Biography

Callas Forever (2002) Franco Zeffirelli, Fanny Ardant, Jeremy Irons, Joan Plowright, Biography, Drama, Music

Callas Forever (2002)
The partially fictionalized film is set in 1977, the year in which Callas died, and centers on the making of a movie of Georges Bizet’s Carmen. The diva, whose now-ragged voice is well past its prime, is persuaded to star in it by longtime friend and former manager Larry Kelly, who abandoned classical music to become a rock impresario. He insists by lip-synching to her old recording she will recapture her lost youth and leave behind a priceless legacy for her admirers, and his theory is supported by Callas confidante and journalist Sarah Keller.
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The Music Lovers (1970) Ken Russell, Richard Chamberlain, Glenda Jackson, Max Adrian, Drama, Biography, Music

The Music Lovers (1970)
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky is given the Ken Russell treatment in The Music Lovers, which means that there is plenty of music, plenty of passion, plenty of debauchery, and plenty of excess. Tame by Russell’s later standards (Lisztomania), The Music Lovers nevertheless thrives on creative and sexual anguish. Richard Chamberlain plays Tchaikovsky with a bug-eyed intensity as a composer consumed by his art – so consumed that his romantic attachments become bisexual and irrational. He falls in love with Nina (Glenda Jackson), the hysterical trollop he marries with dire consequences. As he explodes emotionally, his public performance of Piano Concerto in B flat minor becomes a cue for flashbacks to a series of discomforting childhood events that suggest incestuous relations with his sister. Back in real time, Tchaikovsky has to deal with Nina’s outbursts while juggling his homosexual urges and his almost hidden desire for Count Anton Chiluvsky (Christopher Gable). The film also details the curious relationship between Tchaikovsky and his rich patroness, the middle-aged widow Madame Nadedja von Meck (Isabella Telezynska), who loves Tchaikovsky deeply, but refuses to meet him – their only communication being through letters, even though he lives on her estate. Andre Previn and the London Symphony Orchestra perform Tchaikovsky’s music.
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Richard III (1955) Laurence Olivier, Cedric Hardwicke, Nicholas Hannen, Biography, Drama, History, War

Richard III (1955)
Richard’s military skills have helped to put his older brother Edward on the throne of England. But jealousy and resentment cause Richard to seek the crown for himself, and he conceives a lengthy and carefully calculated plan using deception, manipulation, and outright murder to achieve his goal. His plotting soon has tumultuous consequences, both for himself and for England.
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Compulsion (1959) Richard Fleischer, Orson Welles, Dean Stockwell, Diane Varsi, Biography, Crime, Drama

Compulsion (1959)
In 1924 Chicago, two rich college students, Judd Steiner and Arthur Strauss, decide they can commit the perfect murder and get away with. They kill a young teenager, Paulie Kessler, but through the efforts of part-time reporter and fellow student Sid Brooks, a pair of glasses left at the scene is traced to the murderers. For their trial, the families hire renowned defense attorney Jonathan Wilk known for his passionate arguments against the death penalty. Both men confessed to the crime but Wilk pleads them not guilty. At the trial, they change the plea to guilty and Wilk argues passionately in favor of a life sentence rather than execution.
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RKO 281: The Battle Over Citizen Kane (1999) Benjamin Ross, Liev Schreiber, James Cromwell, Melanie Griffith, Biography, Drama

RKO 281 The Battle Over Citizen Kane (Benjamin Ross, 1999)
Coming to Hollywood as a celebrated boy genius featuring a spectacular career arc in New York including his radio hoax War of the Worlds, Orson Welles is stymied on the subject for his first film. After a dinner party at Hearst Castle, during which he has a verbal altercation with William Randolph Hearst, Welles decides to do a movie about Hearst. It takes him some time to convince co-writer Herman J. Mankiewicz and the studio, but Welles eventually gets the script and the green light, keeping the subject very hush-hush with the press. The movie is about an aging newspaper publisher who controlled his enemies as ruthlessly as he controlled his friends; and whose mistress was destined for fame. When a rough cut is screened, Hearst gets wind of the movie’s theme and begins a campaign to see that it is not only never publicly screened, but destroyed.
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