Actor Spotlight: Montgomery Clift

Today, 17 October 2021, marks 101 years since the birth of American actor Montgomery Clift (1920 – 1966). This talented actor was a four-times Academy Award-nominee and is known for such films as The Search (1948), From Here to Eternity (1953) and Judgement at Nuremberg (1961). He often played smooth-talking, melancholy and mysterious men who rebelled against the establishment. Despite the immensity of Clift’s talent and charisma, however, Hollywood never seemed to know what to think of him and he was often portrayed “a black sheep” of the cinema business, a perpetually tortured soul who privately fought many mental and physical battles. Though never openly gay or bisexual, Clift always had his private life under wraps and struggled to fit into the image that Hollywood wanted him to fit into: the image of the Golden Boy who is after money, financial success and women. Though now often overshadowed by, and even compared unfavourably to, such cinematic icons as James Dean and Marlon Brando, Montgomery Clift deserved and still deserves much more, especially since both of these actors looked up to Clift and was inspired by his image to forge theirs. Clift was one of the most talented American actors and, unfortunately, one of the most misunderstood ones, who valued the craft of acting above financial success or even critical/public opinion, who wanted desperately to retain his unassuming, independent and original inner core despite the environment that constantly wanted to mould him into something else, a Hollywood environment that favoured flashy displays of wealth, stereotypes and double-dealings. Clift’s story is as much a tale of one talented and intelligent actor following a tragic path as a story of Hollywood’s callousness and complacency.

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Sean Connery (1930 – 2020)

It was with great sadness that I heard yesterday of the passing of Sean Connery, a Scottish actor and one of the film legends. He was a man of incomparable charisma, whose acting and screen presence were always distinguishable and memorable. Possessing innate smoothness, gentleness and his very own recognisable sense of masculinity and vigour, he emanated the persona of a true gentleman and a real action hero on screen and both at the same time, inspiring warmth and a sense of awe in others. If there ever existed an actor or just a human being working in a film industry who personified the word “class”, it was Sir Sean Connery.

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“25th Hour” Review

25th Hour Film Poster 25th Hour [2002] – ★★★★1/2

Today (11th September) marks 18 years since the 9/11 terror attacks in New York City, and I thought I would review a film that incorporates the post-9/11 atmosphere – Spike Lee’s film 25th Hour – as a tribute so that we never forget what happened and what it meant. Spike Lee (Do The Right Thing (1989), BlacKkKlansman (2018)) based his film on a book by David Benioff that tells of Montgomery “Monty” Brogan (Edward Norton), a man with a criminal history, who has just one day to enjoy his freedom before he goes to jail for seven years for drug-related offences. We follow Monty on this day, as he reflects on his past and the mistakes he had made in his life. With the beautiful score by Terence Blanchard, 25th Hour is a film that showcases the post-9/11 grief and anxiety to the fullest, while also demonstrating the extent people are pushed to lead a better life. Copying with grief and coming to terms with tragedy and one’s life mistakes are just some of the issues explored. 25th Hour may be too long and Lee’s own injection of “poeticism” in the film does not always work, but, with the film’s vivid imagery, it somehow seems to speak directly to one’s heart and soul, being a film about hope, guilt and attempts at redemption, making it somehow rather special and significant.  Continue reading ““25th Hour” Review”

Alan Rickman (1946 – 2016)

British actor Alan Rickman

“If you want to know who I am, it is all in the work.”

“I don’t play villains, I play very interesting people.” (Alan Rickman)

British actor Alan Rickman sadly passed away on 14 January 2016. My first introduction to him was through Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (1991), which I watched at a young age on VHS. Rickman was the perfect villain there, impersonating Sheriff George of Nottingham with such passion, zeal and enthusiasm, he becomes a truly feared man there, and I do not think that impersonation would ever leave me, so powerful it was. Then, of course, we also have Rickman’s “great villains” in Die Hard (1988) and Quigley Down Under (1990). I have always admired people playing villains. Unlike action-heroes or “goodies”, villains in films are people whom no one likes, but they are very important because without them, there will not be any praises for glorious heroes. It also takes real acting skill to play a villain, and Alan Rickman could do so not just superbly and convincingly, but with that originality in his presentation that would be simply enviable.

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Philip Seymour Hoffman (1967 – 2014)

2011PhilipSeymourHoffmanPA090712My passion to develop as an actor didn’t have anything to do with people knowing me. I had no idea that would happen. To become famous, to become a celebrity is something that I thought happened to other people” (Philip Seymour Hoffman).

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