September may mean back to school but it also means it’s time for town and country fairs! The air is crisp, the harvest is wrapping up, and everyone heads to the fair to relax with their friends and neighbors.
Acting for the stage is very different from acting for the screen. The stage actor’s performance must reach not only the audience in the front row, but also the audience in the very last row. Consequently gestures and vocals must be a bit more exaggerated in order to translate to the entire audience. Film acting can involve anything from a long shot with the actor at a distance to an extreme close up where we may only see the actor’s eyes or mouth.
Many stage plays have been adapted to film. It is the screen version that most of us are familiar with. Unfortunately the stage performances are so ephemeral that we can only imagine the impact that the original actors made on their audiences.
Here are just some plays that became famous films and the stars who shone in the original play in comparison to those who made the film famous.
TITLE STAGE ACTORS MOVIE ACTORS
The Lion in Winter
Rosemary Harris Katharine Hepburn
Robert Preston Peter O’Toole
Wait until Dark
Lee Remick Audrey Hepburn
Robert Duvall Alan Arkin
Cherry Jones Meryl Streep
Brian F. O’Byrne Philip Seymour Hoffman
Anthony Quale Laurence Olivier
Keith Baxter Michael Caine
A Streetcar Named Desire
Jessica Tandy Vivien Leigh
Marlon Brando Marlon Brando
Tim Curry Tom Hulce
Ian McKellen F. Murray Abraham
Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf
Uta Hagen Elizabeth Taylor
George Hill Richard Burton
Melinda Dillon Sandy Dennis
George Grizzard George Segal
Driving Miss Daisy
Dana Ivey Jessica Tandy
Morgan Freeman Morgan Freeman
And in a long series of morphing, the short story “I Am a Camera” by Christopher Isherwood became the play “ I Am a Camera” and then the movie “I Am a Camera” (both starring Julie Harris) which then became the musical “Cabaret” and then finally emerged as the movie “Cabaret” starring Liza Minnelli. Phew.
“Cult Films have limited but very special appeal. Cult films are usually strange, quirky, offbeat, eccentric, oddball, or surreal, with outrageous, weird, unique and cartoony characters or plots, and garish sets. They are often considered controversial because they step outside standard narrative and technical conventions. They can be very stylized, and they are often flawed or unusual in some striking way.”
Ah, New Year’s Eve! The promise of a fresh start in a new year! There are many movies we can think of right off that deal with the Christmas holiday season, but how well has Hollywood dealt with the holiday of New Year’s? Quick – what movie comes to mind when I say “Happy New Year!“? Not much comes to mind, does it?
One of my favorite “reference books” is VideoHounds’ Golden Movie Retriever. This book rates movies on DVD from a high of four bones to a low of no bones which merits a “Woof!”. The index is great for accessing movies by actor, director, awards, and even category. Looking for a movie that deals with Mistaken Identity? How about Invasion of the Body Snatchers or Seconds? VideoHound has 4 columns of titles to keep you busy there. Want to see something about a wedding from hell? Head right to that category and see what’s available. There you will find among others Niagarastarring Marilyn Monroe. You can even get as narrow a search as Zombie soldiers, such as They Saved Hitler’s Brain.