Guest Post: A tribute to PETER O’TOOLE – He will be missed but certainly not forgotten

Huge thanks to Dave W. for this special tribute of his personal favorite thespian


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Peter O’Toole – Always a Bridesmaid, Never a Bride

With the passing of Peter O’Toole at age 81 this past weekend cinema has lost one of the truly great actors in the history of film. I thought it fitting to honor him as he was a personal favorite of mine. He has been out of the limelight for some time since he retired from acting but his legacy should not be forgotten. This truly was a man who commanded the silver screen as few ever have.

It was once suggested by playwright Noël Coward that if Peter O’Toole was any prettier that he would have been called “Florence of Arabia”. With handsome looks and his devil-may-care attitude, he became quite known for cavorting about town with his close pals Richard Burton and Richard Harris when it was still considered ‘charming’ to be an alcoholic. Consider the time that Peter and Peter Finch (Network) were refused last orders in a pub. Not to be deterred, they whipped out their checkbooks and bought the pub. Realizing what they did the next day they went down to the pub to find that the owner hadn’t cashed their checks and he graciously offered to rip them up. They soon became fast friends and even attend the owner’s funeral a year later. Of course they showed up at the wrong one. Standing their sobbing while their friend was being put to rest 100 yards away. As Peter famously said of himself “I loved the drinking, and waking up in the morning to find I was in Mexico,” “It was part and parcel of being an idiot.”

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O’Toole with one of his ‘Hellraiser’ buddies Richard Harris

What shouldn’t be lost is what a tremendous actor he really was despite all his bad boy behavior. Sadly he’s is known for having the most Oscar nominations without a win (8). When told he’d be receiving an honorary Oscar he replied in a letter to the academy “I am still in the game and might win the lovely bugger outright. Would the Academy please defer the honor until I am 80?” After some convincing he finally accepted his long overdue Oscar from the Academy.

While not a definitive list, here’s 5 good places to start to see what all the fuss is about.

LAWRENCE OF ARABIA

To say that they don’t make ‘em like they used to anymore is an understatement. Required viewing for any serious film buff this film is at the apex of great filmmaking. Peter’s first major film role as T.E. Lawrence was a performance for the ages. If there was ever a film meant to be seen on the big screen David Lean’s epic was it… and I’ve been lucky enough to see it twice in the theater.

THE LION IN WINTER

The Lion In Winter was actually Anthony Hopkins first film role. In this clip he speaks graciously of working with O’Toole and Hepburn. Watching these titans go head to head in person must have been something to see for the fledgling actor.

Peter sent the script to Katherine only a week after her longtime love Spencer Tracy died. She phoned up right away and said “I might as well do it before I die.” Unbeknownst to many O’Toole was quite fond of Katherine Hepburn. Although he has never publicly talked about their relationship, he later admitted he worshipped Hepburn. “I loved her, no question, in the proper platonic sense but, yes, I loved her. We were filming one day and I kept her waiting on set because I was still in my caravan, playing cards. She stormed in and shouted: “You are a real nut and I’ve met some nuts in my day.” And then she hit me. A couple of hours later, I went to see her and gave her a present to say I was sorry for keeping her waiting.  She said: “Don’t worry, pig. I only hit the people I love.” Pig. LOL.

THE STUNT MAN

The Stunt Man was a kind of rebirth for Peter in the 80’s. With his career flagging… the bombastic, over the top, perfectly suited role of Eli Cross, a tyrannical film director whose ego knew no boundaries, came along. One of the best “films within a film” ever made. Even if a bit dated and Steve Railsback’s performance is not so great it’s still a great watch. Peter said of the film upon finally being released after being unable to find a distributor, “This film didn’t get released, it escaped.”

MY FAVORITE YEAR

Following on the heels of The Stunt Man came another winner in My Favorite Year.  Swashbuckling actor Allan Swann (read: Errol Flynn) is a washed-up, boozing womanizer who’s the idol of a young, idealistic TV writer Benjy Stone. Swann is in town to do a guest spot on a variety show, Benjy must babysit the perpetually inebriated actor and that’s when the hijinks ensue. It’s a nostalgic look at 50’s TV and one can’t but help but feel the character of Allan Swann in not that much of a stretch for the perpetually inebriated O’Toole. Mel Brooks executive produced the film basing Mark Linn-Baker’s character Benjy on himself and Woody Allen who wrote for Sid Caesar’s Your Show of Shows.

