I’m a big fan of many Tony Curtis movies, SOME LIKE IT HOT and SWEET SMELL OF SUCCESS are the ones that immediately come to mind, but in a lot of European countries, and certainly in Sweden, Tony Curtis will be remembered as Danny Wilde in the TV series “The Persuaders”. In the U.S. the series was apparently a flop, and discontinued after only one year, but here it was a huge success, watched by close to half the population. If you missed an episode of “The Persuaders” you could forget about participating in any kind of conversation at school the next day.
One of the top movie-going experiences of my life was part of a 1999 American Cinematheque tribute to Richard Fleischer at Hollywood’s Egyptian Theater–a screening of THE BOSTON STRANGLER. Fleischer and screenwriter Edward Anhalt were interviewed, but Tony Curtis was in the audience, two rows in front of me. What a kick to witness that brilliant performance in such close proximity to the man who gave it.
Even knowing he was 85, this still comes as something of a shock. I always thought of him as one of those hard-living types who somehow makes it to 100. RIP
THE PERSUADERS was (allegedly) my father’s favourite TV-series, and it then became my favourite as well. And then there the above mentioned films, THE BOSTON STRANGLER is rather extraordinary I think. I like TRAPEZE too. Unfortunately I haven’t MISTER CORY, but it has been on my wish-list for a long time now.
A word, too, for THE LAST TYCOON, which he steals from a gallery of heavy hitters. And the Ira Hayes biopic THE OUTSIDER is very good.
I will miss you. You Great Leslie, you.
“An incredible collapse of taste, judgment, decency, prose, insight, journalism and movie technique,”
I wouldn’t want a Richard Flesicher film any other way.
I grew up knowing Tony Curtis as the host of the thrillingly cheap Hollywood Babylon TV series. Other than that, he was the fey hanger-on in Spartacus, etc. It wasn’t until this year that I witnessed his captivating performance as the eponymous Boston Strangler. The role was so understated, especially as regards the pseudo-Freudian material, that questions of authenticity became irrelevant in the last act. His performance is one of the few that is able to transcend the fashionable, post-Arendt notion that ‘even monsters are human.’ Instead, Mr. Curtis was able to hint at those disturbing uncertainties of human personality while ultimately obscuring such reassuring explanations as developmental or social determination. The performance is all the better, not for showing the humanity in a monster—which ultimately is a cop out—, but for showing the monsterousness that haunts the human figure.
Fascinating comment that Elvis Presley got his hair style from Tony Curtis.
I read the NY Times Tony Curtis obituary on the subway home tonight. Wow that was an incredibly well-written tribute; in a way after I finished reading it it felt like I had just watched a vintage Tony Curtis movie.
The necrology continues. Now Sally Menke. I assume that this unexpected event will have a profound impact on Tarantino’s movies, not unlike the loss of his DP, editor, and composer had on the late films of Hitchcock.
Thinking of this shrewd insight in Dave’s obit (“Mr. Curtis embodied a new kind of feminized male beauty that came into vogue in the early ’50s”), I suddenly had this crazy thought: A remake of Albert Brooks’ “Mother” titled “Father,” with Curtis in that role (and as much as a shuffler through women as he was in real life) and Brooks perhaps even more troubled and confused about his own fate and identity than he was as the son of Debbie Reynolds.
Larry, it gets even more complicated when you realize that Eddie Fisher died just a few days ago as well. Maybe Carrie Fisher and Jamie Lee Curtis can get together with Albert on this project. Lord knows I’m more than ready for another Albert Brooks movie.
As swashbuckler and romantic lead, Tony Curtis seldom broke much away from a very fluffy, teen heartthrob appeal — though the more comic the roles the better he tended to be.
Outside the heartthrob mold, given a challenging role to work with – as in Sweet Smell of Success , The Defiant Ones, Some Like It Hot, The Great Impostor, The Outsider and The Boston Strangler – he could rise to acting excellence, even greatness. Indeed I think he was great in Sweet Smell, Like It Hot and The Outsider .
Dave K. brilliantly ties the Penn and Curtis threat together today in the Time (at httop:// query.nytimes.com/search/sitesearch?query=kehr&srchst=cse ).
Thanks jbryant, I was about to give up after trying the link and doing my own searches and not finding it.
Today is Tony Curtis Tribute Day on TCM. Here’s what remains (SEX AND THE SINGLE GIRL is on now):
6:15 p.m. EST You Can’t Win ‘Em All (1970) – with Charles Bronson and Michèle Mercier
8 p.m. EST Sweet Smell of Success (1957) – with Burt Lancaster and Martin Milner
9:45 p.m. EST The Defiant Ones (1958) – with Sidney Poitier and Theodore Bikel
11:30 p.m. EST Trapeze (1956) – with Burt Lancaster and Gina Lollobrigida
1:30 a.m. EST The Great Race (1965) – with Jack Lemmon and Natalie Wood
4:15 a.m. EST Don’t Make Waves (1967) -with Claudia Cardinale and Sharon Tate
What a photo! Dave, I linked your obit on my Tony Curtis death announcement: