The Unbearable Banishment: frost/nixon movie/play

Friday, January 23, 2009

frost/nixon movie/play

I saw that Frost/Nixon got a best picture Oscar nod and Frank Langella got a best actor nomination. It’s a pretty great film. I was fortunate enough to see the play it was based on in 2007 when it was on Broadway. The two principals in the movie, Frank Langella and Michael Sheen also did the play. Here’s a quote from the New York Times theater critic’s review regarding Langella’s stage performance:

No screen, big or small, could accommodate such showy grandeur.

Well, I don’t think that’s entirely true, but there is an added dimension to a live performance.

One of the penultimate scenes takes place before the final, most crucial, interview between Frost and Nixon. The scene is a drunken middle-of-the-night phone call that Nixon makes to Frost. The incident is a fabrication—the author taking liberties with history—but it’s a master class in acting.

The scene is well-filmed but I kept flashing back to the play. Instead of the back-and-forth editing from one actor to the other that’s in the film, watching the two actors stand alone on a stage toe to toe and duke it out was the best kind of magic.

I wish I could drag everyone to just one really great play so you could see what all this fuss is about. When you find something that works for you—a new piece of music or a book—don’t you want to share it with everyone you know so they can see how satisfying it is?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

hope to see the movie... would prefer to see it on stage though, for all of the reasons you highlight.

me? i take people to goofy tourist sites on business trips. they all want to do it, but want to pretend that they're too cool to go to fisherman's wharf - so if i drag them? we all have fun!

January 23, 2009 at 10:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I LOVED this film. Am so envious that you got to see the play

January 25, 2009 at 2:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah, the movie is great. Oscar will probably go to Mickey or Sean, which is too bad, because I thought Frank was superb as Tricky Dick.

January 26, 2009 at 12:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

want to see the movie. more so, i'd like to experience Broadway in excess... someday.

January 26, 2009 at 8:09 PM  

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