Showing posts with label Walter Mirisch. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Walter Mirisch. Show all posts

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

TCM Classic Film Festival 2017 Red Carpet

Conducting red carpet interviews has always been a dream of mine and I can't believe I've been able to do it. Twice! I had the privilege of being on the red carpet again for this year's TCM Classic Film Festival. The opening night premiere was for the 50th anniversary of In the Heat of the Night (1967). 

I was at the end of the line and not in the best spot for capturing quality audio, I did manage to get five quality interviews and lots of photos. Unfortunately Sidney Poitier didn't walk the red carpet so I didn't get to see him. However I saw plenty of other stars and special guests and I snapped a lot of photos.

Interviews with:
Film Critic Leonard Maltin
Actor Stathis Giallelis, America America (1963)
Author Beverly Gray
Director Producer Todd Fisher
Talk Show Host Dick Cavett

And here are some photos of who I saw on the red carpet.

TCM's Sean Cameron and TCMFF red carpet spectators

Wyatt McCrea

Angela Allen

Stathis Giallelis

Producer Walter Mirisch

Keir Dullea
Beau Bridges

Lee Grant

John Landis

Dick Cavett

Todd Fisher
Fred Willard

I had a great moment with Fred Willard. As I saw him walking down the red carpet I yelled out "Hey handsome!" He stopped to pose for me and I got a couple quick shots. I said "looking good" and thanked him.

Bob Balaban

Ruta Lee
Then came the beautiful Ruta Lee who looked absolutely stunning. I called out to her and told her she was beautiful and she quickly posed so I could get a shot. Doesn't she look fantastic?

Special shout out to Danny Reid who helped me with equipment, photography and live tweeted my red carpet interviews and to Marya Gates of TCM who helped guide Dick Cavett down the line to my spot. And thank you to my friends in the bleachers especially Kate Gabrielle, Millie and Casey who cheered for me from the stands and to Nikki and Brian who took photos of me. I appreciate your support!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Ben Mankiewicz interviews Walter Mirisch at the screening of The Great Escape (1963)

A 50th anniversary restoration of The Great Escape (1963) was premiered at the Grauman's Chinese Theatre (TCL Chinese) on Friday April 26th, 2013. Before the screening even started, I headed to the bathroom and saw a bunch of TCM staffers surrounding this older gentleman and heard one of them refer to him as "Walter". It was cool that I got to see Walter Mirisch before the event even started.

I'll do my best to transcribe the interview. It's not all word-for-word and I use a lot of paraphrasing.

Ben Mankiewicz hosted and noted that James Garner and Steve McQueen were the stars of the film but were not the stars Mirisch wanted. Walter Mirisch won an Oscar for In the Heat of the Night (1967) and Mankiewicz introduced him as one of the best film producers in Hollywood.

Mankiewicz - Holy crap you have produced a lot of great movies. (Ben actually did say that!) . Ben starts with the biggest hit Mirisch had before The Great Escape which was The Magnificent Seven (1960). How did The Magnificent Seven getting The Great Escape done? Did it have a big impact on casting?

Mirisch - John Sturges and Mirisch had met before The Magnificent Seven and became friendly and decided they wanted to work together. Mirisch always had in mind trying to find a property they could do together. The availability of The Seven Samurai seemed to present a good opportunity. Mirisch thought it would be perfect for Sturges. They watched The Seven Samurai in a projection room and spitballed how it would work as a Western.

Mankiewicz - Mankiewicz sarcastically joked that none of us wished we'd been in that room. It sounds like a dull conversation. He then asks when Mirisch thought of Steve McQueen for that movie.

Mirisch - Steve McQueen was a star on the TV show Wanted: Dead or Alive prior to the film The Magnificent Seven. He was well received in that film but hadn't received star status yet even after the film released. After The Magnificent Seven, Mirisch and Sturges looked around for another project they could do together. The idea for The Great Escape came up. The story had been on the screen before possibly by the British. But no one could understand those accents so it didn't matter. There was a little resistance (possibly to it being previously released) but both Mirisch and Sturges eventually got very excited about doing the movie. The book written by Paul Brickhill. Brickill was a flyer in the British Airforce and a prisoner and the book is about his own experience. Unfortunately, the book is a factual one and not a novel. All the personal stories were made up for the movie and this presented a lot of writing difficulties.

