Wednesday, September 29, 2010

RIP Arthur Penn

Penn directed four of my favorite films: The Miracle Worker (1962), adapting his Tony-winning direction of the play so sensitively it may be the best stage-to-screen translation ever, the groundbreaking Bonnie and Clyde (1967), the great American story of Little Big Man (1970), and a touchstone film of its decade, Night Moves (1975). Two others, The Chase (1966) and Alice's Restaurant (1969), are as compelling as they are confounding. Cases have been made for other films I find far more problematic, like Mickey One (1965) and The Missouri Breaks (1976). He should have received an honorary Oscar. Oh, and I laughed all the way through the Broadway show Fortune's Fool (2002), an unlikely adaptation of Turgenev adaptation, with its crackerjack, Tony- and Drama Desk-winning performances by Alan Bates and Frank Langella. A keen loss for stage, screen, and television.

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