Arthur Laurents

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Picture - Arthur Laurents New York City, USA, Monday 9th November 2009

Arthur Laurents Monday 9th November 2009 'Bernadette Peters: A Special Concert for Broadway Barks because Broadway Cares'at the Minskoff Theatre - Arrivals New York City, USA

Arthur Laurents

Picture - Stephen Sondheim and Arthur Laurents New York City, USA, Thursday 27th March 2008

Stephen Sondheim and Arthur Laurents - Stephen Sondheim and Arthur Laurents New York City, USA - during the opening night curtain call for the revival of the musical 'Gypsy' at the St. James Theatre. Thursday 27th March 2008

The Way We Were Review


Grim
Robert Redford and Barbra Streisand star in a multi-year romantic drama that comes off as about as believable as a love affair between myself and a potted plant. Widely loathed for its sacharrine approach (and Streisand's acting), the shrill Ms. Babs is so unsympathetic as the local communist sympathiser that you can't help but be aghast in wonder over why Redford's character would possibly see anything in her. Of course, this film had a popular song come from it (see if you can guess what it was, Einstein), and a legion of Babs fans believe their goddess can do no wrong, so, for better or worse, The Way We Were is going to be with us as a "classic" romance for some time to come.

Rope Review


Extraordinary
Along with The Birds and Psycho, Rope was one of the very first Hitchcock films I saw as a kid -- a dusty old videotape sitting on a shelf with an odd title scrawled on its edge. I loved it then and still have a fond memory for the film, which led me to explore nearly 50 pictures from the Master of Suspense.

Rope is a complex and dazzlingly unique picture. Subversively based on the Leopold and Loeb murder case, it presents us with two boys (Dall and Granger) who have been taught by their old headmaster (Stewart) in the Nietzchian philosophies of the Superman and the unimportance of the lives of simpler people. Dall masterminds a plot and Granger follows as his half-willing pull-toy; together they strangle a mutual friend, dump his body in a chest, and throw a party for his father -- serving a buffet from his makeshift casket.

Continue reading: Rope Review

Anastasia (1956) Review


Weak
This is the earlier, and definitely not animated, version of the story of the hunt for Anastasia Romanov, daughter of the Tsar who, according to legend, was the only member of the royal family to survive their massacre by revolutionaries in 1917. Anastasia starts off in the late 1920s among the exiled White Russian community in Paris, who rather obsessively keep their country's customs alive in a foreign place. Certain entrepreneurs in the community, including a disgraced former general, Prince Bounine (Yul Brynner), have been trying for years to discover a trainable woman with a close-enough resemblance to Anastasia that she could pass for the real thing - and collect 10 million pounds of Russian royal money sitting in a London bank. Bounine and his compatriots recruit the homeless and rather insane Ingrid Bergman for the task and start about molding her to pass muster before the exiles who knew the real Anastasia and who will, hopefully, sign testimonies to her identity. The twist is that Bergman at times actually thinks she is Anastasia.

There would have been plenty of opportunity for some My Fair Lady-type hijinks in the early part of this remarkably-controlled film, with Brynner playing the stern taskmaster and Bergman the not-so-ugly duckling about to transform into a swan. But director Anatole Litvak keeps everything measured and reasonably serious, focusing more on Bergman's dementia than the perfunctory romance that supposedly blossoms between her and Brynner. Bergman's performance (which won her an Oscar) has its hammy "look at me!" moments, but they're shrewdly undercut by the surrounding characters' suspicion that she is inventing not just her past as Anastasia but her entire dementia as well.

Continue reading: Anastasia (1956) Review

Gypsy Review


Good
Rosalind Russell is most-mentioned when Gypsy, the life story of famed Burlesque star Gypsy Rose Lee, but Natalie Wood is really the show-stealer as the titular character. Her nuanced performance as a Vaudevillian, thrust into stripping after its death, puts Russell's shrieking Mama Rose to shame. Not that she isn't good, but hey, how do you compete on screen with Ms. Wood? While the story is solid, mainly tracing Gypsy's time as a child being carted around the country by mom and Karl Malden's candy salesman in an attempt to Make It Big, the music is weak overall, with but two numbers ("Let Me Entertain You" and "Everything's Coming Up Roses") being even remotely memorable.
Arthur Laurents

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