AFI LIFE ACHIEVEMENT AWARD RETROSPECTIVE: WARREN BEATTY
July 4 - September 2
Sometime in the mid-1960s, Jack Warner, founder of the studio that bears his name, is discussing a project in his Burbank office with a young actor hoping to branch out into producing. Warner, using one of his favorite rhetorical flourishes, points out the window to a water tower with the iconic Warner Bros. shield on it and asks "What does it say?" To which the young man replies, insouciantly, "Well, it's got your name, but it's got my initials."
The young man was, of course, Warren Beatty, soon to act in and produce 1967's groundbreaking BONNIE AND CLYDE, and on his way to a singular career in American film as an actor, producer, writer and sometime director. His career choices, paradoxically, seem both careful and daring, just as his body of work, so often graced with timeliness, was just as often the result of years-long, even decades-long, gestation and reworking.
Rocketing to stardom in his early twenties, Beatty almost immediately set to parlaying his fame into learning the art of moviemaking and eventually assuming control of his projects--placing him at the vanguard of the "New Hollywood" and making him an example for both his peers and the generations to come. He may not have always chosen the easy way to do things, but in the unfailing quality of his work, and in the worldly wisdom so often on display there, lies an argument that he did things the right way.
To honor this year's recipient of the AFI Life Achievement Award, AFI Silver screens a selection of some of the defining works in Warren Beatty's brilliant career.
AFI Member passes will be accepted at all screenings in the AFI Life Achievement
BONNIE AND CLYDE
"They're young . . . they're in love . . . and they kill people." Nominated for 10 Oscars, one of the landmark films of the 1960s--trailblazing, taboo-breaking, and
zeitgeist-capturing, BONNIE AND CLYDE uniquely embodies the moment where Old Hollywood transitioned into the New Hollywood. Arthur Penn imbue his innovatively styled biopic of the Depression-era bank robbers Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow with New Wave-inspired verve, and is careful not to let the facts get in the way of the legend. Beatty and Faye Dunaway make a to-die-for screen couple, with Gene Hackman, Oscar-winner Estelle Parsons and Michael J. Pollard rounding out the gang.
DIR Arthur Penn; SCR David Newman and Robert Benton; PROD Warren Beatty. US, 1967, color, 112 min. RATED R
Friday, July 4, 7:00; Saturday, July 5, 2:20; Sunday, July 6, 7:25; Tuesday, July 8, 9:30
SPLENDOR IN THE GRASS
"No nice girl feels like that." Small-town repression in eve-of-the- Depression Kansas keeps the teenage love of Warren Beatty and Natalie Wood unconsummated and tension-filled, until Beatty's dalliance with another sends Wood over the edge. Beatty's magnificent screen debut launched him to instant stardom--at the age of 24--while Natalie Wood's bravura performance earned her her second Oscar nomination. The outstanding cast includes Pat Hingle as Beatty's overbearing father and Barbara Loden as his wild-hearted flapper sister. Elia Kazan's direction is in peak form, while playwright/screenwriter William Inge won an Oscar for his sensitive, savvy screenplay.
DIR/PROD Elia Kazan; SCR William Inge. US, 1961, color, 124 min. NOT RATED
Saturday, July 5, 4:45; Sunday, July 6, 12:30
Beatty plays a hapless nightclub comedian in trouble with the mob who, along with girlfriend Alexandra Stewart, tries to stay one step ahead of trouble by keeping on the move through Chicago's seediest locales, hustled along by Eddie Sauter's jazz score (featuring Stan Getz). Ambitiously conceived by Arthur Penn, the puzzled reception that greeted the film's release would cause him to contemplate quitting movies, until Beatty wooed him back a few years later to collaborate on BONNIE AND CLYDE.
DIR/PROD Arthur Penn; SCR Alan M. Surgal. US, 1965, b&w, 93 min. NOT RATED
Sunday, July 13, 7:15; Tuesday, July 15, 7:00
HEAVEN CAN WAIT
Nominated for nine Academy Awards, with Beatty as the affable quarterback of the LA Rams taken to heaven before his time by an overzealous angel. Anxious to play in the Super Bowl but unable to return to his body due to cremation, he chooses to be sent back to Earth in the body of a recently-deceased millionaire industrialist when he spies the lovely Julie Christie in the man's house. Beatty proceeds to buy the L.A. Rams, hires his old coach Jack Warden to get him Super Bowl ready and attempts to romance Christie, while Charles Grodin and Dyan Cannon plan to kill the old man for his money!
