05 Mar 2010 @ 6:00 AM 

Friday Minute
No. 46 | March 5, 2010

Oscar Déjà Vu

Our theme this week (theme introduction)
Film titles with two Oscar nominations for Best Picture

Featured this week
Monday         —   Moulin Rouge (1952, 2001)
Tuesday         —   Cleopatra (1934, 1963)
Wednesday    —   Heaven Can Wait (1943, 1978)
Thursday        —   Romeo and Juliet (1936, 1968)

Mutiny on the Bounty (1935, 1962)


mutiny on the bounty_1935Mutiny on the Bounty
 (1935)

Director:  Frank Lloyd
Writers:  Talbot Jennings, Jules Furthman, Carey Wilson; based on the novel by Charles Nordhoff, James Norman Hall
Cast:  Charles Laughton (William Bligh), Clark Gable (Fletcher Christian), Franchot Tone (Roger Byam), Movita (Tehani), Mamo Clark (Maimiti)
Oscar Summary:  8 nominations, including Picture, Director, Actor (Laughton, Gable, Tone), Adapted Screenplay; 1 win (Picture)


 
mutiny on the bounty_1962Mutiny on the Bounty (1962)
Director:  Lewis Milestone (replacing Carol Reed, uncredited)
Writer:  Charles Lederer; based on the novel by Charles Nordhoff, James Norman Hall
Cast:  Marlon Brando (Fletcher Christian), Trevor Howard (William Bligh), Richard Harris (John Mills), Tarita (Maimiti)
Oscar Summary:  7 nominations, including Picture; no wins
 
 
 

The essentials
The math says 1962 is much closer to 1935 (27 years) than to 2010 (48 years), but the look of the later production feels closer to something from our era of moviemaking than it does to the earlier film.  In part that’s a result of the widescreen color photography, the spare-no-expense budget, and the three-hour length.  But the performances also make a difference, with a cast led by Marlon Brando offering a more naturalistic, less hammy, rendering of the story.  That’s not to say the newer version is a better film; I rather enjoyed 1935 film.  (These days, we’re not likely to see another Mutiny on the Bounty made.  Now, they’d change the ship to a spaceship and those nature-loving Tahitians to the Na’vi; they wouldn’t film it in Panavision, but 3-D, and they’d shorten the title too.  Avatar fans may want to note, for the record, the ship sent a year later to search for the missing Bounty was the HMS Pandora.) 

The 1962 film took more liberties with the truth, though both films were based on the 1932 book Mutiny on the Bounty, which itself is a historical novel, not a history, of the real-life mutiny that took place in 1789.  William Bligh was the commanding officer of the Bounty during its fateful voyage of the South Pacific.  After a stop in Tahiti, a group led by Fletcher Christian took command in a bloodless mutiny, sending Bligh out to sea in a small boat with a few of his loyalists.  Bligh lived to return to England.  The mutineers settled in Tahiti and Pitcairn Island, where some of their descendents live today.  The mutiny, and the cruelty of Bligh toward his crew that led to it, is the stuff of legend.  The tale’s been told in poetry and prose (among the storytellers:  Lord Byron, Mark Twain, and Jules Verne), and at least half a dozen films. 

Beyond the final credits
Of the ten Best Picture nominees featured this week, the 1935 release of Mutiny of the Bounty was the only one to win the prize.  The film was the first ever to have three acting nominations, and the only one to have three nominations for Best Actor—Laughton, a great actor here chewing the scenery, Gable, minus his mustache, and Tone, as the true hero of the story.


