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Kyle Kersten was a true friend of TCM. One of the first and most active participants of the Message Boards, “Kyle in Hollywood” (aka, hlywdkjk) demonstrated a depth of knowledge and largesse of spirit that made him one of the most popular and respected voices in these forums. This thread is a living memorial to his life and love of movies, which remain with us still.

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Franco Zefferilli


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#1 Jlewis

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Posted 26 April 2017 - 01:14 PM

I know, but I thought you were counting everything. To be honest, I haven't seen all of his work.


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#2 rayban

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Posted 26 April 2017 - 11:29 AM

You forgot Jesus of Nazareth, probably the only religious epic I bothered watching twice... simply because of the Hollywood who's who involved.

 

I know TopBilled isn't a fan... ha ha!... but I still favor Romeo & Juliet the best. I also like Burton and Taylor too in Shrew. There are so many reasons why I like R&J, even though they may be all of the wrong reasons.

 

Leonard's over acting. I mean... you gotta admit that he put his all into this, even if Olivia Hussey is a trifle more impatient and hyper. So many scenes to relish, but my favorite is his five o'clock shadow looking-about when he bellows "I defy you stars!!!!"

 

Every shot with "Nurse" Pat Heywood. A sail! A sail!

 

Bumbling Friar Milo O'Shea being just as impotent in trying to save the sobbing couple as he was trying to woo Rose Nylund (Betty White) by pretending to know her deceased husband in that famous Golden Girls episode.

 

An exhausted Bruce Robinson (the one the director supposedly hit on) telling John McEnery "Mercutio" how hot it is, while Mercutio is busy sucking in his hankie.

 

The very slooooow donkey that doesn't deliver the news of Juliet's fake death in time. No wonder the Pony Express was invented later.

 

A vault scene that looks borrowed from a Hammer Films production, even though you know this is the wrong country of filming.

 

All of those goofy telephoto zooms.

 

Most importantly, Nino Rota's endlessly repetitive theme music. (Granted, The Godfather was even more so.)

"Jesus of Nazareth" with Robert Powell was a made-for-TV film.


"I was born the day she kissed me.  I died the day she left me.  I lived a few weeks while she loved me." - Humphrey Bogart in "In A Lonely Place".


#3 Jlewis

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Posted 25 April 2017 - 11:07 PM

You forgot Jesus of Nazareth, probably the only religious epic I bothered watching twice... simply because of the Hollywood who's who involved.

 

I know TopBilled isn't a fan... ha ha!... but I still favor Romeo & Juliet the best. I also like Burton and Taylor too in Shrew. There are so many reasons why I like R&J, even though they may be all of the wrong reasons.

 

Leonard's over acting. I mean... you gotta admit that he put his all into this, even if Olivia Hussey is a trifle more impatient and hyper. So many scenes to relish, but my favorite is his five o'clock shadow looking-about when he bellows "I defy you stars!!!!"

 

Every shot with "Nurse" Pat Heywood. A sail! A sail!

 

Bumbling Friar Milo O'Shea being just as impotent in trying to save the sobbing couple as he was trying to woo Rose Nylund (Betty White) by pretending to know her deceased husband in that famous Golden Girls episode.

 

An exhausted Bruce Robinson (the one the director supposedly hit on) telling John McEnery "Mercutio" how hot it is, while Mercutio is busy sucking in his hankie.

 

The very slooooow donkey that doesn't deliver the news of Juliet's fake death in time. No wonder the Pony Express was invented later.

 

A vault scene that looks borrowed from a Hammer Films production, even though you know this is the wrong country of filming.

 

All of those goofy telephoto zooms.

 

Most importantly, Nino Rota's endlessly repetitive theme music. (Granted, The Godfather was even more so.)


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#4 rayban

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Posted 25 April 2017 - 10:21 PM

Franco Zefferilli -

 

How would you rate him? -

 

1. "The Taming of the Shrew"

 

2. "La Boehme"

 

3 ."Romeo and Juliet"

 

4. "Brother Sun, Sister Moon"

 

5. "The Champ"

 

6. "Endless Love"

 

7 "I Pagliacci"

 

8. "La Traviata"

 

9. "Tosca"

 

10. "Otello"

 

11. "Hamlet"


"I was born the day she kissed me.  I died the day she left me.  I lived a few weeks while she loved me." - Humphrey Bogart in "In A Lonely Place".


#5 rayban

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Posted 25 April 2017 - 11:03 AM

Zeffrelli's films - not his opera translations - are blessed with an extravagant "emotionalism" that I find irresistible.