VENUS

Some 24 years passed between My Favorite Year and Venus for Peter to receive his last Academy Award nomination but what a charming, sweet performance to go out on. Falling for a girl, Jessie, 50 years his junior, who is out to care for him, he walks a fine line with his delicate performance of a man who’s found love in the twilight of his life. The film never gets creepy or maudlin thanks to the fine direction and performances. Watch out for Vanessa Redgrave who plays a small but wonderful bit part in this. The scene below with Jessie (Venus), a young Jodie Whittaker of Broadchurch fame, has Peter quoting Shakespeare… like only he can.

While the above films are a good start feel free to delve into his other works like Beckett, Goodbye Mr. Chips, The Ruling Class, Lord Jim, etc. A talent like this doesn’t come around very often.

Peter O’Toole will be missed but certainly not forgotten.


So in celebration of his wonderful work, what’s YOUR favorite Peter O’Toole film?

The Weekend That Was… RIP Peter O’Toole & Interstellar teaser

How’s your weekend everyone? Was it an eventful one or busy with Christmas shopping? Well, the arctic air still hasn’t left us yet, it’s really getting pathetic that we got excited when temps go even 15 above zero! Today it’s almost 30˚ F and boy did it feel good! Here’s a recap of what I saw, as well as a few film-related events happening this weekend:

Well this weekend I got to see the new *rePOTO_CameronMackintoshimagined* version of The Phantom of the Opera, created by Cameron Mackintosh. It’s incredible that POTO is celebrating 25 years on Broadway this year and this new production — with a new set, choreography, lighting and scenic design — has premiered in the UK last year. This is the third time I saw POTO on stage and I was mesmerized once again. It’s really all about those gorgeous, haunting music and the younger cast definitely bring the story to life. I LOVE the stage production but it also makes me appreciate the 2004 film with Gerry Butler in the title role, which is decidedly faithful to the stage version. I appreciate both format but the nice thing about the film is that I can easily watch that over and over again on my Blu-ray 😀

As I saw three advanced screening during the weekThe Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (check out my thoughts on the movie), Saving Mr. Banks and Inside Llewyn Davis), so this weekend I opted for home cinema. Thanks to Kim and Fernando for recommending these two animated features.

GiftOfNightFury
As a big fan of How to Train Your Dragon, I definitely enjoyed this short film immensely. The baby dragons are as adorable as ever, but once again, the relationship between Hiccup and Toothless the Night Fury is at the heart of it. I can’t wait for the follow-up to HTTYD coming next year!

HunchbackOfNotreDame

I actually have seen Hunchback of Notre Dame a long time ago but for some reason I didn’t remember much of it. It’s darker than the average Disney animated features, but the story demands it so it works well here. Of course it’s not without the conventional Disney ballads and goofy-but-endearing characters, but the story definitely has a good message of good vs. evil and a heartwarming tale about the triumph of the outcasts.


This weekend, we saw the passing of a true Hollywood legend, Peter O’Toole. Apparently he was being treated at London’s Wellington hospital after a long illness. He was 81.

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I had just seen his most iconic role in Lawrence of Arabia for the first time earlier this year. In fact, I got the Blu-ray version and both my husband and I was really blown away by it. It definitely lives up to the masterpiece status, both the film and Mr. O’Toole’s performance are hugely iconic. I have only seen Mr. O’Toole in The Lion in Winter, his cameo in One Night with the King, and his voice work in Ratatouille. I should try to see his comedic work in My Favorite Year (which my friend Kevin has reviewed here) and How To Steal A Million with Audrey Hepburn.

Farewell Mr. O’Toole, may you rest in peace.


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As 2013 draws to a close, soon comes a time of huge buzz and anticipation for 2014 movies. One of the big ones is Christopher Nolan’s sci-fi INTERSTELLAR. I just had to post the trailer here in case you haven’t seen it yet:

In the future, governments and economies across the globe have collapsed, food is scarce, NASA is no more, and the 20th Century is to blame. A mysterious rip in spacetime opens and it’s up to whatever is left of NASA to explore and offer up hope for mankind.

Ok so yes I’m a bit of a Nolan groupie but his trailers always get me salivating and frustrated that we have to wait a whole year for this!! The story is intriguing and mysterious, as every Nolan film is shrouded in secrecy. But the cast also got me excited. Matthew McConaughey is hotter than hot right now and I LOVE Jessica Chastain, plus the supporting cast looks great with Nolan regular Michael Caine, John Lithgow, David Oyelowo, Anne Hathaway and Casey Affleck!

Oh, I also just came across this brilliant fan-made, crossover video from episodes of BBC’s Dr. Who and Sherlock. It’s too awesome not to share:


Well, that’s the weekend recap folks, what did you watch this weekend?