"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

Million Dollar Movie

I remember being fascinated by this movie poster when I was a kid. It was cool and sinister. Wasn’t until years later that I saw the movie, which remains overlooked, but is now available on Blue Ray DVD. Dig this Q&A with Peter O’Toole in the New York Times:

Q: How is it that “The Stunt Man” was as well-reviewed and widely nominated as it was, and yet played in so few theaters?

A.Don’t forget this is a long time ago, and I wasn’t very au fait with everything that was going on in any way. But apparently the guy who put up the bread, the money, I think he was a supermarket builder or something. [Melvin Simon, the producer, was a shopping mall developer.] He had bought the script and the entire idea on the fact that it was an art film, and it made sense on his balance books to lose money. I think eventually it crept into 11 cinemas, which is a bit shameful. [After a successful test run for "The Stunt Man" in Seattle, 20th Century Fox picked up distribution rights for the film but ordered only about 300 prints.]

Q.Was it disappointing to have put in so much effort into something that was not seen by a large number of viewers, or is that just the way it goes sometimes?

A.It’s almost the nature of my line of work. [chuckles] I began in the theater, don’t forget. I was with the Classical Repertory Company, the Bristol Old Vic, and we did 12 plays a year. Over a period of four years you can imagine the number of times one had the highest hopes [laughs] and you find you’re playing to – as the old actors used to say – Mr. and Mrs. Wood. Which meant nobody was in the audience but the seats. I’m used to it, but it was a disappointment.

For more on O’Toole check out Gay Talese’s 1963 Esquire profile, “Peter O’Toole on the Ould Sod.”

18 comments

1 Matt Blankman   ~  Jun 9, 2011 12:21 pm

Terrific flick and one of my favorite O'Toole performances. He's having fun in every frame. I love the Talese piece too - one of my favorites.

But Alex, really, "Blu Ray DVD?" You sound like you're 80! Get hip, son!

2 Alex Belth   ~  Jun 9, 2011 12:40 pm

I'm sorry, what do you call it a-wipe--B Ray?

3 bags   ~  Jun 9, 2011 1:04 pm

Man, I love Peter O'Toole. He's just cool.

And to paraphrase My Favorite Year -- he's a movie star.

4 Alex Belth   ~  Jun 9, 2011 1:32 pm

"My Favorite Year," that's a good corny movie. O'Toole is wonderful in it.

5 Matt Blankman   ~  Jun 9, 2011 2:00 pm

[2] It's just blu ray. I'm sorry, man, you left that one hanging over the plate.
[3] My Favorite Year is a really good picture. Very funny throughout and the pathos actually works for me. It all hinges on O'Toole's performance and he delivers brilliantly. Great supporting cast too.

6 The Hawk   ~  Jun 9, 2011 2:03 pm

Wow what a poster!

And yeah Blu Ray is a different technology than DVD. Remember initially there was HD DVD? Ah the good old days.

7 Alex Belth   ~  Jun 9, 2011 2:33 pm

5) Picture? We call them movies, Marty. Who is 80 years old?

LOL

8 The Hawk   ~  Jun 9, 2011 2:42 pm

Zing!

9 Alex Belth   ~  Jun 9, 2011 2:59 pm

Hand to God Matt and I should have our own talk show.

10 The Hawk   ~  Jun 9, 2011 3:38 pm

Then I can be the Worst Announcer Ever.

11 Matt Blankman   ~  Jun 9, 2011 3:47 pm

[7] Hey, it's still the MPAA - MOTION PICTURE ASSOCIATION OF AMERICA. I like calling movies "pictures." It's accurate, and finds a middle ground between the somewhat silly (when you break it down) "movies," and the too-serious sounding "films."

12 Alex Belth   ~  Jun 9, 2011 3:59 pm

11) Nice rationalization. You are still old as fuck.

13 Matt Blankman   ~  Jun 9, 2011 4:04 pm

You're older than I am, cowboy, so what does that make you?

In other news...goddamn Joba.

14 Alex Belth   ~  Jun 9, 2011 4:37 pm

Makes me your fuggin Daddy. 105 year old Depends-wearing Daddy.

15 The Hawk   ~  Jun 9, 2011 4:52 pm

[11] 'finds a middle ground between the somewhat silly (when you break it down) "movies," and the too-serious sounding "films."'

I've thought this too but the problem with "picture" is it is already used quite often to refer to ... actual pictures.

16 Matt Blankman   ~  Jun 9, 2011 4:54 pm

[15] Ah, but that's what movies are - a series of still pictures moving at 24 frames per second!

17 Mr OK Jazz Tokyo   ~  Jun 9, 2011 6:22 pm

Viva Cinema!! RIP Adolfas Mekas, my old teacher at Bard College and and an avant-garde film giant.

Never seen The Stuntman, looks great.

18 The Hawk   ~  Jun 10, 2011 7:37 am

[16] Right - pictureS!

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