Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Happy birthday Robert!!!!!

Happy birthday Robert!!!!!! It must be midnight in England so now I can wish you a very happy birthday!
Lots of love and best wishes!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Mahler, the making of

Ken Russell’s Mahler is a film that could be perfect: excellent performances, excellent music (Mahler!), excellent costumes, the story is well told and it has the original touch of Ken Russell. However, most Russell fans think that this is the most “conventional” film of the “enfant terrible” of the British cinema. They are used to the bizarre and sometimes grotesque fantasies he adds to his films.
Mahler has the same story line of a common biopic: hero is at an important moment of his life (closer to the end), recalls some scenes from his pasts that are presented as a flashbacks. Flashbacks start with the hero’s childhood where a crucial event occurred. That could be the “conventional” part, but what Ken Russell added (and which made this film a master piece) was the “fantasies”. There are “normal” flashbacks while other moments are presented as a sort of allegory : The Funeral and The conversion scene are one of them.
The only thing I didn’t like of the film was this Funeral scene, the beginning is OK but by the end is too much, too grotesque, too Ken Russell-style! But the Conversion scene deserves the Oscar of the best scene ever made! We all would love to know how did he come with that idea. That’s why it could be great if the distributors release a new DVD with Ken Russell and Robert Powell commentaries.
While we wait for that wonderful day, I can say that at least I feel like I have already seen a bit of this   bonus : I’ve seen the story board of THE scene! And I’ll share it with you. Enjoy!

Click on the image to enlarge

Click on the image to enlarge
I found this jewel on Ebay, where I found this press book which accompanied the film release. Other exclusive pictures this press book contains are the designs for the costumes commented by Shirley Russell, Ken Russell’s wife and costume designer for the film. People must not forget that the film was appraised the Cannes film festival for its costumes in 1974. Robert was a contestant for the best actor prize that year, and he should have won! Instead a certain Jack Nicholson won the prize for the film “The Last Detail” that most of us have never seen.
Click on the image to enlarge
Click on the image to enlarge
Robert’s performance was one of my favorites and to me one of the best: with little make up or other tricks, he was convincing as a sick embittered aged man and through all the flashbacks scenes where the character was younger and passionate.
Before I leave you, I’ll bring another Monty Python curiosity: have you noticed that the rocky scenery used for the Conversion scene looks exactly like the one used in the killer rabbit scene of Monty Python and the Holy Grial?

I always find that scene even funnier when I think Robert will appear at any moment and will jump a ring of fire and eath a pigs nose.

Well, I could talk (write!) for hours about this film. It’s just perfect, wonderful, beautiful! I LOVE IT!!!

"I compose to live, I live to compose.”

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Jeffrey Bernard is Unwell at the West End on September???

That would be excellent news! But it’s not been confirmed, it’s only been rumored as Robert himself says in an interview given on 12th May to the Oxford Mail.

I found the interview very interesting because I've learnt that Robert avoids making eye-contact with people on the street. It seems he doesn’t like people coming and say “Hello”? Maybe now with Holby City he’s much more in people's minds. It's impossible for the people to "forget" him! Robert’s career brings a tv hit in each decade! The 70’s with Doomwatch and Jesus of Nazareth, the 80’s with Hannay, the 90’s with The Detectives, the 00's with Holby City.

Anyway, that’s not the point, in this article Robert talks about his career and how despite all his acting experience (40 years!) he still feels “unwell” – allow me to use that word for this time! LOL –, that he feels scared until the curtain raises. This time the fear was that Jeffrey Bernard was too much to learn.

In the article, the journalist at one point mentions that Robert is in his 70's. This made me bounce! Nope! He is not in his 70's!!! At least not yet!

And that made me realise that maybe one day he will decide to stop acting and that will make me very sad. But that’s life! So that’s why it’s important to enjoy him now! English people are so lucky! So please, let’s go everybody to see him in "Jeffrey Bernard is Unwell"!
Sadly, I’m not sure if I’ll be able to see the play in this tour. BUT! If Robert is correct (and let’s hope he is!) it seems that he will be back at the West End!!! Please Robert!! Make it real!!

