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In honor of actor Andy Garcia and his (unintentionally) hilarious reaction to Sofia (Mary Corleone) Coppola's death scene in "The Godfather, Part III."
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part II

Posted 02-13-2010 at 03:55 PM by TommyJohn
Updated 03-13-2010 at 03:44 PM by TommyJohn

The Last Tycoon-This is the final film directed by the legendary Elia Kazan, and it features a screenplay by Harold Pinter. Robert DeNiro stars as a 1930's movie executive named Monroe Stahr, based on Irving Thalberg. Stahr is a young, arrogant hotshot who is making a name for himself as Chief of Production, a job given to him the studio head, who is basically trying to bring Stahr and his daughter together. Stahr's actions include firing a director who can't handle a tempramental female star, ordering a screenwriter to rewrite a scene ("I'm not interested in your fantasies") and playing shrink to one of his leading men (Tony Curtis), a Latin Lover-type who frets about his fading virility. Another Stahr action is firing a drunken writer (based, like the Southern novelist in Barton Fink, on William Faulkner) who cannot grasp writing for movies and finally goes on a bender.

Stahr is captivated by an aspiring actress who strongly resembles a woman who he had loved and lost to death years before. He falls hard for her, but she has a fiancee whom she eventually marries.

I like this movie for one reason-to see two acting greats of the 70s-Robert DeNiro and Jack Nicholson, share the screen. They have three scenes together, and they are fun to watch in all three. There isn't much to the scenes, but I just like seeing the two go at it. Nicholson plays a communist union man representing a writer's union trying to negotiate with the studios. Stahr, heartbroken over being dumped by the woman, gets drunk that night and ends up attempting to beat up the union rep, who decks him in self-defense.

This is done in full view of the studio chief, who the next day tells Stahr to attend an "emergency meeting" of the studio Board of Directors that he has called. Once there, he tells Stahr that attempting to beat up the writers' union rep is not in the best interests of the studio, and suggests he take a long vacation to sort things out. In other words, he's fired. The story concludes with Stahr addressing the camera directly, repeating a monologue that he had spoken earlier to the drunken writer, only now he tailors the monologue to fit his life, not a movie scenario. The monologue and the film conclude with the same final line with which he concluded his monologue to the writer: "I don't know. I was just busy making pictures."
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