Mutiny on the Bounty (1935)
Frank Lloyd, director
Trailer

 


Mutiny on the Bounty (1962)
Lewis Milestone, director
Trailer

 


Quote of Note
Greenwald
:  And now we come to the man who should have stood trial.  The Caine’s favorite author.  The Shakespeare whose testimony nearly sunk us all.  Tell ‘em, Keefer.
Keefer:  No, you go ahead.  You’re telling it better.
Greenwald:  You ought to read his testimony.  He never even heard of Captain Queeg!
Maryk:  Let’s forget it, Barney.
Greenwald:  Queeg was sick, he couldn’t help himself.  But you, you’re real healthy.  Only you didn’t have one-tenth the guts that he had.
Keefer:  Except I never fooled myself, Mr. Greenwald.
Greenwald:  I wanna drink a toast to you, Mr. Keefer.  From the beginning you hated the Navy.  And then you thought up this whole idea and you managed to keep your skirts nice and starched and clean, even in the court martial.  Steve Maryk will always be remembered as a mutineer.  But you, you’ll publish your novel, you’ll make a million bucks, you’ll marry a big movie star, and for the rest of your life you’ll live with your conscience, if you have any.  Here’s to the real author of the Caine mutiny.  Here’s to you, Mr. Keefer.  [Greenwald throws wine in Keefer's face]  If you wanna do anything about it, I’ll be outside.  I’m a lot drunker than you are—so it’ll be a fair fight.”
—Lt. Barney Greenwald (José Ferrer), Lt. Tom Keefer (Fred MacMurray), Lt. Steve Maryk (Van Johnson), The Caine Mutiny (1954)

…58…59…60.

Posted By: John Farmer
Last Edit: 05 Mar 2010 @ 06:58 AM

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 04 Mar 2010 @ 6:00 AM 

Thursday Minute
No. 45 | March 4, 2010

Oscar Déjà Vu

Our theme this week (theme introduction)
Film titles with two Oscar nominations for Best Picture

Featured this week
Monday         —   Moulin Rouge (1952, 2001)
Tuesday         —   Cleopatra (1934, 1963)
Wednesday    —   Heaven Can Wait (1943, 1978)

Romeo and Juliet (1936, 1968)


romeo and juliet_1936Romeo and Juliet
 (1936)

Director:  George Cukor
Writer:  Talbot Jennings; based on the play by William Shakespeare
Cast:  Norma Shearer (Juliet), Leslie Howard (Romeo), John Barrymore (Mercutio), Basil Rathbone (Tybalt), Edna May Oliver (The Nurse)
Oscar Summary:  4 nominations, including Picture, Actress (Shearer), Supporting Actor (Rathbone); no wins

 


romeo and juliet_1968Romeo and Juliet
 (1968)

Director:  Franco Zeffirelli
Writers:  Franco Brusati, Masolino D’Amico, Franco Zeffirelli; based on the play by William Shakespeare
Cast:  Leonard Whiting (Romeo), Olivia Hussey (Juliet), John McEnery (Mercutio), Milo O’Shea (Friar Lawrence), Michael York (Tybalt)
Oscar Summary:  4 nominations, including Picture, Director; 2 wins (Cinematography, Costume Design)

 

 

The essentials
For never was a story of more woe
Than this of Juliet and her Romeo.

The Juliet of this tale is Norma Shearer, one of Hollywood’s biggest stars going back to the silent era.  Her husband, for nearly a decade, was the legendary producer Irving Thalberg.  Thalberg made Romeo and Juliet for MGM, spending double the original budget, and further straining his already-deteriorated friendship with studio boss Louis B. Mayer.  Thalberg had earned his nickname the Boy Wonder for his uncanny talent for making box office hits, but this was not one of them.  His film about the pair of star-cross’d lovers went on to lose a million dollars, and Hollywood shied away from Shakespeare for several years afterward.  Shearer did earn an Oscar nomination, as did the picture, but the film was an especially sad landmark in her life.  On the day the film had its premiere in Los Angeles, Thalberg died of pneumonia, at the age of 37.

Shearer was 33 when she made the film.  Her co-star, Leslie Howard, was 42.  That’s probably not the casting that Shakespeare had in mind.  In the play, Juliet is 13.  Romeo’s age is never stated, but he’s young (“Upon whose tender chin, as yet, no manlike beard there grew”).  Even by Hollywood standards, the Shearer-Howard leads were a stretch.

