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 Post subject: The Agony and the Ecstasy
PostPosted: Tue Nov 02, 2010 3:17 am 
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Directed by: Carol Reed
Production year: 1965
Starring: Charlton Heston, Rex Harrison, Diane Cilento


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Plot:

Pope Julius is eager to leave behind works by which he will be remembered. To this end he cajoles Michelangelo into painting the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. When not on the battlefield uniting Italy, the Pope nags Michelangelo to speed up his painful work on the frescoes.

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 Post subject: Re: The Agony and the Ecstasy
PostPosted: Mon Dec 13, 2010 11:58 pm 
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Michelangelo

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In the Films of Charlton Heston, Jeff Rovin wrote:
Quote:
Preparing for the role, Heston had to watch and study marble sculptors at work, learning
the technique of wielding chisel and hammer; then he spent hours upon hours practicing. He also
read everything he could find about the artist and boned up on the techniques of fresco painting.

:applause: :thumbsup:


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 Post subject: Re: The Agony and the Ecstasy
PostPosted: Tue Dec 14, 2010 2:03 am 
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CHfan2010 wrote:
In the Films of Charlton Heston, Jeff Rovin wrote:
Quote:
Preparing for the role, Heston had to watch and study marble sculptors at work, learning
the technique of wielding chisel and hammer; then he spent hours upon hours practicing. He also
read everything he could find about the artist and boned up on the techniques of fresco painting.

:applause: :thumbsup:

Typical behaviour of Charlton Heston. He came prepared, unlike so many other actors.

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 Post subject: Re: The Agony and the Ecstasy
PostPosted: Wed Dec 29, 2010 6:35 pm 
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Marabunta
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Thorne you have that right! :cheers:

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 Post subject: Re: The Agony and the Ecstasy
PostPosted: Sat Apr 09, 2011 8:23 pm 
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Newspaper ad from The Milwaukee Journal - April, 1966.


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 Post subject: Re: The Agony and the Ecstasy
PostPosted: Mon Apr 11, 2011 1:05 am 
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Call Me Harry
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Nice poster. Hehe, "super-duper". I hardly ever hear that anymore.

So I was going by Internet Movie Database earlier and decided to see what IMDB had trivia wise for the film and, apparently, it seems that Charlton Heston and Rex Harrison did not get along at all during filming, though why is not stated. The animosity was apparently so strong that years later working on Cross Swords Harrison avoided Heston completely. When I read his book "In the Arena" Heston, who usually had nothing but high praise for the many British actors he worked with, described Rex as "eccentric", which may have been a nice way of saying they didn't work well together. Anyone else ever hear this or have any extra info on it?


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 Post subject: Re: The Agony and the Ecstasy
PostPosted: Mon Apr 11, 2011 6:40 am 
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I had not heard anything about that before reading your post. That's interesting. It was pretty hard not to get along with Chuck, so you'd have to be pretty damn hard to work with to have some sort of feud with him.

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 Post subject: Re: The Agony and the Ecstasy
PostPosted: Mon Apr 11, 2011 4:51 pm 
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Prince Judah
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From the book Charlton Heston's Hollywood, Heston wrote:
Quote:
Rex was kind of a funny guy. He was quite temperamental, but that actually benefited the chemistry between the two of us in our on-screen relationship.

In the next paragraph, the same book uses a quote from Rex Harrison's autobiography; Rex wrote:
Quote:
I don't think Carol [director] was himself. I think Charlton Heston was absolutely himself and by the end I didn't know who I was. Pope I knew I was, though the real star was Michelangelo, and Heston very politely and very nicely made me feel that it was extremely kind of me to be supporting him. I did everything I could to make myself believe that the picture was about Pope Julius rather than about Michelangelo. In this, I was not too successful.

Though Rex calls Chuck polite and nice, is he being sarcastic? This seems like the old story of ego clash among stars; Rex thinks of himself as the bigger star; Chuck is the #1 star.. so it goes.

Going back to Chuck's earlier book, The Actor's Life, Chuck wrote:
Quote:
June 2 [1964]: Rex Harrison, on the other hand, will not be an easy man to work with. Perhaps he's insecure about who has the best part, which is understandable. The way we all carry on about these things...

Again, it's a clash of personalities and egos - nothing new in Hollywood. It doesn't sound too serious to me; maybe Rex read Chuck's comment in The Actor's Life just before filming Crossed Swords and this pissed him off... but that's just speculation.


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 Post subject: Re: The Agony and the Ecstasy
PostPosted: Sun Aug 14, 2011 5:14 am 
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Prince Judah
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That they were not getting well on together was good for the movie, I feel. Exactly that was the problem between the Pope and the Artist... the Pope wanted to control the Artist but could not curb his dignity and spirit. In trying to exercise his power, the Pope rather lowered his own dignity. I wonder how Harrison could think that his character was to be the main protagonist, didn't he even read the original book by Irving Stone, which is all about the unknown stoy of Michelangelo?As for his grumble about his 'supporting' Chuck,... why, it was Chuck who literally and physically supported him in that risky scene of the wounded and sick Pope's decsending from the ladder!

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 Post subject: Re: The Agony and the Ecstasy
PostPosted: Thu Oct 27, 2011 7:43 pm 
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Prince Judah
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itsjudah24 wrote:
That they were not getting well on together was good for the movie, I feel. Exactly that was the problem between the Pope and the Artist... the Pope wanted to control the Artist but could not curb his dignity and spirit. In trying to exercise his power, the Pope rather lowered his own dignity. I wonder how Harrison could think that his character was to be the main protagonist, didn't he even read the original book by Irving Stone, which is all about the unknown stoy of Michelangelo?

I just watched this one again the other day (I finally got the DVD which came out 5-6 years ago; it was cheap, about $8).
I agree that Heston and Harrison worked incredibly well together as the two characters and this probably was due to their on set friction. Everything I've read about Harrison over the many years indicates that he could be very prickly and testy in real life, but this really suited his Pope character. One of the most memorable scenes for me out of all Heston films is the one when Pope Julius loses all patience with Michelangelo and strikes him (Michelangelo says "Will not" to the Pope; the Pope yells "Will not?! Will not?!?!"). It's probably one of the most effective scenes ever done, due in part to Harrison's and Heston's actual personalities.

This was also a very unusual role for Heston, playing the artist who must continually bend to the authority of the Pope and even behave meekly in some scenes (despite his arrogance - can't be too arrogant towards the Pope); usually Heston is the one in authority and is never meek. But, in a strange way, it anticipates his Taylor in PLANET OF THE APES, who ends up on the lowest rung of the culture of the Apes.

The film is very picturesque in places and a good DVD picture is ideal to see such a film; some very nice cinematography. The more effective scenes, though, are the small, personal ones, such as when Michelangelo is painting the ceiling and there's paint all over him as he concentrates on his work; later, he collapses from fatigue.
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As for how Harrison could think that his character was to be the main protagonist... I can only go back to my suggestion that it was all about star egos. I wouldn't put it past it some stars to actually rewrite books and rewrite history to satisfy their large egos. That's Hollywood. :lol:


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