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 Post subject: Re: The Agony and the Ecstasy
PostPosted: Fri Oct 28, 2011 2:23 pm 
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Prince Judah
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Chrysagon, you are right-- Michelangelo in the film could not be "too arrogant to the Pope". But that decency on his part, despite his own supreme artistic ego, shows the depth and humanity of his character. In the confrontation-scene you mention, Michelangelo was so passionate that his body was trembling, with his throat-muscles stained and fists clenched, ... when I watched the movie for the first time, I had an impression that Chuck is going to wrench the stuff away from Pope's hand!(The real Michelangelo threw his hammer at the Pope when he was repeatedly disturbing his concentration with the 'When will you make an end" sort of questions, and imagine, he got away unharmed, in that age!) But no, the Pope strikes, and Michelangelo, though he has the spirit and ability to fight back, restrains his agonised wrath and bears the pain, thinking of the Pope's position and his age. Later, when the wounded Pope lies in his sickbed and calls the artist back, and requests him to finish the work almost in an apologising tone, Michelangelo shows remarkable human consideration-- otherwise an 'egotistical sublime' artist would not come back to the employer who has insulted and struck him before. He is not obliged to obey the Pope now, the authority is shifted on a subtler and finer level-- the Renaissance humanist artist,out of his own good heart, tries to forget the past insult and promises to do his best to keep a 'dying'(almost) old man's request, which would also fulfill his long-dreamed of masterpiece.

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 Post subject: Re: The Agony and the Ecstasy
PostPosted: Thu Nov 03, 2011 2:22 am 
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This is from the trivia section of IMDb. I take most things I read there with a grain of salt, but I have read about this in several different places. It may have been spoken about on one of the DVD's for "Cleopatara" (1963). I think it says a lot about Rex Harrison's ego.

Rex Harrison had a clause in his contract stipulating that whenever a picture of Richard Burton appeared in an ad, so would his. A large sign was put up on Broadway showing only Burton and Elizabeth Taylor. After Harrison's lawyers complained, the studio fulfilled the contract by placing a picture of Harrison on one corner of the billboard.

"Cleopatara" was not so much about Cleopatara and Caesar and it was about Cleopatara and Marc Antony.

I realize that Chuck Heston wasn't a man without faults, although he was pretty darn close to being perfect, in my opinion, but from every thing I've ever read about him, he was an actor who took his job very seriously. You came to work on time. You knew your part. You memorized your lines. You gave the best performance you could give. He may have had little tolerance of other actors that didn't, or couldn't, live up to that standard. Rex Harrison was an excellent actor, but he put himself, and his ego, first. Heston was the star of "The Agony and the Ecstasy", not Harrison, and I think Rex resented that. Just my humble opinion, of course.

This is one of my favorite movies. Beautifully filmed. Beautifully scored. Incredible acting performances. If there was "tension" between Heston and Harrison, it worked in their favor. Their performances were close to perfect.


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 Post subject: Re: The Agony and the Ecstasy
PostPosted: Thu Nov 03, 2011 7:45 am 
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Prince Judah
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After reading Ladyhawke's post above, it occurred to me that Rex might have been frustrated at being/playing 2nd fiddle in his sixties films, even though that was the decade in which he became a very big star. He was 2nd to Liz and Burton in CLEOPATRA; 2nd to Audrey Hepburn in MY FAIR LADY; and then 2nd to Chuck, by which point he was probably very frustrated. He finally led DR. DOOLITTLE, which was a flop.

Ladyhawke wrote:
I realize that Chuck Heston wasn't a man without faults, although he was pretty darn close to being perfect, in my opinion, but from every thing I've ever read about him, he was an actor who took his job very seriously. You came to work on time. You knew your part. You memorized your lines. You gave the best performance you could give. He may have had little tolerance of other actors that didn't, or couldn't, live up to that standard.

This reminds of a story I heard about Chuck on MAJOR DUNDEE - that he used a watch or a stopwatch to either time the actors who were goofing off or arriving late, or getting back late from lunch; this annoyed other actors on the set, though it may have been just Richard Harris. Of course, that's the side of the actors who were goofing off. And, especially as I got older, I realized that Chuck was the professional and the adult in such examples, while the others are the spoiled kids.


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 Post subject: Re: The Agony and the Ecstasy
PostPosted: Thu Nov 03, 2011 3:25 pm 
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Chrysagon wrote:
This reminds of a story I heard about Chuck on MAJOR DUNDEE - that he used a watch or a stopwatch to either time the actors who were goofing off or arriving late, or getting back late from lunch; this annoyed other actors on the set, though it may have been just Richard Harris. Of course, that's the side of the actors who were goofing off. And, especially as I got older, I realized that Chuck was the professional and the adult in such examples, while the others are the spoiled kids.