Franco Zeffirelli cast two young actors whose combined age was about that of Shearer’s alone.  Olivia Hussey was 15, Leonard Whiting 17 (give or take a year, depending on the source).  Romeo and Juliet is the pinnacle of Zeffirelli’s film career.  He got his start during the late ’40s as an assistant to Luchino Visconti on La Terra Trema, and his career has been one classy production after another—some of it Shakespeare (The Taming of the Shrew, Hamlet), much of it opera (La Traviata, Otello), and a notable TV miniseries (Jesus of Nazareth, with Hussey as Mary).  His 1968 film won raves at the time and is one of the most highly regarded and popular screen adaptations of Shakespeare.  Much of the credit goes to the young actors, who seem just right for their parts, natural fits for those lovers of Verona of long ago.  The focus in the Zeffirelli film is the passion between Romeo and Juliet (not necessarily the case with other adaptations; see Baz Luhrmann).  It’s a beautiful film to look at and listen to—one for the ages.

 

Beyond the final credits
She isn’t as well-remembered as some others from her time, but Norma Shearer was a huge star.  Soon after she came to Hollywood, she co-starred with Lon Chaney in the first Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer production, He Who Gets Slapped (1924).  By 1925 she was making $1,000 a week, and a lot more soon after that.  She made the transition to talkies with The Trial of Mary Dugan (1929), and won an Oscar for The Divorcee (one of her six nominations).  Her other notable films include A Free Soul (1931), The Barretts of Wimpole Street (1934), Marie Antoinette (1938), Idiot’s Delight (1939), and The Women (1939).  She was the inspiration for one of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s short stories, “Crazy Sunday.”  For his final, unfinished novel, The Last Tycoon, Fitzgerald based the character of movie mogul Monroe Stahr on Shearer’s husband, Irving Thalberg.  Shearer retired from movies when she remarried in 1942.


Movie Legends:  Norma Shearer (Mrs. Irving Thalberg)


Romeo and Juliet (1968)
Franco Zeffirelli, director


Award Spotlight
Perspective from Academy Award Winners

“The only way to find the best actor would be to let everybody play Hamlet and let the best man win.”
—Humphrey Bogart (1951)

“If there’s one thing that actors know, other than that there weren’t any WMDs, it’s that there is no such thing as best in acting.”
—Sean Penn (2004)

“What does the Academy Award mean?  I don’t think it means much of anything.”
—Sally Field (1980)

…58…59…60.

 03 Mar 2010 @ 6:00 AM 

Wednesday Minute
No. 44 | March 3, 2010

Oscar Déjà Vu

Our theme this week (theme introduction)
Film titles with two Oscar nominations for Best Picture

Featured this week
Monday         —   Moulin Rouge (1952, 2001)
Tuesday         —   Cleopatra (1934, 1963)

Heaven Can Wait (1943, 1978)


heaven can wait_1943Heaven Can Wait
(1943)
Director:  Ernst Lubitsch
Writer:  Samson Raphaelson; based on the play Birthday by Leslie Bush-Fekete
Cast:  Don Ameche (Henry Van Cleve), Gene Tierney (Martha), Charles Coburn (Hugo Van Cleve), His Excellency (Laird Cregar)
Oscar Summary:  3 nominations, including Picture, Director; no wins

 

 


heaven can wait_1978Heaven Can Wait (1978)
Directors:  Warren Beatty, Buck Henry
Writers:  Elaine May, Warren Beatty (and Robert Towne, uncredited); based on the play Heaven Can Wait by Harry Segall, adapted by Segall for the film Here Comes Mr. Jordan (1941)
Cast:  Warren Beatty (Joe Pendleton), Julie Christie (Betty Logan), Mr. Jordan (James Mason), Jack Warden (Max Corkle), Charles Grodin (Tony Abbott), Dyan Cannon (Julia Farnsworth)
Oscar Summary:  9 nominations, including Picture, Director, Actor (Beatty), Supporting Actor (Warden), Supporting Actress (Cannon), Adapted Screenplay; 1 win (Art Direction)
 
