Archive for July 16th, 2014


 © 2014 by James Clark


     Whereas (in Italy, in 1962) Anna Magnani would capitalize, on the leverage stemming from her indispensability, to hijack Pier Paolo Pasolini’s Mamma Roma, for her own reasons, Katharine Hepburn would shape to her liking the 1940 film romance, The Philadelphia Story, to an outcome unsurprisingly very different from the former project—but, nevertheless, quite amazingly within the same galaxy where disinterestedness becomes palpably crucial. In 1939, Hepburn helped herself to her ex-boyfriend, Howard Hughes’ film rights to Philip Barry’s stage play, The Philadelphia Story (in which she starred); and, ever the shrewd media player, bought out her contract with RKO and signed on with MGM mogul, Louis B. Mayer, on condition that he finance her film property, starring herself (of course) along with a cast and production team of her devising, including her friend, director, George Cukor. Her coming, from out of such high-finance scheming, to navigate along a flight-path which Magnani broached with a wave of instinctive, emotive poetics, is one of the great enigmas of supposedly mainstream, Hollywood “entertainment.” (more…)

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