9/29/15

A CUKOR-THON BEGINS



If you reading this blog I don't need to tell you about director George Cukor, who came from the New York stage in the 1920s, directed his first film in 1930, was one of MGM's premiere directors of the 30s, 40s and some of the 50s, was known as one of filmdom's greatest 'woman directors' (translation: he was gay), was fired from 'Gone With The Wind' because he was friends with a male prostitute who serviced Clark Gable and Gable found out and couldn't look his director in the eye (a theory, yes, but a nice one), directed at least a dozen incredibly still-watchable high-comedies, had a very famous house in the Hollywood hills,  strangely drifted off into semi-employment after finally winning an Oscar in 1964 for 'My Fair Lady', returned to filmmaking via some high-class TV movies (one of which incredibly starred Olivier and Hepburn) and finally wound up his career in his eighties with 1981's 'Rich and Famous' which contained a then-notorious (and still pretty damn hot) airplane bathroom sex scene with Jacqueline Bisset.

No, I don't need to tell you who Cukor was, do I? I don't know quite why, but in my post-filmmaking state of exhaustion I've delved into all things Cukor and have decided to return to the blogging life (note that last post was a month ago and was about the very un-Cukorian Sam Peckinpah) with an in-depth look at all things Cukor.

Above I've posted a quite rare audio recording of him speaking at UCLA in 1971 to a group of stammering film students who ask not terribly intelligent questions to which Cukor gives peppery, sharp and sometimes sarcastic answers. Whoever at UCLA preserved this tape left in the spots where the film clips under discussion were shown, so there's some boring moments you have to fast-forward through. Cukor is impatient about too much time being spent on W.C. Fields, who he directed in 'David Copperfield' ("I certainly don't wish to be known as the director who worked with W.C. Fields for two weeks" he snarls) and is refreshingly unsentimental about the golden age he worked in versus the Hollywood New Wave he was currently trying to keep working in. His speech pattern is sharp and authoritative and I wish the questions were a little more...interesting I guess. But its a nice piece of history with which to kick off the next couple of weeks of Cukoriana.

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