Posts Tagged ‘Richard Rodney Bennett’

NICHOLAS AND ALEXANDRA – Richard Rodney Bennett

October 12, 2020 1 comment


Original Review by Craig Lysy

Producer Sam Spiegel had long aspired to make a film set during the Russian Revolution and decided to roll the dice after witnessing the stunning success of David Lean’s film Doctor Zhivago. His initial intent was to derive his screenplay from historical events recorded in the public domain, however he changed course and decided to adapt Robert H. Massie’s popular 1967 novel Nicholas and Alexandra. He purchased the film rights and hired James Goldman (The Lion in Winter) to write the screenplay. Yet the task was onerous with countless rewrites as four directors came and went. It was only after Franklin Schaffner came on to direct that a final screenplay was realized. Spiegel vision was to create an epic film in the tradition of Doctor Zhivago and Lawrence of Arabia, yet he was constrained by Columbia studio executives who were reluctant to offer a generous budget after terrible financial setbacks with The Chase and The Night of the Generals. As such he could not afford actors Peter O’Toole, Vanessa Redgrave and Rex Harrison. He did however manage to secure the services of Laurence Olivier as Count Witte. Joining him would be less familiar actors including Michael Jayston as Tsar Nicholas II, Janet Suzman as Tsaritna Alexandra, Tom Baker as Rasputin, Michael Redgrave as Sazonov, Jack Hawkins as Vladimir, Harry Andrews as Grand Duke Nicholas, Roderic Noble as Tsarevich Alexei, Ania Marson as Grand Duchess Olga, Lynne Frederick as Grand Duchess Tatiana, Candace Glendenning as Grand Duchess Marie, Fiona Fullerton as Grand Duchess Anastasia, and Irene Worth as the Dowager Tsaritsna Marie. Read more…


July 31, 2013 1 comment

murderontheorientexpressMOVIE MUSIC UK CLASSICS

Original Review by Craig Lysy

Producer Richard Goodwin secured film rights for Murder on the Orient Express from author Agatha Cristie, determined to create a “glamorous star-studded film that was gay in spirit… a soufflé.” He recruited some of the finest stars of the day, which included Albert Finney (Hercule Poirot), Lauren Bacall (Mrs. Hubbard), Ingrid Bergman (Greta), Sir John Gielgud (Beddoes), Sean Connery (Col. Arbuthnot) and Venessa Redgrave as Mary Debenham. The famous Orient Express was a train that ran from Istanbul to Calais and provided transit from Europe to the Middle East. Set in 1935, the story finds renowned and fastidious Belgian detective, Hercule Poirot, as a late addition passenger who needs to get back to London immediately. As fate would have it a fellow passenger is found murdered in his stateroom. As Poirot questions the train’s valet, the victim’s accompanying staff, and the first class passengers he finds that many have both opportunity and motive. He soon realizes that several passengers have a connection to the Armstrong family kidnapping and thus he begins to solve a very complex crime. The film had sensational success commercially and received critical acclaim. Richard Rodney Bennett’s score was nominated for both Academy and BAFTA awards, and secured the BAFTA Anthony Asquith Award for Film Music award. Read more…

Richard Rodney Bennett, 1936-2012

December 25, 2012 Leave a comment

Composer Richard Rodney Bennett died on December 24, 2012, in New York, where he had lived since 1979. He was 76.


Categories: News Tags: ,

GORMENGHAST – Richard Rodney Bennett and John Tavener

June 10, 2000 Leave a comment

gormenghastOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

Gormenghast is one of the largest and most ambitious television productions ever mounted in the United Kingdom, the BBC’s lavish adaptation of Mervyn Peake’s celebrated fantasy novels Titus Groan and Gormenghast. Directed by Andy Wilson and featuring an all-star cast including Ian Richardson, Stephen Fry, Celia Imrie, Fiona Shaw, Christopher Lee, Zoe Wanamaker and Jonathan Rhys-Meyers, Gormenghast is the tale of madness, treachery and double-crossing in a corrupt and decaying monarchy. Set in an ancient mythical kingdom in a far away land, it charts the rise to power of a young scullery boy named Steerpike, who lies and cheats his way into the confidence of the royal court, but soon begins political machinations to overthrow the monarch and his heir, the new-born Titus, 77th Earl of Groan. Read more…