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Entries in Stanley Donen (3)

Sunday
Feb242019

Great Acceptance Speeches: Stanley Donen, Honorary

A big thank you to Dancin Dan, Chris Feil, Eurocheese, and Ben Miller who shared favourite acceptance speeches with us as we got hyped up for Oscar. There are so many more speeches we could have highlighted if we have more time or a bigger team, but well wrap up th speech appreciation with something that seems totally appropriate for a number of reasons: Stanley Donen's Honorary Oscar acceptance speech for, and we'll quote the Oscars here:

in appreciation of a body of work marked by grace, elegance, wit and visual innovation.

The speech is a thing of complete and utter beauty and wit and gratitude and every time we see it we're reminded of how much Oscar night lost when it opted to no longer included the Honoraries on the broadcast. (Honestly we wouldn't mind half as much if they also televised those on a different night, but alas, they don't.)

As you may have heard cinema lost Donen this week at age 94. He was one of Hollywood's purest pleasure-makers, directing or co-directing musical classics like Singin' in the Rain, On the Town, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, and Funny Face. But that's not all! He also made beloved non-musicals with Audrey Hepburn like Charade and Two for the Road among other films. Donen is survived by his also brilliant partner of the past 20 years, the actress/director Elaine May (who just completed a much-raved Broadway run in the play Waverly Gallery so you might see her at the Tonys this year) so our condolecences go out to her this week. 

Friday
Sep222017

50th Anniversary: Two for the Road

Tim here. This week marks the fiftieth anniversary of one of the tiny gems in the careers of Audrey Hepburn, Albert Finney, and director Stanley Donen: Two for the Road. It's a British film that picked up a handful of important awards nominations – writer Frederic Raphael at both the Oscars and BAFTAS, Hepburn at the Golden Globes, Donen with the DGA – and went on to be largely overlooked in the following five decades.

That's understandable; it's not a film primed to appeal to the fandom that it seems like it should have. Donen in the director's seat and Hepburn as the top-billed lead both suggest certain kinds of films, if not necessarily the same kind of film: bubbly comedies in his case, elegant Continental romances in hers (splitting the difference, four years earlier they collaborated on Charade, a bubbly Continental comedy). Two for the Road isn't devoid of humor, but it's not primarily a comedy. Instead, it's a serious depiction of a marriage of some ten years or more, long enough for comfortable familiarity to have settled into tetchy boredom.

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Wednesday
Aug262015

How Ingrid Bergman Triumphed After "Indiscreet" Affairs

When Ingrid Bergman won the Academy Award in 1957 for Anastasia, it read like the end of a tinseltown screenplay: tarnished star, humbled by exile for her shameless behavior, returns to the city that made her famous, and is welcomed home with open arms. Of course, the truth was a little more complicated. Bergman was unable to attend the Academy Awards. Instead, she received the award from Roberto Rosselini while in the bathtub.

More importantly, despite the years of alienation and recrimination, the Swedish star was far from humbled. Even while attempting to attain a divorce from Rosselini, Bergman refused to regret her decade of tempestuous marriage and moviemaking with the neorealist director. She had taken risks, romantically and artistically, and the result had been more artistic freedom - if not mainstream acceptance - and three beautiful children. Neither did Hollywood fully embrace her. A pre-recorded intervew with Bergman was pulled from The Ed Sullivan Show when an audience poll rejected the idea. So, in 1957, with 2 Oscars, 2 divorces, 4 children, and tenuously positive box office appeal, the question was: what's next?

The answer came from Ingrid Bergman's old friend, Cary Grant. [More...]

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