Ten Chimneys Presents Making Montgomery Clift - Documentary 11/4/2023

Four time Academy Award nominee, Montgomery Clift was considered one of the original method actors, along with Marlon Brando and James Dean, and was one of the first actors to be invited to study with Lee Strasberg. Clift flourished onstage and proved to be a successful young stage actor working with many great actors, including Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne. He participated in one of the first television broadcasts in Noel Coward's Hay Fever aired during the 1939 New York World's Fair. He executed a rare move by not signing a contract after arriving in Hollywood, only doing so after his first two films were a success.  His first Hollywood film was opposite John Wayne in the western film, Red River.  The director was impressed by his recent stage performance and was willing to sign him with no strings attached, which greatly appealed to Clift's sense of independence.

By then, Clift had developed what would come to be regarded as his signature style and biggest impact on the future of modern film acting.  Biographer Robert LaGuardia said, "He managed to convince the audience that he was unmitigated male sexuality without making a vulgar display of himself, as most other actors of his age and type would have. How?  He used inner silence, unusual pauses in his speeches, awkward body movements.  He shifted his moods erratically, from a brooding pose to a bursting smile. These were extremely unorthodox, risky procedures, and had the effect of involving the audience with him, an exceedingly selfish aim if one thinks only in terms of the play, but a daring and stupendously courageous maneuver when one thinks of the ground he was breaking."

Clift starred in well-known films such as A Place in the Sun, From Here to Eternity, The Young Lions, Suddenly Last Summer, The Misfits, and Judgement at Nuremberg among othersBetween the forties and sixties, he saw the highs and lows of both his career and personal life. Many myths were created mostly involving his homosexuality and depression due to a car accident that left severe facial lacerations which required plastic surgery. Directed by his nephew Robert Clift and Hillary Demmon, this documentary examines the inconsistent narratives from countless biographies which reduced his legacy and created labels like “tragically self-destructive” and “tormented”. The film shows a different side to Clift, portraying him as a man who enjoyed life and love, and was comfortable with himself and his lifestyle. 

Robert Clift will join us after the viewing for a talkback about his uncle and the documentary.  

Please join us at Ten Chimneys on Saturday, November 4th at 4 pm. 

Tickets are $25 per person.  Please call 262-968-4110 for reservations.

What is Ten Chimneys?

Ten Chimneys, the estate lovingly created by theatre legends Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne, is open to the public as a world-class house museum with a progressive mission to serve the arts.

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