Mankiewicz - Who was Mirisch looking at for those two principal characters played by James Garner and Steve McQueen?

Mirisch - A decision was made that they would tailor the film so that there were two principal characters to carry the story. A few years before, Sturges had made Gunfight at the O.K. Corrall (1957) with Kirk Douglas and Burt Lancaster. So when Sturges and Mirisch were working on developing the script, they had Douglas and Lancaster in mind for the two title roles. It got to the point where they realized that Douglas and Lancaster would cost a lot for the picture. They were having problems getting the budget for the picture approved.

Mankiewicz - Mankiewicz mentioned that he read that the budget was $4 Million

Mirisch - Mirisch says it was somewhat more than that. Anyone who has ever made a movie has heard "you gotta cut the budget if you want to get this made". Back then, Mirisch suggested that two relatively inexpensive younger, up-and-coming actors, James Garner and Steve McQueen, might be possible for those two parts. They saved $2 million with that one decision.

Mankiewicz - Mankiewicz says , "do you realize when you say that that you are a genius?" and notes that it would have been a very different movie with Douglas and Lancaster.

Mirisch - Mirisch had gotten to know McQueen while filming The Magnificent Seven, was very fond of him and thought he had an incredible on-screen personality. He also liked the idea of a younger actor for that part. Prior to The Great Escape, Mirisch had made the film The Children's Hour (1961) with James Garner. Mirisch notes he was more comfortable with the idea of making a film with Garner and McQueen than with Douglas and Lancaster.

Mankiewicz - Mankiewicz mentions that McQueen wasn't a star yet when he made The Great Escape.

Mirisch - Mirisch says it's because he hadn't jumped over that fence with that motorcycle yet!

Mankiewicz - We all cherish McQueen because he had that fierce independence along with an enormous chip on his shoulder but was still filled with self-doubt that so many of us are plagued with. This all made him Steve McQueen the star but also made him a bit of a handful for the folks who worked with him.

Mirisch - McQueen had that quality, je ne sais quoi. I don't know what but he's got it and radiated it on screen.

Mankiewicz - McQueen left the set for sometime after some disagreements and some competition with James Garner. As a producer, how did you deal with a great but difficult star and still manage the picture?

Mirisch - McQueen always felt there were too many words. Mirisch came to trust that because he learned that McQueen was able to convey a great deal by his very expression. Mirisch was open to cutting down McQueen's dialogue and to allow him to convey things with his eyes. Sturges was also well aware of that and they both collaborated on that particular issue. McQueen had a good sense of story and when something bothered him, Mirisch took McQueen's thoughts into consideration as there might be something that was missing that could be worked on. There is a famous incident in which McQueen got upset and left the set for a while but that was overcome by re-writing. Mirisch showed McQueen the rewrites and McQueen said "I'll be back to work tomorrow."

Mankiewicz - Mankiewicz interjects and tells the audience that those rewrites include the famous motorcycle sequences and the baseball scenes.

Mirisch - McQueen conveys more about the independence of spirit and courage just by throwing that baseball against that wall than some do with long speeches. Mirisch calls McQueen brilliant and says to the audience that you'll see it all again when you watch the film in case you don't remember.

Mankiewicz - Mankiewicz throws out a trivia bit that McQueen plays one of the Nazi officers chasing McQueen during the motorcycle chase while also playing his own character.

Mirisch - Mirisch interjects and says "you know, you are not supposed to tell all the secrets!"). He also notes that the restoration will be available on Blu-Ray on May 7th. This is funny because Mankiewicz had promised to bring it up and forgot. Ha!

Saturday, April 27, 2013

TCM Classic Film Festival Day #3 Recap

Friday was the second official day of the TCM Classic Film Festival but my third day. As I had predicted, I didn't wake up early enough to go see Libeled Lady (1936). I wish I had more energy and a personal driver to take me everywhere I need to go.

I spent the day with my husband which was nice because we had been on different schedules for a couple of days. First stop was to the Chinese Multiplexes to see River of No Return (1954).

