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Director Franco Zeffirelli dies at 96 - Italy media


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https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-48648278

Film director and cultural icon Franco Zeffirelli dies aged 96, Italian media reports

 

The Florence native directed stars including Elizabeth Taylor in the 1967 film Taming of the Shrew and Dame Judi Dench on stage in Romeo and Juliet.

Italian media said Zeffirelli died after a long illness which had grown worse in recent months.

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Franco-Zeffirellis-Romeo-and-Juliet-1968

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I was just reading about him a few days ago. Supposedly the lecherous Uncle Monty character in WITHNAIL AND I is inspired by Zefferelli. Based on Bruce Robinson's experiences of working with the director on ROMEO AND JULIET, where Zefferelli continued to make unwanted advances.

Are there other Kevin Spacey type stories about Zefferelli?

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5 hours ago, Gershwin fan said:

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-48648278

The Florence native directed stars including Elizabeth Taylor in the 1967 film Taming of the Shrew and Dame Judi Dench on stage in Romeo and Juliet.

And I pity any recent high school student whose Lit teacher thought showing them the more recent Leo DiCaprio R&J would be more "current".

Zefirelli aced almost every single Shakespeare he touched, even when Kenneth Branagh later stumbled--Taming of the Shrew "gets" the play so perfectly, it'll shut up any feminist who complains about Kate's ending speech, and his Hamlet (1990) had the wild but brilliant idea of getting Mel Gibson for the role:  Yes, Mel's not Laurence Olivier, but he is barking-mad and violently impetuous, and that's who the character is when he's not gazing at skulls.

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(Always held it against Zefirelli for giving up more Shakespeare in the 80's to do his opera-production films, but--now that his La Traviata (1982) and Otello (1986) are floating around the Streaming Orphans--they're worth an opulent look too.)

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He was a great filmmaker, who suffered a lot of critical backlash.

But his unprecedented version of "Romeo and Juliet" changed the way the famous play was perceived and understood.

The recent film version of "Romeo and Juliet" was only made possible by Zefferelli's version.

One of his greatest achievements was the critically-disdained "Brother Sun, Sister Moon", which sought to explain religious ecstasy to the yonng people of its' time.

As far as I was concerned, it was quite successful.

That he was homosexual was quite evident in his handling of Leonard Whiting and Graham Faulkner and Martin Hewitt and Michael York.

But, since he worked early in his career with Luchino Viscounti, I am sure that his homosexuality got off to a good start.

His greatness has yet to be fully realized.

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23 minutes ago, rayban said:

That he was homosexual was quite evident in his handling of Leonard Whiting  and Graham Faulkner.

Care to elaborate? Are you saying he had a closer bond with them than he did with the actresses, because of being gay?

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Franco Zeffirelli was a great Opera director. His Opera career began in Italy in the 1950s. He often produced operas for Maria Callas. His greatest Opera production was Callas' "Tosca" in 1964 at Covent Garden with Tito Gobbi and Carlo Bergonzi.  Zeffirelli also produced many operas in New York at the Metropolitan Opera House.  In addition to directing, Zeffirelli often created the set designs for his opera productions.

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Romeo and Juliet and The Taming of the Shrew, both early in his career, were both of course excellent films and fine Shakespearean adaptations, but his other Shakesperian adaptation, 1990's Hamlet (the one with Mel Gibson, Glenn Close, Alan Bates, Helena Bonham Carter, Ian Holm, and Paul Scofield) is quite underrated and is a good zesty version of the tragedy.

Of non-Shakespearean work, take a look at his semi-autobiographical Tea with Mussolini. the character who is supposed to be him is a bit younger than he would have been at the actual time, but its still an interesting film involving him and the women ( played very well by Joan Plowright, Maggie Smith, Cher, Judi Dench, and Lily Tomlin) who were early influences on him.

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14 minutes ago, Fedya said:

He should have used George Brent's tuchus instead.

I saw  "Romeo and Juliet" in a movie theater when it first came out in '68. And there was quite a brouhaha in the theater when that scene came on the screen.

Considering mores of today, I can easily believe that movie was made more than 50 years ago.

However, I saw it for the second time last month and it not only holds up well,

but it is still extremely passionate and tragic.

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9 minutes ago, CinemaInternational said:

Romeo and Juliet and The Taming of the Shrew, both early in his career, were both of course excellent films and fine Shakespearean adaptations, but his other Shakesperian adaptation, 1990's Hamlet (the one with Mel Gibson, Glenn Close, Alan Bates, Helena Bonham Carter, Ian Holm, and Paul Scofield) is quite underrated and is a good zesty version of the tragedy.

Of non-Shakespearean work, take a look at his semi-autobiographical Tea with Mussolini. the character who is supposed to be him is a bit younger than he would have been at the actual time, but its still an interesting film involving him and the women ( played very well by Joan Plowright, Maggie Smith, Cher, Judi Dench, and Lily Tomlin) who were early influences on him.

And, of course, Zeffirelli had a close decades-long artistic and personal association with Operatic Diva Maria Callas.

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6 minutes ago, CinemaInternational said:

Romeo and Juliet and The Taming of the Shrew, both early in his career, were both of course excellent films and fine Shakespearean adaptations, but his other Shakesperian adaptation, 1990's Hamlet (the one with Mel Gibson, Glenn Close, Alan Bates, Helena Bonham Carter, Ian Holm, and Paul Scofield) is quite underrated and is a good zesty version of the tragedy.

Of non-Shakespearean work, take a look at his semi-autobiographical Tea with Mussolini. the character who is supposed to be him is a bit younger than he would have been at the actual time, but its still an interesting film involving him and the women ( played very well by Joan Plowright, Maggie Smith, Cher, Judi Dench, and Lily Tomlin) who were early influences on him.

Screen Shot 2019-06-15 at 1.15.02 PM.jpeg

I also love TEA WITH MUSSOLINI. I should have mentioned it in the thread about men who drink tea. 

On second thought, I think I'm going to do that right now. :) 

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13 hours ago, TopBilled said:

I was just reading about him a few days ago. Supposedly the lecherous Uncle Monty character in WITHNAIL AND I is inspired by Zefferelli. Based on Bruce Robinson's experiences of working with the director on ROMEO AND JULIET, where Zefferelli continued to make unwanted advances.

Are there other Kevin Spacey type stories about Zefferelli?

Actually, yes.  Just last year, actor Johnathon Schaech claimed he was sexually assaulted by Zeffirelli during production of the film Sparrow.

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No one has mentioned Endless Love, which I stayed up late to watch on HBO after my parents had gone to bed when I was in seventh grade. As I recall, it was pretty overwrought, but it certainly fits in thematically with the rest of Zeferelli's work with its focus on passionate to the point of being borderline out of control young love. From the era when a way too young Brooke Shields was showing up damn near naked in virtually every movie she was making, all apparently with the approval of her mother, and while there was certainly tittering, the world didn't express the vociferous disapproval it would today. But the best performances in the movie are the adults, played by Hollywood vets like Shirley Knight, Don Murray and Beatrice Straight. Also, the first-ever or extremely early appearances by the likes of Tom Cruise, Jamie Gertz and James Spader.

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Endless Love isn't particularly good, but it is fun to watch it go spectacularly off the rails.

It can also be used in 31 Days of Oscar since Lionel Richie was nominated for the title song.

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