 

 

 

The essentials
Of all the twice-nominated titles this week, the Heaven Can Wait connection is the loopiest.  The Warren Beatty-Buck Henry comedy is a remake of an early-1940s movie, but not the 1943 Ernst Lubitsch comedy of the same name.  The 1976 film is a remake of Here Comes Mr. Jordan, of 1941, which is based on a play called Heaven Can Wait.  The 1943 film is based a play called Birthday.  So the two films are not related, except this:  the plot hooks for the two stories are nearly flip sides of each other.  The earlier film has a dead man petitioning Satan to be admitted into hell.  The later one has a dead man who wants to go back to his life on Earth.

Ernst Lubitsch was a master of Hollywood’s golden age, and Heaven Can Wait was one of his later films.  Don Ameche is a playboy who expects to go to hell on the day that he dies.  Greeted by the always-courteous His Excellency (i.e., Satan), he must recount his sins to gain admission.  The film is a look back at the events of his life, especially the trouble he caused for his wife.  Across the decades he had his share of flirtations and indulgences, though they were mostly harmless.  The question is whether he was bad enough for Hades.  The film may not rank with Ninotchka or The Shop Around the Corner or Trouble in Paradise as the best of Lubitsch, but that’s a high standard to meet.  Lubitsch didn’t know how to make a bad film, and as always, this one’s a classy production, delivering some good laughs along the way.

The later Heaven Can Wait is an enjoyable movie from Warren Beatty and company.  It’s one of two films (along with Reds) for which Beatty received four Oscar nominations (as actor, director, writer, and producer).  He plays L.A. Rams quarterback Joe Pendleton, who dies before the Super Bowl.  Joe gets a reprieve, however, when his angel fumbles the assignment, and he returns to the living in the body of a murdered millionaire.  Getting back in the game is no easy task, as he faces skeptics about his identity and a wife who tries to kill him again.  Meanwhile, he falls for a British ecologist played by Julie Christie.  The movie’s got charm, mischief, satire, and one funny cast.

Beyond the final credits
Here Comes Mr. Jordan, the 1941 film, was about a boxer who’s taken to heaven before his time.  Warren Beatty first wanted the remake to be about a boxer, starring Muhammed Ali.  Those plans didn’t work out, so the boxer was changed to a football player and Beatty played the role himself.  Another remake of the story, Down to Earth (2001), starred Chris Rock as a comedian who dies before his time.


Heaven Can Wait (1943)
Ernst Lubitsch, director

 


Heaven Can Wait (1978)
Warren Beatty, Buck Henry, James Mason


Quote of Note
Daniel Miller
:  Is this heaven?
Bob Diamond:  No, it isn’t heaven.
Daniel Miller:  Is it hell?
Bob Diamond:  Nope, it isn’t hell either.  Actually, there is no hell.  Although I hear Los Angeles is getting pretty close.
—Daniel Miller (Albert Brooks), Bob Diamond (Rip Torn), Defending Your Life(1991)

…58…59…60.

 02 Mar 2010 @ 6:00 AM 

Tuesday Minute
No. 43 | March 2, 2010

Oscar Déjà Vu

Our theme this week (theme introduction)
Film titles with two Oscar nominations for Best Picture

Featured this week
Monday         —   Moulin Rouge (1952, 2001)

Cleopatra (1934, 1963)


cleopatra_1934Cleopatra
(1934)
Director:  Cecil B. DeMille
Writers:  Waldemar Young, Vincent Lawrence, screenplay; Bartlett Cormack, historical material
Cast:  Claudette Colbert (Cleopatra), Warren William (Julius Caesar), Henry Wilcoxon (Marc Antony), Joseph Schildkraut (King Herod)
Oscar Summary:  5 nominations, including Picture; 1 win (Cinematography)