 

Even a film like "Brother Sun, Sister Moon" - a film about religious conversion - a new-found belief in the divine power of God - delves into its' subject matter with a "ferocity" that borders on obsession rather than conviction.

 

But men like St. Francis of Assisi could not have been ordinary men.

 

What I find upsetting about the reception and reputation of "Brother Sun, Sister Moon" is that its' true value has never been appreciated.

 

To an increasingly secular world, such a film seems, as one reviewer did put it, "sappy".

 


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"I was born the day she kissed me.  I died the day she left me.  I lived a few weeks while she loved me." - Humphrey Bogart in "In A Lonely Place".


#6 rayban

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Posted 25 April 2017 - 07:25 AM

I guess you mean in a Luchino Visconti/Massimo Girotti Ossessione sense. Massimo sure got more focus in various states of undress than Clara Calamai. Then again, she already appeared topless in a previous film, so it was only natural that he took over the topless scenes. Massimo was pretty straight but I am sure his "method" acting was improved behind closed doors with his director. This was a period when Mussolini was less focused on "rounding them up" like Hitler and everybody could do what they want to get ahead in their careers as long as the Italian front remained macho enough before the Allies invaded. (Massimo got all naked and romped around Mt. Etna 24 years later in Passolini's Teorema. Not sure if Pasolini did any coaching behind closed doors there as well since he was too easily distracted by the much younger Terence Stamp.)

Pasolini liked young men who did not have a polished exterior; and his first choice for the young man in "Teorema" was Lee Van Cleef.


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"I was born the day she kissed me.  I died the day she left me.  I lived a few weeks while she loved me." - Humphrey Bogart in "In A Lonely Place".


#7 jaragon

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Posted 24 April 2017 - 08:42 PM

Also the moon never rose as high as it did when Charlton Heston looked at himself naked. Funny thing about Planet of the Apes. (Yes I know he didn't direct that one.) He never discussed the skinny dipping scene with his bro-buddies (much like Mel Gibson pretending it never happened in Gallipoli), but he bragged in two interviews I recall about his "tribunal" with the orangutans and the one female crew member commenting "not bad" about his behind. Gotta keep the story "straight", you know...

LOL  yeah because none of the male crew members were checking out Heston's butt


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#8 Jlewis

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Posted 24 April 2017 - 05:47 PM

Also the moon never rose as high as it did when Charlton Heston looked at himself naked. Funny thing about Planet of the Apes. (Yes I know he didn't direct that one.) He never discussed the skinny dipping scene with his bro-buddies (much like Mel Gibson pretending it never happened in Gallipoli), but he bragged in two interviews I recall about his "tribunal" with the orangutans and the one female crew member commenting "not bad" about his behind. Gotta keep the story "straight", you know...


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#9 jaragon

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Posted 24 April 2017 - 05:12 PM

... unless the director is in love with his own voluptuous behind, such as Kevin Costner in Dances With Wolves.

LOL- or you have Ben Afleck who is all his self directed films has at least one pointless shirtless scene


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#10 Jlewis

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Posted 24 April 2017 - 04:11 PM

... unless the director is in love with his own voluptuous behind, such as Kevin Costner in Dances With Wolves.


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#11 rayban

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Posted 24 April 2017 - 04:07 PM

I'm not saying there is any doubt the director is gay. But there could be questions about how 'gay' the director wanted the audience to perceive him and his films. 

If a film gives us loving close-ups of a young man's voluptuous derriere - three, in all - then, there is no doubt, I'd say, THAT THE DIRECTOR IS GAY.   

 

Graham%20Faulkner%202.jpg


"I was born the day she kissed me.  I died the day she left me.  I lived a few weeks while she loved me." - Humphrey Bogart in "In A Lonely Place".


#12 Jlewis

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Posted 24 April 2017 - 02:00 PM

He only came out in 1996. Zefferelli was pretty religious and the Vatican was never that accepting of alternative lifestyles. (With acceptions... ahem.) On the other hand, only Republican politicians think religion is anti-sex and anti-gay especially. I do not think he was ashamed of anything that happened with other consenting males, but he did have to contend with the PUBLIC morals of the time.


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#13 TopBilled

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Posted 24 April 2017 - 01:40 PM

"Brother Sun, Sister Moon" is infused with a gay sensibility.

 

A straight man could not have made this film.

 

I'm not saying there is any doubt the director is gay. But there could be questions about how 'gay' the director wanted the audience to perceive him and his films. 


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"The truth? What good is the truth if it destroys us all..?" -- Mady Christians in ALL MY SONS (1948).


