Tag Archives: Interview

The AFI FEST Interview: Peter Bogdanovich on Orson Welles’ CITIZEN KANE

Ranked at the top of AFI’s list of the greatest films of all time, Orson Welles’ portrait of newspaper tycoon Charles Foster Kane (a thinly veiled stand-in for William Randolph Hearst) is brilliant, blistering and beautiful. The story moves through the tragedies and triumphs of Kane’s life, from a happy childhood in snowy Colorado cut short; to a towering ascendance in the newspaper industry; a dysfunctional marriage with a tone-deaf wife he tries desperately to mold into a great opera singer; and a cloistered existence in his palatial home, Xanadu. Welles’ superb cast, many from his own Mercury Theatre, is made up of some of the most vibrant stars of the 1940s, including Joseph Cotten, Agnes Moorehead, Everett Sloane and, of course, Welles himself, who perfectly captures the aging Kane with a deft mix of sensitivity and ferocity. Gregg Toland’s innovative cinematography is now the stuff of legend, putting the deep focus technique on the map with shot after shot of crisply layered foreground and background images. If this is your first or 100th time seeing this landmark film, make sure to catch it at AFI FEST 2016 in a restored DCP, courtesy of Warner Bros. Classics.

The screening will be followed by an AFI Master Class with Welles expert Peter Bogdanovich, who spoke to AFI about CITIZEN KANE ahead of AFI FEST.

AFI: CITIZEN KANE turns 75 this year. Why do we still talk about it today?screen-shot-2016-11-09-at-9-33-57-pm

Peter Bogdanovich: It’s a landmark film, not just Orson Welles’ best film but a masterpiece. It was a masterpiece then in 1941 and still is. It’s a brilliant symphony, and is exciting to watch. Everything about it is dynamic, and that very dynamism is the camouflage for the extremely sad story Welles tells. You’re not moved to tears by CITIZEN KANE really, except as a kind of thrillingly done film.

AFI: What was it like seeing the film for the first time, in 1955?

PB: I was 16, and I was quite bowled over by it. I thought it was brilliant. I’ve seen it, I think, 10 or 12 times since then. I saw it the other day on television briefly. You can’t resist it. Everything about it is brilliant. The performances are amazing, and Orson himself, his performance is extraordinary. People spend so much time talking about the direction that they don’t notice how brilliant that performance is. It was everybody’s first film, which makes it even more extraordinary. It’s amazing to realize that all those people had never made a movie before.

AFI: Would you say that much of contemporary cinema is indebted to the style and direction of CITIZEN KANE?

PB: It’s funny because it’s not that extraordinary in terms of the technique. He used a pretty simple technique in many ways. A lot of long takes. The scene goes on, and you don’t notice how long it goes without a cut. That wasn’t that common, though a lot of filmmakers in that period did do shots like that, but not to the degree that Orson did. Years later, I said to him, “What do you think is the difference between doing a scene in one shot or in many cuts?” He said, “Well, we used to say that’s what distinguished the men from the boys.” The whole thing, the construction of the story, the flashback structure — it wasn’t any one thing that was unusual. It was the whole production. It’s a very depressing story. There’s not a shred of hope at the end. It’s all very downbeat, but the style of the film, the way he made it, the overlapping dialogue, the flashback structure, some surprising camera angles — the whole thing made a tremendous impression if you were sensitive to what he was doing.

AFI: How was the film received in 1941, versus years later when you first saw it?

It got great reviews in its original release, except in The New York Times. [Critic] Bosley Crowther didn’t care for it much. He thought the central character was shallow. It couldn’t play in a lot of theaters because the Hearst organization had blacklisted it. So, as Orson said, they couldn’t make money if they couldn’t get a theater. That’s why it failed. Orson suggested they open it in tents around the country. It was not shown for many years, but it was brought back to New York in 1955, to a small art house, and that’s where I first saw it. That’s when it started to gain this reputation.

READ MORE: 15 Facts About Orson Welles’ CITIZEN KANE — America’s Greatest Film Turns 75

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AFI: You had a close relationship with Welles for many years. How did he feel about the film?

