keith richards

Hans 2021 Movie Draft: Round Nine-Pick One-Infamous 2006

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Infamous Poster IMDb & Amazon Image One
Image Credit: IMDb & Amazon

Hanspostcard has a movie draft challenge. This is my Round Nine pick.

Category: Historical/Biographical/Political
Film: Infamous

Gore Vidal: […on Truman’s voice…] “To the lucky person who has never heard it, I can only say…imagine what a brussel sprout would sound like, if a brussel sprout could talk.”

Truman Capote: […on Smith & Hickock…] “When you’re talking to them, they seem like perfectly nice boys. To be frank, I’m much more concerned for my safety around Norman Mailer.”

This is the second movie on Truman Capote regarding his foray into the Clutter Family murders. Released August 31, 2006, at the Venice Film Festival and widely on October 13, 2006, this film stood in the shadow of Philip Seymour Hoffman‘s Capote and his Academy Award for Best Actor. Unlike its predecessor, this film, with its $13 million budget, lost money. That being said, despite Hoffman’s turn, Toby Jones is no slouch and his interpretation has its own unique depth. Jones was awarded the London Critics’ Circle Film Award for British Actor of the Year. I found this film to be fascinating and quite entertaining, with parts difficult to watch. Bubbly Sandra Bullock brings forth the subdued, Southern To Kill A Mockingbird novelist Harper Lee. Much of the storytelling is done in mock interviews with the actors, in character, talking about their interactions with Truman. I seem to have a thing for underdog/obscure movies. ~Vic

Written and directed by Douglas McGrath, the movie is based on George Plimpton’s book Truman Capote: In Which Various Friends, Enemies, Acquaintances and Detractors Recall His Turbulent Career (1997). Produced by John Wells & Christine Vachon, (a pre-James Bond) Daniel Craig is Perry Smith, Peter Bogdanovich is Bennett Cerf (Random House Publishing Co-Founder), Jeff Daniels is Alvin Dewey (Kansas Bureau of Investigation Special Agent), Hope Davis is Slim Keith (ex-wife of Producer & Director Howard Hawks), Gwyneth Paltrow has a singing cameo as Kitty Dean (a Peggy Lee clone and possible reference to The Royal Family play), Isabella Rossellini is Marella Agnelli (Italian Princess and wife of the Chairman of Fiat Automobiles), Juliet Stevenson is Diana Vreeland (Editor-in-Chief of Vogue), Sigourney Weaver is Babe Paley (wife of CBS founder William Paley), Lee Pace is Richard Hickock, John Benjamin Hickey is Jack Dunphy (Capote’s partner) and Michael Panes is Gore Vidal (writer and Democrat party candidate).

Toby Jones Sandra Bullock IMDb & Amazon Image Two
Photo Credit: IMDb & Amazon

“Why shouldn’t there be a fizzy, comedic take on the naughty adventures of the Park Avenue gadabout as he fashioned In Cold Blood […]? Why not a movie that concentrates on the contrast between the writer’s frivolous party-boy side and the brutal murders in Kansas, the exotic and colorful tropical specimen who becomes a fish-out-of water when he jumps from his luxurious high-rise swan pond into the Midwestern plains?

[A]fter In Cold Blood, [Capote] never published another major work. Out of career desperation as much as anything else, he sold out his friendships with these […] people, publishing gossipy stories about them in an Esquire excerpt from Answered Prayers in 1976 and was banished from their lives.

[T]he movie centers on the symbiotic relationship between Truman and Perry, pondering the extent of the seduction and, who seduced whom.

Toby Jones inhabits Truman as if he were to the character born, a livelier and more perversely ebullient man than Phillip Seymour Hoffman‘s version in Capote (2005).”

Truman On The Rocks
Roger Ebert
October 12, 2006

Trivia Bits:
Mark Walberg was to play Perry Smith, originally but, dropped out. Mark Ruffalo was next but, dropped out, as well.
♦ Sigourney Weaver portrays the wife of a CBS Executive and is the daughter of NBC Executive Pat Weaver.
Michelle Pfeiffer was to play Slim Keith, originally.

Additional Reading:
The Story Behind A Non-Fiction Novel (George Plimpton/New York Times Archive/1997)

Warner Brothers Trailer

Flashback Friday: Altamont Concert 1969

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Grace Slick Image Three
Grace Slick
Photo Credit: Bill Owens

[Note: I originally posted this, yesterday, just before midnight. In researching the data, I stumbled across Bill Owens, a photographer that was at Altamont. He was hired by the Associated Press to cover the concert. I emailed him, reference the two photos of his I posted. I hit ‘publish’ before I found his contact page and statement about photos for sale. In my haste to get this up while it was still Friday, I jumped the gun and quickly made the post private. I asked Bill what the price would be to use two of his pictures. As a photographer myself, I understand copyright issues but, I also recognize the gray area that many a blogger operate in, in the blogosphere….Fair Use (link on that, below). Anyway, this very kind gentleman has allowed my one-time use for this 50th anniversary post. He also provided me with a copy of an interview, conducted by Tony D’Souza in April 2019, covering his Altamont experience and other questions regarding his career. I will post an excerpt and attach the full interview, below. ~Vic]

Fifty years, ago, today, a free rock concert was held at the Altamont Speedway in Tracy, California. Described as “rock and roll’s all-time worst day, […], a day when everything went perfectly wrong“, the event saw violence and four deaths, the most notable being the stabbing of Meredith Hunter.

