Paul Scofield, who died today at age 86, will be best remembered for his Oscar-winning performance in “A Man for All Seasons.” My favorite moment is when he is saying goodbye to his family shortly before he will be beheaded. “Why it’s a lion I married!” he says to the magnificent Wendy Hiller as his wife.
But my favorite of his performances is his brief appearance in “Quiz Show” as Mark Van Doren, the brilliant scholar whose son, Charles (Ralph Fiennes) gets caught up in the quiz show scandals of the 1950’s. There is no moment ever put on screen that is more heartbreaking than the scene where Charles has to confess to his father what he has done. Scofield spent most of his career as a stage actor, but his films will always remind us of the best that acting can be.
Ivan Dixon, who died this week, is best known for appearing on “Hogan’s Heroes.” But I believe he will be best remembered for his pioneering work as one of the first African-American directors and for his work on behalf of diversity in show business on both sides of the camera. Everyone should see his film “Nothing But a Man,” a brilliant but little-seen 1964 film that frankly explored the pressures and challenges faced by a black man in that pre-Civil Rights Act era. It has a quiet, documentary feel and a brilliant Motown soundtrack but the anchor is Dixon’s performance as a man whose pride cannot be diminished by the constant attempts to erode it. Dixon’s co-star is the lovely jazz singer Abbey Lincoln.
“Enchanted” teases and pays tribute to many of Disney’s classics. How many can you name?
Here are some hints:
Enchanted quiz 1
Enchanted quiz 2
Enchanted quiz 3
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It is a terrible loss to the world of film that Oscar-winning director Anthony Minghella has died suddenly of complications following surgery. I am very much looking forward to his final film, based on the best-selling book, The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency. It seems like a perfect choice of material for this most literate and sensitive of writer/directors.
Minghella’s obituaries will focus on his best-known and most prestigious films like “Cold Mountain,” “The Talented Mr. Ripley,” and the movie for which he won his best director Oscar, “The English Patient.” But my favorite of his films will aways be the first one he directed, the deeply romantic “Truly, Madly, Deeply,” starring Juliet Stevenson and Alan Rickman.