Tag Archives: Elizabeth Taylor

Is Gal Gadot the Right Actress to Play Cleopatra?

For most of history, men have both written history and have worn the crown. Only a small handful of women can have done the same. One of these women is Cleopatra.

Her story has been told time and again across the generations. The 1963 epic starring the late Elizabeth Taylor is the film that most people think of when it comes to Cleopatra. Over the weekend, it was announced that Israeli actress Gal Gadot will step into the Egyptian Queen’s shoes. The film is to be directed by Patty Jenkins, who was at the helm of the Wonder Woman, which starred Gadot as the title character.

Not surprisingly, some have already questioned if casting Gadot is another example of whitewashing.

From a certain point of view, Gadot could be seen as a good choice for the role because she is from that part of the world. However, there is a question of Cleopatra’s skin color, which historians don’t quite agree on.

Only time will if Gal Gadot is the right choice and if the movie succeeds or fails.

Either way, it is a reminder that issues of race and racism have not yet been fully dealt with in this country.

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Flashback Friday-Father Of The Bride (1991)

The two most important days in a man’s life is the day his daughter is born and the day he walks her up the aisle.

In the 1991 movie, Father Of The Bride, George Banks (Steve Martin) has just found out that his daughter, Annie (Kimberly Williams-Paisley) is getting married. His reaction is not unexpected, but what is unexpected is the cost of the wedding.

A reboot of the 1950 movie starring Elizabeth Taylor and Spencer Tracy, what I like about this movie is that George is an every man. He wants his daughter to be happy, but at the same time, he cannot wrap his head around the fact that his little girl is no longer a little girl. And of course, with comedy done as only Steve Martin can, it is one funny movie.

I recommend it.

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Flashback Friday-Cleopatra (1963)

Cleopatra is one of those polarizing figures in history. From a certain perspective, one could argue that she was a strong female leader in a world where men normally ruled. On the other hand, her time in power was not scandal free.

In the 1963 film, Cleopatra, Elizabeth Taylor plays the eponymous queen. Rex Harrison is Julius Caesar and Richard Burton is Mark Anthony. The film starts with the initial introduction of Cleopatra and Julius Caesar and ends years later with Cleopatra’s suicide after the death of Mark Anthony.

I have complicated feelings about this film. One hand, it is as historically accurate as films of this nature can be from this period (including the fact that Arab/African characters, including Cleopatra herself, are played by white actors). The other thing is that this film will forever be associated with the Eddie Fisher/Elizabeth Taylor/Richard Burton scandal. At the time of the making of the film, Elizabeth Taylor was married to Eddie Fisher, who left his first wife, Debbie Reynolds for Elizabeth Taylor. By the time filming was complete, Eddie and Elizabeth’s relationship was at an end and Elizabeth was headed toward her next husband, Richard Burton.

Do I recommend it? Well it is super long and it is, for lack of a better term a spectacle that I am not quite sure is 100% historically accurate. The answer is maybe.

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Filed under Feminism, Flashback Friday, History, Movie Review, Movies

RIP Debbie Reynolds

I’m starting to think that death is playing a sick joke on us. I’ve stopped counting the number of celebrities we’ve lost this year.

Two days ago, we lost George Michael. Yesterday, actress and writer Carrie Fisher died from a heart attack. A short time ago, it was announced that Carrie’s mother, Debbie Reynolds died from a stroke.

A friend of mine joked on Facebook that George RR Martin must be the man behind the throne this year.

Debbie Reynolds was one of the last living icons of the studio system. Her breakthrough role was in Singin’ In The Rain (1952), opposite Gene Kelly and Donald O’Connor. Though Ms. Reynolds played the wide-eyed innocent in the 1950’s, her real life was far from her on-screen persona. She was married three times, her first husband, the late crooner Eddie Fisher was the father of her children, Carrie (of Star Wars fame) and Todd. Eddie infamously left his wife and children for Elizabeth Taylor after the death of Ms. Taylor’s third husband, Mike Todd. Enduring two more divorces and bankruptcy, Debbie Reynolds will stay in our collective consciousness as one of the legends of old Hollywood.

I have to admit that while I admired Ms. Reynolds for her decades long career, my favorite role of hers will be Bobbi Adler, Grace Adler’s(Debra Messing) mother on Will and Grace.

RIP Debbie, you and Carrie are back together.

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Throwback Thursday-James Dean Double Feature-Rebel Without A Cause (1955) & Giant (1956)

Every generation has that actor. He or she is the icon of that generation and that time. Their lives and career are often tragically cut short, but their work lives on.

James Dean will always be remembered as the rebellious young man who lived fast, died young and is still revered, 60 years later, as one of the greatest actors of his era.

In 1955, he starred with Natalie Wood and Sal Mineo in Rebel Without A Cause, the ultimate teenage rebellion movie.

Jim Stark (James Dean) is a rebellious young man with a colorful past. He moves to a new town with his parents. They hope that with this fresh start, the past will be behind then. But where Jim goes, friends and foes alike are made.

This movie was one of the first to give a voice to the then teenage generation. 60 years later, the clothes, language, music and technology may have changed, but the emotions and the experiences of teenagers are the same.

A year later, Dean starred in Giant, opposite Elizabeth Taylor and Rock Hudson. Based on the novel of the same by Edna Ferber, it is the  multi-generational story of a Texas cattle rancher and his family. Bick Benedict (Rock Hudson) is a Texas cattle rancher who is in Maryland buying horses. He falls in love with Leslie (Elizabeth Taylor), the daughter of the man that he is buying horses from. A rivalry with cowboy (who will later on strike it rich as an oil tycoon), Jett Rink (James Dean) stretches over two generations.

This movie has it all. Multi-layered characters, an engaging story and three of the best actors of all time.

I recommend both.

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Kim Kardashian Has Married (Again)

In non-news, Kim Kardashian and Kanye West are now married. According to the news reports, they married in a lavish ceremony that cost more than most people’s annual salaries.

Am I the only one taking bets on how long this marriage will last?

The thing that bothers me about this non news is that the new Mrs. West, should she become the ex Mrs. West in the future, can marry as many times as she likes. She may one day, if it is her prerogative, beat Elizabeth Taylor’s record for the number of times that she says I do. In contrast, there are gay couples who have been together for decades, as committed and loyal to their partners as any straight, married heterosexual couple.

And yet, they are denied the legal and social benefits of marriage simply because they are a same sex couple.

On top of this being made news, when it is not, the real news is being pushed aside. This weekend being Memorial Day weekend, the real news should be the American soldiers who have given their lives to protect this country and the freedoms we cherish. A reality star’s third trip up the aisle is not news worthy.

This will be the first and last post that I mention the new Mrs. West. I wish her well on her marriage and I hope I will see the day when all couples regardless of whether they are heterosexual or homosexual,  can say I do.

 

 

 

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