Joseph L. Mankiewicz

Marlon Brando with Martin Luther King Jr

Exactly 50 years ago, Martin Luther King, Jr. stood with Abraham Lincoln behind him and told a crowd of 250,000 about a dream. Later the same day, a group of movie stars sat with journalist David Schoenbrun to explore a silver-lined dark chamber of the human heart. Complicated despite its progressively stacked panel, the group interview with novelist James Baldwin, singer Harry Belafonte, Marlon Brando, Charlton Heston, director Joseph Mankiewicz and Sidney Poitier is robust in its inspiration — made more lucent by the evolution that followed it. This is a powerful half hour (which you can see below) that stands at a fascinating crossroads between groundshattering history, celebrity power and race relations in America.

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Elizabeth Taylor as Cleopatra. Richard Burton as Mark Antony. Rex Harrison as Julius Caesar. There’s nothing quite like the huge spectacle of Joseph L. Mankiewicz‘s take on the Queen of the Nile. Everything about it is larger than life, including the egos. It’s possibly going to be remade with Angelina Jolie under the starring crown (why they aren’t casting Monica Bellucci is a mystery), so we’ll get to see whether they try to make it even more expensive, whether they’ll need to hire special guards to protect extras/slave girls from having their butts pinched, or if they’ll dust off the old Todd-AO system for 60s authenticity. Probably not. On all counts. But we can still enjoy the original trailer.

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Your weekly fix of great movies made before you were born that you should check out before you die. All this month, Old Ass Movies will be celebrating the 103rd anniversary of Bette Davis‘s birthday. The iconic film star acted in far too many movies to care to count, but it seems as though she’s been reduced to a pair of eyes in popular culture. She’s the subject of a 80s pop tune, not the star that she should be recognized for being, and that needs fixing. This week’s movie is an ensemble where Davis proved once again how to stand out even in a distinguished crowd. She plays the famous stage star Margo Channing who is getting on in years at the ancient age of forty. But this isn’t her story, and it’s also not the story of Eve – a young woman who slinks her way into Channing’s world with supreme modesty and sly trickery. It’s the story of all actors. It’s also the story of all audiences.

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published: 11.26.2014
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published: 11.26.2014
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published: 11.21.2014
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published: 11.21.2014
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