Paul Newman, Stewart Granger, Cary Grant, to name a few), and they all seem to have one common characteristic that drives them to me – their wonderful voices. I could listen to them talk all day long and never get tired of it. One very strong member of that amazingly-voiced-actors club is Richard Burton. So yummy...even if he was a drunk. So, today I thought I’d talk about two of my favorite films of his, the two films that brought him to my attention in the first place – “Becket” (1964) and “Anne of the Thousand Days” (1969).
Both of these films I first saw way back in grade school (way, way back). It’s actually funny how many classic films and actors I was introduced to, not through my own accord or a family or friend, but through the Texas public school system. And considering both these films may not be that historically accurate…yea to public education! But they are still so enjoyable to watch, even for my 10-year-old self, and shouldn’t be missed.
Lawrence of Arabia.” The film was also a critical darling, earning 10 Oscar nominations, including one for each of its two stars and Best Picture, but lost out to all but one – Best Adapted Screenplay.
True Grit.” He would only get one more Oscar nomination in his life, for “Equus” in 1977, only to lose out again, this time to Richard Dreyfuss in “The Goodbye Girl.” He would share the Academy record for most nominations by an actor without a win with his “Becket” costar and drinking buddy O’Toole until 2007 when O’Toole surpassed him with a loss for “Venus.”
Whatever his credits, his lifestyle, his persona, no one can deny he was an amazingly power performer. He was the first of the new Hollywood fame that revels in the spotlight more than the art itself. He even said about himself once, “I rather like my reputation, actually, that of a spoiled genius from the Welsh gutter, a drunk, a womanizer; it's rather an attractive image.” He had the talent though, cherished words like no other, and almost sang ever word with his beautiful deep voice. So watch and listen to an amazing actor this week. “Becket” is an instant streamer on Netflix and “Anne of the Thousand Days” can be found on DVD. Have a wonderful rest of your week, everyone, and I’ll be back next week with more fun trivia.
(Post-tidbit: During “Becket,” Burton and Taylor were madly in love, but by the time “Anne” arrived, Burton’s eyes had started to wander. So when rumor got back to Taylor that Burton and Genevieve Bujold, aka Anne, were possibly getting along a little too well on set, Taylor decided to pay a visit to the set. When Bujold heard of this, she was furious and stated aloud “I'm going to give that bitch an acting lesson she'll never forget!" She then proceeded to give the power final scene of the film between Anne and Henry.)