Finally, about the never-ending questions about acting and his career, he said that he enjoyed doing comedies and that he’s :
“essentially a comic actor rather than a serious one and I’m most at home when people are laughing.”
It’s funny, but it is true! With The Detectives Robert proved that he was an excellent comic actor. When I saw it, I’ve almost forgot that before that, to me his face fitted perfectly with those tormented roles such as Jude in Jude the Obscure, Mahler, Paul Rée in Beyond Good and Evil and (yes, again)  Edward Foster in Il Segno del Comando. Nevertheless, while I was searching in my mind the tormented roles he did I didn’t find that much! And yet, that’s the first kind of role I tended to fit him in. But in fact, he has played more roles of the cool chap, a bit rogue and with a huge heart like in Hannay, The Thirty Nine Steps, Pride of Africa, Shaka Zulu and Holby City.

He is right when he says that “People can never quite pin me down because I don’t fit into any normal categories”. Yes, Robert, that’s why you are so unique!

It's incredible what a wig makes! but I just can't see Robert's face! I see Peter O'Toole!

I’m leaving you with an exclusive review of the play made by a fellow fan Julie with a description of the famous shoe trick. Thanks!!
Brilliant, is one of many words I could use to describe this play. I'm more of a musical person, so a play has to be really good for me to want to see it twice (which I did!). The play is basically a 2-hour monologue by Robert, broken up by the other actors (who are all extremely talented and funny) : Rebecca Lacey, Amy Hall, Peter Bramhill and Mark Hadfield, coming in as people from Jeffery Bernard's past. These include ex-wives, random people in pubs and old friends who enjoy a spot of cat racing on a rainy day (when there can be no dog racing).

Robert is very funny and watchable, and it's nice that this play has broken down the “fourth wall” in theatre, so Robert is actually talking to the audience as Jeffery. It makes you feel much more involved in the play and story. His performance was also quite moving when towards the end of the play, Jeffery is debating his own mortality and there is an element of sadness to what has overall been a comedy.

Memorable moments include: A pub trick involving an egg (in which he fills a pint glass with water, then he puts a biscuit tin on top of the glass, he takes off his right shoe and hits the biscuit tin lid with it and the egg should fall in the glass), make funnel out of matchbox and the Cat racing with invisible cats.

Hopefully Robert will do the play again or film a version because it’s a great comedy that everyone should see if they can.

I'm sure that's the cat's racing scene!

Thanks for reading!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Random thoughts : Brian of Nazareth

I'm so sorry for leaving the blog without messages for so long! But I was on holidays and then I had a little problem in my hand. Now things are getting better!

The other day I was watching Monty Python's Life of Brian and I felt a déjà vu feeling, specially in the hillarious scene where Brian tags a roman temple "Romans go home". In that scene I was absolutely sure the temple was the same used in Jesus of Nazareth. Even in other scenes I was sure it was the Jesus of Nazareth set (and even the wardrobe).

From Life of Brian

To my recollection, the only places that could "be" the one used in Life of Brian.

I didn't have the time to watch again Jesus of Nazareth to find the same temple, I tried to get some scenes from the videos of Youtube but I was disappointed to see that the temples I had in my mind are not the same as the one shown in Life of Brian.

However, I was thrilled to find in the Internet Movie Database trivia that my feelings were correct!

According to the diaries of Michael Palin a possible title was "Brian of Nazareth", which was strongly favored by Palin, Graham Chapman and Eric Idle. In the end this was never used, perhaps to avoid title comparisons with "Jesus of Nazareth" (1977), whose leftover sets were used for filming parts of this film. However, when the film was released in Italy in the early 1990s, it was titled "Brian di Nazareth." For some reason, there was no mention that it was made in 1979. The success was such that And Now for Something Completely Different (1971) was also released theatrically.

Now I leave you with the hilarious scene from the Life of Brian :

Thanks for reading!