Peter O’Toole : An Icon Passes Away


 

English: Cropped screenshot of Peter O'Toole f...

Peter O’Toole in the film Lawrence of Arabia (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Peter James O’Toole

 2 August 1932 – 14 December 2013

 

MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA           December 08, 2018           03.30 P.M. 

 

Peter James O’Tool aka Peter O’Tool was a British stage and film actor of Irish and Scottish descent. He attended the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and began working in the theatre, gaining recognition as a Shakespearean actor at the Bristol Old Vic and with the English Stage Company before making his film debut in 1959.

He achieved international recognition playing T. E. Lawrence in Lawrence of Arabia (1962) for which he received his first nomination for the Academy Award for Best Actor. He was nominated for this award another seven times – for Becket (1964), The Lion in Winter (1968), Goodbye, Mr. Chips (1969), The Ruling Class (1972), The Stunt Man(1980), My Favorite Year (1982), and Venus (2006) – and holds the record for the most Academy Award nominations for acting without a win. In 2002, O’Toole was awarded the Academy Honorary Award for his career achievements. He was additionally the recipient of four Golden Globe Awards, one British Academy Film Award and one Primetime Emmy Award.

Peter O’Tool with Richard Burton in ” BECKET “

I came to know about him in 1973. I was studying in Prayagraj [ then known as Allahabad ] , Uttar Pradesh. A Hindi film ” NAMAK HARAM ” was released in 1973 in Vishwambhar cinema hall. I, along with my friends, went to swatch it. It was huge hit and everyone was praising Amitabh Bachchan and Rajesh Khanna’s acting. One day I read an article about ” NAMAK HARAM ” in Northern India Patrika, a popular daily of those days. It was written that this film is based on the iconic Hollywood film ” BECKET ” and how Richard Burton and Peter O’Tool were so brilliant. Richard Burton’s role was played by Rajesh Khanna and Peter O’Tool’s role was essayed by Amitabh Bachchan.

Soon ”  Becket ” was re-released in cinema halls and I saw the film. I had already watched many films of Richard Burton but this was my first brush with Peter O’Tool. I was awe-struck. Later on I watched his first film ”  Lawrence of Arabia “. My admiration for his craft grew manifold.

After completing my studies I left Prayagraj [ then named as Allahabad ] , and after spending 15 years in my native town Deoria, I settled in Mumbai [ then know as Bombay ] . Here in 1990 I watched his film ” THE LAST EMPEROR ” ( 1987 ) . One day while roaming around Hutatma Chowk, [ earlier known as Flora Fountain ] , I got his biography in a road side bookstore. After reading it , I became a life-long admirer.

So when I read about his death, I felt a vacuum in my life. Life is cruel. I got to know about Peter O’Tool in 1973. And in December 2013, I was reading his obituary. A relationship of 40 years came to a sudden end.

Movie business will go on. Many stars will come and fade away. But stars like Peter O’Tool are rare. As is the saying, they don’t make people like him any more.

Peter O’Tool in his sunset years

Peter O’Toole will never return to enthrall us by his histrionics in cinema. There will be many great actors but there will never be another Peter O’Tool.

[ Some personal information and nuggets about his career is taken from Wikipedia. I express my gratitude. ]

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50 Years of Bond , James Bond


MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA           JANUARY 29 , 2012           09.25  P.M.

In 2012 , Bond , James Bond completes 50 years of his screen existence . First Bond film Dr. No was released in October 1962 . Till date 22 James Bond films have been made and 6 different actors have enacted the iconic British spy on-screen .  Sean Connery ,  George Lazenby , Roger Moore , Timothy Dalton , Pierce Brosnan and Daniel Craig have played James Bond in 22 Bond movies till date . In this 50th year , 23rd Bond film ” Skyfall “ will be released in October .

Cover of

Cover of 007

Here is the complete list of Bond Films  :

1 – Dr. No – 1962

2 – From Russia With Love – 1963

3 –  Goldfinger – 1964

4 – Thunderball – 1965

5 – You Only Live Twice – 1967

6 – On Her Majesty’s Secret Service – 1969

7 – Diamonds Are Forever – 1971

8 – Live And Let Die – 1973

9 – The Man With The Golden Gun – 1974

10 – The Spy Who Loved Me – 1977

11 – Moonraker – 1979

12 – For Your Eyes Only – 1981

13 – Octopussy – 1983

14 – A view To A Kill  – 1985

15 – The Living Daylights – 1987

16 – Licence To Kill – 1989

17 – Golden Eye – 1995

18 – Tomorrow Never Dies – 1997

19 – The World Is Not Enough – 1999

20 – Die Another Day – 2002

21 – Casino Royale – 2006

22 – Quantum Of Solace – 2008

23 – Skyfall – 2012 [ Yet To Be Released ]

James Bond is the fictional character of M 16 agent . His code sign is 007 . He first appeared in the books of Ian Fleming . Earlier Bond films were based on the novels of Ian Fleming but later films were based on some original storylines  also .

