1967 Israel MOVIE Film POSTER Hebrew "ARABESQUE" Sophia LOREN Gregory PECK
DESCRIPTION : Up
for auction is an EXCEPTIONALY RARE and ORIGINAL Judaica Jewish POSTER for the
ISRAEL 1967 PREMIERE of STANLEY DONEN comedy thriller film
"ARABESQUE" ,Starring SOPHIA LOREN and GREGORY PECK , With the music
of HENRY MANCINI . The film, along with Donen's immediately prior
film Charade (1963),
is usually described as being "Hitchcockesque", as it
features as a protagonist an innocent and ordinary man thrust into dangerous
and extraordinary situations. It was the last film of that genre which Donen
would make. Arabesque was filmed in Technicolor and Panavision, and was
distributed by Universal
Pictures. The cinema-movie hall " CINEMA SHARON" , A local
Israeli version of "Cinema Paradiso" in the small rural town of
NATHANYA in ISRAELwas printing manualy its own posters , And thus you can be
certain that this surviving copy is ONE OF ITS KIND. Fully DATED 1967 .
Text in HEBREW and ENGLISH . Please note : This is NOT a re-release
poster but PREMIERE - FIRST RELEASE projection of the film , A
year after its release in 1966 in the USA. The ISRAELI distributors
of the film have given it an entirely new HEBREW text which is quite archaic
and amusing . Judaica - Israeli related artifact. Size around 27" x
31" ( Not accurate ) . Printed in red and blue on white paper. The
condition is very good . used. 2 folds . Very slightlly ( Almost unseen )
stained ( Pls look at scan for accurate AS IS images ) Poster will be sent
rolled in a special protective rigid sealed tube.
AUTHENTICITY : The POSTER is fully guaranteed ORIGINAL from 1967 ( dated
) , It is NOT a reproduction or a recently made reprint or an immitation
, It holds a with life long GUARANTEE for its AUTHENTICITY and
PAYMENTS : Payment method accepted :
Paypal .SHIPPMENT : SHIPP worldwide via
registered airmail is $18 . Poster will be sent rolled in a special protective
rigid sealed tube. MORE DETAILS :
Eldred Gregory Peck (April 5, 1916 – June 12, 2003) was an American actor who was one of the most popular film stars from the 1940s to the 1960s. Peck continued to play major film roles until the late 1980s. His performance as Atticus Finch in the 1962 film To Kill a Mockingbird earned him the Academy Award for Best Actor.
Peck also received Oscar nominations for his roles in The Keys of the Kingdom (1944), The Yearling (1946), Gentleman's Agreement (1947) and Twelve O'Clock High (1949). Other notable films he appeared in include Spellbound(1945), Roman Holiday (1953), Moby Dick (1956, and its 1998 miniseries), Pork Chop Hill (1959), The Guns of Navarone (1961), Cape Fear (1962, and its 1991 remake), How the West Was Won (1962), The Omen (1976) and The Boys from Brazil (1978).
U.S. President Lyndon Johnson honored Peck with the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1969 for his lifetime humanitarian efforts. In 1999, the American Film Institute named Peck among Greatest Male Stars of Classic Hollywood cinema, ranking him at No. 12.
1 Early life
2 Acting career
2.3 Later work
4 Personal life
6 Awards and honors
9 See also
11 Further reading
12 External links
Eldred Gregory Peck was born on April 5, 1916, in La Jolla, San Diego, California, the son of Gregory Pearl Peck, a New York-born chemist and pharmacist, and his Missouri-born wife Bernice Mary "Bunny" (née Ayres). His father was of English (paternal) and Irish (maternal) heritage and his mother of English and Scots ancestry. She converted to her husband's religion, Roman Catholicism, when she married his father, and Peck was raised as a Catholic. Through his Irish-born paternal grandmother Catherine Ashe, Peck was related to Thomas Ashe, who participated in the Easter Risingless than three weeks after Peck's birth and died while being force fed during his hunger strike in 1917.
Peck's parents divorced when he was five and he was brought up by his maternal grandmother, who took him to the movies every week. At the age of 10 he was sent to a Catholic military school, St. John's Military Academy in Los Angeles. While he was a student there, his grandmother died. At 14, he moved back to San Diego to live with his father, attended San Diego High School, and after graduating enrolled for one year at San Diego State Teacher's College (now known as San Diego State University). While there he joined the track team, took his first theatre and public-speaking courses, and pledged the Epsilon Eta fraternity. Peck however had ambitions to be a doctor and the following year gained admission to the University of California, Berkeley, as an English major and pre-medical student. Standing 6 ft 3 in (1.91 m), he rowed on the university crew. Although his tuition fee was only $26 per year, Peck still struggled to pay, and took a job as a "hasher" (kitchen helper) for the Gamma Phi Beta sorority in exchange for meals.
At Berkeley, encouraged by the acting coach, who saw in him perfect material for university theatre, Peck became more and more interested in acting. He was recruited by Edwin Duerr, director of the university's Little Theater, and appeared in five plays during his senior year. Peck would later say about Berkeley that, "it was a very special experience for me and three of the greatest years of my life. It woke me up and made me a human being." In 1997, Peck donated $25,000 to the Berkeley rowing crew in honor of his coach, the renowned Ky Ebright.
After graduating from Berkeley with a BA degree in English, Peck dropped the name "Eldred" and headed to New York City to study at the Neighborhood Playhouse with the legendary acting teacher Sanford Meisner. He was often broke and sometimes slept in Central Park. He worked at the 1939 World's Fair and as a tour guide for NBC's television broadcasting. In 1940, Peck learned more of the acting craft, working in exchange for food, at the Barter Theatre in Abingdon, Virginia, appearing in five plays including Family Portrait and On Earth As It Is.
His stage career began in 1941 when he played the secretary in a Katharine Cornell production of George Bernard Shaw's play The Doctor's Dilemma. Unfortunately, the play opened in San Francisco just one week before the attack on Pearl Harbor. He made his Broadway debut as the lead in Emlyn Williams' The Morning Star in 1942. His second Broadway performance that year was in The Willow and I with Edward Pawley. Peck's acting abilities were in high demand during World War II because he was exempt from military service owing to a back injury suffered while receiving dance and movement lessons from Martha Graham as part of his acting training. Twentieth Century Fox claimed he had injured his back while rowing at university, but in Peck's words, "In Hollywood, they didn't think a dance class was macho enough, I guess. I've been trying to straighten out that story for years."
In 1947, Peck co-founded The La Jolla Playhouse, at his birthplace, with Mel Ferrer and Dorothy McGuire. This summer stock company presented productions in the La Jolla High School Auditorium from 1947 till 1964. The La Jolla Playhouse reopened at a new home in 1983 at the University of California, San Diego) still thrives today. It has attracted Hollywood film stars on hiatus both as performers and enthusiastic supporters since its inception.
Gregory Peck in The Snows of Kilimanjaro, 1952
Gregory Peck in the Designing Woman trailer 1957
Peck's first film, Days of Glory, was released in 1944. He was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor five times, four of which came in his first five years of film acting: for The Keys of the Kingdom (1944), The Yearling (1946), Gentleman's Agreement (1947), and Twelve O'Clock High (1949).
The Keys of the Kingdom emphasized his stately presence. As the farmer Ezra "Penny" Baxter in The Yearling, his good-humored warmth and affection toward the characters playing his son and wife confounded critics who had been insisting he was a lifeless performer. Duel in the Sun (1946) showed his range as an actor in his first "against type" role as a cruel, libidinous gunslinger. Gentleman's Agreement established his power in the "social conscience" genre in a film that took on the deep-seated but subtle antisemitism of mid-century corporate America. Twelve O'Clock High was the first of many successful war films in which Peck embodied the brave, effective, yet human fighting man.
Among his other films were Spellbound (1945), The Paradine Case (1947), The Gunfighter (1950), Moby Dick (1956), The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit (1956), On the Beach (1959), which brought to life the terrors of global nuclear war, The Guns of Navarone (1961), and Roman Holiday (1953), with Audrey Hepburn in her Oscar-winning role. Peck and Hepburn were close friends until her death; Peck even introduced her to her first husband, Mel Ferrer. Peck once again teamed up with director William Wyler in the epic Western The Big Country (1958), which he co-produced.
Peck won the Academy Award with his fifth nomination, playing Atticus Finch, a Depression-era lawyer and widowed father, in a film adaptation of the Harper Lee novel To Kill a Mockingbird. Released in 1962 during the height of the Civil Rights Movementin the Southern United States, this film and his role were Peck's favorites. In 2003, Peck's portrayal of Atticus Finch was named the greatest film hero of the past 100 years by the American Film Institute.
Peck in 1973, by Allan Warren
Peck served as the president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in 1967, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the American Film Institute from 1967 to 1969, Chairman of the Motion Picture and Television Relief Fund in 1971, and National Chairman of the American Cancer Society in 1966. He was a member of the National Council on the Arts from 1964 to 1966.
A physically powerful man, he was known to do a majority of his own fight scenes, rarely using body or stunt doubles. In fact, Robert Mitchum, his on-screen opponent in Cape Fear, told about the time Peck once accidentally punched him for real during their final fight scene in the movie. He felt the impact for days afterward. Peck's rare attempts at villainous roles were not acclaimed. Early on, he played the renegade son in the Western Duel in the Sun and, later in his career, the infamous Nazi doctor Josef Mengele in The Boys from Brazil co-starring Laurence Olivier.
In the 1980s, Peck moved to television, where he starred in the mini-series The Blue and the Gray, playing Abraham Lincoln. He also starred with Christopher Plummer, John Gielgud, and Barbara Bouchet in the television film The Scarlet and The Black, about Monsignor Hugh O'Flaherty, a real-life Catholic priest in the Vatican who smuggled Jews and other refugees away from the Nazis during World War II.
At the Cannes Film Festival in 2000
Peck, Mitchum, and Martin Balsam all had roles in the 1991 remake of Cape Fear directed by Martin Scorsese. All three were in the original 1962 version. In the remake, Peck played Max Cady's lawyer.
His last prominent film role also came in 1991, in Other People's Money, directed by Norman Jewison and based on the stage play of that name. Peck played a business owner trying to save his company against a hostile takeover bid by a Wall Street liquidator played by Danny DeVito.
Peck retired from active film-making at that point. Peck spent the last few years of his life touring the world doing speaking engagements in which he would show clips from his movies, reminisce, and take questions from the audience. He did come out of retirement for a 1998 miniseries version of one of his most famous films, Moby Dick, portraying Father Mapple (played by Orson Welles in the 1956 version), with Patrick Stewart as Captain Ahab, the role Peck played in the earlier film. It would be his final performance, and it won him the Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actor in a Series, Miniseries or Television Film.
Peck had been offered the role of Grandpa Joe in the 2005 film Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, but died before he could accept it. The Irish actor David Kelly was then given the part.
In 1947, while many Hollywood figures were being blacklisted for similar activities, Peck signed a letter deploring a House Un-American Activities Committeeinvestigation of alleged communists in the film industry.
A lifelong supporter of the Democratic Party, Peck was suggested in 1970 as a possible Democratic candidate to run against Ronald Reagan for the office of California Governor. Although he later admitted that he had no interest in being a candidate himself for public office, Peck encouraged one of his sons, Carey Peck, to run for political office. Carey was defeated both times by slim margins in races in 1978 and 1980 against Republican U.S. Representative Bob Dornan, another former actor.
In an interview with the Irish media, Peck revealed that former President Lyndon Johnson had told him that, had he sought re-election in 1968, he intended to offer Peck the post of U.S. ambassador to Ireland – a post Peck, owing to his Irish ancestry, said he might well have taken, saying "[It] would have been a great adventure".The actor's biographer Michael Freedland substantiates the report and says that Johnson indicated that his presentation of the Medal of Freedom to Peck would perhaps make up for his inability to confer the ambassadorship. President Richard Nixon, though, placed Peck on his enemies list owing to his liberal activism.
Peck was outspoken against the Vietnam War, while remaining supportive of his son, Stephen, who fought there. In 1972, Peck produced the film version of Daniel Berrigan's play The Trial of the Catonsville Nine about the prosecution of a group of Vietnam protesters for civil disobedience. Despite his reservations about American general Douglas MacArthur as a man, Peck had long wanted to play him on film, and did so in MacArthur in 1976.
In 1978, Peck traveled to Alabama, the setting of To Kill a Mockingbird, to campaign for Democratic U.S. Senate nominee Donald W. Stewart of Anniston, who defeated the Republican candidate, James D. Martin, a former U.S. representative from Gadsden.
In 1987, Peck undertook the voice-overs for television commercials opposing President Reagan's Supreme Court nomination of conservative judge Robert Bork.Bork's nomination was defeated. Peck was also a vocal supporter of a worldwide ban of nuclear weapons, and a lifelong advocate of gun control.
Gregory Peck's tomb at Los Angeles Cathedral
In October 1942, Peck married Finnish-born Greta Kukkonen (1911–2008), with whom he had three sons, Jonathan (1944–1975), Stephen (b. 1946), and Carey Paul (b. 1949). They were divorced on December 31, 1955.
During his marriage with Greta, Peck had a brief affair with Spellbound co-star Ingrid Bergman. He confessed the affair to Brad Darrach of People in a 1987 interview, saying "All I can say is that I had a real love for her (Bergman), and I think that's where I ought to stop... I was young. She was young. We were involved for weeks in close and intense work."
On New Year's Day in 1956, the day after his divorce was finalized, Peck married Veronique Passani (1932–2012), a Paris news reporter who had interviewed him in 1952 before he went to Italy to film Roman Holiday. He asked her to lunch six months later and they became inseparable. They had a son, Anthony Peck (b. 1956), and a daughter, Cecilia Peck (b. 1958). The couple remained married until Gregory Peck's death. His son Anthony is an ex-husband of supermodel Cheryl Tiegs. His daughter Cecilia lives in Los Angeles.
Peck's eldest son, Jonathan, was found dead in his home on June 26, 1975 - which authorities believe was a suicide.
Peck had grandchildren from both marriages. One of his grandsons from his first marriage is actor Ethan Peck.
Peck owned the thoroughbred steeplechase race horse Different Class, which raced in England. The horse was favored for the 1968 Grand National but finished third. Peck was close friends with French president Jacques Chirac.
Peck was Roman Catholic and once considered entering the priesthood. Later in his career, a journalist asked Peck if he was a practicing Catholic. Peck answered, "I am a Roman Catholic. Not a fanatic, but I practice enough to keep the franchise. I don't always agree with the Pope... there are issues that concern me, like abortion, contraception, the ordination of women...and others." His second marriage was performed by a justice of the peace, not by a priest, because the Church prohibits remarriage if a former spouse is still living and the first marriage was not annulled. Peck was a significant fundraiser for a priest friend of his (Father Albert O'Hara), and served as co-producer of a cassette recording of the New Testament with his son Stephen.
