vid announcement.
  5. WebCite for feedback on page 2 of the vid announcement.
  6. WebCite for feedback on page 3 of the vid announcement.
  7. WebCite for feedback on page 4 of the vid announcement.
  8. Anonymous comment in the who-anon meme, dated April 29, 2010-March 4, 2010.
  9. Anonymous comment in the who-anon meme, dated April 29, 2010-March 4, 2010.
  10. Anonymous comment in the who-anon meme, dated April 29, 2010-March 4, 2010.
  11. Anonymous comment in the who-anon meme, dated April 29, 2010-March 4, 2010.
  12. Anonymous comment in the who-anon meme, dated April 29, 2010-March 4, 2010.
  13. WebCite for feedback at the vidder's extended commentary.