Leonard Maltin hosted the screening and introduced special guests producer Stanley Rubin and his wife Kathleen Hughes.

I plan to do a most in depth post later but I really enjoyed Maltin's talk with Rubin and Hughes. When the movie started, something happened. I started to cry and couldn't stop. It was a really emotional moment for me. I think this was for a few reasons. 

River of No Return (1954) is the second Robert Mitchum film I ever saw with Out of the Past (1947) being the first. And as most of you know, Robert Mitchum is my favorite actor. I have always been a fan of Marilyn Monroe too and have seen almost all of her films. Also, I've been to the river in the film. The movie was shot on the Athabasca River in Alberta, Canada and I have very happy memories visiting the river and the Rocky Mountain town Jasper which is situated alongside the river. River of No Return isn't a perfect film but it's one I have loved for as long as I have been a classic film fan. It has a special place in my heart and to see the producer of the film up on stage talking about the movie, sharing his stories and talking about Mitchum and Monroe was truly an honor.  Not only that, Rubin stayed to watch the film with us.

Then it hit me. This is truly amazing. Truly fucking amazing. And then the tears just flowed. Wow.

We left the Chinese Multiplexes and hoofed it over to the Avalon for a taping of Eva Marie Saint: Live from the TCM Classic Film Festival. This event will be televised on TCM so I won't be doing an in depth post but I did want to share a little about it.

 We got absolutely terrible seats because everyone got there super early and we had only gotten there 10-15 minutes before it started. We were in the nosebleed section and there was a lot of moving around to get the best view. 

This event was a taping of the one hour interview for TCM so it took about 2 hours with several stops for make up, clean up, retakes, etc. Tom Brown kicked it off with talking with the audience and getting laughter, titter and awws so they could record those sounds and use them later for editing. Then they brought out Robert Osborne and he fielded some questions from the audience which I thought was very nice of him! 

Out came Eva Marie Saint and at the age of 88 she still looks stunning. We couldn't photograph during the event but she did post for pictures afterwards (hence the photos above). Eva Marie Saint flirted with Robert Osborne calling him her second husband. Her real life husband of 61 years Director Jeffrey Hayden. She called out to him numerous times during the interview which I thought was so sweet. They seem like a very close couple and still very much in love. Eva Marie Saint credited that to the fact that they are Actress and Director and not both Actors or both in different businesses. Because they are both in show business they get the nature of the business. If they were both actors they would in competition with each other. She noted a few couples and used Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward as an example of an exception to that rule.

Eva Marie Saint spoke very fondly of Yves Montand her co-star in Grand Prix (1966) and also mentioned that her daughter had such a huge crush on him and corresponded with him by mail for years. She also spoke about working with Cary Grant, Elia Kazan, Marlon Brando, Paul Newman, Otto Preminger, Montgomery Clift and more. She was absolutely charming, you could tell that she felt very at ease with Robert Osborne which I think made a huge difference. She mentioned that she enjoyed her role in the contemporary movie Because of Winn-Dixie (2005). OMG. I work for that book's publisher! I hope that bit makes it on air.

Overall a good experience even though I got terrible blisters hoofing it there.

The last thing we did was attend the World Premiere Restoration/50th Anniversary screening of The Great Escape (1953). It was screened at the Grauman's Chinese theatre (which I refuse to call by it's new name). It was magical being in such an important and historic theatre.

My husband and I got seats close up. Carlos wasn't happy but I needed to be close to the guests! Before it started, I had gone to the bathroom and I SAW WALTER MIRISCH! It was definitely him because a TCM staffer referred to him as Walter. It was so cool to be that close to him. Also for some reason I keep running in to Ben Mankiewicz. It's happened like 5 or 6 times but I'm too shy to say hi.

An in-depth post on The Great Escape (1963) screening is to come. It was a fun experience. We ended up being too tired to attend the On The Waterfront screening right after and the line for that was long. I hope to have more energy on Saturday and Sunday!

Remember, follow me on Twitter or Instagram at @QuelleLove for live updates of all the TCM Classic Film Festival activities I do as they happen.

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