The concert featured (in order of appearance): Santana, Jefferson Airplane, The Flying Burrito Brothers and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, with the Rolling Stones taking the stage as the final act. The Grateful Dead were also scheduled to perform following CSNY but, declined to play shortly before their scheduled appearance due to the increasing violence at the venue.

Approximately 300,000 attended the concert, and some anticipated that it would be a “Woodstock [West Coast verson]”. Woodstock was held in Bethel, New York, in mid-August, less than four months earlier. Filmmakers Albert and David Maysles shot footage of the event and incorporated it into the 1970 documentary film titled Gimme Shelter.

[Source]

Naked Guy Image Two
The naked guy.
Photo Credit: Bill Owens

[It’s] not every day that a rock and roll band’s performance, let alone the Rolling Stones’, is accompanied by a knifing, stomping murder within a scream of the stage.

“The violence,” Keith Richard told the London Evening Standard, “just in front of the stage was incredible. Looking back, I don’t think it was a good idea to have [Hells] Angels there. But, we had them at the suggestion of the Grateful Dead. The trouble is, it’s a problem for us either way. If you don’t have them to work for you as stewards, they come, anyway and cause trouble. But, to be fair, out of the whole 300 Angels working as stewards, the vast majority did what they were supposed to do, which was to regulate the crowds as much as possible without causing any trouble. But, there were about ten or twenty who were completely out of their minds…trying to drive their motorcycles through the middle of the crowds.”

The Maysles Brothers, the film company which had shot the whole Stones’ tour, complete with its violent climax at Altamont, had gotten some remarkable footage of Hunter’s killing.

[Source]

Robert Hiatt, a medical resident at the Public Health Hospital in San Francisco, was the first doctor to reach 18-year-old Meredith Hunter after the fatal wounds. He was behind the stage and responded to Jagger’s call from the stage for a doctor. When Hiatt got to the scene, people were trying to get Hunter up on the stage, apparently in the hope that the Stones would stop playing and help could get through quicker.

The Stones & The Hells Angels Image
Stones on stage with Hells Angels.
Photo Credit: allthatsinteresting.com

Three others […] died (two in a hit-and-run accident, another by drowning) and, countless more were injured and wounded during the course of this daylong “free” concert. It was such a bad trip that it was almost perfect. All it lacked was mass rioting and the murder of one or more musicians.

All these things happened, and worse. Altamont was the product of diabolical egotism, hype, ineptitude, money manipulation and, at base, a fundamental lack of concern for humanity.

[Source]

Interview with Bill Owens:
bill@billowens.com
Bill Owens: Altamont 1969 (Amazon)
50 Years After Altamont: The End of the 60s (The New York Times April 15, 2019)

Bill Owens took iconic photos of the Hells Angels beating concertgoers with pool cue sticks at the Rolling Stones’ performance during the Altamont Speedway Free Festival four months after Woodstock on December 6, 1969. Altamont, which included violence almost all day and one stabbing death, is considered by historians as the end of the Summer of Love and the overall 1960’s youth ethos. This series of photos include panoramas of the massive, unruly crowd, Grace Slick and Carlos Santana on stage with the press of humanity so close in, they’re clearly performing under duress.

Of that day, Owens has written: “I got a call from a friend, she said the Associated Press wanted to hire me for a day to cover a rock and roll concert. I road my motorcycle to the event. I had two Nikons, three lenses, thirteen rolls of film, a sandwich, and a jar of water.”

Owens was so fearful of retribution by the Hells Angels that he published the photos under pseudonyms. Some of the negatives were later stolen…Owens believes by the Angels. He continues to have conflicted feelings about Altamont. He had no interest in violence and took no pride in photographing it.

In 1972, Owens released a book of black and white photography called Suburbia, also, now, an American icon. Irascible, stubborn, funny, grouchy, ornery and deeply rooted in small town life, Owens is built like a middleweight puncher and wears his hair as though he was a Marine. Indeed, Owens was never a hippie but, a clean-cut newspaper photographer, husband and father, who joined the Peace Corps to serve his country and “do good.” Turning 80 this September, Owens has also had noted careers as a craft beer brewer and pub owner, a magazine publisher many times over and, is now a distiller. His books include Suburbia, Working, Leisure and many others. He is the recipient of a Guggenheim and two NEAs. His work is collected in leading museums the world over, including the Smithsonian. Recent coverage of Owens includes an April retrospective in the New York Times (link above) of his Altamont photos for the event’s impending 50th anniversary. The photos are available for viewing at Owens’ website (link above and below).

I first met Owens at the defunct Rostel Gallery in remote and far northern Dunsmuir, CA, in late August or early September of 2008 (I remember because my daughter had just been born and the event was the first outing of her life), where they were showing images from Suburbia. These are images of people embarking on a new, modern way of life that they look excited by, but also confused, as though technology and the modish styles of the time were costumes they were still getting comfortable in. Owens’ photograph of a young suburban boy wearing cowboy boots, carrying a toy rifle and riding a Big Wheel, “Ritchie,” has always haunted me, though I couldn’t say precisely why.

Continue reading the interview HERE (PDF)

Set List
Death of Meredith Hunter
Reactions
Let It Bleed (Rolling Stone Magazine January 21, 1970)
Rock & Roll’s Worst Day (Rolling Stone Magazine February 7, 1970)
Altamont Rock Festival: ’60s Abruptly End (Livermore History March/April 2010)
Altamont Rock Festival of 1969: The Aftermath (Livermore History January/February 2011)
Biggest Rock Concert Ends (The Bulletin December 8, 1969)
Bill Owens Site (Associated Press Photographer at Altamont)
Ruling On Fair Use (American Photography May 3, 2019)