Tag Archives: Adapted from a play

Movies on Chatham’s Introduction to A Man for All Seasons

Robert Shaw as King Henry VIII and Paul Scofield as Sir Thomas More
Robert Shaw as King Henry VIII, and Paul Scofield as Sir Thomas More

Upon viewing the timeless classic, A Man for All Seasons, members of Movies on Chatham were mesmerized by the superior acting performances of Paul Scofield as Sir Thomas More, Orson Welles as Cardinal Wolsey, and Robert Shaw as King Henry VIII. This film does not need elaborate visual effects, for the acting shines like a sparkling piece of diamond jewelry worn on its own and not clashing with too many other pieces. Continue reading Movies on Chatham’s Introduction to A Man for All Seasons

Summer and Smoke: Elia Kazan’s Letter to Tennessee Williams

Opportunities are everywhere, one has to be alert to seize them. Recently, I vacationed in California with a dear friend, Jane, who lives in Texas. Our movie group came up during one conversation and I mentioned Summer and Smoke (1961) as our first movie for the fall. Jane promptly replied with information about her friend’s daughter who is married to Albert Devlin, a Tennessee Williams scholar credited with editing two books of the famous playwright’s letters

Albert Devlin, PhD
Albert Devlin, Prof Emeritus, U. of Missouri

When presented with this connection, I was intrigued to learn that Jane’s book club had traveled to New Orleans for the Tennessee Williams Literary Festival and, while there, enjoyed a dinner with Al Devlin. My curiosity was piqued to learn more. Continue reading Summer and Smoke: Elia Kazan’s Letter to Tennessee Williams

The Birdcage: Can We Learn from Our Films?

Many have mourned the loss of Robin Williams and his comic genius. In revisiting The Birdcage and his other films, we can consider aspects of his work that may have changed us all without realizing it.

[W]hat makes the film interesting is that [Robin Williams] must play against type, toning down his manic persona in the face of Lane’s hilarious over-the-top turn.
—Chuck Koplinski, The News-Gazette

You do an eclectic celebration of the dance! You do Fosse, Fosse, Fosse! You do Martha Graham, Martha Graham, Martha Graham! Or, Twyla, Twyla, Twyla! Or, Michael Kidd, Michael Kidd, Michael Kidd! Or, Madonna, Madonna, Madonna! … but, you keep it all inside.
—Armand, The Birdcage

genre comedyA comedian has been described as a person who seeks to entertain audiences, primarily by making them laugh. Filmmakers employ comedy in the same way, seeking to make their targeted audiences laugh. How do they do this? We have learned from our series on comedy that they do this in a number of ways—using social satire, slapstick, etc. Might they do this also as a way to dispel prejudice against certain groups or against certain characteristics? Alternatively, might screenwriters focus so totally on what to them seems funny that the result is irresponsibly mean? Continue reading The Birdcage: Can We Learn from Our Films?