Saturday, March 1, 2008

More Burt Lancaster

There's another really fine article about Burt Lancaster from a UK publication, this time it's the Independent newspaper. There's a retrospective of his films in London, here's the link to the article:

This article touches on the contradictions inherent in both Lancaster's on-screen roles and his off-screen life. There's also a wonderful quote from Burt about his desire to not be typecast. "If you look back on my career, you'll see I never got stuck in a mould. Even when I was beginning, I was always trying to find ways to refine my talent and do something different," Lancaster once said. "Once the public decide what you are you might as well give up trying to be anything else." This quote emphasizes the point I made in my last entry about Lancaster. Anyway, it's a fine article about a great actor, read it and then go out and rent Sweet Smell of Success or The Swimmer or Elmer Gantry.

The picture of Burt that the Independent used to go along with this article shows the scars that he had on his left cheek. I assume that they are pockmarks from acne, but I don't know for sure. Anyone out there know? I like that he didn't hide them, it just gives his face more character. Next time you see a Gene Kelly movie, look for his scar on his left cheek. Next time you see a Kevin Spacey movie, look for his scar on his right cheek. Next time you see a Richard Burton movie, look for his acne scars on his right cheek. Next time you see a Gregory Peck movie, look for his different-sized ears. I'm not making this up! I didn't believe it when I read about Gregory's ears, but it's true. One studio even rejected his screen test because of his ears! (Note to the studio, I don't think women cared about his ears.) Last obscure Hollywood tidbit, Laurence Olivier had a scar on his upper lip from an accident on the set of Henry V (1945), he often grew a moustache to hide it.


Uncle E said...

I saw Richard Harris in Camelot in Toronto in the 1980's, but could not stop thinking that Richard Burton would have been much better, even though I'm a big fan of both.
Nice post, Mark.

Mark said...

It would have been so cool to see either Richard on stage! Yeah, it's too bad that by the time the movie of Camelot was made in 1967, Burton and Julie Andrews (and Robert Goulet) were all huge stars and were too expensive to cast. But Harris still did a fine job in the movie. I've only seen Camelot once, but it was a great production, it's really a musical that should be done more often. I know Michael York has been touring in a production recently, he would probably be pretty good.

Have you ever see The Wild Geese, with Burton, Harris, and Roger Moore? It's a pretty good movie, not great, but an amusing time filler, and worth seeing just for the cast. One can only imagine the liquor consumed! (Although I've read that Burton was on the wagon during filming.)

Anonymous said...

Burt Lancaster was no phony, just a remarkable, honest actor and human being. I can't think of any film he made that he wasn't entertaining and engrossing. My favourites are THE CRIMSON PIRATE, THE BIRDMAN OF ALCATRAZ, THE TRAIN, THE SWIMMER and ATLANTIC CITY. And you are right, the scar on his cheek added character. Aren't we tired of the plastic perfect looks of other Hollywood "stars?"