On June 12, 2003, Peck died in his sleep at home from bronchopneumonia at the age of 87. His wife, Veronique, was by his side.
Gregory Peck is entombed in the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels mausoleum in Los Angeles. His eulogy was read by Brock Peters, whose character, Tom Robinson, was defended by Peck's Atticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird. The celebrities who attended Peck's funeral included Lauren Bacall, Sidney Poitier, Harry Belafonte, Shari Belafonte, Harrison Ford, Calista Flockhart, Mike Farrell, Shelley Fabares, Jimmy Smits, Louis Jourdan, Dyan Cannon, Stephanie Zimbalist, Michael York, Angie Dickinson, Larry Gelbart, Michael Jackson, Anjelica Huston, Lionel Richie, Louise Fletcher, Tony Danza, and Piper Laurie.
Awards and honors
Peck was nominated for five Academy Awards, winning once. He was nominated for The Keys of the Kingdom (1945), The Yearling (1946), Gentleman's Agreement(1947), and Twelve O'Clock High (1949). He won the Academy Award for Best Actor for his role as Atticus Finch in the 1962 film To Kill a Mockingbird. In 1967, he received the Academy's Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award.
Peck also received many Golden Globe awards. He won in 1947 for The Yearling, in 1963 for To Kill a Mockingbird, and in 1999 for the TV miniseries Moby Dick. He was nominated in 1978 for The Boys from Brazil. He received the Cecil B. DeMille Award in 1969, and was given the Henrietta Award in 1951 and 1955 for World Film Favorite – Male.
In 1969, 36th U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson honored Peck with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor. In 1971, the Screen Actors Guild presented Peck with the SAG Life Achievement Award. In 1989, the American Film Institute gave Peck the AFI Life Achievement Award. He received the Crystal Globe award for outstanding artistic contribution to world cinema in 1996.
He received the Career Achievement Award from the U.S. National Board of Review of Motion Pictures in 1983.
In 1986, Peck was honored alongside actress Gene Tierney with the first Donostia Lifetime Achievement Award at the San Sebastian Film Festival in Spain for their body of work.
In 1987, Peck was awarded the George Eastman Award, given by George Eastman House for distinguished contribution to the art of film.
In 1993, Peck was awarded with an Honorary Golden Bear at the 43rd Berlin International Film Festival.
In 1998, he was awarded the National Medal of Arts.
In 2000, Peck was made a Doctor of Letters by the National University of Ireland. He was a founding patron of the University College Dublin School of Film, where he persuaded Martin Scorsese to become an honorary patron. Peck was also chairman of the American Cancer Society for a short time.
For his contribution to the motion picture industry, Gregory Peck has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6100 Hollywood Boulevard. In November 2005, the star was stolen, and has since been replaced.
On April 28, 2011, a ceremony was held in Beverly Hills, California, celebrating the first day of issue of a U.S. postage stamp commemorating Peck. The stamp is the 17th commemorative stamp in the "Legends of Hollywood" series.
On April 5, 2016, the 100th anniversary of Peck's birth, Turner Classic Movies, cable/satellite TV channel honored the actor by showing several of his films.
Arabesque is a 1966 comedy thriller film directed by Stanley Donen and starring Gregory Peck and Sophia Loren, written by Julian Mitchell, Stanley Price and Peter Stone, based on The Cypher, a 1961 novel by Alex Gordon. The film, along with Donen's immediately prior film Charade (1963), is usually described as being "Hitchcockesque", as it features as a protagonist an innocent and ordinary man thrust into dangerous and extraordinary situations. It was the last film of that genre which Donen would make.
Arabesque was filmed in Technicolor and Panavision, and was distributed by Universal Pictures.
o 4.1Awards and honors
· 5See also
· 7External links
This article's plot summary may be too long or excessively detailed. Please help improve it by removing unnecessary details and making it more concise. (December 2014)(Learn how and when to remove this template message)
In an undercover mission, Major Sloane (John Merivale) kills Professor Ragheeb (George Coulouris, an ancient hieroglyphics expert at Oxford University and steals a hieroglyph-encrypted message. Sloane then asks Professor David Pollock (Gregory Peck), who has taken over Ragheeb's class on Hieroglyphics, to meet with shipping magnate Nejim Beshraavi (Alan Badel) on a business matter. David declines but changes his mind after being forced to enter a Rolls-Royce Phantom IV, where he meets Middle Eastern Prime Minister Hassan Jena (Carl Duering) and his Ambassador to Great Britain, Mohammed Lufti (Harold Kasket). Jena asks David to accept Beshraavi’s offer of employment.
David meets Beshraavi, who asks him to decode the inscription on the piece of paper Sloane stole. David is attracted to Beshraavi’s girlfriend Yasmin Azir (Sophia Loren), who tells him that Beshraavi had Ragheeb killed and will do the same to him once he decodes the message. Their conversation is interrupted by Beshraavi. David keeps hidden until Sloane brings it to Beshraavi's attention that David and the cipher are missing. Overhearing the conversation, David wraps the cipher in a candy in his pocket, among others, a red one with the number "9". As Beshraavi’s men search for David, Beshraavi demonstrates to one of Yasmin’s employees, Hemsley (Jimmy Gardner), that he can buy people for their loyalty or else exact extreme revenge. Forced to show himself, David seemingly abducts Yasmin. They flee from one of Beshraavi’s henchmen, Mustapha (Larry Taylor). In the course of the chase, Mustapha and David struggle at the zoological gardens, when another man intervenes and kills Mustapha. He identifies himself as Inspector Webster (Duncan Lamont) with CID. When a guard approaches, Webster kills him before revealing that he is working with Yasmin. Webster knocks David unconscious.
David awakes in a moving panel van in the presence of Webster, Yasmin and another of Yasmin’s boyfriends, Yussef Kassim (Kieron Moore), who is looking for the cipher. David, seeing the bag of candies on a shelf in the van, tells Yussef that Beshraavi has the cipher. They use truth serum on David, after which he talks what they believe is gibberish about the number "9". Believing that he was telling the truth about Beshraavi, Yussef tells Yasmin to work on Beshraavi while they throw David out of the vehicle.
The next morning, Yasmin arrives home and tells Beshraavi that Yussef, for whom the cipher was originally intended, killed David and Mustapha but does not yet know the coded message. While Yasmin believes Beshraavi has the cipher, Beshraavi states that David must still have it. Later, Yasmin bursts into David’s apartment as he finishes a conversation with Jena. She convinces him that she hates Yussef and pretends to help him because his boss, a General Ali orchestrating a military takeover, has her mother and sisters hostage. She tells him he needs to crack the cipher so she can report back to the embassy, which will ensure their safety.
David and Yasmin go to the construction site Yussef uses as his front. They spot the van but Webster takes the candies to eat. Following him, David and Yasmin watch him discover the cipher and someone from a booth; they learn that person is Beshraavi, with whom Webster is entering into a double cross against Yussef. Beshraavi and Webster are to meet at the Ascot racetrack.
At Ascot on race day, Yasmin is with Beshraavi, while David searches for Webster. David and Yasmin make plans to meet at 9:00 p.m. that evening at Trafalgar Square, after David gets the cipher from Webster. At the track, David spots Webster rendezvousing with Sloane, who hands over an envelope of money. David knocks the cipher out of Webster’s hand and the envelope floats into the track with the horses approaching. As David and Webster struggle, Sloane attempts to stab David but accidentally kills Webster. David runs onto the track and retrieves the cipher just before the horses gallop by.
David makes copies of the cipher, mailing the original to himself for safekeeping. At a news stand he then notices newspaper headlines which implicate him as Webster’s killer. David believes that Mrs. Ragheeb (Malya Nappi) may know something important about the cipher. He visits her at home and shows it to her, also giving her the news that her husband has been killed (she was living secluded and had not heard). Mrs. Ragheeb examines the cipher and tears it up in frustration, implying that she knew that Ragheeb was working on something dangerous. David also tells her that he is working with Yasmin, whose mother and sisters are in danger at the hands of General Ali. Mrs. Ragheeb replies that Yasmin is lying, in that she has no mother or sisters, only a father who happens to be General Ali.
That night, David hops into Yasmin’s car and they drive off. Angry at Yasmin’s deceit, David lies, telling her that he does not have the cipher with him but has decoded the message and makes up a nonsense meaning to tell her. She relays that information to the embassy via regardless. David and Yasmin arrange to meet later at the hotel where he is staying. After she drops him off, David flags down a taxi and follows her to Yussef’s construction site. David sees Yussef operating a wrecking ball, swinging it repeatedly attempting to kill Yasmin. David rushes to save her and Yussef is electrocuted to death by a live wire.
David determines that the hieroglyphics are simply a version of the nursery rhyme "Goosie Goosie Gander". He then looks for secret writing on it, such as invisible ink and getting it wet the ink washes away, leaving a speck which he determines is a microdot. At a scientific store they examine the dot under a microscope and it reads "Beshraavi plans assassinate Jena twelve thirty June eighteenth" which is in 20 minutes. They don't know where to go, until Yasmin sees on a newscast that Jena has just landed at the airport. David and Yasmin make it to the airport a few minutes before 12:30, where David shoves past security guards to Jena, who is beginning a welcoming speech. David knocks Jena to the ground just as bullets from Sloane's machine gun land where Jena was just standing. Lufti then shoots Jena dead with a pistol. Yasmin whisks David off and convinces him that the man who was just shot is only an imposter of Jena.
They discover that the real Jena was abducted by Beshraavi and locked in a trunk in the back of a truck. David and Yasmin hide in the truck and free Jena just as the van arrives at Beshraavi's country estate. David, Yasmin and Jena quickly escape on horses from his stables, being pursued through crop fields by a farm combine with sharp blades. Beshraavi and Sloane also pursue them in a helicopter. As they cross the disused Crumlin steel-girder railway viaduct, David drops a wooden ladder down into the rotors of the helicopter as it passes underneath, causing it to crash and burn. David and Yasmin end up in romantic bliss, on a punt back at Oxford.
· Gregory Peck as Prof. David Pollock
· Sophia Loren as Yasmin Azir
· Alan Badel as Nejim Beshraavi
· Kieron Moore as Yussef Kasim
· Carl Duering as Prime Minister Hassan Jena
· John Merivale as Maj. Sylvester Pennington Sloane
· Duncan Lamont as Kyle Webster
· George Coulouris as Ragheeb
· Ernest Clark as Beauchamp
· Harold Kasket as Mohammed Lufti
· Gordon Griffin as Fanshaw
The original working title for the film was "Crisscross", which was later changed to "Cipher" before becoming Arabesque.
Producer/director Stanley Donen wanted Cary Grant for the role of Pollock after working with him in his previous film Charade, and the dialogue for Pollock was written with Grant in mind. However, Donen was later quoted as saying,
"[Grant] didn't want to be in it .. It wasn't a good script and I didn't want to make it, but Gregory Peck and Sophia Loren, whom I loved, wanted to be in it and the studio implored me to make it, because, they said, 'It's ridiculous not to make a film with Peck and Sophia.' They said it would make money, and they were right."
Donen later estimated that $400,000 was spent on the script alone and cinematographer Christopher Challis recalled that the film went through several rewrites.Challis said that "The more the script was rewritten, the worse it got." With Peck and Loren already contracted to do the film, Challis recalled that Donen told him "Our only hope is to make it so visually exciting the audience will never have time to work out what the hell is going on".
Peter Stone, who was brought in very late to make improvements in the dialogue, said that Donen "shot it better than he ever shot any picture. Everything was shot as though it were a reflection in a Rolls-Royce headlamp." Donen described his technique in shooting the film:
I had hoped to avoid any sign of the studio manner this time, so I tried something like the "living camera" technique. The hand-held camera had been used a lot lately, especially in Europe, but the trouble had been too much wobble because the operator has to carry the sheer weight of the camera while he's working. One of our boys had the idea of suspending the camera...to give the operator all the mobility of the hand camera without the weight ... Arabesqueis sort of going to the extreme until it almost makes you sick. Granted, we did do some interesting photographic things.
Peck said about Donen that
Stanley had a terrific instinct, like a choreographer, which, of course, he had been.[notes 1] But even in an ordinary dramatic sequence he'd use the body to punctuate what was happening - standing, relaxing, everything, it was all choreographed. If you look at the picture, we were always moving, because Stanley just wanted to keep the ball in the air the entire time, and he used every camera trick you could think of. He also loved filming Sophia's decolletage and her rear end."
Sophia Lorens' request for 20 different pair of shoes for her character led to her lover in the film being described as having a foot fetish. In a chase scene Peck, who had been injured years earlier in a horse-riding accident, could not run fast enough to keep up with Loren, who kept pulling ahead. Peck implored his co-star to run slower, reminding her that he was supposed to be rescuing here, but Loren asked Donen to make Peck run faster. Since Peck was in pain, Donen had to persuade Loren to run slower to make filming the scene possible.
Arabesque received mixed to positive reviews from critics and audiences, earning a 64% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes. It was, however, a box office success.
Awards and honors
Best Costume Design
Best Original Score Written for a Motion Picture or Television Show
Golden Laurel for Best Action Sequence
Loren in 1955
Born Sofia Costanza Brigida Villani Scicolone
20 September 1934 (age 83)
Residence Geneva, Switzerland
Other names Sofia Lazzaro
Occupation Actress, singer
Years active 1950–present
Spouse(s) Carlo Ponti, Sr.
(m. 1957; annulled 1962)
(m. 1966; d. 2007)
Children Carlo Ponti, Jr.
Relatives Anna Maria Villani Scicolone(sister)
Alessandra Mussolini (niece)
Sofia Costanza Brigida Villani Scicolone (pronounced [soˈfiːa vilˈlaːni ʃʃikoˈloːne]), known as Sophia Loren, Dama di Gran Croce OMRI (/soʊˈfiːə ləˈrɛn/; Italian pronunciation: [soˈfiːa ˈlɔːren]; born 20 September 1934) is an Italian film actress and singer. Encouraged to enroll in acting lessons after entering a beauty pageant, Loren began her film career in 1950 at age 15. She appeared in several bit parts and minor roles in the early part of the decade, until her five-picture contract with Paramount in 1956 launched her international career. Notable film appearances around this time include The Pride and the Passion, Houseboat, and It Started in Naples.
Her talents as an actress were not recognized until her performance as Cesira in Vittorio De Sica's Two Women; Loren's performance earned her the Academy Award for Best Actress in 1962 and made her the first actress to win an Oscar for a foreign-language performance. She holds the record for having earned six David di Donatello Awards for Best Actress: Two Women; Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow; Marriage Italian Style (for which she was nominated for a second Oscar); Sunflower; The Voyage; and A Special Day. After starting a family in the early 1970s, Loren chose to make only occasional film appearances. In later years, she has appeared in American films such as Grumpier Old Men (1995) and Nine (2009).
Aside from the Academy Award, she has won a Grammy Award, five special Golden Globes, a BAFTA Award, a Laurel Award, the Volpi Cup for Best Actress at the Venice Film Festival, the Best Actress Award at the Cannes Film Festival, and the Honorary Academy Award in 1991. In 1995, she received the Cecil B. DeMille Award for lifetime achievements, one of many such awards. In 1999, Loren was acknowledged as No. 21 of the top 25 female American screen legends in the American Film Institute's survey, AFI's 100 Years...100 Stars, and she is currently the only living actress on the list.
On 21 December 2017 Sophia Loren was named the Godmother of all newly built MSC cruise liners.
1 Early life
2.1 1950–57 (beginnings and Hollywood stardom)
2.2 International fame
2.4 Later career
4 Personal life
4.1 Affair with Cary Grant
4.2 Marriage and family
5.1 Box office rating
6 Selected discography
6.4 Russian National Orchestra
9 External links
Loren was born Sofia Villani Scicolone in the Clinica Regina Margherita in Rome, Italy, the daughter of Romilda Villani (1910–1991) and Riccardo Scicolone, a construction engineer of noble descent (Loren wrote in her autobiography that she is entitled to call herself Marchesa di Licata Scicolone Murillo). Riccardo Scicolone refused to marry Villani, leaving the piano teacher and aspiring actress without support. Loren's parents had another child together, her sister Maria, in 1938. Loren has two younger paternal half-brothers, Giuliano and Giuseppe. Romilda, Sofia, and Maria lived with Loren's grandmother in Pozzuoli, near Naples.
During World War II, the harbour and munitions plant in Pozzuoli was a frequent bombing target of the Allies. During one raid, as Loren ran to the shelter, she was struck by shrapnel and wounded in the chin. After that, the family moved to Naples, where they were taken in by distant relatives. After the war, Loren and her family returned to Pozzuoli. Loren's grandmother Luisa opened a pub in their living room, selling homemade cherry liquor. Romilda Villani played the piano, Maria sang, and Loren waited on tables and washed dishes. The place was popular with the American GIs stationed nearby.
1950–57 (beginnings and Hollywood stardom)
Loren (third from left) in a publicity image from the 1950 Miss Italiacontest
When she was 16, Loren entered a beauty pageant, Miss Italia 1950 and, while she did not win, was selected as one of the finalists. Later, she enrolled in acting class and was selected as an uncredited extra in Mervyn LeRoy's 1951 film Quo Vadis(1951), filmed when she was 17 years old.
Loren, then 17, appeared as an odalisque in the 1951 Italian film Era lui... sì! sì! under the name Sofia Lazzaro. In the French version, her scene was topless.
That same year, she appeared in Italian film Era lui... sì! sì!, where she played an odalisque, and was credited as Sofia Lazzaro. She appeared in several bit parts and minor roles in the early part of the decade. She began using her current stage name in La Favorita (1952), the new name being a twist on the name of the Swedish actress Märta Torén and suggested by Goffredo Lombardo or (according to the 2008 DVD) Carlo Ponti. Her first starring role was in Aida (1953), for which she received critical acclaim. After playing the lead role in Two Nights with Cleopatra (1953), her breakthrough role was in The Gold of Naples (1954), directed by Vittorio De Sica.Too Bad She's Bad, also released in 1954, and (La Bella Mugnaia) (1955) became the first of many films in which Loren co-starred with Marcello Mastroianni. Over the next three years, she acted in many films, including Scandal in Sorrento, Lucky to Be a Woman, Boy on a Dolphin, Legend of the Lost and The Pride and the Passion.
Sophia Loren in It Started in Naples (1959), in which she sang "Tu Vuò Fà L'Americano"
Loren became an international film star following her five-picture contract with Paramount Pictures in 1958. Among her films at this time were Desire Under the Elms with Anthony Perkins, based upon the Eugene O'Neill play; Houseboat, a romantic comedy co-starring Cary Grant; and George Cukor's Heller in Pink Tights, in which she appeared as a blonde for the first time.
Cary Grant and Sophia Loren in Houseboat (1958)
In 1960, she starred in Vittorio De Sica's Two Women, a stark, gritty story of a mother who is trying to protect her 12-year-old daughter in war-torn Italy. The two end up gang-raped inside a church as they travel back to their home city following cessation of bombings there. Originally cast as the daughter, Loren fought against type and was recast as the mother (actress Eleonora Brown would portray the daughter). Loren's performance earned her many awards, including the Cannes Film Festival's best performance prize, and an Academy Award for Best Actress, the first major Academy Award for a non-English-language performance or to an Italian actress. She won 22 international awards for Two Women. The film was extremely well received by critics and a huge commercial success.
During the 1960s, Loren was one of the most popular actresses in the world, and continued to make films in the United States and Europe, starring with prominent leading men. In 1964, her career reached its pinnacle when she received $1 million to appear in The Fall of the Roman Empire. In 1965, she received a second Academy Award nomination for her performance in Marriage Italian-Style.
Drawing of Loren by Nicholas Volpe after she won an Oscar for Two Women(1961)
Among Loren's best-known films of this period are Samuel Bronston's epic production of El Cid (1961) with Charlton Heston, The Millionairess (1960) with Peter Sellers, It Started in Naples (1960) with Clark Gable, Vittorio De Sica's triptych Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow (1963) with Marcello Mastroianni, Peter Ustinov's Lady L (1965) with Paul Newman, the 1966 classic Arabesque with Gregory Peck, and Charlie Chaplin's final film, A Countess from Hong Kong (1967) with Marlon Brando.
Loren received four Golden Globe Awards between 1964 and 1977 as "World Film Favorite – Female".
Loren worked less after becoming a mother. During the next decade, most of her roles were in Italian features. During the 1970s, she was paired with Richard Burton in the last De Sica-directed film, The Voyage (1974), and a remake of the film Brief Encounter (1974). The film had its premiere on US television on 12 November 1974 as part of the Hallmark Hall of Fame series on NBC. In 1976, she starred in The Cassandra Crossing. It fared extremely well internationally, and was a respectable box office success in US market. She co-starred with Marcello Mastroianni in Ettore Scola's A Special Day (1977). This movie was nominated for 11 international awards such as two Oscars (best actor in leading role, best foreign picture). It won a Golden Globe Award and a César Award for best foreign movie. Loren's performance was awarded with a David di Donatello Award, the seventh in her career. The movie was extremely well received by American reviewers and became a box office hit.
Following this success, Loren starred in an American thriller Brass Target. This movie received mixed reviews, although it was moderately successful in the United States and internationally. In 1978, she won her fourth Golden Globe for "world film favorite". Other movies of this decade were Academy award nominee Sunflower(1970), which was a critical success, and Arthur Hiller's Man of La Mancha (1972), which was a critical and commercial failure despite being nominated for several awards, including two Golden Globes. O'Toole and James Coco were nominated for two NBR awards, in addition the NBR listed Man of La Mancha in its best ten pictures of 1972 list.
In 1980, after the international success of the biography Sophia Loren: Living and Loving, Her Own Story by A. Hotchner, Loren portrayed herself and her mother in a made-for-television biopic adaptation of her autobiography, Sophia Loren: Her Own Story. Ritza Brown and Chiara Ferrari each portrayed the younger Loren. In 1981, she became the first female celebrity to launch her own perfume, 'Sophia', and a brand of eyewear soon followed.
In 1982, while in Italy, she made headlines after serving an 18-day prison sentence on tax evasion charges – a fact that failed to hamper her popularity or career. In fact, Bill Moore, then employed at Pickle Packers International advertising department, sent her a pink pickle-shaped trophy for being "the prettiest lady in the prettiest pickle". In 2013, the supreme court of Italy cleared her of the charges.
She acted infrequently during the 1980s and in 1981 turned down the role of Alexis Carrington in the television series Dynasty. Although she was set to star in 13 episodes of CBS's Falcon Crest in 1984 as Angela Channing's half-sister Francesca Gioberti, negotiations fell through at the last moment and the role went to Gina Lollobrigida instead. Loren preferred devoting more time to raising her sons.
Loren has recorded more than two dozen songs throughout her career, including a best-selling album of comedic songs with Peter Sellers; reportedly, she had to fend off his romantic advances. Partly owing to Sellers's infatuation with Loren, he split with his first wife, Anne Howe. Loren has made it clear to numerous biographers that Sellers's affections were reciprocated only platonically. This collaboration was covered in The Life and Death of Peter Sellers where actress Sonia Aquino portrayed Loren. The song "Where Do You Go To (My Lovely)?" by Peter Sarstedt was said to have been inspired by Loren.
In 1991, Loren received the Academy Honorary Award for her contributions to world cinema and was declared "one of the world cinema's treasures". In 1995, she received the Golden Globe Cecil B. DeMille Award.
She presented Federico Fellini with his honorary Oscar in April 1993. In 2009, Loren stated on Larry King Live that Fellini had planned to direct her in a film shortly before his death in 1993. Throughout the 1990s and 2000s, Loren was selective about choosing her films and ventured into various areas of business, including cookbooks, eyewear, jewelry, and perfume. She received a Golden Globe nomination for her performance in Robert Altman's film Ready to Wear (1994), co-starring Julia Roberts.
In 1994, a Golden Palm Star on the Palm Springs, California Walk of Stars was dedicated to her.
In Grumpier Old Men (1995), Loren played a femme fatale opposite Walter Matthau, Jack Lemmon, and Ann-Margret. The film was a box-office success and became Loren's biggest US hit in years. At the 20th Moscow International Film Festival in 1997, she was awarded an Honorable Prize for contribution to cinema. In 1999, the American Film Institute named Loren among the greatest female stars of Golden Age of Hollywood cinema. In 2001, Loren received a Special Grand Prix of the Americas Award at the Montreal World Film Festival for her body of work. She filmed two projects in Canada during this time: the independent film Between Strangers (2002), directed by her son Edoardo and co-starring Mira Sorvino, and the television miniseries Lives of the Saints (2004).
In 2009, after five years off the set and 14 years since she starred in a prominent US theatrical film, Loren starred in Rob Marshall's film version of Nine, based on the Broadway musical that tells the story of a director whose midlife crisis causes him to struggle to complete his latest film; he is forced to balance the influences of numerous formative women in his life, including his deceased mother. Loren was Marshall's first and only choice for the role. The film also stars Daniel Day-Lewis, Penélope Cruz, Kate Hudson, Marion Cotillard, and Nicole Kidman. As a part of the cast, she received her first nomination for a Screen Actors Guild Award.
In 2010, Loren played her own mother in a two-part Italian television miniseries about her early life, directed by Vittorio Sindoni, entitled La Mia Casa È Piena di Specchi (My House Is Full of Mirrors), based on the memoir by her sister Maria. In July 2013, Loren made her film comeback in an Italian adaptation of Jean Cocteau's 1930 play The Human Voice (La Voce Umana), which charts the breakdown of a woman who is left by her lover – with her youngest son, Edoardo Ponti, as director. Filming took under a month during July in various locations in Italy, including Rome and Naples. It was Loren's first significant feature film since Nine.
Sophia Loren received a star on November 16, 2017, at Almeria Walk of Fame due to his intervention in Bianco, rosso e.... She received the Almería Tierra de Cine award.
In September 1999, Loren filed a lawsuit against 76 adult websites for posting altered nude photos of her on the internet.
Loren in 1986
Loren is a Roman Catholic. Her primary residence has been in Geneva, Switzerland, since late 2006. She also owns homes in Naples and Rome.
Loren is an ardent fan of the football club S.S.C. Napoli. In May 2007, when the team was third in Serie B, she told the Gazzetta dello Sport that she would do a striptease if the team won.
Loren posed for the 2007 Pirelli Calendar.
Affair with Cary Grant
Loren and Cary Grant co-starred in Houseboat (1958). Grant's wife Betsy Drake wrote the original script, and Grant originally intended that she would star with him. After he began an affair with Loren while filming The Pride and the Passion (1957), Grant arranged for Loren to take Drake's place with a rewritten script for which Drake did not receive credit. The affair ended in bitterness before The Pride and the Passion's filming ended, causing problems on the Houseboat set. Grant hoped to resume the relationship, but Loren agreed to marry Carlo Ponti, instead.
Marriage and family
Loren first met Carlo Ponti, Sr. in 1950, when she was 16 and he was 37. Though Ponti had been long separated from his first wife, Giuliana, he was not legally divorced when Loren married him by proxy (two male lawyers stood in for them) in Mexico on 17 September 1957. The couple had their marriage annulled in 1962 to escape bigamy charges, but continued to live together. In 1965, the couple became French citizens after their application was approved by then French President Georges Pompidou. Ponti then obtained a divorce from Giuliana in France, allowing him to marry Loren on 9 April 1966.
They had two children, Carlo Ponti, Jr., born on 29 December 1968, and Edoardo Ponti, born on 6 January 1973. Loren's daughters-in-law are Sasha Alexander and Andrea Meszaros. Loren has four grandchildren. Loren remained married to Carlo Ponti until his death on 10 January 2007 of pulmonary complications.
In 1962, Loren's sister, Anna Maria Villani Scicolone, married the youngest son of Benito Mussolini, Romano, with whom she had two daughters, Alessandra, a national conservative Italian politician, and Elisabetta.
