This is one of those nights where a bunch of ideas that have been floating in my head clash together. Let me see if I can put this together so it makes a bit of sense. It has no real point other than to entertain.
I’ve been watching The Brood (1979) in fits and spurts mainly to entertain myself watching Oliver Reed mug for the camera through all of his scenes. I doubt Cronenberg had any control over the man and he ran free throughout the film.
Over the holiday we had been watching the Harry Potter films in the background and I am always in awe of Richard Harris who everyone should have known would not have lived through eight movies. He was excellent as Dumbledore and I would have loved to have seen him continue.
An image of Reed playing Dumbledore got stuck in my head, which would have been amazing. Then again he probably would have been drunk around the child actors and scandal would have erupted.
Reaching back into memory I realized that Harris and Reed both appeared in Gladiator together (A film I don’t really care for) and that it was Reed’s last film. He died of a heart attack while on break at sixty-one. To be honest, I may dislike Gladiator because of that fact.
Poking around for Harris interviews I found this lovely video a couple of years before his death where he is singing and talking rugby with Peter O’Toole. Peter and one point faux tackles him.
That lead to an interview with Peter O’Toole and Orson Welles discussing Hamlet. At the time O’Toole was in a production that Olivier was directing. The interview is notable for how little structure it has and for the moment when O’Toole offends the host Huw Wheldon and actor Earnest Milton. Welles and O’Toole here seem to honestly enjoy each other as well, which ends up being pretty charming.
All these actors were brilliant drunks and louts who probably left a lot of enemies in their wake and family members who would no longer speak to them. They were entertaining to watch on screen and in candid moments. Of them O’Toole is the only one still with us. I could speak about the evils of alcoholism here and how without it we would have had them for much longer, but this isn’t that type of post. I just like to sit back and watch a breed of actor that seems to no longer exist.