 

 

cleopatra_1963Cleopatra (1963)
Director:  Joseph L. Mankiewicz (replacing Rouben Mamoulian)
Writers:  Joseph L. Mankiewicz, Ranald MacDougall, Sidney Buchman
Cast:  Elizabeth Taylor (Cleopatra), Richard Burton (Mark Antony),  Rex Harrison (Julius Caesar)
Oscar Summary:  9 nominations, including Picture, Actor (Harrison); 4 wins (Cinematography, Art Direction, Costume Design, Effects)

 


The essentials
Egypt had seven queens named Cleopatra but you never see much about the first six.  It’s always Cleopatra VII Philopator, the last of the Ptolemaic rulers, who gets the love.  Many times her life has been dramatized.  In Shakespeare, she splits title billing with Antony.  In movies, it’s often her name alone in the title.  Among several silent Cleopatras, the most famous is the 1917 Fox production starring Theda Bara, though prints of that film, unfortunately, were lost to fire.  The talking era would give the world several more chances to see the queen onscreen.

The tagline for the 1934 version was “History’s most seductive woman!  The screen’s mightiest spectacle!”  Who but Cecil B. DeMille would have directed that.  The film was a lavish, big-budget affair, and a big deal at the time.  DeMille squeezed it in just before the Hays production code was enforced, and perhaps got away with more vamping than would have been allowed later.  The star of the show was Claudette Colbert, in one of her three memorable performances that year.  She made Imitation of Life and won the Oscar for Best Actress opposite Clark Gable in the Frank Capra classic It Happened One Night.  Even at the time, Colbert probably seemed like a modern update for the old queen of the Nile.  Same for the dialogue.  Anyone familiar with Shakespeare’s play might not have been expecting this:  “Together we could conquer the world” / “Nice of you to include me” (Cleopatra / Caesar), and “The wife is always the last to know” (Octavia).  Not exactly the Bard, but Shakespeare was hardly the language of the ancients either.  A 75th-anniversary DVD was released last year.

The 1963 film is better known for its epic failure than for the epic on the screen.  It was the most expensive movie ever made, running north of $40 million—quite an overrun for a film originally budgeted at $2-to-$6 million.  Elizabeth Taylor became the first Hollywood star to earn more than $1 million for a single film, and her health problems—including an emergency tracheotomy that saved her life—were among the many complications that threatened the production.  After the first director and lead actors were replaced, Richard Burton joined the cast, and his affair with Taylor was a huge scandal.  A few years after production had started, director Joseph L. Mankiewicz completed the film.  His six-hour version, though, was cut by the studio, and at four hours the film was still exceedingly long but perhaps not long enough to tell its story in a coherent way.  Theater owners, disturbed by the film’s running time, jacked ticket prices three times the normal rate (all the way up to $5.50!).  The film did make money at the box office—it was the number-one draw of the year—but that was not enough.  The huge expense of Cleopatra nearly put 20th Century Fox out of business.  The success of The Longest Day (1963) and The Sound of Music (1965) ultimately saved the studio, but it had to sell much of its backlot to recoup losses.  The high-rises of L.A.’s Century City business district now stand where movies once were made.

 

Beyond the final credits
cleopatra_bust

Cleopatra is often depicted as a woman of great, classical beauty.  It’s hard to judge, since we don’t have pictures of her today, but with her history of attracting and seducing some of the most powerful men in the world, there’s a case to be made.  Blaise Pascal had this famous line:  “Cleopatra’s nose, had it been shorter, the whole face of the world would have been changed.”  In his time, a prominent nose was considered a sign of dominance and strength of character.  Ironically, one of the few works believed to have captured Cleopatra’s image is the bust above.  The nose did not survive.


Cleopatra (1934)
Cecil B. DeMille, director
Trailer


Cleopatra (1963)
Joseph L. Mankiewicz, director

Wanna know how you make a movie four hours long?  Watch this.


