4/15/14

DIRECTORS SPEAK PART ONE! ROUBEN MAMOULIAN...

Here is an exceedingly rare view of the great director Rouben Mamoulian ("Love Me Tonight", "The Mark of Zorro", "Silk Stockings") speaking from his home in Beverly Hills in 1986, age 88.  Beside his innovative and still stylishly fascinating film work, Mamoulian also made theater history, directing the original productions of two seminal musical works of art, "Porgy And Bess" and "Oklahoma". And he's all but forgotten today. Jesus!

I had the great good fortune of meeting Mamoulian in the early eighties at the home of film critic Arthur Knight. He was old-school gentlemanly, attired in jacket, scarf, hat and wielding a cigar. I remember asking him about several of his films and his saying one thing that particularly stuck with me. It had to do with "Silk Stockings", my favorite Fred Astaire film post Ginger Rogers. I don't remember what the question was but it must have had to do with process because I recall him quite casually saying, "So then we rehearsed for seven hours and..." etc. My jaw dropped. They rehearsed for seven hours? This was the pace, the meticulousness and the sheer perfectionism that not only made his work so richly realized but also got him fired from three very famous movies--"Laura", "Porgy And Bess" and "Cleopatra".

At the top of the clip he says a marvelous quote of his grandmothers which he applies to life and to his work with actors. I won't tell you what it is. Just watch it. By the way, where's the rest of this doc? If anybody knows, tell me for Chrissakes! I've also thrown in the magnificent "Red Blues" dance sequence from "Silk Stockings".




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