Ian Fleming first approached Sir Alexander Korda to make films based on his novels .  Alfred Hitchcock was also approached to direct a Bond film with Richard Burton as Bond . But things didn’t materialize . It is very strange that major Hollywood studios were also reluctant to put their money in Bond films because they thought it is too British and too sex oriented . Slowly in 1961 things started falling in place . Albert R. Broccoli and Harry Salzman stablished their production company Eon Production and started filming ” Dr. No  “ .

Albert R. Broccoli and Harry Salzman produced Bond films under their banner Eon Films till 1975 and after that Broccoli became the sole producer . This is the reason , Bond films are called and known as Eon series films .

In fact the creator of James Bond , Ian Fleming had created a sketch of Bond as per his vision. Broccoli and Salzman started searching for a suitable actor as per Flemings’ sketch and vision . Their first choice was Cary Grant . But he wanted to do just one film . Then James Mason was approached but he wanted to do just two films . Rex Harrison and David Niven were also approached but they also refused to play Bond for various other reasons and finally and reluctantly Sean Connery was chosen .

Ian Fleming's image of James Bond; commissione...

Ian Fleming's Image of James Bond

Sean Connery as James Bond

Ian Fleming's Screen James Bond

Sean Connery was the first Bond . He was the first one whom I saw as a Bond and therefore till date , for me , he is synonymous with James Bond . He acted in 6 + 1 films { 6 Bond Films Eon Series & 1 Non Eon Series }; ” Dr. No ” [ 1962 ] , ” From Russia With Love”  [ 1963 ] , ” Goldfinger ” [ 1964 ] , ” Thunderball ” [ 1965 ] and ” You Only Live Twice ” [ 1967 ] . After the gap of 1 movie , he returned again as Bond in ” Diamonds Are Forever ” [ 1971 ] . That was last movie of Sean Connery as Bond . An era ended with his retirement . Sean Connery again returned 12 years later to play Bond in a non – Eon series ” Never Say Never Again ” [ 1983 ] .

Sean Connery at the private party after the pr...

Sean Connery - James Bond - 1

After Sean Connery’s refusal to play Bond , George Lazenby played Bond just once . ” On Her Majesty’s Secret Service [ 1969 ] was his first and last film . He was rejected by the audience . In fact I disliked him so much that I am yet to see that film . After this , Sean Connery again returned as Bond in ” Diamonds Are Forever ” [ 1971 ] .

English: Actor George Lazenby at the November ...

George Lazenby - James Bond - 2

After Sean Conner’s last film , Roger Moore was chosen to play the iconic character . He played Bond in 7 films and then retired after playing Bond for 12 long years . After initial hitch , he was accepted as Bond and after Sean Connery , he is considered the most successful Bond . For some section of audience , he is the most successful Bond ever  . His Bond films are ;  ” Live And Let Die  ”  [ 1973  ] , ” The Man With The Golden Gun  ”  [ 1974  ] , ” The Spy Who Loved Me ”  [ 1977  ] , ” Moonraker  ”  [ 1979  ] , ” For Your Eyes Only ”  [ 1981  ] , ” Octopussy  ”  [  1983  ] and  ” A view To A Kill  ”  [ 1985  ] . After this film , Roger Moore retired at the age of 58 . For me an era again ended .

English: portrait of Sir Roger Moore

Roger Moore - James Bond - 3

Then came Timothy Dalton . He was chosen to play Bond when Sean Connery retired . But he refused on the grounds of age . Eventually he came after Roger Moore’s retirement . Like George Lazenby , he was also outright rejected . He also played Bond in just two films . ” The Living Daylights ” [ 1987 ] and ” License To Kill ” [ 1989 ] are his starrers as Bond .

Timothy Dalton - James Bond - 4

Third most successful Bond , Pierce Brosnan acted in 4 Bond films . He was supposed to play Bond after Roger Moore but fate willed otherwise . Ultimately he replaced Timothy Dalton . ” Golden Eye ” [ 1995 ] , ” Tomorrow Never Dies ” [ 1997 ] , ” The World Is Not Enough ” [ 1999 ] and ” Die Another Day ” [ 2002 ] . According to me he is the third most acceptable James Bond after Sean Connery and Roger Moore.

English: Brosnan Pierce at Cannes in 2002.

Pierce Brosnan - James Bond - 5

When Pierce Brosnan was replaced with Daniel Craig , there was again a furore . Many Bond fans and this includes me , found him uncouth and rustic . He is yet to get wide acceptance as the 6th Bond but he has already churned two successful Bond movies ; ” Casino Royale ” [ 2006 ] and ” Quantum Of Solace ” [ 2008 ] . His 3rd Bond film ” Skyfall ” [ 2012 ] is ready for release in the 50th year of Bond , James Bond .

Wax figure of Daniel Craig at Madame Tussauds,...

Daniel Craig - James Bond - 6

Produced mainly at Pinewood Studios , United Kingdom , this longest running film series in the history of motion pictures has grossed US $ 5 billion till date . Bond series is second only to Harry Potter series in total box office collection .