Point of View
“An actor is something less than a man, while an actress is something more than a woman.”
—Richard Burton

…58…59…60.

Posted By: John Farmer
Last Edit: 27 Feb 2010 @ 09:05 PM

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 01 Mar 2010 @ 6:00 AM 

Monday Minute
No. 42 | March 1, 2010

Oscar Déjà Vu

Someday if you sit down to watch the film Notorious you may begin to wonder what the Notorious B.I.G. is doing in a Cary Grant film.  How could that be?  Well, Notorious is not one film, but two.  There’s Notorious (1946) and Notorious (2009).  The year tells you which one, and that popular convention of appending dates to movie titles is often needed because of Hollywood’s notorious habit of reusing old titles for new movies.

No one knows exactly why there’s such a shortage of film titles.  Rumor has it one studio blew the budget on craft services and had to fire its title department.  Other reports are that more titles used to exist, but the cleaning crew took them when no one was looking.

In any case, the reuse of old titles leads to the age-old question:  Haven’t we seen this picture before?

Often the answer is “Yes!”  But we’re a forgetful bunch, apparently, which may explain why there are at least eight film versions of Little Women (and it’s been a few years since the last—I’m afraid we’re due for another).

The Motion Picture Academy may have had a few memory lapses itself.  As far as I know, there’s only been one Best Picture prize awarded to a film called Gone With the Wind, and though I haven’t checked, I’m betting no previous Best Picture nominee used the title Precious: Based on the Novel “Push” by Sapphire.  But on a few occasions the Academy has nominated a film for Best Picture after a film with the same title had been nominated before.  It’s happened five times, in fact.

Noting that, I hope, doesn’t encourage anyone to name their next movie Casablanca or On the Waterfront or Midnight Cowboy.  No, that would not be a good idea.  Just as baseball retired Jackie Robinson’s number 42, Hollywood should find a way to retire a few old movie titles.  If you do want to make the next Citizen Kane, don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Our theme this week
Film titles with two Oscar nominations for Best Picture

Moulin Rouge (1952, 2001)


moulin rouge_1952Moulin Rouge
(1952)
Director:  John Huston
Writers:  John Huston, Anthony Veiller; screenplay based on Pierre La Mure’s biographical novel Moulin Rouge
Cast:  José Ferrer (Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, and his father, the comte), Colette Marchand (Marie Charlet), Suzanne Flon (Myriamme Hayam), Zsa Zsa Gabor (Jane Avril)
Oscar Summary:  7 nominations, including Picture, Director, Actor (Ferrer), Supporting Actress (Marchand); 2 wins (Art Direction, Costume Design)

 

moulin rouge_2001Moulin Rouge! (2001)
Director:  Baz Luhrmann
Writers:  Baz Luhrmann, Craig Pearce
Cast:  Nicole Kidman (Satine), Ewan McGregor (Christian), John Leguizamo (Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec), Jim Broadbent (Harold Zidler), Richard Roxburgh (Duke of Monroth)
Oscar Summary:  8 nominations, including Picture, Actress (Kidman); 2 wins (Art Direction, Costume Design)


The essentials
There have been at least five films titled Moulin Rouge.  These two are the most recent and the best known.  (One of the earlier releases, by the way, had introduced the song “Boulevard of Broken Dreams,” in 1934.)  Both films are set in fin de siècle Paris.  Both feature the character of French painter Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec.  There the similarity ends.  The two films are far more different than that exclamation mark in the title.

