a.k.a. "The Oscar Messenger"

Posts tagged ‘Laurence Olivier’

NYFF ends…with a Sneak Peak at Martin Scorsese’s “Hugo”

Yes, it’s finally over! The Best-It’s-Ever-Been 49th Edition of the New York Film Festival! The high points were really high – Centerpiece “My Week with Marilyn” totally blew me away & is probably going to net star Michelle Williams her first Oscar &  Closing Night’s Alexander Payne’s “The Descendants” is probably going to get George Clooney his second. They are both launched, in any case. Ditto “The Artist” also playing here. And Pedro Almodovar’s super superb “The Skin I Live In.”

Yes, if you’re looking to see Oscar fare FIRST from the comfort of your NY-adjacent home, then the NYFF is your cup of tea. And apart from Oscar seekers, there are also films that you get to see in the exciting, glamorous, cinema-loving situation that seem just that more special because you’re viewing them in this unique setting on a big screen, my favorite way to see films. Period.

Like for instance, you could see TWO brand new films, in two entirely different genres, by one grand master of cinema, Martin Scorsese’s 4 hour documentary on George Harrison “Living in the Material World” which is one of the best films he’s ever made. Totally joyous, celebratory, informative, transportive.It’s length not a problem, and coming soon to HBO., where it will be seen in two parts, Beatles and post-Beatles.

Also, there was the thrill of seeing a sneak peek of his new full length feature film “Hugo” which is in 3-D. We, the press, were warned it was still a “work in progress” and not for review. So I will say no more at this point, but that is was very exciting to be allowed to be there. And Scorsese was there himself, in person, to introduce the film.

Sometimes this Business of Show makes me feel outside of things, sometimes, but that night I felt as “In”as In could be, and thank you for including me, NYFF.

I, a Native New Yorker, finally felt like I was being given the keys to the city, albeit for just one brief night.

And the addition,  the two brand spanking shiny new smaller screens across the street from the Walter Reader Theater, the Beale and the Bunin, and the intimate new restaurant between them all, provided  much-needed new spaces that were just a delight to eat in, to watch films in or to just hang out with other festival-goers.

And then there’s the amazing things that happen at the NYFF  – apart from the films, if you can imagine such a thing. Like for instance, “My Weekend with Marilyn” being so tumultuously received that its’ distributor the Weinstein Co. MOVED its’ opening date back three weeks to THE SAME DAY in late November as its’ other Oscar-bait-y film “The Artist”!?!? Now, THAT was stunning development. And not only that. It’s the same day in November that “The Descendants” and also “Hugo” are opening!!?!?!! OMG!

What does all that mean????? Yikes!

Well, it will be a very busy day for the newspapers, the few newspapers, that are left to cover the movies in their movie sections. That are losing readers and advertising EVERY DAY in the Internet. But as you may have noticed not to this particular section of the Internet “The Stephen Holt Show”s blog, which is still AD FREE.

And It’s going to make for a  very, VERY interesting weekend, Thanksgiving weekend, BTW, at the box-office! Yikes!

But “The My Week with Marilyn” reaction was so overwhelming and so positive, this move gives The Weinstein Co. three more weeks to mount a MAJOR Oscar campaign in all categories, something it may or may not have been planning before. IOW, not only for Michelle Williams, brilliant as ever, but also for Kenneth Branagh as Sir Laurence Olivier(a slam-dunk, methinks), Dame Judi Dench as Dame Sybil Thorndike and Eddie Redmayne as the beguiling “My” of the title. Ditto the director Simon Curtis, the screenwriter Adrian Hodges, the cinematographer Ben Smithard, production designer Donal Woods, the costume designer Jill Taylor, the score(Conrad Pope & Alexandre  Desplat) and everything else you, and Harvey Weinstein can think of.

Elizabeth Taylor passes ~ The Star of Stars

So shocked and saddened to turn on my TV set this morning and be bombarded with the devastating news of Elizabeth Taylor’s death.

She seemed so strong, so resilient. I thought she would never die.

She was the Star of Stars. And my childhood idol/crush.

It seems sometimes I ran large portions of my childhood around her.

Memories come flooding back.

Now that I have a talk-show and routinely interact with all the great ones, I find myself trying to figure out how I can get them as guests and if so, why not?

Well, Elizabeth Taylor was simply before my time. And she was from pre-junket Hollywood. Where, as you may have noticed on my You Tube Channel or my long-running cable TV show, www.youtube.com/StephenHoltShow

I get most of the biggest stars from TV press junkets.

Elizabeth Taylor’s film career was done YEARS before I started star chatting, but in the back of my mind, I always felt/hoped consciously or unconsciously that I would someday meet and greet her.

It didn’t happen.

I have so many childhood memories, mostly bittersweet, of trying, somehow to even catch a glimpse of her.

The closest I got was when my first gay friend, who I didn’t know was gay, just “sophisticated”, who lived downstairs of me, in the Bronx, and who was a year ahead of me in Catholic school, Edward Calabrese, used to go “downtown” to wild and wicked Manhattan to perhaps catch a glimpse of her coming or going from where she was holed up when hubby Richard Burton was doing “Hamlet” on Broadway. She was staying in the Penthouse at the Regency Hotel.

Long story short. Edward and I never saw her.

We also waited to see her at “Hamlet”. Never saw her. Sometimes she’d go there to meet Richard Burton, the love of her life, before or after the show. Never saw her.

I did see HIM. In “Hamlet” on Broadway and of course, I went with Edward. Burton was a mediocre Hamlet, I thought, a critic even at that tender age. He was getting through it on his INCREDIBLE voice, and with a minimum of acting.

The great performances in that show were John Gielgud’s voice(on tape) of the “Ghost.” He really scared me. And remains still the best Ghost of Hamlet’s father ever, IMHO. And also a particularly poignant Player Queen, played in drag, by the very young Kit Culkin, MacCauley’s father. And Hume Cronyn was good, too, as the VERY busy body of Polinius. And Eileen Hurley, with BRIGHT red hair, was Gertrude…She played a VERY YOUNG Gertrude to Olivier’s much better “Hamlet” in the movie and later was Muriel, with equally bright red hair on “All My Children” for a very long run…

But I never saw Elizabeth.

But I tried.

I have so many memories of Elizabeth as she liked to be called that I could fill a book. Maybe someday I will.

Elizabeth R.I.P.

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