Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Peter O'Toole: As Good as it Gets

Terribly saddened by the passing of the great Peter O'Toole, a truly brilliant actor and man.  His work affected me greatly and he's left us an amazing body of work and some memorable appearances on talk shows.  Here are a few clips that I want to share.  I will be doing a full tribute shortly.

Here's my second exposure to Peter O'Toole after of course "Lawrence of Arabia," Richard Rush's great, enigmatic, "The Stunt Man."  O'Toole is wonderful in a bravura performance as a diabolical movie director who will do anything to get his shot.  It has been said that O'Toole based his character on John Huston and David Lean, however I think he had just finished working for Otto Preminger before the this film and might have added a few touches of the mad Austrian to his characterization too.  This is a wildly entertaining film about the magic and insanity of movies and one of my favorites.  Steve Railsback gives an intense performance as the escaped convict who O'Toole hides on his set, making him a stunt man replacing one who died doing a difficult car crash.  Barbara Hershey as his leading lady who he manipulates into a performance.  Alex Rocco as the local cop fed up with the movie people and Alan Garfield in a nice part as the nebbishy screenwriter trying to please O'Toole.  A fine work and one must watch the documentary about the rough road this film had to take to even get made and distributed. 

Peter O'Toole playing "King Henry II" for the second time after "Becket," in James Goldman's wonderful historical drama of family intrigue "The Lion in Winter."  O'Toole gives a dynamic performance as the rogue King who must choose his successor and his three very different and conniving sons all vying for it.  Anthony Hopkins in his first film as the young, mama's boy "Richard The Lionhearted," is good and Katherine Hepburn won Best Actress Oscar for her role as the Queen, the legendary "Eleanor of Acquitaine" who is imprisoned by "Henry" but gets to come to the court for Christmas.  Her best line is "what family doesn't have its ups and downs...."   Great film! 
I promise there will be much more to come regarding the great Peter O'Toole.  Here's O'Toole on Johnny Carson in a funny appearance.

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