PB: He didn’t want to talk about it much. Orson did THE DAVID FROST SHOW [as guest host] in 1970  and I was there. He had a guest, [author] Norman Mailer, and after the show they went to Frankie and Johnnie’s in Manhattan and I joined them for dinner. We sat down and Norman said to Orson, “There’s a great shot in CITIZEN KANE…” and Orson said, “Oh, no, Norman, not CITIZEN KANE.” Norman looked perplexed for a minute and then said, “Oh, yeah, I guess it’s like me and ‘The Naked and the Dead,’” meaning that both Norman and Orson were plagued by the notoriety of their first effort. It was the only picture that anybody ever talked to him about, and he was irritated about it because he’d made other pictures that nobody saw. It depressed him actually. It was a struggle to get him to talk about KANE. Reluctantly he talked about it; I would trick him into it sometimes.

AFI: When Welles began CITIZEN KANE, did he know he was making a masterpiece?

PB: I couldn’t say. I think he thought he was making a pretty good picture. The thing about CITIZEN KANE is it’s very cold, and there are moments that are touching, but they’re few and far between. It’s not an emotional picture. KANE is relentlessly negative, but what makes it exciting is the way it’s told, and the way it’s acted and the way it’s done, really. It’s almost as though he’s saying that it’s only through art that we can really survive. The artistry of the picture is what gives it its lift, because if you examine the story, it’s pretty bleak.

AFI: How has CITIZEN KANE influenced your own seminal work?

PB: I can’t say I was influenced by CITIZEN KANE directly. I was influenced by Orson’s thinking, and things he said to me. But I wasn’t particularly influenced by the film. I wasn’t influenced by the technique of it as much as by the youthful spirit of it. I was influenced by a general feeling of fearlessness. CITIZEN KANE was nominated for Best Picture, but what won was HOW GREEN WAS MY VALLEY by John Ford, an emotional film about the dissolution of a family. CITIZEN KANE is a cold film about the dissolution and tragedy of a man who loses everything, including his soul.

CITIZEN KANE screens AFI FEST on Sunday, November 13, at 1:30 p.m.

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(Source: http://www.blog.afi.com)

TCM Announces Screen Legend Burt Reynolds For Live from the 2016 #TCMClassicFilmFestival Interview

Turner Classic Movies (TCM) announced today that renowned actor Burt Reynolds is set to attend the 2016 TCM Classic Film Festival, taking place in Hollywood April 28 – May 1, to participate in a sit-down interview about his life and career. In addition to the interview, Reynolds will be on-hand to introduce a screening of The Longest Yard (1974), for which he received a Golden Globe® nomination for Best Actor. The interview will be taped Saturday, April 30 in front of a live audience of festival pass holders at The Ricardo Montalbán Theatre.

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(Photo Credit: Ravepad.com)

“For more than five decades, Burt Reynolds has been both a superstar and a force to be reckoned with on screens around the globe, having ranked among the top ten box office attractions in the world on 13 different occasions,” said TCM host Robert Osborne. “He is one of the great talents of our time and a true film icon thanks to such now-classic movies as Deliverance (1972), The Longest Yard (1974) and Smokey and the Bandit (1977). I’m thrilled our fans will be able to hear him discuss his life as a movie star, the classic films he’s had the privilege of working on and the talented artists he’s worked alongside.”

 

Each year, the TCM Classic Film Festival features an extended interview taped in front of a live audience for telecast on TCM under the Live from the TCM Classic Film Festival banner. In 2010, the first TCM Classic Film Festival welcomed two-time Oscar® winner Luise Rainer, who was 100 at the time. In 2011, Peter O’Toole was the featured guest, followed in 2012 by actress Kim Novak. In 2013, Oscar-winning actress Eva Marie Saint participated, followed by Academy Award®-winner Alan Arkin in 2014, and last year, Academy Award®-winner Sophia Loren was featured as was Norman Lloyd.

 

Reynolds joins an already exciting roster at this year’s festival, including previously announced appearances by director John Singleton for the 25th anniversary screening of his coming-of-age classic Boyz N The Hood (1991), Carl Reiner with an extended conversation and screening of Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid (1982) Elliott Gould with screenings of his Golden Globe nominated performance in M*A*S*H (1970), The Long Goodbye (1973) and Eva Marie Saint who will be on hand to introduce a screening of the political comedy The Russians Are Coming The Russians Are Coming (1966).  Actor Stacy Keach will be discussing John Huston’s gritty look at the world of small-time boxing in Fat City (1972) and French actress Anna Karina will be introducing Band of Outsiders (1964), Jean-Luc Godard’s riff on gangster films. Tickets and passes.

burt-reynolds-turtleneck(Photo Credit: GQ Magazine)

 

About Burt Reynolds

 

Burt Reynolds is an Academy Award nominated and Golden Globe winning actor and director. In addition to receiving an Oscar nomination and winning the Golden Globe Award for Boogie Nights (1997), Reynolds was also honored by The New York Film Critics, The Los Angeles Film Critics, The Chicago Film Critics and The National Society of Film Critics with Best Supporting Actor awards for his memorable role in that film. Some of his more recent film works include Hamlet & Hutch (2014), Elbow Grease (2015), The Shadow Fighter (2016) and the web series Hitting The Brakes, debuting this spring.