Year Title Role Notes
1950 I Am the Capataz Secretary of the Dictator
Barbablu's Six Wives Girl kidnapped
Tototarzan A tarzanide
Il voto A commoner at the Piedigrotta festival
Hearts at Sea Extra Uncredited
1951 White Leprosy A girl in the boardinghouse
Owner of the Vapor Ballerinetta
Milan Billionaire Extra Uncredited
Magician for Force The bride
Quo Vadis Lygia's slave Uncredited
Era lui... sì! sì! (It Was Him!... Yes! Yes!) Odalisque As Sofia Lazzaro
Anna Night club assistant Uncredited
1952 And Arrived the Accordatore Amica di Giulietta
I Dream of Zorro Conchita As Sofia Scicolone
La Favorita Leonora
1953 The Country of the Campanelli Bonbon
Pilgrim of Love
We Find Ourselves in the Gallery Marisa
Two Nights with Cleopatra Cleopatra/Nisca
Girls Marked Danger Elvira
Good Folk's Sunday Ines
Woman of the Red Sea Barbara Lama
1954 Neapolitan Carousel Sisina
Un giorno in pretura Anna
The Anatomy of Love The girl
Poverty and Nobility Gemma
The Gold of Naples Sofia Segment "Pizze a Credito"
Too Bad She's Bad Lina Stroppiani
1955 The Sign of Venus Agnese Tirabassi
The Miller's Beautiful Wife Carmela
The River Girl Nives Mongolini
Scandal in Sorrento Donna Sofia
1956 Lucky to Be a Woman Antonietta Fallari
1957 Boy on a Dolphin Phaedra
The Pride and the Passion Juana
Legend of the Lost Dita
1958 Desire Under the Elms Anna Cabot
The Key Stella
The Black Orchid Rose Bianco Volpi Cup-Venice Film Festival
Houseboat Cinzia Zaccardi
1959 That Kind of Woman Kay
1960 Heller in Pink Tights Angela Rossini
It Started in Naples Lucia Curio Nominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
The Millionairess Epifania Parerga
A Breath of Scandal Princess Olympia
Two Women Cesira
Academy Award for Best Actress
BAFTA Award for Best Foreign Actress
Bambi Award for Best Actress – International
Cannes Film Festival Best Actress Award
David di Donatello for Best Actress
Nastro d'Argento for Best Actress
New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actress
Sant Jordi Award for Best Performance in a Foreign Film
1961 El Cid Ximena
Madame Sans-Gêne, a.k.a., "Madame" Catherine Hubscher, known as "Madame Sans-Gêne"
1962 Boccaccio '70 Zoe Segment "La Riffa"
The Prisoners of Altona with Maximillian Schell, Robert Wagner, and Frederic March Filmed in Tirrenia, Italy
Five Miles to Midnight Lisa Macklin
1963 Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow Adelina Sbaratti/Anna Molteni/Mara David di Donatello for Best Actress
Nominated — Nastro d'Argento for Best Actress
1964 The Fall of the Roman Empire Lucilla
Marriage Italian-Style Filumena Marturano
David di Donatello for Best Actress
Moscow International Film Festival Award for Best Actress
Golden Laurel Awards for Best Actress (2nd Place)
Nominated — Academy Award for Best Actress
Nominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Actress - Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
Nominated — Nastro d'Argento for Best Actress
1965 Operation Crossbow Nora
Lady L Lady Louise Lendale/Lady L
1966 Judith Judith
Arabesque Yasmin Azir
1967 A Countess from Hong Kong Natasha
More Than a Miracle Isabella Candeloro Nominated — Nastro d'Argento for Best Actress
1968 Ghosts - Italian Style Maria Lojacono
1970 Sunflower Giovanna
David di Donatello for Best Actress
Nominated – Fotogramas de Plata Best Foreign Performer
1971 Lady Liberty Maddalena Ciarrapico
The Priest's Wife Valeria Billi
1972 Man of La Mancha Aldonza/Dulcinea
1973 The Sin Hermana Germana
1974 The Voyage Adriana de Mauro
David di Donatello for Best Actress
San Sebastian International Film Festival Best Actress
Verdict Teresa Leoni
Brief Encounter Anna Jesson TV movie (Hallmark hall of fame)
1975 Sex Pot la pupa del gangster / Get Rita Pupa known by several titles 'Sex Pot', 'La Pupa del Gangster' & 'Get Rita'
1976 The Cassandra Crossing Jennifer Rispoli Chamberlain
1977 A Special Day Antoinette
David di Donatello for Best Actress
Globo d'Oro Award for Best Actress
Nastro d'Argento for Best Actress
1978 Blood Feud Titina Paterno
Brass Target Mara/cameo role
Angela Angela Kincaid
1979 Firepower Adele Tasca
1980 Sophia Loren: Her Own Story Herself/Romilda Villani (her mother)
1984 Aurora Aurora Television film
1986 Courage Marianna Miraldo Television film
1988 The Fortunate Pilgrim Lucia Television miniseries
1989 Running Away Cesira TV miniseries (remake of Two Women)
1990 Saturday, Sunday and Monday Rosa Priore Premiered during the Chicago film festival
1994 Prêt-à-Porter Isabella de la Fontaine
National Board of Review Award for Best Cast
Nominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress – Motion Picture
1995 Grumpier Old Men Maria Sophia Coletta Ragetti
1997 Soleil (fr) Maman Levy
2001 Francesca e Nunziata Francesca Montorsi TV miniseries
2002 Between Strangers Olivia
2004 Too Much Romance... It's Time for Stuffed Peppers Maria
Lives of the Saints Teresa Innocente TV miniseries
2009 Nine Mamma
Satellite Award for Best Cast – Motion Picture
Nominated — Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Cast
Nominated — Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
Nominated — Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association Award for Best Ensemble
2010 My House Is Full of Mirrors Romilda Villani TV miniseries
2011 Cars 2 Mama Topolino Voice (in non-English speaking countries)
2013/14 La Voce Umana One-woman film role Short film; presented at the 2014 Tribeca Film Festival
2016 Sophia Loren: Live from the TCM Classic Film Festival Herself Documentary; taped at the 2015 TCM Classic Film Festival
Donen in 2010
Born April 13, 1924 (age 93)
Columbia, South Carolina, U.S
Occupation Film director, film producer, choreographer, dancer, stage director
Years active 1940–2003
Known for On the Town, Singin' in the Rain
Spouse(s) Jeanne Coyne
(m. 1948; div. 1951)
(m. 1952–1959; divorced)
Adelle O'Connor Beatty
(m. 1960–1971; divorced)
(m. 1972; div. 1985)
(m. 1990; div. 1994)
Partner(s) Elaine May (1999–present)
Children 3, including Joshua Donen
Stanley Donen (/ˈdɔːnən/ DAWN-ən; born April 13, 1924) is an American film director and choreographer whose most celebrated works are Singin' in the Rain and On the Town, both of which he co-directed with actor and dancer Gene Kelly. Other noteworthy films include Royal Wedding, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, Funny Face, Indiscreet, Damn Yankees!, Charade, and Two for the Road. He began his career in the chorus line on Broadway for director George Abbott, where he befriended Kelly. In 1943 he went to Hollywood and worked as a choreographer before he and Kelly made On the Town in 1949. He then worked as a contract director for MGM under producer Arthur Freed producing hit films amid critical acclaim. In 1952 Donen and Kelly co-directed the musical Singin' in the Rain, regarded as one of the greatest films ever made. Donen's relationship with Kelly deteriorated in 1955 during their final collaboration on It's Always Fair Weather. He then broke his contract with MGM to become an independent producer in 1957. He continued making films throughout the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s, often financial successes that were critically acclaimed. His film output became less frequent in the early 1980s and he briefly returned to the stage as a director in the 1990s and again in 2002.
Donen is credited with transitioning Hollywood musical films from realistic backstage dramas to a more integrated art form in which the songs were a natural continuation of the story. Before Donen and Kelly made their films, musicals – such as the extravagant and stylized work of Busby Berkeley – were often set in a Broadway stage environment where the musical numbers were part of a stage show. Donen and Kelly's films created a more cinematic form and included dances that could only be achieved in the film medium. Donen stated that what he was doing was a "direct continuation from the Astaire – Rogers musicals ... which in turn came from René Clair and from Lubitsch ... What we did was not geared towards realism but towards the unreal."
Donen is highly respected by film historians, however his career is often compared to Kelly's and there is debate over who deserves more credit for their collaborations. Donen and Kelly's relationship was complicated, both professionally and personally, but Donen's films as a solo director are generally better regarded by critics than Kelly's. French Film critic Jean-Pierre Coursodon has said that Donen's contribution to the evolution of the Hollywood musical "outshines anybody else's, including Vincente Minnelli's" and David Quinlan called him "the King of the Hollywood musicals". Among his awards are an Honorary Academy Award in 1998 and a Career Golden Lion from the Venice Film Festival in 2004. Donen married five times and had three children. His long term partner since 1999 is film director and comedian Elaine May. He is the last surviving notable director of Hollywood's Golden Age.
1 Early life and stage career
2 Film career
2.1 1943–1949: Hollywood choreographer
2.2 1949: On the Town
2.3 1949–1952: MGM contract director
2.4 1952: Singin' in the Rain
2.5 1952–1955: Seven Brides for Seven Brothers and break with MGM
2.6 1956–1959: director and independent producer
2.7 1960–1969: United Kingdom
2.8 1970–2003: Later works
5 Relationship with Gene Kelly
5.1 Jeanne Coyne
5.2 Professional conflict
5.3 Directorial careers
6 Personal life
7.1 Feature films
8 See also
10 External links
Early life and stage career
Stanley Donen was born in Columbia, South Carolina to Mordecai Moses Donen, a dress-shop manager, and Helen (Cohen), the daughter of a jewelry salesman.:4–6His younger sister Carla Donen Davis was born in August 1937.:14 Although born to Jewish parents, he became an atheist in his youth.:312 Donen described his childhood as lonely and unhappy as one of the few Jews in Columbia, and he was occasionally bullied by anti-semitic classmates at school.:8 To help cope with his isolation, he spent much of his youth in local movie theaters and was especially fond of Westerns, comedies and thrillers. The film that had the strongest impact on him was the 1933 Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers musical Flying Down to Rio. Donen said that he "must have seen the picture thirty or forty times. I was transported into some sort of fantasy world where everything seemed to be happy, comfortable, easy and supported. A sense of well-being filled me.":4 He shot and screened home movies with an 8 mm camera and projector that his father bought for him.
Inspired by Astaire, Donen took dance lessons in Columbia and performed at the local Town Theater.:4 His family often traveled to New York City during summer vacations where he saw Broadway musicals and took further dance lessons. One of his early instructors in New York was Ned Wayburn, who had taught eleven-year-old Astaire in 1910.:14 After graduating from high school at sixteen, Donen attended the University of South Carolina for one summer semester, studying psychology.:333 Encouraged by his mother, he moved to New York City to pursue dancing on stage in the fall of 1940. After two auditions he was cast as a chorus dancer in the original Broadway production of Rodgers and Hart's Pal Joey, directed by the legendary George Abbott. The titular Pal Joey was played by the young up-and-comer Gene Kelly, who became a Broadway star in the role.
Abbott cast Donen in the chorus of his next Broadway show Best Foot Forward. He became the show's assistant stage manager, and Kelly asked him to be his assistant choreographer.:30–31 Eventually Donen was fired from Best Foot Forward,:33 but in 1942 was the stage manager and assistant choreographer for Abbott's next show Beat the Band. In 1946, Donen briefly returned to Broadway to help choreograph dance numbers for Call Me Mister.:7
1943–1949: Hollywood choreographer
In 1943 Arthur Freed, the successful producer of musical films at Metro Goldwyn Mayer, bought the film rights to Best Foot Forward and made a film version starring Lucille Ball and William Gaxton. Donen moved to Hollywood to audition for the film and signed a one-year contract with MGM.:39–40 Donen appeared as a chorus dancer and was made assistant choreographer by Charles Walters.:46 At MGM Donen renewed his friendship with Kelly, who was quickly becoming a popular supporting actor in musicals. When Kelly was loaned to Columbia Pictures for a film, he was offered the chance to choreograph his own dance numbers and asked Donen to assist.:48–49 Kelly stated, "Stanley needed a job. I needed someone to count for the cameraman, someone who knew the steps and could explain what I was going to do so the shot was set up correctly." Donen accepted and choreographed three dance sequences with Kelly in Cover Girl.:58 Donen came up with the idea for the "Alter Ego" dance sequence where Kelly's reflection jumps out of a shop window and dances with him. Director Charles Vidor insisted that the idea would never work, so Donen and Kelly directed the scene themselves:58–66 and Donen spent over a year editing it.:63–64:10 The film made Kelly a movie star and is considered by many film critics to be an important and innovative musical. Donen signed a one-year contract with Columbia:65 and choreographed several films there,:242:247 but returned to MGM the following year when Kelly wanted assistance on his next film.:67
In 1944 Donen and Kelly choreographed the musical Anchors Aweigh, released in 1945 and starring Kelly and Frank Sinatra. The most film's famous scene is when Kelly dances with the cartoon mouse Jerry. The animation was supervised by William Hanna and Joseph Barbera and is credited to cartoonist Fred Quimby, but the idea for the scene was Donen's.:70 Originally Donen and Kelly wanted to use either Mickey Mouse or Donald Duck for the sequence and met with Walt Disney to discuss the project; Disney was working on a similar idea in The Three Caballeros and was unwilling to license one of his characters to MGM.:70–71 The duo spent two months shooting Kelly dancing and Donen spent a year perfecting the scene frame by frame. According to Barbera "the net result at the preview of Anchors Awaythat I went to, blew the audience away.":172
While Kelly completed his service in the U.S. Naval Air Service as a photographer from 1944 to 1946, Donen worked uncredited as a choreographer on musical films. Of this period Donen said, "I practiced my craft, working with music, track and photography. I often directed the sequences. I always tried to have an original idea about how to do musical sequences.":17 Donen has stated that he was excused from military service as 4-F because of high blood pressure.:76 When Kelly returned to civilian life, he and Donen directed and choreographed Kelly's dance scenes in Living in a Big Way.:18 They then began work on an original story about two baseball players in the early 20th century who spend their off-season as vaudevillian song and dance men. This film would eventually become Take Me Out to the Ball Game in 1949. Kelly and Donen had hoped to co-direct the film, but Freed hired Busby Berkeley instead and they only directed Kelly's dance numbers. The film starred Kelly, Frank Sinatra and Jules Munshin.
1949: On the Town
After the success of Take Me Out to the Ball Game, Freed gave Donen and Kelly the chance to direct On the Town, released in 1949. The film was an adaptation of the Betty Comden and Adolph Green Broadway musical about sailors on leave in New York City and was the first musical to be filmed on location. Donen and Kelly had wanted to shoot the entire film in New York, but Freed would only allow them to spend one week away from the studio.
That week produced the film's famous opening number New York, New York. Away from both studio interference and sound stage constrictions, Donen and cinematographer Harold Rosson shot a scene on the streets of New York City that pioneered many cinematic techniques that would not be used again until they were popularized by the French New Wave ten years later. These techniques included spatial jump cuts, 360-degree pans, hidden cameras, abrupt changes of screen direction and non-professional actors. Donen's biographer Joseph A. Casper stated that the scene avoids being gratuitous or amateurish, while still "developing plot, describing the setting while conveying its galvanizing atmosphere and manic mood, introducing and delineating character." Casper also said that "Today the film is regarded as a turning point: the first bona fide musical that moved dance, as well as the musical genre, out of the theater and captured it with and for film rather than onfilm; the first to make the city an important character; and the first to abandon the chorus.":34
On the Town starred Kelly, Sinatra and Munshin as three sailors on a 24-hour shore leave in New York whose romantic pursuits lead them to Ann Miller, Betty Garrettand Vera-Ellen. The film was a success both financially and critically.:34 It won the Academy Award for Best Music, Scoring of a Musical Picture and screenwriters Comden and Green won the Writers Guild of America Award for Best Written American Musical. Like Orson Welles, Donen made his directorial debut at 25. Donen stated that Kelly was "responsible for most of the dance movements. I was behind the camera in the dramatic and musical sequences.":26 Kelly believed that he and Donen "were a good team. I thought we complemented each other very well."