At first glance the John Huston film may seem a bit old-fashioned.  The cinematography, in garish Technicolor, and the very loud costume design, may be overdone.  The accents are an odd mix for a group of Parisians—French, American, and Zsa Zsa Gabor’s, which is neither.  The acting is not always a style we’re used to seeing today.  But the story is not only solid, it’s an effective and moving portrait of the great Post-Impressionist painter Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec.  The film is essentially a character study, and the character may have had a special resonance for Huston.  The director was a painter in his own right (“Nothing has played a more important role in my life,” he wrote in his autobiography), and he, like Toulouse-Lautrec, struggled to overcome the long shadow of a prominent father.  We meet the French painter at the Moulin Rouge, the famous cabaret of Pigalle, where he sketches the scene while downing a bottle of cognac.  Amid a world of vibrant color, the artist alone is darkly clad, as he is most of the movie.  A childhood accident has left him deformed (the film skirts the issue of inbreeding, believed to have been in part responsible for his health problems) and destined to be unloved.  His life changes when he meets the streetwalker Marie.  He falls in love, but their relationship is difficult.  When she leaves, he is unable to work.  He searches for her, and what he eventually finds is success as an artist, a deepening sense of self-pity, and in the end, when it is too late, the admiration of his father.  Unlike his contemporary Van Gogh, Toulouse-Lautrec was “a painter of the street and of the gutter.”  Respect, like love, was not something that came easily for the artist during his brief life.  José Ferrer portrays Toulouse-Lautrece with a combination of purpose and restraint, and his scenes with Colette Marchand as the fiery Marie are among the film’s best.

The Toulouse-Lautrec of the 2001 film, in a hammy performance by John Leguizamo, bears no relation to the José Ferrer character, nor the real-life artist.  In Baz Luhrmann’s vision, he’s the leader of a musical troupe, and mostly on the periphery.  The main action is the secretive love affair between the courtesan Satine and the bohemian Christian, mixed with intrigue provided by the duke, the wealthy investor who’s paying for the show that’s to open at the Moulin Rouge, not to mention the services of Satine.  The show is called “Spectacular Spectacular,” and it’s filled with plenty of singing singing and dancing dancing.  The musical features songs from Elton John, Madonna, the Police, Nirvana, and a dozen or two other artists you don’t normally associate with a story set in 1899.  Luhrmann has said the inspiration for the film was a Bollywood musical.  That may explain why it goes in a thousand different directions at once.  It was certainly a novel production, a hyperactive music video stretched out to two hours.  At the time it was well-received by critics and popular with audiences.  I doubt, though, the sheer impatience of the storytelling will wear well, and the more hip and current of the two Moulin Rouge films is the one more likely to look dated, someday if not already.  Huston’s film may be a bit stodgy but it’s still very watchable, and worth a look.

Beyond the final credits

In the John Huston film, there’s a scene with Toulouse-Lautrec painting Colette.  He says she can have the painting if she likes it.  She’s curious:

Colette:  How much is a painting worth?
Henri:  It all depends who painted it.
Colette:  One of yours, I mean.
Henri:  It’s too soon to tell.
Colette:  How do you mean, too soon?
Henri:  Some 300 years ago a man named Da Vinci painted a portrait of a woman.  Her husband did not like it and would not pay for it.  Today it hangs in the Louvre and no one man in the world has enough money to buy it.
Colette:  What good does that do—what’s his name, the painter?
Henri:  He had his reward.  He painted it.

Lucky for Henri that he had his reward.  But a century later, so did somebody else.  The painter’s “La Blanchisseuse” sold in 2005 for $22.4 million.

la blanchisseuse

La Blanchisseuse (The Laundress), 1884
Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec


Moulin Rouge (1952)
John Huston, director
Trailer

 


Moulin Rouge (2001)
Baz Luhrmann, director
“Tango de Roxanne”


All You Need to Know About Toulouse-Lautrec


Quote of Note
Kitty March: Well, I was going to do this myself, but, uh…[handing her toenail polish to Christopher Cross]…Paint me, Chris!  They’ll be masterpieces.
—Kitty March (Joan Bennett), Christopher Cross (Edward G. Robinson), Scarlet Street (1945)

…58…59…60.

Posted By: John Farmer
Last Edit: 01 Mar 2010 @ 07:20 AM

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