You're probably thinking of something Richard Harris said about Chuck being "square." He tells how Chuck used a stopwatch on set, but he didn't mention him using it when people were goofing off and such. I understand why Chuck would do that on the Major Dundee set. With all the problems the movie had in production, they had to be professional. He offered up his salary for the sake of the movie, so it's only natural he was very invested in it.

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 Post subject: Re: The Agony and the Ecstasy
PostPosted: Tue Nov 15, 2011 5:10 pm 
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It's been a long time, but I used to have a copy of Rex Harrison's autobiography, and I recognize the quotes that have been posted. However, I don't think Harrison's comments in the actual autobiography came off as bitter.

One scene I recall is Harrison trying to look taller than Chuck. I just googled it, and found this excerpt from TCM's site:

Harrison even admitted in his autobiography Rex that he had lifts placed in his shoes to bring him up to Heston's 6-foot-3 height. "I eyed Heston and congratulated myself that at least he no longer towered above me. As the film went on, however, it seemed to me that he was growing. Eyeball to eyeball he was once more a couple of inches taller than I. I looked down at his feet - not a sign of lifts! He must have grown through sheer tenacity. Neither of us made any comment, nor did our wardrobe men - it was a very funny, silent contest."

I wonder if Heston was even aware of this "silent contest"? I think not.

As to Harrison's likeness in the Cleopatra poster, I remember that from the book. Harrison said his agent had worked out a "likeness clause", which stated that Harrison was to receive equal representation in any advertisement for the film. The advertisement in question was a large billboard that contained the image in this poster:

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Supposedly, Harrison's agent alerted them to the clause, and they added an insert of Harrison as Caesar. However, the agent said "No, it must be an equal likeness"; so the the painting was redone with a full-sized Harrison added to the painting.

Actually, I rather agree that Harrison should have been included in the ads. He dominates the first half of the film, whereas Burton has only a few supporting scenes. Indeed, I think Harrison was the best thing about the film, and he deserved his Oscar nomination for Caesar.


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 Post subject: Re: The Agony and the Ecstasy
PostPosted: Sun Nov 20, 2011 4:52 am 
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Detective Thorn wrote:
Chrysagon wrote:
This reminds of a story I heard about Chuck on MAJOR DUNDEE - that he used a watch or a stopwatch to either time the actors who were goofing off or arriving late, or getting back late from lunch; this annoyed other actors on the set, though it may have been just Richard Harris. Of course, that's the side of the actors who were goofing off. And, especially as I got older, I realized that Chuck was the professional and the adult in such examples, while the others are the spoiled kids.

You're probably thinking of something Richard Harris said about Chuck being "square." He tells how Chuck used a stopwatch on set, but he didn't mention him using it when people were goofing off and such. I understand why Chuck would do that on the Major Dundee set. With all the problems the movie had in production, they had to be professional. He offered up his salary for the sake of the movie, so it's only natural he was very invested in it.

And let's not forget Harris had a reputation for being an ornery bugger to deal with.


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 Post subject: Re: The Agony and the Ecstasy
PostPosted: Sun Dec 04, 2011 3:44 am 
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Hi Ed Bannon and Cid, would you like to come to my 'Art in Heston's portrayal of Michelangelo' thread? I would be glad to have your comments there.

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 Post subject: Re: The Agony and the Ecstasy
PostPosted: Sun Feb 19, 2012 11:56 pm 
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tizzyd wrote:
Hi Ed Bannon and Cid, would you like to come to my 'Art in Heston's portrayal of Michelangelo' thread? I would be glad to have your comments there.

Sure, where is it?


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 Post subject: Re: The Agony and the Ecstasy
PostPosted: Mon Feb 20, 2012 3:18 am 
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EL-CID-1983 wrote:
tizzyd wrote:
Hi Ed Bannon and Cid, would you like to come to my 'Art in Heston's portrayal of Michelangelo' thread? I would be glad to have your comments there.

Sure, where is it?

It's right here: art-in-heston-s-portryal-of-michelangelo-t278.html

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 Post subject: Re: The Agony and the Ecstasy
PostPosted: Tue Feb 21, 2012 1:09 pm 
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I have a special tenderness for this 'art'-thread, so I am also joining Tizzy to invite you guys!

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