1949–1952: MGM contract director
Fred Astaire dancing on the walls and ceiling in Royal Wedding, a special effect using a rotating reinforced-steel cylindrical chamber to film in
After the success of On the Town, Donen signed a seven-year contract with MGM as a director. His next two films were for Freed, but without Kelly. After being replaced as director on Pagan Love Song over personal differences with star Esther Williams, Donen was given the chance to direct his boyhood idol Fred Astaire.:121–122
Royal Wedding starred Astaire and Jane Powell as a brother-sister American dancing team performing in England during the royal wedding of Elizabeth and Philip in 1947. Judy Garland was originally cast in the lead role, but was fired for absenteeism due to illness and replaced by Powell.:122–126 In the film, Powell's love affair with a wealthy Englishman (Peter Lawford) threatens to ruin the brother-sister act, while Astaire finds his own romance with (Sarah Churchill). The film is loosely based on Astaire's real-life career with his sister and early dancing partner Adele Astaire, who retired after marrying an English lord in 1932 and includes one of Astaire's most famous dance sequences: the "You're All the World to Me" number where he defies gravity by dancing first on the walls and then on the ceiling. The shot was achieved by building the set inside a rotating reinforced-steel cylindrical chamber with the camera attached to the cylinder. Both Astaire and the film's lyricist Alan Jay Lerner claimed that they thought of the idea.:131–132 The film included music by Lerner and Burton Lane and was released in 1951.
Later in 1951 Donen made Love Is Better Than Ever. The film stars Larry Parks as a streetwise show business agent who is compelled to marry an innocent young dance teacher (Elizabeth Taylor). Donen and Kelly appear in cameo roles.:201 The film remained unreleased for over a year after Parks admitted to the House Un-American Activities Committee that he had been a member of the Communist Party and named other members:140 and was unsuccessful at the box office.
1952: Singin' in the Rain
In 1952 Kelly was at the height of his fame after the release of An American in Paris. He then re-teamed with Donen to make Singin' in the Rain, which would become one of the most highly praised films of all time. The film was produced by Freed, written by Comden and Green, photographed by Harold Rosson and starred Kelly, Debbie Reynolds, Donald O'Connor and Jean Hagen.:2
Freed wanted to make a musical using old songs that he and composer Nacio Herb Brown had written in the late 1920s and early 1930s.:2 He hired Comden and Green to write a script, with Donen and Kelly involved from the early development stages.:28 Comden and Green decided to write a story inspired by the time period in which the songs were written, and satirized Hollywood's transition from silent films to "talkies" in the late 1920s. Comden, Green and Donen interviewed everyone at MGM who was in Hollywood during that period,:19 poking fun at both the first movie musicals and the technical difficulties with early sound films.:148–150 This included characters loosely based on Freed and Berkeley:162 and a scene that references silent film star John Gilbert.:65 Donen and Kelly also made use of MGM's large collection of sets, props, costumes and outdated equipment from the 1920s.:80
In the film, Don Lockwood (Kelly) and Lina Lamont (Hagen) are two silent film stars in Hollywood whose careers are threatened by the invention of "talkies". With help from his best friend Cosmo Brown (O'Connor) and love interest Kathy Selden (Reynolds), Lockwood saves his career by turning his latest film into a musical. Filming was harmonious, but Donen thought Kelly's "Broadway Melody" ballet sequence was too long.:164 The Singin' in the Rain musical number took several months to choreograph, and Donen and Kelly found it necessary to dig holes in the cement to create puddles in the street.
The film was a hit when it was released in April 1952, earning over $7.6 million.:188 Kelly's An American in Paris had been a surprise Best Picture winner at the Oscars in March, and MGM decided to re-release it. Singin' in the Rain got pulled from many theaters to showcase the older film, preventing it from making further profits.:169 Singin' in the Rain was nominated for two Academy Awards: Best Supporting Actress for Hagen and Best Original Score. Donald O'Connor won the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor in a Musical or Comedy and Comden and Green once again won the Writers Guild of America Award for Best Written American Musical.:187 Initially the film received only moderate reviews from critics such as Bosley Crowther:141:183 and did not begin to receive widespread acclaim until the late 1960s.:169 One of its earliest supporters was critic Pauline Kael, who said that it "is perhaps the most enjoyable of all movie musicals – just about the best Hollywood musical of all time." It was re-released in 1975 to critical and popular success.:141:55
1952–1955: Seven Brides for Seven Brothers and break with MGM
Now established as a successful film director, Donen continued his solo career at MGM with Fearless Fagan in 1952. Based on a true story, the film stars Carleton Carpenter as a GI who brings his tame lion with him when he joins the army. In 1953 Donen made the musical Give a Girl a Break. The film stars Debbie Reynolds, Marge Champion and Helen Wood as three aspiring dancers competing for the lead in a new Broadway musical. Bob Fosse, Gower Champion and Kurt Kasznar also appear, with music by Lane and Ira Gershwin. The most famous scene is the "Give a Girl a Break" dance between Reynolds and Fosse, which was choreographed backwards and then played in reverse to create the illusion that the two are surrounded by hundreds of balloons that instantly appear at the touch of their fingers.:184Shooting the film became a bitter experience for Donen due to a major on-set fight over the film's choreography between Fosse and Gower Champion.:182 The film was not well reviewed upon release, but its reputation has grown over the years.
Donen solidified his solo career and scored another hit with the musical Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. Based on a short story by Stephen Vincent Benét, the film had music by Saul Chaplin and Gene de Paul, with lyrics by Johnny Mercer and choreography by Michael Kidd. Jane Powell plays Milly, an 1850s frontierswoman who marries Adam (Howard Keel) only hours after meeting him. When she returns with Adam to his log cabin in the Oregon backwoods, Milly discovers that her husband's six brothers are uncivilized and oafish. She makes it her mission to domesticate them and, upon Milly's sarcastic suggestion, the brothers kidnap six women from a neighboring town to marry them. The film was shot in the new CinemaScope format and is remembered for its dance sequences, particularly the "barn raising scene" in which architecture and construction become acrobatic ballet steps. Seven Brides for Seven Brothers was one of the highest-grossing films of 1954:197 and appeared on many critics' 10 Best Films lists. It was nominated for five Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Music (Scoring of a Musical Picture), which it won.:76 Its success was a surprise to MGM, which had invested more money in two other musicals: Rose Marie and Brigadoon, starring Kelly.:197 Seven Brides for Seven Brothers was more profitable than either film, as well as On the Town and Singin' in the Rain, and its success was a major turning point for Donen's career.:76The film was later criticized by novelist Francine Prose, who described it as anti-woman, calling it "one of the most repulsive movies about men and women that has ever been made" and a musical about rape.:188
Later in 1954 Donen made Deep in My Heart, a biography of the Hungarian-born American operetta composer Sigmund Romberg starring José Ferrer. The film included cameos by many MGM contract actors, including the only screen pairing of Gene Kelly and his brother Fred. Although it received mediocre reviews, Romberg's cult status and popularity helped make the film a hit.:202
In 1955 Donen teamed up with Kelly for their third and final directorial collaboration. The musical It's Always Fair Weather was produced by Freed, written by Comden and Green and had music by André Previn. It starred Kelly, Dan Dailey, Cyd Charisse, Michael Kidd, and Dolores Gray. Originally envisioned as a sequel to On the Town, Kelly, Dailey and Kidd play three ex-GIs who reunite 10 years after World War II and discover that none of their lives have turned out how they had expected.Kelly approached Donen with the project and at first Donen was reluctant due to his own success. Their friendship deteriorated during production and Donen noted, "the atmosphere from day one was very tense and nobody was speaking to anybody.":211 He called it a "one hundred percent nightmare" which was a "struggle from beginning to end" and MGM did not allow the co-directors to shoot on location in New York.:86 It's Always Fair Weather was moderately profitable, but not as successful as their previous two films. It was Donen's last film with Kelly or Freed. After the its completion he fulfilled his MGM contract agreement by working with other studios. His last project for MGM was completing the final four days of shooting on Kismet in July 1955 for director Vincent Minnelli.:94
1956–1959: director and independent producer
Donen's next film was at Paramount Pictures for producer Roger Edens. Funny Face contains four of the original George and Ira Gershwin songs from the otherwise unrelated 1927 Broadway musical of the same name that had starred Fred Astaire. Loosely based on the life of fashion photographer Richard Avedon, who was also the visual consultant and designed the opening title sequence for the film, it was written by Leonard Gershe and included additional music by Gershe and Edens.Donen and Edens began pre-production at MGM, but had difficulty juggling Astaire and Audrey Hepburn's Paramount contracts, the Warner Brothers – owned rights to the Gershwin music that they wanted and their own MGM contracts. Eventually a deal was reached that both released Donen from his MGM contract and allowed him to make his next two films at Paramount and Warner Brothers respectively.:229 Astaire plays an aging fashion photographer who discovers the intellectual bohemian Hepburn at a used bookstore in Greenwich Village and turns her into his new model while falling in love with her in Paris. Donen, Avedon and cinematographer Ray June collaborated to give the film an abstract, smokey look that resembled the fashion photography of the period despite protests by Paramount, which had recently spent a fortune developing the crisp VistaVision.:231–233 Funny Face was screened in competition at the 1957 Cannes Film Festival and received good reviews from critics like Crowther.:241 Sight and Sound, in contrast, accused it of being anti-intellectual.:104
While in pre-production on Funny Face, Donen received a letter from his old boss George Abbott inviting him to make a film version of his stage hit The Pajama Gameat Warner Brothers. As part of the deal to secure the Warner-owned Gershwin music he wanted for Funny Face, Donen accepted the offer:229 and he and Abbott co-directed the film version in 1957. The Pajama Game stars Doris Day and John Raitt, with music by Richard Adler and Jerry Ross and choreography by Bob Fosse. Raitt plays a plant supervisor at a nightwear factory who is in constant disputes with the plant's union organizer (Day), until they end up falling in love.:248 Donen described his working relationship with Abbott as relaxed, stating that "[Abbott would] play tennis, come watch on the set for an hour, then watch the rushes, then go home.":247 It was only a modest financial success, but Jean-Luc Godard praised it and declared "Donen is surely the master of the movie musical. The Pajama Game exists to prove it.":259
Donen's next film was Kiss Them for Me. He was personally asked by Cary Grant to direct and began developing it while still under contract at MGM.:261 With a plot that strongly resembles On the Town, the film features Grant, Ray Walston and Larry Blyden as three navy officers on leave in San Francisco in 1944. Unlike On the Town, Kiss Them for Me is a dark comedy that contrasts the officers' selfless heroism with their self-absorbed hedonism while on leave. The film was released in 1957 to mostly poor reviews.:122
After three films in 1957 Donen became an independent producer and director. He had reluctantly agreed to direct Kiss Them for Me on condition that 20th Century Foxbuy out his remaining contract with MGM.:263 Now free from contractual obligations, he formed Grandon Productions with Grant and signed a distribution deal through Warner Brothers.:269 Donen would self-produce nearly all of his films for the rest of his career, sometimes under the name "Stanley Donen Productions". Donen and Grant inaugurated their company in 1958 with Indiscreet, based on a play by Norman Krasna and starring Grant and Ingrid Bergman. Because of Bergman's schedule, the film was shot on location in London. Bergman plays a famous and reclusive actress who falls in love with the supposedly married playboy-diplomat Grant. When Bergman discovers that he has been lying about having a wife, she concocts a charade with another man in order to win Grant's full affection. The film's most famous scene involves Donen's clever circumvention of the strict Production Code. In the scene, Grant is in Paris while Bergman is still in London and the two exchange pillow talk over the . Donen used a split screen of the two stars with synchronized movements to make it appear as though they were in the same bed together. The film was a financial and critical success,:131 and Donen was compared to such directors as Ernst Lubitsch and George Cukor.
Donen briefly returned to the musical genre in 1958 with Damn Yankees!, based on George Abbott's Broadway hit. He again co-directed with Abbott in the same hands-off collaboration as their first film.:252 Like The Pajama Game the film includes music by Adler and Ross and choreography by Fosse. It starred Tab Hunter, Gwen Verdon, and Ray Walston. Damn Yankees! is an adaptation of the Faust legend about a fan of the Washington Senators who would sell his soul to give the losing team a good hitter. Walston plays the Brooks Brothers-attired Devil who grants the fan his wish and transforms him into the muscular young hitter Joe Hardy (Hunter).Donen was able to shoot three real Senator-Yankee games on location with seven hidden cameras.:134 The low-budget film was a moderate financial success and received good reviews.:140 It was also Donen's last musical film for many years.
1960–1969: United Kingdom
After Indiscreet Donen made England his home until the early 1970s.:274 Musicals' waning popularity caused Donen to focus on comedy films. He observed that his "London base afforded me the advantage of being away from the Hollywood rat race. Just going your own way in spite of whatever anyone else is doing or in spite of what you've done already was satisfying. I also had the advantage of the European influence: their way of looking at life, of making movies." While in the UK in the early 1960s Donen was praised as an early influence on the then-emerging British New Wave film movement.:180
In the late 1950s Donen signed a non-exclusive, three-film deal with Columbia Pictures.:277 His first film under this contract was Once More, with Feeling! in 1960. Adapted by Harry Kurnitz from his own stage play, the film was shot in Paris and starred Yul Brynner as a tyrannical orchestra conductor whose mistress (Kay Kendall) grows tired of his tantrums and plots to marry him in order to quickly divorce him for his money. Kendall was terminally ill with leukemia during the shoot and died before its release. The film was not successful financially or critically.
Donen quickly re-teamed with Brynner and Kurnitz for the film Surprise Package, also released in 1960. In this film Brynner plays an American gangster who is deported to the Greek island of Rhodes. Mitzi Gaynor plays the "surprise package" who is sent to the island to appease Brynner, and Noël Coward plays the King of Rhodes whom Brynner plots to dethrone. The film was not a financial success, and Donen stated that it was made because he "desperately needed money for personal reasons.":155 These were the only two films that Donen completed for his Columbia contract. The studio cancelled the deal after their poor box office results, and Donen was unable to produce the projects that he was pursuing at that time: playwright Robert Bolt's A Man for All Seasons and A Patch of Blue, both of which became successful films by other directors.:277–278
Grandon Productions produced Donen's next film: The Grass Is Greener, released through Universal Pictures in 1960. Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr play the earl and countess of a large estate in England who are forced to permit guided tours of their mansion in order to help their financial problems. Robert Mitchum plays an American oil tycoon who falls in love with Kerr and Jean Simmons plays an eccentric American heiress who is Grant's former girlfriend. The film was a financial disappointment in the US, but successful in England where the original stage version had been a West End hit.
Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn in Charade, Donen's most financially successful film
In 1963 Donen made one of his most praised films: Charade, starring Cary Grant, Audrey Hepburn, Walter Matthau, James Coburn, George Kennedy and Ned Glass. Donen has said that he had "always wanted to make a movie like one of my favorites, Hitchcock's North by Northwest":166 and the film has been referred to as "the best Hitchcock movie that Hitchcock never made." Charade was produced by Stanley Donen Productions,:288 released through Universal and adapted by Peter Stone from his own novel. Reggie Lampert (Hepburn) discovers that her husband has been murdered and (at least) three sinister men are all searching for the $250,000 in gold that he had hidden somewhere. Peter Joshua (Grant) befriends Reggie and helps her fight off the three thugs while the two begin to fall in love. The film was released in December 1963, only two weeks after the assassination of US President John F. Kennedy, and the word "assassinate" had to be redubbed twice.:292–293 It was Donen's most financially successful film:284 and influenced a number of romantic comedy-thrillers released in the years following it. Film critic Judith Crist called it a "stylish and amusing melodrama", and Pauline Kael said it had "a freshness and spirit that makes [it] unlike the films of any other country" and was "probably the best American film of ".:294 In 2002 it was remade as The Truth About Charlie, directed by Jonathan Demme.
In 1966 Donen made another Hitchcock-inspired film: Arabesque, starring Gregory Peck and Sophia Loren. The film was written by Julian Mitchell and Stanley Price, with an uncredited rewrite by Peter Stone.:294 Peck plays an American professor at Oxford University who is an expert in ancient hieroglyphics. He is approached by a Middle Eastern prime minister to investigate an organization that is attempting to assassinate him and uses hieroglyphic codes to communicate. The investigation leads Peck to one mystery after another, often involving the prime minister's mysterious mistress (Loren). The film was Donen's second consecutive hit.:294
In 1967 Donen made Two for the Road, starring Audrey Hepburn and Albert Finney with supporting roles by Eleanor Bron, William Daniels, and Jacqueline Bisset. The film was conceived by Donen and written by novelist Frederic Raphael, who was nominated for an Academy Award. It has been called one of Donen's most personal films, "with glints of passion never disclosed before", and "a veritable textbook on film editing." The film's complicated and non-linear story is about the 12-year relationship between Hepburn and Finney over the course of four separate (but interwoven) road trips that they take together throughout the years in the south of France. It was moderately successful at the box office while the critical reception was extremely mixed.:185 Crowther called the film "just another version of commercial American trash.":308 The film attained a cult following and was cited as an early example of non-linear storytelling in film. It is also the film that Donen said he is most frequently asked about by film students.:299
While living in England Donen became a fan of the British variety show Beyond the Fringe and wanted to work with the show's comedy duo Peter Cook and Dudley Moore. The resulting film was Bedazzled, an updated version of the Faust legend in 1967. It was written by Cook with music by Moore, and also starred Eleanor Bron and Raquel Welch. Moore plays a lonely young man whose unrequited love of his co-worker (Bron) drives him to attempt suicide. Just then the devil (Cook) appears and offers him seven wishes in exchange for his soul. The film's fun-loving association with the Swinging London of the 1960s divided critics, but Roger Ebert called its satire "barbed and contemporary ... dry and understated", and overall, a "magnificently photographed, intelligent, very funny film." On the other hand, Time magazinecalled it the feeblest of all known variations on the Faust theme. The film was a hit:310 and was especially popular among American college students.:317 Donen considered it a favorite among his own films and called it "a very personal film in that I said a great deal about what I think is important in life.":191 It was remade as Bedazzled by director Harold Ramis in 2000.
In 1969 Donen directed Staircase, an adaptation of the autobiographical stage play by Charles Dyer with music by Moore. Rex Harrison and Richard Burton star as a middle-aged gay couple who run a London barber shop and live together in a "bad marriage". The film was shot in Paris for tax purposes and was not a financial success. It received poor reviews upon release, but was reevaluated by film critic Armond White in 2007. He called the film "a rare Hollywood movie to depict gay experience with wisdom, humor and warmth", and "a lost treasure".
1970–2003: Later works
After Donen's marriage to Adelle Beatty ended, he moved back to Hollywood in 1970.:203 Producer Robert Evans asked Donen to direct an adaptation of the beloved children's book The Little Prince. Lyricist Alan Jay Lerner and composer Frederick Loewe wrote the music and screenplay and filming was done on location in Tunisia. The Little Prince stars Steven Warner in the title role, with Richard Kiley, Bob Fosse, Gene Wilder and Donna McKechnie. It was Donen's first musical film since Damn Yankees! Although it contained very little dancing, Fosse choreographed his own dance scenes as the snake. Lerner stated that Donen "took it upon himself to change every tempo, delete musical phrases at will and distort the intention of every song until the entire score was unrecognizable". It was released in 1974 and was a financial disaster.
Donen's next film was Lucky Lady, starring Liza Minnelli, Gene Hackman and Burt Reynolds. Minnelli plays a Prohibition era bootlegger who smuggles alcohol from Mexico to California with the help of Hackman and Reynolds, who both compete for her affection. Donen has stated that he "really cared about [the film] and gave three years of my life to it ... I think it's a very good movie.":220 It went over budget and was unsuccessful at the box office. Most critics were unenthusiastic; however, Jay Cocks praised the film for having "the glistening surface and full-throttle frivolity that characterized Hollywood films in the 1930s."
Nostalgia for old Hollywood movies would be a theme of Donen's next film: Movie Movie, produced by Lew Grade's ITC Entertainment and scripted by Larry Gelbart and Sheldon Keller. The film is actually two shorter films presented as an old fashioned double feature, complete with a fake movie trailer and an introduction by comedian George Burns. It starred George C. Scott, Trish Van Devere, Red Buttons, Michael Kidd and Eli Wallach and premiered in competition at the 29th Berlin International Film Festival in 1978. The first of the two films is Dynamite Hands, a black and white tribute to boxing – morality films. The second film is Baxter's Beauties of 1933, a tribute to the extravagant musicals of Busby Berkely. Like Donen's previous two films, it was unsuccessful both financially and critically.:228
In 1980 Donen made the science fiction film Saturn 3, starring Kirk Douglas, Farrah Fawcett and Harvey Keitel. Donen first read the script when its writer (and Movie Movie's set designer) John Barry showed it to him, prompting Donen to pass it along to Lew Grade. Donen was initially hired to produce, but Grade asked him to complete the film when first-time director Barry was unable to direct.:228 According to Donen "only a tiny bit of what Barry shot ended up in the finished film.":228 It was a critical and financial disaster and initially Donen did not want to be credited as director.:233 In the early 1980s Donen was attached to direct an adaptation of Stephen King's The Dead Zone and worked with writer Jeffrey Boam on the script. Donen eventually dropped out of the project and David Cronenberg directed the filma few years later. Boam stated that Donen was initially attracted to making the film because he wanted to "connect with contemporary youthful audiences" and that the script that they worked on together was "very close to the script that David wound up making."
Donen's last theatrical film was the May – December romance Blame It on Rio in 1984. The film is a remake of the 1977 Claude Berri film Un moment d'égarement:363 and was written by Gelbart and Charlie Peters. It stars Michael Caine, Joseph Bologna, Michelle Johnson, Valerie Harper and Demi Moore and was shot on location in Rio de Janeiro. Caine and Bologna play wealthy executives on vacation with their families in Rio, where Caine has an affair with Bologna's teenage daughter (Johnson). It received poor reviews, but was a modest success financially.
In 1986 Donen produced the televised ceremony of the 58th Academy Awards, which included a musical performance of the song "Once a Star, Always a Star" with June Allyson, Leslie Caron, Marge Champion, Cyd Charisse, Kathryn Grayson, Howard Keel, Ann Miller, Jane Powell, Debbie Reynolds, and Esther Williams. Also in 1986 Donen directed a musical sequence for an episode of the popular TV series Moonlighting and directed the music video for Lionel Richie's song "Dancing on the Ceiling".:336–337 In 1989 Donen was awarded an Honorary Doctorate in Fine Arts from the University of South Carolina. In his commencement address Donen stated that he thought he was unique in being the first tap dancer to be a doctor and then tap danced for the graduates.:333–334 At around the same time Donen taught a seminar on film musicals at the Sundance Institute at the request of Robert Redford.:338
In 1993 Donen was preparing to produce and direct a movie musical adaptation of Robert Louis Stevenson's Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde starring Michael Jackson. After allegations that Jackson had molested young boys at his Neverland ranch became a tabloid scandal, the project was abandoned.:337 Later that year Donen directed a stage version of The Red Shoes at the George Gershwin Theater. He replaced the original director Susan Schulman just six weeks before the show opened. It closed after four days.:337–338 In 1998 Donen was awarded an Honorary Academy Award "in appreciation of a body of work marked by grace, elegance, wit and visual innovation." In his acceptance speech he danced with his Oscar statue while singing Irving Berlin's "Cheek to Cheek", a song first popularized by his boyhood idol Fred Astaire. Martin Scorsese presented the award and created a montage of Donen's films for the show.
Donen's last film was the made-for-TV movie Love Letters, which aired on ABC in April 1999. The film starred Steven Weber and Laura Linney and was based on the play by A.R. Gurney. Weber plays a successful US Senator who finds out that his long lost love (Linney) has recently died. The two had only corresponded through mail over the years, and Weber remembers Linney through his collection of old love letters. Donen had wanted to make a theatrical film version of the play, but was unable to secure financing from any major studio and instead took the project to ABC. In 2002 Donen directed Elaine May's musical play Adult Entertainment starring Danny Aiello and Jeannie Berlin in Stamford, Connecticut. In 2004 he was awarded the Career Golden Lion at the 61st Venice International Film Festival.
Kelly, Reynolds and O'Connor in the opening titles of Singin' in the Rain
During his career Donen's biggest rival was Vincente Minnelli, to whom he is often compared. Like Donen, Minnelli was a contract director at MGM known for the musicals he made in the Freed Unit. According to Donen biographer Stephen Silverman, critics tend to "express a distinct preference for Donen's bold, no-nonsense style of direction over Minnelli's Impressionist visual palette and Expressionist character motivations", while most film directors are said to prefer Minnelli's work.:191–192 Michael Kidd, who worked with both directors early in his career, describes Minnelli as being much less open to collaborative suggestions than Donen. The two directors' camera work differs in that Minnelli often used forward and backwards tracking shots while Donen preferred horizontal tracking shots and crane shots. Silverman said film critics consider Donen's approach to be better suited for dance sequences.:191–192
David Thomson dismisses most of his later comedy films, but praises him for leading "the musical in a triumphant and personal direction: out of doors ... Not even Minnelli can rival the fresh-air excitement of such sequences. And few can equal his integration of song, dance and story." Andrew Sarris dismisses Donen as being without a personal style of his own and as being dependent upon his collaborators on his better films.:311–312 Debbie Reynolds downplayed his contributions to Singin' in the Rain, stating that "Stanley just operated the camera, because Stanley didn't dance.":182–183
Among Donen's admirers are film directors Pedro Almodóvar, Lindsay Anderson,:317 Charlie Chaplin,:169 Damien Chazelle, Jules Dassin,:165 William Friedkin, Jean-Luc Godard,:259 Stanley Kubrick,:316 Karel Reisz,:55 Martin Scorsese, François Truffaut,:317 and Edgar Wright. Donen's skill as a director has been praised by such actors as Cyd Charisse:209 and Audrey Hepburn.:xi – xv Donen's work influenced later directors of film musicals Bill Condon, Rob Marshall and Baz Luhrmann The 2011 film The Artist pays tribute to Singin' in the Rain (among other films), and Donen praised the film after attending its Los Angeles premiere.
Singin' in the Rain is Donen's most revered film and it was included in the first group of films to be inducted into the National Film Registry at the Library of Congress in 1989 and has been included on Sight and Sound's prestigious list of "Top Ten Films" twice, in 1982 and in 2002. Chaplin and Truffaut were among its earliest fans,:169and Billy Wilder called the film "one of the five greatest pictures ever made.":146
Donen made a host of critically acclaimed and popular films. His most important contribution to the art of film was helping to transition movie musicals from the realistic backstage settings of filmed theater to a more cinematic form that integrates film with dance. Eventually film scholars named this concept "cine-dance" (a dance that can only be created in the medium of film), and its origins are in the Donen/Kelly films.:34 Film scholar Casey Charness described "cine-dance" as "a melding of the distinctive strengths of dancing and filmmaking that had never been done before" and adds that Donen and Kelly "seem to have elevated Hollywood dance from simplistic display of either dancing or photographic ability into a perception that incorporates both what the dancer can do and what the camera can see ... [They] developed a balance between camera and dancer that ... encouraged both photographer and choreographer to contribute significantly to the creation and final effectiveness of dance.":6
When "talkies" began to gain momentum in the film industry, the Hollywood studios recruited the best talent from Broadway to make musical films, such as Broadway Melody and Berkley's 42nd Street. These films established the backstage musical, a subgenre in which the plot revolves around a stage show and the people involved in putting it on. They set the standard for the musical genre, placing their musical numbers either within the context of a stage performance or tacked on and gratuitous, without furthering the story or developing the characters.:4–12 Donen stated that he disliked them and that his own films were "a reaction against those backstage musicals.":221 Donen credits producer Freed as the driving force behind the transition, adding that Freed "had some sort of instinct to change the musical from a backstage world into something else. He didn't quite know what to change it into, just that it had to change.":8 Kelly stated that Donen was the only person he knew that understood how musicals could progress and better suit the film medium.:156
Donen and Kelly's films set new standards for special effects, animation, editing and cinematography. Their first collaboration Cover Girl firmly established their intentions, particularly in the "Alter Ego" dance sequence. It employed a special effect that could not be achieved with a live take, while advancing the story and revealing the character's inner conflict. Donen and Kelly tested the limits of film's potential with the Jerry the Mouse dance in Anchors Aweigh, one of the most sophisticated combinations of live action and animation.
By the time they made Take Me Out to the Ball Game they had perfected what Martin Rubin called an "indication of changing trends in musical films" which differed from the Berkeley spectacles towards "relatively small-scale affairs that place the major emphasis on comedy, transitions to the narrative, the cleverness of the lyrics and the personalities and performance skills of the stars, rather than on spectacle and group dynamics.":92 Rubin credits Donen and Kelly with making musicals more realistic, compared to Berkeley's style of a "separation of narrative space from performance space":94 Take Me Out to the Ball Game was Berkeley's last film as a director and today can be viewed as a passing of the torch. Both Donen and Kelly found working with Berkeley difficult,:92:37 and the director left before the film's completion. When Donen and Kelly directed their own work, they were able to realize their ambitions.
