Richard joins CP24 to have a look at the weekend’s new movies including “Tomb Raider,” the dark comedy “The Death of Stalin,” the old folks road trip “The Leisure Seeker,” the crime thriller “7 Days in Entebbe” and the Cecil Beaton documentary “Love, Cecil.”
Cecil Beaton, the subject of a new documentary called “Love, Cecil,” says he was determined not to be “just an ordinary, anonymous person.” To that end he distinguished himself as a diarist, painter, interior designer and an Oscar–winning costume designer but it was as a photographer that he made his grandest statements.
Director Lisa Immordino Vreeland (related by marriage to fashionista Diana Vreeland) presents a portrait of a serial multi-tasker, a man “tormented with ambition” who wonders aloud if he might have been more successful had he focussed on one discipline over the others. Still, it is hard to imagine the restless spirit shown in the film as anything but creatively unsettled. His iconic portraits of everyone from Greta Garbo and Marilyn Monroe to Mick Jagger and Queen Elizabeth are world famous but equally impressive, perhaps more so are his wartime photographs, pictures that captured the horrors of the German Blitz. His startling photo of 3-year-old bombing victim Eileen Dunne, laying in a hospital, clutching a ragged teddy bear became famous in the day, is thought to have helped push America into the war and remains an indelibly powerful image seventy-five years later.
The doc also showcases Beaton’s unsettled private life. Controversial, outspoken and publicly vengeful, he was once also fired from American Vogue for inserting anti-Semitic phrases into an illustration; an act he admits was inexcusable. His romantic life is lightly touched on. Affairs with Garbo and various men never did led to lasting love, a fact that hints at the great sadness that lay just beneath his polished exterior.
In the 1920s Beaton was one of the Bright Young Things, a bohemian group of young aristocrats and artists who exemplified the excesses of Britain’s Jazz Age. He was an active member and documenter of their short lived heyday but the spirit of creativity that fuelled his exploits as a young man stayed with him until his death in 1980 at age seventy-six.
“Love, Cecil” is a traditional talking head doc that features notables like David Bailey, designer Manolo Blahnik and artist David Hockney. It moves chronologically through the man’s life and there is none of the style Beaton brought to his own life on display in the filmmaking but narration by Rupert Everett, lifted directly from the photographer’s own diaries, brings intimacy to the proceedings.
“Grand Hotel… always the same. People come, people go. Nothing ever happens.”
That famous line from the Greta Garbo film Grand Hotel is only half right. Hundreds of movies have used hotels as a backdrop for the action because people come, people go, but despite the quote’s assertion, there’s always something happening.
This weekend’s The Grand Budapest Hotel is a case in point. Starring Ralph Fiennes as a concierge at a European hotel between the world wars, it features an all-star cast, including Bill Murray, Owen Wilson, Harvey Keitel and Edward Norton. They are all part of the fabric of the hotel’s history, which includes assassins, murder, riches and a mysterious painting.
Hollywood has always recognized that the transient nature of hotels makes for great drama.
New York City’s Plaza Hotel has played host to many famous movie scenes. Everything from Barefoot in the Park to Funny Girl to The Great Gatsby has used the iconic hotel as a backdrop, but it is probably best known as a location for North by Northwest. In the Alfred Hitchcock film Roger O. Thornhill (Cary Grant) is mistaken for a government agent and kidnapped from the ornate lobby.
The opening shot of Goldfinger features a stunning aerial view of Miami’s Fontainebleau Hotel, which at the time was the most luxurious guesthouse on Miami Beach. Later in the film Bond Girl Jill Masterson (Shirley Eaton) dies of skin asphyxiation inside the hotel after henchman Oddjob (Harold Sakata) coats her whole body in gold paint.
In the 1920’s the Hotel del Coronado was a famous weekend getaway for Hollywood stars like Mae West, Charlie Chaplin, Clark Gable and Errol Flynn but the Victorian wooden beach resort found fame as the setting for several scenes in Some Like it Hot. Located on San Diego Bay across from San Diego, the beachfront location was the scene of one of the film’s most famous lines. When Jerry (Jack Lemmon) first spies Sugar Kane (Marilyn Monroe) sashaying through the sand he says, “Look how she moves! It’s like Jell-O on springs.”
Stephen King was inspired to write The Shining after staying at the 140-room Stanley Hotel in Colorado. “I think a lot of things happened right here in this particular hotel over the years,” says Dick Hallorann (Scatman Crothers) in the film version. “And not all of ’em was good.”
The Stanley has been used as a location for Dumb and Dumber and other films, but Stanley Kubrick chose not to showcase the place in his 1980 adaptation of the novel. Instead, much to King’s disappointment, he used Oregon’s Timberline Lodge as a stand-in for the film’s fictional Overlook Hotel.