Countries James Bond has visited in the films.

Countries of the World Visited by James Bond in Films

James Bond Island

James Bond Island

From top left, clockwise: Peter Burton, Desmon...

Permanent Characters of Bond Films

The first Bond film , which I watched , was the third Bond film . It was Sean Connery starrer ” Goldfinger “ . I watched it in the Niranjan Talkies of Allahabad . The year was 1967 . This 1974 Bond film was running to packed houses and I went to watch it with my friends . It was nothing like the Hindi films , which I had seen before coming to Allahabad . The memory is still fresh  and till now I am a hardcore fan of James Bond films .

Out of non Eon series , I have seen Sean Connery starrer ” Never Say Never Again ” [ 1983 ] . I have not seen non Eon ” Casino Royale ” [ 1954 & 1967 ] . So cannot comment about two most famous non Eon Bonds ; Barry Nelson and David Niven .

In this 50th year , through this blog , I express my feelings as a fan . My keenness should be gauged by the fact that till date I have missed only few Bond films .

How can you not see Bond , James Bond !

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Adieu Elizabeth Taylor ; My Childhood Icon


Cropped screenshot of Elizabeth Taylor from th...

Elizabeth Taylor in Cleopatra

MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA               APRIL 02 , 2011                      06.45 P. M.

News of the sad demise of Elizabeth Rosemond Taylor , better known as Elizabeth Taylor , a.k.a. Liz Taylor came as a rude shock. She was my childhood icon, my first Hollywood celebrity, who made me familiar with Hollywood film industry. My admiration for her grew when I heard that she demanded and got one million dollars and a hefty percentage of the profit as her remuneration for ” Cleopatra ” [ 1963 ] . I was awestruck and became a huge fan. Her husband Richard Burton was also an icon , whom I used to adore.

Cropped screenshot of Richard Burton and Eliza...

Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor in Cleopatra

Cover of

Cover of Cleopatra

When I went to Allahabad for higher studies in 1969, I started watching Hollywood movies regularly. I used to watch her movies religiously. In those days , when I knew nothing about acting , I was particularly enamoured by her voice and dialogue delivery. Her chiseled face , razor’s edge voice and violet eyes had lasting impression on me and it refuses to subside even after so many years and shall remain a part of me even after her death.

Cropped screenshot of Elizabeth Taylor from th...

Elizabeth Taylor in Father of the Bride

I am unable to say much about her as I don’t know her personally. But few facts of her career are well-known to the world. She was born in London and moved to United States of America during her childhood. There she started working in Hollywood movies as child artiste. Her first movie as child artiste was ” THERE’S ONE BORN IN EVERY MINUTE ” [ 1942 ] . ” LASSIE COME HOME ” [ 1943 ], ” WHITE CLIFFS OF DOVER ” [ 1944 ] and ” NATIONAL VELVET ” [ 1944 ] were some of her hit films as child actor. The last mentioned ” NATIONAL VELVET ” [ 1944 ] was her biggest hit as child actor. She was 12 years old when she worked in this film. During the filming , she fell from the horse and this was the beginning of her lifelong chronic back problem.

Her first adult role was ” CONSPIRATORS ” [ 1949 ]. She got success with her second film ” FATHER OF THE BRIDE ” [ 1950 ] and much critical acclaim with her third film ” A PLACE IN THE SUN ” [ 1951 ] . After this film she was nominated for Oscars 4 times for her following films consecutively  : ” RAINTREE COUNTRY ” [ 1957 ] , ” CAT ON A HOT TIN ROOF ” [ 1958 ] , ” SUDDENLY LAST SUMMER ” [ 1959 ] , ” and BUTTERFIELD 8 ” [ 1960 ]. She got her first Oscar for ” BUTTERFIELD 8 ” [ 1960 ]. Such staggering successes sealed her box office position and she became numero uno in the Hollywood industry. She got her second oscar again for ” WHO IS AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOLF ” [ 1960 ] . In this film she starred opposite her husband and mighty star Richard Burton. Together they starred in 6 more films including ” DR. FAUSTUS ” [ 1967 ] based on the play of Christopher Marlowe. I have seen the film and it is still one of my all time favourites. I was mesmerized by her beauty in some other films like ” REFLECTIONS IN A GOLDEN EYE ” [ 1967 ] , her starrer with Marlon Brando, another favourite of mine.

Her private life was no-less momentous. Her 8 marriages to 7 husbands was talk of the gossip – mongers. I used to read about her charity works in various papers and was always fascinated by her life. But after the above mentioned film with Marlon Brando , I couldn’t follow her films regularly.

It is sad that she is gone . Life is ephemeral . In her later years Elizabeth Taylor was wheel-chair bound. But her zest for life was unparalleled.

I deeply mourn the death of my childhood icon. There shall never be another Elizabeth Taylor in my life again.

Adieu Ms. Taylor ! You shall always be fondly remembered .

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