Thursday, June 19, 2008

The World's Longest Suicide

Author(s): D.W. Dillon
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada

"The World's Longest Suicide"
A Sony Pictures Classic Release

Directed by Sidney Lumet
Written by Kenneth Lonergan
Based on the biography by Patricia Bosworth
Score by Howard Shore
Original Music by R.E.M.
Director of Photography - Vittorio Storaro
Edited by Pietro Scalia
Costumes Designed by Sandy Powell
Art Director - Andrew Stearn
Produced by Michael Stipe, Sandy Stern, Vincent Landy

Principal Cast:

Julian McMahon - Montgomery Clift
Kerr Smith - Montgomery Clift (Teenager)
Lindsay Lohan - Elizabeth Taylor
Susan Surandon - Libby Holman
Fiona Shaw - Ethel "Sunny" Clift
Patrick Wilson - Lorenzo James
Susan Griffiths - Marilyn Monroe
Marlon Brando - Himself (archive footage)
Kevin Spacey as William Clift

Tagline: “The dark is the greatest closet and the most obliging"

Synopsis: Fearing he could not see his way home down the long and winding road from Elizabeth Taylor's (Lindsay Lohan) dinner party in May of 1956, famed-method actor Montgomery Clift (Julian McMahon) attempts to beat the night by leaving early. Only the night came too quickly for Monty who veered his car into a tree. His early years of stardom flash before his bloody eyes as he rests his broken face on the dashboard.

"Look, if you're playing Romeo and your Juliet is a pig, you find something you can love about pigs!" answers a 17 year old Montgomery Clift (Kerr Smith) after the Broadway opening of "Dame Nature." A role that would catapult him to early notoriety in the acting world. Fame he was not ready for, along with an unhealthy relationship with former Broadway actress, Libby Holman (Susan Surandon) who would develop an intense obsession causing young Monty to question his childhood upbringing and sexuality. Sparingly seeing his abusive bigot of a father (Kevin Spacey) who spent most of Monty's life away on business. Never settling down in one place, Sunny (Fiona Shaw), his mother, a conservative social-climber would spend all the savings and most of her life trying to mold Monty into her own perfect, worldly, movie star.

"I'm not odd, I'm just trying to be an actor, not a movie star, an actor," proclaimed Montgomery Clift after rejecting major Hollywood roles until he settled on "Red River" opposite John Wayne and becoming an intense, broodingly handsome leading man. Monty (Julian McMahon) was now on top of his craft, garnering Oscar nominations for "The Search," "From Here To Eternity, and "A Place In The Sun" where he developed a close friendship with Elizabeth Taylor (Lindsay Lohan). Friendship turned into unspeakable love for the two stars. Due to his anxiety, insecurity and sexual confusion, Monty just could not give her the kind of love she needed, but Taylor would always be there for him. Even when she had to dig out the broken teeth lodged in his throat from the car accident, and there on after.

"Shoot his right profile!", said the Hollywood executive to the director of the next Clift/Taylor vehicle "Raintree Country", after hearing how the left side of Monty's face was pulverized and paralyzed by the accident. His face, now reconstructed, would never look the same again. Surviving and reconciling with his father wasn't enough for Monty, now completely bedeviled by dependency on drugs and alcohol and his unrelenting guilt over his homosexuality. The magnificent was now the misfit.

"He's the only other person in worse shape than me," remembered Marilyn Monroe (Susan Griffiths), his co-star on the set of "The Misfits." Though he didn't look the same, his performances remained stellar, while also landing the Oscar nominated role in "Judgment At Nuremberg." Monty would return to New York and slowly try to develop a somewhat more sensible lifestyle with his companion Lorenzo James (Patrick Wilson). His demons always seemed to get the best of Monty. He would demean his own performances, lash out at friends and family, make a spectacle of himself at Hollywood gatherings, pick up male hustlers off the street and continue to beat himself up through his dependencies.

Once a mesmerizing, exuberant actor who had conquered Broadway and Hollywood with intensity and innocence, Montgomery Clift's slow decline into the dark abyss of tragic Hollywood stories would be remembered by rival Marlon Brando as "The World's Longest Suicide."

What the press would say:

"I see a car smashed at night. Cut the applause, dim the light..." sang Joe Strummer, paying homage to Hollywood icon Montgomery Clift in the Clash's "The Right Profile." Words that would perfectly convey Clift's tragic downfall. Words Oscar-winning director, Sidney Lumet (Serpico, Network) uses as the overall theme to one of the best told biopics in recent years, "The World's Longest Suicide." Adapted from the best-selling biography by Patricia Bosworth, writer Kenneth Lonergan (You Can Count On Me) hits us hard in the opening scene with Monty's gruesome car crash, then takes us back to his trials and tribulations of an unhealthy family upbringing, to a life altering relationship with actress Libby Holman, brilliantly portrayed by Susan Surandon who seduces and befuddles Monty on his way to Broadway stardom and Hollywood acclaim. Kerr Smith's (Dawson's Creek) adaptation of Montgomery Clift is truly believable, as he taps into the mannerisms of both Clift and co-star Julian McMahon (Nip/Tuck), but staying true to Clift's early aspirations of becoming the world's greatest actor. And that is where Julian McMahon's acting-tour de force crashes onto the screen as we see him portraying the 'world's longest suicide.' Not just battling drugs and alcohol, McMahon's Clift takes on the deeper problems of identity and self-worth. Never have we seen an actor portray the walking dead as well as Julian McMahon. Denying true love and Hollywood glamour with his best friend Elizabeth Taylor, played by a promising Lindsay Lohan (The Parent Trap, A Prairie Home Companion) who brilliantly keeps her broken heart invisible. Lumet, a master at depicting the true essence of his characters, brings us up just to take us down. Sinking us into the darkest pits of self-loathing. A place, not in the sun...but in the dark.

Best Picture - Michael Stipe, Sandy Stern, Vincent Landy
Best Director - Sidney Lumet
Best Actor - Julian McMahon
Best Supporting Actor - Kerr Smith
Best Supporting Actor - Kevin Spacey
Best Supporting Actress - Lindsay Lohan
Best Supporting Actress - Susan Sarandon
Best Adapted Screenplay - Kenneth Longeran
Best Score - Howard Shore (The Aviator, Philadelphia)
Best Original Song - "The Dark" by R.E.M.
Best Original Song - "Monty Got A Raw Deal" by R.E.M.
Best Cinematography - Vittorio Storaro (Tucker: The Man & His Dream)
Best Editing - Pietro Scalia (Silence Of The Lambs, The Doors)
Best Costume Design - Sandy Powell (Velvet Goldmine, The Aviator)
Best Art Direction - Andrew Stearn (American Psycho, Chicago)


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