#14 Jlewis

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Posted 24 April 2017 - 01:32 PM

I guess you mean in a Luchino Visconti/Massimo Girotti Ossessione sense. Massimo sure got more focus in various states of undress than Clara Calamai. Then again, she already appeared topless in a previous film, so it was only natural that he took over the topless scenes. Massimo was pretty straight but I am sure his "method" acting was improved behind closed doors with his director. This was a period when Mussolini was less focused on "rounding them up" like Hitler and everybody could do what they want to get ahead in their careers as long as the Italian front remained macho enough before the Allies invaded. (Massimo got all naked and romped around Mt. Etna 24 years later in Passolini's Teorema. Not sure if Pasolini did any coaching behind closed doors there as well since he was too easily distracted by the much younger Terence Stamp.)


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#15 rayban

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Posted 24 April 2017 - 11:49 AM

Interesting that wikipedia mentions no woman in Graham Faulkner's life. Just a "family" to support when he changed careers.

There's no doubt, I think, that, during the filming of "Brother Sun, Sister Moon", Graham Faulkner became Franco Zefferelli's "muse".


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"I was born the day she kissed me.  I died the day she left me.  I lived a few weeks while she loved me." - Humphrey Bogart in "In A Lonely Place".


#16 Jlewis

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Posted 24 April 2017 - 11:20 AM

Interesting that wikipedia mentions no woman in Graham Faulkner's life. Just a "family" to support when he changed careers.


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#17 rayban

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Posted 24 April 2017 - 11:05 AM

A closeted director would be afraid to spell everything out. He'd deliberately keep it cloaked in symbolism and "multiple interpretations."

"Brother Sun, Sister Moon" is infused with a gay sensibility.

 

A straight man could not have made this film.

 

600full-graham-faulkner.jpg


"I was born the day she kissed me.  I died the day she left me.  I lived a few weeks while she loved me." - Humphrey Bogart in "In A Lonely Place".


#18 rayban

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Posted 24 April 2017 - 10:41 AM

The "Francesco" of "Brother Sun, Sister Moon" -

 

is this a heterosexual young man -

 

no, I don't think so.

 

5xPwkjFTEwIP4znUGUzzKH1d1v8.jpg

 

 


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"I was born the day she kissed me.  I died the day she left me.  I lived a few weeks while she loved me." - Humphrey Bogart in "In A Lonely Place".


#19 TopBilled

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Posted 24 April 2017 - 10:40 AM

But Zefferelli doesn't have to spell everything out.

 

A closeted director would be afraid to spell everything out. He'd deliberately keep it cloaked in symbolism and "multiple interpretations."


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"The truth? What good is the truth if it destroys us all..?" -- Mady Christians in ALL MY SONS (1948).


#20 rayban

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Posted 24 April 2017 - 10:22 AM

You can also add the what-was-his-name who played you-know-who in his biggest religious epic, aired on television in 1977. This director loved... faces. I think the actors did great jobs at those very specific roles, but failed to succeed going against type.

 

The Sensitive Pretty Boys, who made their mark in just one great performance each, only enjoyed their peak during the Vietnam War era, right around the time of Murray Head in Sunday Bloody Sunday,  which coasted on the early gay liberation movement. In addition, you had women's liberation. For this brief window, you could be heterosexual and still be comfortable expressing both your "masculine" and "feminine" sides. NOT so in the eighties. Society was too backward and conservative. There is no way Brother Son and Sister Moon would have succeeded then. I think the primary reason Francesco was made was to cash in on The Last Temptation Of Christ which succeeded more because of its controversies and Scorsese's unusual approach rather than any new box office potential for spiritual movies. Neither Mickey nor Willem Dafoe were well suited to their roles, despite giving it their all, because they were TOO masculine  for the popular images of Jesus and Francis. I think these eighties films were products of the post-Rambo period where you had to still behave as manly as possible regardless of whom you played.

Given the conception of Francesco in "Brother Sun, Sister Moon", a "masculine" actor could not have succeeded in the role.

 

The "sensitivity" of his features was essential to the part.

 

The fact that he is surrounded by "pretty young men" is also a given.

 

Such young men were obviously "resistant" to a more materialistic environment.

 

They were much more "spiritually inclined".

 

Were they sleeping with each other?

 

Possibly.

 

But Zefferelli doesn't have to spell everything out.


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"I was born the day she kissed me.  I died the day she left me.  I lived a few weeks while she loved me." - Humphrey Bogart in "In A Lonely Place".





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