His feature films include Deliverance (1972), The Longest Yard (1974), Gator (1976), Hooper (1978), The End (1978), Starting Over (1979), Sharky’s Machine (1981), Breaking In (1989) and, of course, Smokey and the Bandit (1977). He also directed four feature films.

 

Reynolds has also enjoyed an auspicious career on television, as an actor, director and producer. Among his finest endeavors in this medium is the hit series Evening Shade (as star, executive producer and, more often than not, director). For this series, he won his ninth People’s Choice Award as Favorite Male Performer in a New Television Series, the 1991 Emmy Award for Best ­Performance in a Comedy and the Golden Globe Award for the same category. His additional television credits include Riverboat, Gunsmoke, Hawk, Dan August and B. L. Stryker. Additionally, he hosted the Academy Awards Telecast, The Tonight Show, Saturday Night Live and a series of specials titled Burt Reynolds’ Conversation With. He also starred in, directed and produced the CBS television movie The Man from Left Field (1993).  He also directed and starred in TNT’s most ambitious project: Hard Time, a 6-hour movie thriller trilogy.

Reynolds made his Broadway debut in Look, We’ve Come Through with director Jose Quintero. In addition, he has directed eight productions, and starred in two, at the Jupiter Theatre, which he founded in Jupiter, Florida. He also appears in his one-man show An Evening with Burt Reynolds.

His numerous achievements have been recognized by being named America’s Favorite All Around Motion Picture Actor (People’s Choice Award) for a record six consecutive years; the Most Popular Star for five years running; Star of the Year (National Association of Theatre Owners); and # 1 Box Office Star for five years in a row, still an unmatched record.

 

Burt Reynolds commitment to his profession and devotion to education can perhaps be best exemplified by the program he created to give college students scholastic credit and wages for their work while ­obtaining an education at the Burt Reynolds Institute for Film & Theatre located in Tequesta, Florida.

Reynolds created a chair at Florida State University by donating generous endowments as well as Asolo Theatre in Sarasota, Florida. His memoir But Enough About Me reached The New York Times Best Seller List just after publication and he received the prestigious “Children at Heart Award,” for his humanitarian efforts benefiting and aiding the children of Chernobyl.  In September 2015 he was the inaugural recipient of the Richard Farnsworth Diamond Lifetime Achievement Award from the Stuntmen’s Association of Motion Pictures, calling it “better than an Oscar!”

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Passes for the 2016 TCM Classic Film Festival are on sale now. Fans are able to purchase them through the TCM Classic Film Festival website. As the number of passes available is limited, fans are encouraged to purchase their passes as soon as possible: http://filmfestival.tcm.com/attend/

The “Spotlight” Festival Pass: $1,649 – Includes all privileges available to “Classic” and “Essential” passholders, priority entry to all screening events; plus entry to the exclusive opening-night party following the red-carpet gala screening at TCL Chinese Theatre; meet-and-greet events with TCM friends, including Robert Osborne and Ben Mankiewicz; and a limited edition TCM Classic Film Festival poster.

The “Essential” Festival Pass: $749 – Includes all privileges available to “Classic” passholders, plus entry to the opening-night red-carpet gala screening at TCL Chinese Theatre and official TCM Classic Film Festival collectibles.

The “Classic” Festival Pass: $599 – Includes access to all film programs at festival venues Thursday, April 28 – Sunday, May 1 (does not include admittance to the opening-night red-carpet gala screening at TCL Chinese Theatre or the opening-night party); access to all Club TCM events, panels and poolside screenings at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel; an opening-night welcome reception at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel; and the closing-night event.

The “Palace” Festival Pass: $299 – Includes access to all screenings and events at the historic TCL Chinese Theatre (excluding the opening-night red-carpet gala) and the Egyptian Theatre Friday, April 29 – Sunday, May 1, as well as poolside screenings at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel.

(Excerpted from press release courtesy of TCM Pressroom)