Paolo Stoppa

Paolo Stoppa

Paolo Stoppa Quick Links

Film RSS

Becket Review


Essential
Oscar trivia hounds probably know that Peter O'Toole is one of only four actors to receive Best Actor nods for playing the same character in two different films (we'll leave it to you and the Internet to figure out the other three). The first of these was for playing King Henry II in 1964's Becket. (The second would come when he reprised the role four years later in The Lion in Winter.) And while his performance is Oscar-worthy, it is only part of what makes the film a delectable slice of English history.

It's the mid-12th century and Normans have controlled England and its resident Saxons for two generations. The latest Norman leader, Henry II, has employed a Saxon, Thomas Becket (Richard Burton) to be his unofficial right-hand man. When he decides to make the title official, appointing Becket as chancellor, it only makes the already jealous Norman nobles and clergy angrier. When he goes even further and decides to quell an unruly church by appointing Becket as archbishop, it seems the nobles and clergy might revolt, but Henry finds that it is Becket, suddenly torn between his duty to King as chancellor and to God as archbishop, from whom he has the most to fear.

Continue reading: Becket Review

The Leopard Review


Extraordinary
1963's The Leopard, directed by the Italian Count Luchino Visconti and based on the best-selling novel by countryman Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa, tells the story of an Old World aristocrat - the Sicilian Fabrizio Corbera, Prince of Salina - as he faces the changes forced upon his embattled social class by the Italian Risorgimento of 1860, a revolutionary social movement (and armed conflict) that brought about the end of that country's feudal monarchies and united its states into what now is the country of Italy. The vision of both the novel and the film is epic, and the politics of the thing are intricate enough that even a native Italian likely found it a challenge in 1963, and would likely find it even more so today. The politics are also central to the film, and this undoubtedly contributed to its uneasy stateside reception in '63 and its virtual unavailability on video until now.

My hope is that Criterion's marvelous new three-DVD edition will change that. Unlike many special editions, there's no superfluous material here: The set includes the original, 187-minute Italian version of The Leopard, the U.S. theatrical release (because Burt Lancaster starred, 20th Century Fox had American rights to the film; not knowing what to do with it, they trimmed 16 minutes, dubbed it into English, and distorted - in the interests of "accessibility" - Giuseppe Rotunno's gorgeous widescreen cinematography), enlightening commentary by film historian Peter Cowie, and video essays that provide important historical context for the action alongside new interviews with surviving cast and crew members.

Continue reading: The Leopard Review

Paolo Stoppa

Paolo Stoppa Quick Links

Film RSS
Advertisement

Suggested

Daniel Craig Hopes 'Spectre' Shows His Bond Is Not As 'Sexist And Misogynistic' As Before

Daniel Craig Hopes 'Spectre' Shows His Bond Is Not As 'Sexist And Misogynistic' As Before

The actor will have his fifth outing as the secret agent in 'Spectre' this November.

'The Danish Girl' Director Reveals When Eddie Redmayne Was Cast As Transgender Artist Lili Elbe

'The Danish Girl' Director Reveals When Eddie Redmayne Was Cast As Transgender Artist Lili Elbe

The director faced some backlash when Redmayne was announced as playing the transgender pioneer.

Advertisement
Tyler The Creator Speaks Out On UK Ban

Tyler The Creator Speaks Out On UK Ban

The rapper was denied entry to Britain on August 26th.

Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds - Here's A Candle (For Your Birthday Cake) Audio

Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds - Here's A Candle (For Your Birthday Cake) Audio

Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds topped UK charts with his second album 'Chasing Yesterday' in February.

Filmmaker Wes Craven Dies Aged 76

Filmmaker Wes Craven Dies Aged 76

Filmmaker Wes Craven has died at the age of 76, his family has announced. With a career spanning over 40 years, Craven was one of the most prolific...

Advertisement