When Donen and Kelly released On the Town, they boldly opened the film with an extravagant musical number shot on location in New York with fast-paced editing and experimental camera work, thus breaking from the conventions of that time. Their most celebrated film Singin' in the Rain is appropriately a musical about the birth of the movie musical. The film includes a musical montage that Donen says was "doing Busby Berkeley here, only we're making fun of him.":161 Charness stated that Singin' in the Rain's references to Berkeley "marks the first time the Hollywood musical had ever been reflexive, and amused at its own extravagant non-dancing inadequacy, at that" and that Berekeley's "overhead kaleidoscope floral pattern is predominantly featured, as is the line of tap-dancing chorines, who are seen only from the knees down.":100 Charness also stated that the film's cinematography "moves the audience perspective along with the dance.":98–99
Charness singled out the film's famous title number and states, "it's a very kinetic moment, for though there is no technically accomplished dance present, the feeling of swinging around in a circle with an open umbrella is a brilliantly apt choice of movement, one that will be readily identifiable by an audience which might know nothing kinesthetically of actual dance ... Accompanying this movement is a breathless pullback into a high crane shot that takes place at the same time Kelly is swinging into his widest arcs with the umbrella. The effect is dizzying. Perhaps the finest single example of the application of camera knowhow to a dance moment in Donen-Kelly canon.":107 He also complimented Donen's direction in the "Moses Supposes" number, including "certain camera techniques which Donen had by now formularized ... the dolly shot into medium shot to signify the ending of one shot and the beginning of another.":103 Although Donen credits earlier musicals by René Clair, Lubitsch and Astaire as "integrated",:119 he also states that "in the early musicals of Lubitsch and Clair, they made it clear from the beginning that their characters were going to sing operatically. Gene and I didn't go that far. In 'Moses Supposes', he and Donald sort of talk themselves into a song.":161 Donen's Royal Wedding and Give A Girl A Break continued to use special effect shots to create elaborate dance sequences, and Kelly used even more sophisticated animation in his film Invitation to Dance.
Relationship with Gene Kelly
Donen's relationship with Gene Kelly was complicated and he often spoke bitterly about his former friend and mentor decades after they worked together. Kelly was never explicitly negative about Donen in later years.:204 However, Silverman has asserted that Kelly's comments were often condescending and demonstrated "a long-standing attempt to diminish Donen's contributions to their collective work.":48 The reasons for their conflict were both personal (both men married dancer Jeanne Coyne) and professional (Donen always felt that Kelly did not treat him as an equal). They disagreed over who deserved more credit for their joint projects: three films as co-directors and four as co-choreographers.
At age 7 Coyne enrolled in the Gene Kelly Studio of Dance in Johnstown, Pennsylvania and developed a schoolgirl crush on him:97:40:29 In her twenties she was cast in Best Foot Forward, where she reconnected with Kelly and first met Donen,:89 later moving to Hollywood with them.:97:91 She and Donen eloped in 1948,:188 but their marriage became strained.:137 They separated in 1950 and divorced in 1951.:97 During their marriage Donen confided to Coyne his frustration with Kelly while making On the Town, only to find that she immediately took Kelly's side.:202 Coyne worked as Kelly's personal assistant on several films while married to Donen and continued assisting Kelly until her death. Rumors held that Kelly and Coyne were having an affair both during and after Coyne's marriage to Donen,:137 as well as that Donen was in love with Kelly's first wife Betsy Blair.:91:194 Blair's autobiography makes no mention of an affair between Kelly and Coyne nor of any romantic relationship with Donen. However, she does state that Donen's marriage to Coyne was unhappy:165 and that Donen was very close to both her and Kelly.:114–115
Kelly said that Donen's impulsive marriage to Coyne showed an emotional immaturity and lack of good judgment,:194 and stated that "Jeannie's marriage to Stanley was doomed from the start. Because every time Stanley looked at Jeannie, he saw Betsy, whom he loved; and every time Jeannie looked at Stanley, I guess she saw me. One way or another it was all pretty incestuous.":235 Kelly's marriage to Blair ended in 1957, after which he moved in with Coyne. They married in 1960 and had two children together.:235–236 Coyne died of leukemia in 1973.:253 In November 2012 the musical What A Glorious Feeling depicted both the making of Singin' in the Rain and the love triangle between Donen, Kelly and Coyne.
Donen and Kelly's relationship has been described as similar to that of the characters Don Lockwood and Cosmo Brown in Singin' in the Rain, with Kelly as the star performer and Donen as his trusted sidekick.:45 Kelly described Donen as being like a son to him:48 and Donen initially idolized Kelly, while still finding him to be "cold, egotistical and very rough.":74 Although Donen credited Kelly for "jump-starting his career as a filmmaker", he also stated that MGM producer Roger Edens was his biggest promoter.:90
Many people believe that Donen owed everything to Kelly, and Kelly biographer Clive Hirschhorn described Donen as having "no particular identity or evident talent ... and was just a kid from the south who wanted to make it in show business.":40 Donen stated that he moved to Hollywood of his own accord;:39 other sources state that he followed Kelly, who then helped him get his first job.:40 Kelly would sometimes embarrass and patronize Donen in public,:194 such as berating him for not being able to keep up with his dance steps during the rehearsals for Cover Girl.:62:134 Donen has admitted that he did not consider himself to be a great performer.:5 Despite Donen's growing resentment of Kelly,:193–194 he was able to contain his feelings and professional attitude during their collaborations.:202Tensions between the two exploded on the set of It's Always Fair Weather. After Donen's recent hits Deep in My Heart and Seven Brides for Seven Brothers he did not want to make another film with Kelly.:206 They fought on the set for the first time, with the now more confident Donen asserting himself.:233–234 Donen almost quit the film,:212 and his friendship with Kelly ended.:84
Other tensions included Donen's hit films:84:232 compared to Vincente Minnelli's Brigadoon (which Kelly was closely involved in and had wanted to direct:231–232) flop, and Kelly's own ambitious film Invitation to Dance, both financially unsuccessful.:170–171:209 During the shooting of Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, Donen often complained about his budgetary constraints, while Brigadoon had a much larger budget.:197 Around that time Kelly's unsuccessfully attempted dramatic acting with The Devil Makes Three and Seagulls Over Sorrento also flopped, and his marriage to Betsy Blair was ending.:84
In later years Donen would state that he had nothing nice to say about Kelly. At a 1991 tribute to Comden and Green, Kelly said in a public speech that Donen "needed [him] to grow up with" but added "I needed Stanley at the back of the camera.":214 He also described Donen as being thought of as his whipping-boy at MGM.:156 Although Donen often complained that Kelly never gave him enough credit for their work, Kelly did credit him for the Jerry the Mouse:146 and "Alter Ego" dance sequences.:134 In 1992 Donen said "I'm grateful to him, but I paid back the debt, ten times over. And he got his money's worth out of me.":213 Betsy Blair claimed to be "surprised and bemused" about Donen's bitterness towards Kelly.:116
The relative importance of the two men's contributions has been debated by critics. David Thomson wrote about "the problem in assessing [Donen's] career: who did what in their collaboration? And what is Donen's real standing as a director?" Thomson remarked that "nothing in his career suggests that Gene Kelly could have filmed himself singing in the rain with the exhilaration of Donen's retreating crane shot." However set reports state that Kelly rode the camera boom between shots and during camera set-ups.:207 Donen stated that "by the time you hash it through from beginning to end ten million times, you can't remember who did what except in a few instances where you remember getting an idea.":26 Composer Saul Chaplin said that "Gene was the prime mover and Stanley an eager and talented pupil."During the shooting of On the Town, all memos and correspondence from MGM to the production were addressed exclusively to Donen and not to Kelly.:106
However, actress Kathleen Freeman stated that when people visited set of Singin' in the Rain to relate their experiences during the silent era, they would ask to speak with Kelly.:207 Singin' in the Rain art director Randall Duell stated, "Gene ran the show. Stan had some good ideas and worked with Gene, but he was still the 'office boy' to Gene, in a sense, although Gene had great respect for him.":42 Kelly became more involved with the Singin' in the Rain script during its third draft, which was when its structure began to resemble the final version.:58–59 Comparing Donen and Kelly's films as solo directors, Donen's were usually more critically acclaimed and financially successful than Kelly's films. Kelly's 1969 film Hello Dolly! is credited with effectively killing the Hollywood musical.:345
Donen with Mike Nichols at a 2010 Lincoln Center retrospective
Donen married and divorced five times and had three children. His first wife was dancer, choreographer and actress Jeanne Coyne. They married on April 14, 1948 and divorced in May 1951.:97 Donen's second wife was actress Marion Marshall, who had been the girlfriend and protégé of Howard Hawks and later married actor Robert Wagner. Donen and Marshall had two sons together: Peter Donen (1953-2003) and Joshua Donen, born in 1955. They provided the name of Cary Grant's character in Charade. Donen and Marshall were married from 1952 until 1959. They had a lengthy custody battle over their two sons after Marshall married Wagner and Donen moved to England. Donen's third wife was Adelle, Countess Beatty. She had previously been the second wife of the 2nd Earl Beatty. They married in 1960, had one son (Mark Donen, born 1962), and lived together in London.:275–276 They separated in 1969 before divorcing in 1971.:276Donen's fourth wife was American actress Yvette Mimieux. They were married from 1972 until 1985, but remained close friends after their divorce.:334 Donen's fifth wife was Pamela Braden, thirty-six years his junior. Donen proposed to her four days after having met her. They were married from 1990 until 1994.:335
In the early 1940s, Donen dated actress Judy Holliday while working on Broadway.:262 He also dated Elizabeth Taylor for a year between his first and second marriages.:137–139 Donen's current longtime companion is writer and director Elaine May, who he has dated since 1999 and claimed to have proposed marriage to "about 172 times."
Donen's eldest son Peter Donen was a visual effects artist who worked on such films as Superman III, Spaceballs, The Bourne Identity, and The Truth About Charlie. He also designed the title credits for Blame It on Rio. He died of a heart attack in 2003 at age 50. Donen's second son Joshua Donen is a film producer who worked on such films as The Quick and the Dead and Gone Girl. Mark Donen, Stanley's third son, worked as a production assistant on Blame It on Rio.
In 1959, Donen's father, Mordecai, died at 59 in Beaufort, South Carolina.:323–324 His mother, Helen, died in 1989 at 84 in South Carolina, and Donen delivered the eulogy at her funeral.:333
With the deaths in the 2000s of Billy Wilder, George Sidney, Elia Kazan, Robert Wise, and Jules Dassin, Donen became the last surviving notable film director of Hollywood's Golden Age. He occasionally appears at film festivals and retrospectives and has continued to develop ideas for film projects. He was the subject of the 2010 documentary Stanley Donen: You Just Do It.
In December 2013 it was announced that Donen was in pre-production for a new film co-written with Elaine May, to be produced by Mike Nichols. A table reading of the script for potential investors included such actors as Christopher Walken, Charles Grodin, Ron Rifkin and Jeannie Berlin. In celebration of Donen's 90th birthday in 2014, a retrospective of his work titled "A Lotta Talent and a Little Luck: A Celebration of Stanley Donen" was held from July to August in Columbia, South Carolina. This retrospective included a tour of Donen's childhood neighborhood, a lecture by Steven Silverman and film screenings at the Nickelodeon movie theater, which Donen frequented as a child.
Main article: Filmography and awards of Stanley Donen
1949 On the Town
1951 Royal Wedding
1952 Love Is Better Than Ever
1952 Singin' in the Rain
1952 Fearless Fagan
1953 Give a Girl a Break
1954 Seven Brides for Seven Brothers
1954 Deep in My Heart
1955 It's Always Fair Weather
1957 Funny Face
1957 The Pajama Game
1957 Kiss Them for Me
1958 Damn Yankees!
1960 Once More, with Feeling!
1960 Surprise Package
1960 The Grass Is Greener
1967 Two for the Road
1974 The Little Prince
1975 Lucky Lady
1978 Movie Movie
1980 Saturn 3
1984 Blame It on Rio
1999 Love Letters
Birth name Enrico Nicola Mancini
Born April 16, 1924
Cleveland, Ohio, United States
Died June 14, 1994 (aged 70)
Los Angeles, California, United States
Genres Film scores, easy listening, jazz
Occupation(s) Composer, arranger, conductor
Instruments Piano, flute, piccolo
Years active 1946–1994
Enrico Nicola "Henry" Mancini (/mɑːnˈtʃiːni/; April 16, 1924 – June 14, 1994) was an American composer, conductor and arranger, who is best remembered for his film and television scores. Often cited as one of the greatest composers in the history of film, he won four Academy Awards, a Golden Globe, and twenty Grammy Awards, plus a posthumous Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1995.
His best known works include the theme to The Pink Panther film series ("The Pink Panther Theme"), "Moon River" to Breakfast at Tiffany's, and the theme to the Peter Gunn television series. The Peter Gunn theme won the first Grammy Award for Album of the Year. Mancini also had a long collaboration on film scores with the film director Blake Edwards.
1 Early life
3 Death and legacy
5.1 Hit singles
9 Further reading
10 External links
Mancini was born in the Little Italy neighborhood of Cleveland, and was raised near Pittsburgh, in the steel town of West Aliquippa, Pennsylvania. His parents immigrated from the Abruzzo region of Italy. Mancini's father, Quinto (born March 13, 1893, Scanno, Italy) was a steelworker, who made his only child begin piccololessons at the age of eight. When Mancini was 12 years old, he began piano lessons. Quinto and Henry played flute together in the Aliquippa Italian immigrant band, "Sons of Italy". After graduating from Aliquippa High School in 1942, Mancini attended the renowned Juilliard School of Music in New York. In 1943, after roughly one year at Juilliard, his studies were interrupted when he was drafted into the United States Army. He initially served in the infantry, later transferring to an Army band. In 1945, he participated in the liberation of the Mauthausen-Gusen concentration camp in Austria.
Newly discharged, Mancini entered the music industry. Entering 1946, he became a pianist and arranger for the newly re-formed Glenn Miller Orchestra, led by 'Everyman' Tex Beneke. After World War II, Mancini broadened his skills in composition, counterpoint, harmony and orchestration during studies opening with the composers Ernst Krenek and Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco.
In 1952, Mancini joined the Universal Pictures music department. During the next six years, he contributed music to over 100 movies, most notably Creature from the Black Lagoon, The Creature Walks Among Us, It Came from Outer Space, Tarantula, This Island Earth, The Glenn Miller Story (for which he received his first Academy Award nomination), The Benny Goodman Story and Orson Welles' Touch of Evil. During this time, he also wrote some popular songs. His first hit was a single by Guy Lombardo and His Royal Canadians titled I Won't Let You Out of My Heart.
