Topkapi (1964)

RIP, Maximilian Schell.

Of the cinema personalities who have passed on recently and to whom I’ve posted tributes on this blog, nearly all have been people I’ve watched in at least a few films each. People (like Eleanor Parker, who for years I knew only as the Baroness from The Sound of Music) whom I may not initially have been utterly enamoured of, but whom I’ve grown to like and admire after having watched them in numerous roles. Joan Fontaine, Peter O’Toole, Suchitra Sen

The Austrian-born Maximilian Schell (December 8, 1930-February 1, 2014) is the exception, because this is one actor whom I’ve seen—before I watched Topkapi—in only one role: as the earnest young lawyer in Judgment at Nuremberg. Just one performance (an Oscar-winning one), mind you, and that was enough to make me a Max Schell fan. Enough of a fan to mourn his passing.

Maximilian Schell, 1930-2014 Continue reading

Ocean’s Eleven (1960)

Sabrina Mathew’s latest post is an interesting one that compares the two (1968 and 1999) versions of The Thomas Crown Affair. A couple of things from Sabrina’s review struck me: “The remake is keenly aware that the original got away with a lame robbery only because Steve McQueen planned it. So the remake fixes the problem with a daring art heist…”. And, ”The film is not just content with redoing the heist bit; it also wants to fix the romance by giving it a happy ending.” That reminded me of another film, again with two versions, for which I could quote Sabrina verbatim. Ocean’s Eleven, both the 1960 and 2001 versions, are also about robberies. And in this case too, the remake features a much sleeker robbery than the original—and a happier end.

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