DIR/SCR/PROD Warren Beatty and Buck Henry; SCR Elaine May, based on the play by Harry Segall. US, 1978, color, 101 min. RATED PG
Sunday July 20, 7:40; Tuesday, July 22, 9:00
THE PARALLAX VIEW
This classic political conspiracy thriller finds Beatty as muckraking journalist Joe Frady. Three years earlier his television reporter ex-girlfriend Paula Prentiss witnessed the assassination of a popular US Senator and subsequently all of the witnesses have met mysterious ends. She believes she's next. He shakes it off, but after her suspicious suicide, Beatty begins to investigate and discovers that a shady 'therapy institute,' the Parallax Corporation, might be responsible.
DIR/PROD Alan J. Pakula; SCR David Giler and Lorenzo Semple Jr., based on the novel by Loren Singer. US, 1974, color, 102 min. RATED R
Friday, July 25, 4:45; Sunday, July 27, 7:00; Tuesday, July 29, 9:00
Beatty had kicked around the idea of a movie about a stud hairstylist as early as the mid-1960s, but in its long gestation from gag character to fully formed script and 1975 release, SHAMPOO acquired the hard-earned wisdom of post-1960s disillusionment. Set on the eve of the 1968 election, but imbued with a Watergate-era sensibility, the movie follows Beatty's serial entanglements with bored socialite Lee Grant, sassy Julie Christie, and youngster Carrie Fisher--as it turns out, the wife, mistress and daughter, respectively, of wealthy businessman Jack Warden--all the while ignoring girlfriend Goldie Hawn. Director Hal Ashby elicits surprisingly soulful performances from the terrific cast, while expertly alternating sexy farce with what amounts to ambient political commentary, as election updates periodically intrude via TV and radio.
DIR Hal Ashby; SCR Robert Towne and Warren Beatty; PROD Warren Beatty. US, 1975, color, 109 min. RATED R
Friday, August 1, 9:30; Monday, August 4, 7:00; Thursday, August 7, 6:45
MCCABE AND MRS. MILLER
Warren Beatty's boastful-but-sensitive gambler and Julie Christie's business-minded whore enjoy an overnight success setting up a bordello together in the frontier town of Presbyterian Church. But their success draws the interest of the local mining company, which, when rebuffed in their effort to buy them out, resorts to strong-arm tactics. Vilmos Zsigmond's gorgeous wide-screen photography, Leonard Cohen's moody balladry and director Robert Altman's eye and ear for detail make this revisionist Western classic a must-see on the big screen.
DIR/SCR Robert Altman; SCR Brian McKay based on the novel by Edmund Naughton; PROD Mitchell Brower and David Foster. US, 1971, color, 120 min. RATED R
Saturday, August 16, 1:00; Monday, August 18, 7:00; Wednesday, August 20, 9:35
Nominated for 10 Academy Awards, with Beatty as real-life gangster Bugsy Siegel, a native New Yorker who on a trip to Nevada conceives of the idea of a casino in the desert. Now living in California after becoming smitten with actress Virginia Hill (Annette Bening), he employs the help of some old New York "friends," Mickey Cohen (Harvey Keitel) and Meyer Lansky (Ben Kingsley), who back his idea for 1 million dollars. Things quickly run off the rails with disastrous consequences for Siegel.
DIR/SCR Barry Levinson; SCR Dean Jennings and James Toback; PROD Mark Johnson. US, 1991, color, 134 min. RATED R
Friday, August 22, 4:20; Tuesday, August 26, 4:00; Wednesday, August 27, 7:00; Thursday, August 28, 4:45
Nominated for 12 Academy Awards, with wins for Best Director (Beatty), Best Cinematography, and Best Supporting Actress (Maureen Stapleton as radical Emma Goldman), this thoughtful, romantic and historical epic take on the life of communist John Reed (who became the only American to be buried at the Kremlin) was a stunning success for Beatty. Score by Stephen Sondheim and on-screen appearances by "witnesses" Henry Miller, Adela Rogers St. Johns, Roger Baldwin, and many more.
DIR/SCR/PROD Warren Beatty; SCR Trevor Griffiths. US, 1981, color, 194 min. RATED R
Saturday, August 30, 12:30; Tuesday, September 2, 7:30