Mancini left Universal-International to work as an independent composer/arranger in 1958. Soon afterward, he scored the television series Peter Gunn for writer/producer Blake Edwards. This was the genesis of a relationship in which Edwards and Mancini collaborated on 30 films over 35 years. Along with Alex North, Elmer Bernstein, Leith Stevens and Johnny Mandel, Henry Mancini was a pioneer of the inclusion of jazz elements in the late romantic orchestral film and TV scoring prevalent at the time.
Album cover for Six Hours Past Sunset
Mancini's scores for Blake Edwards included Breakfast at Tiffany's (with the standard "Moon River") and Days of Wine and Roses (with the title song, "Days of Wine and Roses"), as well as Experiment in Terror, The Pink Panther (and all of its sequels), The Great Race, The Party, 10 (including "It's Easy to Say") and Victor Victoria. Another director with whom Mancini had a longstanding partnership was Stanley Donen (Charade, Arabesque, Two for the Road). Mancini also composed for Howard Hawks (Man's Favorite Sport?, Hatari! – which included the well-known "Baby Elephant Walk"), Martin Ritt (The Molly Maguires), Vittorio de Sica (Sunflower), Norman Jewison (Gaily, Gaily), Paul Newman (Sometimes a Great Notion, The Glass Menagerie), Stanley Kramer (Oklahoma Crude), George Roy Hill (The Great Waldo Pepper), Arthur Hiller (Silver Streak),Ted Kotcheff (Who Is Killing the Great Chefs of Europe?), and others. Mancini's score for the Alfred Hitchcock film Frenzy(1972) in Bachian organ andante, for organ and an orchestra of strings was rejected and replaced by Ron Goodwin's work.
Mancini scored many TV movies, including The Moneychangers, The Thorn Birds and The Shadow Box. He wrote many television themes, including Mr. Lucky (starring John Vivyan and Ross Martin), NBC Mystery Movie, What's Happening!!, Tic Tac Dough (1990 version) and Once Is Not Enough. In the 1984–85 television season, four series featured original Mancini themes: Newhart, Hotel, Remington Steele, and Ripley's Believe It or Not. Mancini also composed the "Viewer Mail" theme for Late Night with David Letterman. Mancini composed the theme for NBC Nightly News used beginning in 1975, and a different theme by him, titled Salute to the President was used by NBC News for its election coverage (including primaries and conventions) from 1976 to 1992. Salute to the President was only published in a school-band arrangement, although Mancini performed it frequently with symphony orchestras on his concert tours.
Songs with music by Mancini were staples of the easy listening genre from the 1960s to the 1980s. Some of the artists who have recorded Mancini songs include Andy Williams, Paul Anka, Pat Boone, Anita Bryant, Jack Jones, Frank Sinatra, Perry Como, Connie Francis, Eydie Gorme, Steve Lawrence, Trini Lopez, George Maharis, Johnny Mathis, Jerry Vale, Ray Conniff, Quincy Jones, The Lennon Sisters, The Lettermen, Herb Alpert, Eddie Cano, Frank Chacksfield, Warren Covington, Sarah Vaughn, Shelly Manne, James Moody, Percy Faith, Ferrante & Teicher, Horst Jankowski, Andre Kostelanetz, Peter Nero, Liberace, Mantovani, Tony Bennett, Julie London, Wayne Newton, Arthur Fiedler and the Boston Pops Orchestra, Peggy Lee, and Matt Monro. The Anita Kerr Quartet won a Grammy award (1965) for their album We Dig Mancini, a cover of his songs. Lawrence Welk held Mancini in very high regard, and frequently featured Mancini's music on The Lawrence Welk Show(Mancini made at least one guest appearance on the show).
Mancini recorded over 90 albums, in styles ranging from big band to light classical to pop. Eight of these albums were certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America. He had a 20-year contract with RCA Victor, resulting in 60 commercial record albums that made him a household name among artists of easy-listening music. Mancini's earliest recordings in the 1950s and early 1960s were of the jazz idiom; with the success of Peter Gunn, Mr. Lucky, and Breakfast at Tiffany's, Mancini shifted to primarily recording his own music in record albums and film soundtracks. (Relatively little of his music was written for recordings compared to the amount that was written for film and television.) Beginning with his 1969 hit arrangement of Nino Rota's A Time for Us (as his only Billboard Hot 100 top 10 entry, the #1 hit "Love Theme from Romeo and Juliet") and its accompanying album A Warm Shade of Ivory, Mancini began to function more as a piano soloist and easy-listening artist primarily recording music written by other people. In this period, for two of his best-selling albums he was joined by trumpet virtuoso and The Tonight Show bandleader Doc Severinsen.
Among Mancini's orchestral scores are (Lifeforce, The Great Mouse Detective, Sunflower, Tom and Jerry: The Movie, Molly Maguires, The Hawaiians), and darker themes (Experiment in Terror, The White Dawn, Wait Until Dark, The Night Visitor).
Mancini was also a concert performer, conducting over fifty engagements per year, resulting in over 600 symphony performances during his lifetime. He conducted nearly all of the leading symphonies of the world, including the London Symphony Orchestra, the Israel Philharmonic, the Boston Pops, the Los Angeles Philharmonicand the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. One of his favorites was the Minnesota Orchestra, where he debuted the Thorn Birds Suite in June 1983. He appeared in 1966, 1980 and 1984 in command performances for the British Royal Family. He also toured several times with Johnny Mathis and also with Andy Williams, who had each sung many of Mancini's songs; Mathis and Mancini collaborated on the 1986 album The Hollywood Musicals. In 1987 he conducted an impromptu charity concert in London in aid of Children In Need. The concert included Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture with firework accompaniment over the River Thames.
Shortly before his death in 1994, he made a one-off cameo appearance in the first season of the sitcom series Frasier, as a call-in patient to Dr. Frasier Crane's radio show. Mancini voiced the character Al, who speaks with a melancholy drawl and hates the sound of his own voice, in the episode "Guess Who's Coming to Breakfast?" Moments after Mancini's cameo ends, Frasier's radio broadcast plays "Moon River".
Mancini also had an uncredited performance as a pianist in the 1967 movie Gunn, the movie version of the series Peter Gunn, the score of which was composed by Mancini.
In the 1966 Pink Panther cartoon Pink, Plunk, Plink, the panther commandeered an orchestra and proceeded to conduct Mancini's theme for the series. At the end, the shot switched to rare live action, and Mancini was seen alone applauding in the audience. Mancini also made a brief appearance in the title sequence of 1993's Son of the Pink Panther, allowing the panther to conduct Bobby McFerrin in performing the film's theme tune.
Death and legacy
Mancini died of pancreatic cancer in Los Angeles on June 14, 1994. He was working at the time on the Broadway stage version of Victor/Victoria, which he never saw on stage. Mancini was survived by his wife of 43 years, singer Virginia "Ginny" O'Connor, with whom he had three children. They had met while both were members of the Tex Beneke orchestra, just after World War II. In 1948, Mrs. Mancini was one of the founders of the Society of Singers, a non-profit organization which benefits the health and welfare of professional singers worldwide. Additionally the Society awards scholarships to students pursuing an education in the vocal arts. One of Mancini's twin daughters, Monica Mancini, is a professional singer; her sister Felice runs The Mr. Holland's Opus Foundation (MHOF). His son Christopher is a music publisher and promoter in Los Angeles.
In 1996, the Henry Mancini Institute, an academy for young music professionals, was founded by Jack Elliott in Mancini's honor, and was later under the direction of composer-conductor Patrick Williams. By the mid 2000s, however, the institute could not sustain itself and closed its doors on December 30, 2006. However, the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) Foundation "Henry Mancini Music Scholarship" has been awarded annually since 2001. While still alive, Henry created a scholarship at UCLA and the bulk of his library and works are archived in the music library at UCLA.
In 2005, the Henry Mancini Arts Academy was opened as a division of the Lincoln Park Performing Arts Center. The Center is located in Midland, Pennsylvania, minutes away from Mancini's hometown of Aliquippa. The Henry Mancini Arts Academy is an evening-and-weekend performing arts program for children from pre-K to grade 12, with some classes also available for adults. The program includes dance, voice, musical theater, and instrumental lessons.
The American Film Institute ranked Mancini's songs Moon River in the No. 4 and Days of Wine and Roses in No. 39 on their list of the greatest songs and his score for The Pink Panther No. 20 on their list of the greatest film scores. His scores for Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961), Charade (1963), Hatari! (1962), Touch of Evil (1958) and Wait Until Dark (1967) were also nominated for the list.
Mancini was nominated for seventy-two Grammy Awards and won twenty. He was nominated for eighteen Academy Awards and won four. He also won a Golden Globe Award and was nominated for two Emmy Awards.
In 1961, Mancini won two Academy Awards, one for "Moon River" for Best Original Song and one for Best Scoring of a Dramatic or Comedy Picture for the movie Breakfast at Tiffany's. In 1962, he won Best Original Song again, this time for "Days of Wine and Roses". He won Best Original Score again in 1982 for the movie Victor/Victoria.
On April 13, 2004, the United States Postal Service honored Mancini with a thirty-seven cent commemorative stamp. The stamp was painted by artist Victor Stabin and shows Mancini conducting in front of a list of some of his most famous movie and TV themes.
Year Single Peak chart positions
US CB US
AC US Country UK
1960 "Mr. Lucky" 21 20 — — —
"High Time" — 125 — — —
1961 "Theme from the Great Imposter" 90 87 — — —
"Moon River" 11 5 3 — 44
1962 "Experiment In Terror" — 119 — — —
"Theme from Hatari" 95 89 — — —
1963 "Days of Wine and Roses" 33 29 10 — —
"Banzai Pipeline" 93 98 — — —
"Charade" 36 43 15 — —
1964 "The Pink Panther Theme" 31 54 10 — —
"A Shot in the Dark" 97 102 — — —
"Dear Heart" 77 39 14 — —
"How Soon" — — — — 10
1965 "The Sweetheart Tree" 117 89 23 — —
"La Raspa" — 134 — — —
"Moment to Moment" — 126 27 — —
1966 "Hawaii (Main Theme)" — — 6 — —
1967 "Two For the Road" — — 17 — —
"Wait Until Dark" — — 4 — —
1968 "Norma La De Guadalajara" — — 21 — —
"A Man, a Horse and a Gun" — 120 36 — —
1969 "Love Theme from Romeo and Juliet" 1 1 1 — —
"Moonlight Sonata" 87 96 15 — —
"There Isn't Enough to Go Around" — — 39 — —
1970 "Theme from Z (Life Goes On)" 115 112 17 — —
"Theme from The Molly Maguires" — 123 — — —
"Darling Lili" — — 26 — —
1971 "Love Story" 13 11 2 — —
"Theme from Cade's County" — — 14 — 42
1972 "Theme from Nicholas and Alexandra" — 121 — — —
"Theme from the Mancini Generation" — — 38 — —
"All His Children" (with Charley Pride) 92 95 — 2 —
1973 "Oklahoma Crude" — — 38 — —
1974 "Hangin' Out" (with the Mouldy Seven) — — 21 — —
1975 "Once Is Not Enough" — — 45 — —
1976 "African Symphony" — — 40 — —
"Slow Hot Wind" — — 38 — —
1977 "Theme from Charlie's Angels"" 45 73 22 — —
1980 "Ravel's Bolero" 101 59 — — —
1984 "The Thornbirds Theme" — — — — 23
"—" denotes a title that did not chart, or was not released in that territory.
The Versatile Henry Mancini (Liberty LRP 3121, 1957)
Sousa in Stereo (Warner Bros. BS 1209, 1958)
The Mancini Touch (RCA Victor LSP 2101, 1959)
The Blues and the Beat (RCA Victor LSP-2147, 1960)
Combo! (RCA Victor LSP-2258, 1960)
Mr. Lucky Goes Latin (RCA Victor LSP-2360, 1961)
Our Man in Hollywood (RCA Victor LSP-2604)
Uniquely Mancini (RCA Victor LSP-2692)
The Best of Mancini (RCA Victor LSP-2693)
Mancini Plays Mancini (RCA Camden CAS-2158)
Everybody's Favorite (RCA Camden CXS-9034)
Concert Sound of Henry Mancini (RCA Victor LSP-2897)
Dear Heart (And Other Songs About Love) (RCA Victor LSP-2990)
Theme Scene (RCA Victor LSP-3052)
Debut Conducting the Philadelphia Orchestra (RCA Victor LSP-3106)
The Best of Vol. 3 (RCA Victor LSP-3347)
The Latin Sound of Henry Mancini (RCA Victor LSP-3356)
A Merry Mancini Christmas (RCA Victor LSP-3612)
Mancini Country (RCA Victor LSP-3668)
Mancini '67 (RCA Victor LSP-3694)
Music of Hawaii (RCA Victor LSP-3713)
Brass on Ivory with Doc Severinsen (RCA Victor LSP-3756)
A Warm Shade of Ivory (RCA Victor AYL1-3757)
Big Latin Band (RCA Victor LSP-4049)
Six Hours Past Sunset (RCA Victor LSP-4239)
Theme Music from Z & Other Film Music (RCA Victor LSP-4350)
Big Screen-Little Screen (RCA Victor LSP-4630)
This Is Henry Mancini (RCA Victor VPS6029)
Music from the TV Series "The Mancini Generation" (RCA Victor LSP-4689)
The Academy Award Songs (RCA Victor LSP-6013)
Brass Ivory & Strings with Doc Severinsen (RCA APL1-0098)
Pure Gold (RCA ANL1-0980)
The Theme Scene (RCA AQL1-3052)
Country Gentleman (RCA APD1-0270
Hangin' Out (RCA CPL1-0672)
Symphonic Soul (RCA APD1-1025
Mancini's Angels (RCA CPL1-2290)
The Hollywood Musicals with Johnny Mathis (Columbia/CBS CK 40372)
1940 Palestine CHARLIE CHAPLIN Lithograph TIN BOX Polish ISRAEL Hebrew JEWISH
End Date: Monday Jun-25-2018 21:49:25 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $145.00Buy It Now
| Add to watch list
1960 Israel "LA DOLCE VITA" Italian FELLINI Hebrew MOVIE Film POSTER Jewish RARE
End Date: Wednesday Jul-11-2018 12:33:12 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $166.25Buy It Now
| Add to watch list
1982 Israel "REDS" Movie FILM POSTER Hebrew BEATTY -NICHOLSON -KEATON -HACKMAN
End Date: Saturday Jul-7-2018 22:25:58 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $95.00Buy It Now
| Add to watch list
1967 Israel MOVIE Film POSTER Hebrew "ARABESQUE" Sophia LOREN Gregory PECK
End Date: Monday Jul-2-2018 13:22:29 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $95.00Buy It Now
| Add to watch list
1953 Original HEBREW CHARLIE CHAPLIN Jewish BOOK Israel MOVIE Film CINEMA
End Date: Tuesday Jun-26-2018 0:56:59 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $75.00Buy It Now
| Add to watch list