Snowbound in the Big Apple? Try a bite of your favorite Warren Beatty flicks. Get out your DVD collection or surf Netflix. Here are mine. Agree or disagree. What are yours?
Reds (1981). An epic three-hour drama with intermissions. Music by Stephen Sondheim. Shows why communism/socialism never caught on in the USA. As someone who majored in Political Science and minored in Drama at Dartmouth and Vassar, it's not only the politics of the film but the drama that intrigues. It has the most romantic close-up of a kiss/embrace ever between Warren Beatty and Diane Keaton. That embrace graces the movie poster, but it is even better on screen. Beatty won the Academy Award for Best Director. A surprise Henry Miller cameo appearance, the author most known for his once banned book, Tropic of Cancer , discusses artistic freedom as himself, a witness.
Splendor in the Grass (1961). Directed by Elia Kazan. A film for parents, grandparents, teens. Beatty makes his film debut opposite Natalie Wood, receiving her first Best Actress nomination. The moral issues still relevant today, if not more so in this age of AIDS. Ohio native, comedienne trailblazer Phyllis Diller and Sandy Dennis of Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf and Up the Down Staircase, making her film debut alongside Beatty's.
Dick Tracy (1990). Three Academy Award wins, including Best Song, composed by Stephen Sondheim, sung by Madonna. Producer/Director Beatty, who plays Dick Tracy, brought out the best in Madonna, her finest film acting. The ending unmasked, quite startling, worth price of the pic. Rounding out all-star cast is Al Pacino, Dustin Hoffman, James Caan, Paul Sorvino, Mira's father. The look of the sets, vibrant primary colors, make it seem as if the actors have just stepped off the pages of the comic strip. Beatty is said to have learned to read at age four as his dad read the strip aloud to him.
Love Affair (1994), released after Beatty married Annette Bening, starring both. Art imitates life in this one. Charming remake of a remake of a remake. First up in black-and-white, were Irene Dunne and Charles Boyer, followed by a change of title to An Affair to Remember with Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr, then Nora Ephron's homage atop the Empire State Building with Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks in Sleepless in Seattle (1993). Holding the record with four Oscar wins, Katharine Hepburn at age 86 in her final movie role, a doting aunt's swan song, ducking nothing.
Town & Country (2001). Opening scene Natassja Kinski in the forefront sans serpent, her back to the camera, showing off her musical tattoos while playing the cello for the in-bed Beatty. Two of my nephews signed up for cello lessons shortly thereafter. Andie MacDowell of Hallmark's Cedar Cove, Emmy winner Gary Shandling, Academy Award winning Diane Keaton, Dharma and Greg's Jenna Elfman, Laugh-In's Goldie Hawn, former NRA president Charlton Heston, true-to-form toting a rifle, all turn in first-rate performances as Warren Beatty gets his comeuppance, up on the rooftop!
These are my Warren Beatty favorite flick picks. What are yours?
Lonna Saunders may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org