While Hollywood is busy celebrating Annette Bening's latest big screen triumph, we thought we'd celebrate her husband Warren Beatty with a giveaway of the biography "Star. How Warren Beatty Seduced America" . It's out on paperback finally. I asked contestants to tell me about their favorite Warren Beatty film and I was actually surprised at the breakdown (I expected Bonnie & Clyde to capsize the competition but it did not.) In fact, the contest entries were pretty evenly spread among the top three.
The Holy Trinity...er, Quadrilogy
1. Splendor in the Grass (1961)
2. Bonnie & Clyde (1967)
3. [tie] Shampoo (1975) & Heaven Can Wait (1978)
Reds, Dick Tracy, McCabe and Mrs Miller, The Parallax View and Bulworth, in that order, lagged behind. Those nine films are a pretty smart snapshot of the cream of his crop reminding us once again that Film Experience readers are awesome. (Duh!) The rest of Beatty's thin but substantial filmography wasn't mentioned; Beatty only made 22 movies over his 40 year career. Of the 13 that weren't name-checked the most interesting is probably Lilith (1964) about an institutionalized woman (Jean Seberg) and the most infamous is undoubtedly the adventure comedy Ishtar (1987) with Dustin Hoffman.
Contest winners and notes on Bonnie & Clyde, Reds and Dick Tracy with Madonna after the jump.
ESTER in New York writes:
One of my favorite things about Warren Beatty is how many films he is not in. Most of Beatty's projects are interesting, if not always worth re-watching. (Perhaps I am alone in finding Shampoo irredeemably stupid & unfunny?) My favorite Beatty vehicle is the one that dares to show a man at his most vulnerable: Bonnie and Clyde. The shock that hits the audience when he can't get it up for Faye Dunaway is echoed in strength and sincerity by the shock of his and her ignominious end (which I like to think is the definition of "overkill"). Not many actors could play charismatic, impotent, and doomed all at once, but he makes it work and our hearts break for him.
KARL in California writes:
It’s been 30 years since “Reds” opened, but it’s stayed so fresh in my mind. I was in high school then, and was being influenced by some liberal teachers working hard to counteract Reagan. The idealism and sense of justice that infused Beatty's film really took hold in me. “Reds” might be the film that taught me how history was personal, and how personalities shape history.
Beatty couldn't have cast anyone else as the lead; “Reds” requires a star weighty enough to anchor a film full of so many Big Ideas and Sweeping Crowd Shots. Beatty plays Reed as a charming pain the ass, who won't jump off the train of history even for his family. But when he reunites, in the end, with his lover (an amazingly tough, non-Annie-Hall Diane Keaton) he makes you weep like a baby. I don’t know if he’s reached this far, or been this sincere in a movie since.
If anyone reading hasn't seen REDS, it's a must. It's so amazing. And Warren is not the only one operating at the peak of his big screen gifts. Diane Keaton, Jack Nicholson, and Maureen Stapleton are all doing some of the best work of their very illustrious careers.
CHIP in Texas shares a personal anecdote.
God knows I love "Splendor in the Grass" and "Bonnie and Clyde," but I'd have to say that "Dick Tracy" is my favorite. Yes, it's garish, silly and kind of a waste of his talent, but I love what it represents in the development of my love of movies. At the time of "Dick Tracy"'s release, I had just begun subscribing to Entertainment Weekly, so I knew that Warren Beatty was both Hollywood royalty and an important filmmaker. The film's release coincided with my 17th birthday, and instead of a party, all I wanted was to go to the nearest big city and see "Dick Tracy" on opening weekend. You can draw a line from that to my ongoing love affair with the movies.
The Film Experience loves a good 'How I Fell in Love With The Movies' story. That's what we're about. In a good year, we fall in love with the cinema and its greatest stars (Beatty among them) all over again.
For those of you who didn't win or didn't play, it's worth a read or library loan. The book covers his complete career from the late '50s when Hollywood starting courting him and he started courting Hollywood (it went both ways) through Town and Country (2001) which was his last feature film. He really should make one more to go out on a high note! In addition to all the Hollywood moving and shaking, STAR covers a lot of sexual dalliances and gossipy diversons though the personal stuff ends as soon as Annette Bening enters the picture. She arrives immediately after the Madonna/Dick Tracy media circus in 1990-1991).
Do you remember the first time you saw DICK TRACY like Chip?
Have you ever seen REDS? Will you if we keep prodding ;) ?