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Anthony Hopkins 'Hitchcock' + Ingmar Bergman & Liv Ullmann Documentary + 'The Lion in Winter' Producer Dies

Anthony Hopkins as Alfred Hitchcock
Hitchcock: Anthony Hopkins as Alfred Hitchcock

Anthony Hopkins As Alfred Hitchcock

Oscar winner Anthony Hopkins plays Alfred Hitchcock, who never won a competitive Oscar, in Sacha Gervasi's Hitchcock, which is scheduled to open in 2013. Hitchcock's massive double chin, prominent nose, and bald head are all there, but I can still see (a somewhat sleepy) Hannibal Lecter in there somewhere. Perhaps Hitchcock, who was known for his dry, pitch-black sense of humor, would have appreciated it.

Adapted by John J. McLaughlin and Stephen Rebello from Rebello's own novel set around the time Psycho was made, Hitchcock also features The Queen / Red's Helen Mirren as Hitchcock's wife (and film editor) Alma Reville, Match Point / The Avengers' Scarlett Johansson as Janet Leigh (who received a Best Supporting Actress Oscar nomination for her performance in Psycho), Playing the Field / Total Recall's Jessica Biel as Vera Miles (Leigh's sister in the movie), W.E.'s James D'Arcy as Anthony Perkins, Michael Stuhlbarg as producer Lew Wasserman, Muriel's Wedding / The Sixth Sense's Toni Collette, and Danny Huston.

Anthony Hopkins was a Best Actor Oscar winner for Jonathan Demme's The Silence of the Lambs (1991). He received three other nominations: James Ivory's The Remains of the Day (1993), Oliver Stone's Nixon (1995), and Steven Spielberg's Amistad (1997, as Best Supporting Actor).

Snow White and the Huntsman's Toby Jones is also playing Hitchcock – but during the making of The Birds and Marnie – in the British TV movie The Girl, about the filmmaker's troubled relationship with his 1960s discovery Tippi Hedren.

Anthony Hopkins / Hitchcock photo via People.com.

Ingmar Bergman Liv Ullmann
Ingmar Bergman, Liv Ullmann

Ingmar Bergman/Liv Ullmann Documentary: 'Liv & Ingmar'

Liv Ullmann and Ingmar Bergman are the subjects of former architect Dheeraj Akolkar's documentary Liv & Ingmar, produced by the Norwegian company NordicStories and to be distributed by Sweden's Svensk Filmindustri. After meeting in 1965, Ullmann and Bergman made ten (narrative) films together; they were also off-screen companions for five years.

In Liv & Ingmar, Ullmann, 73, is shown spending a few days in Bergman's house on the Swedish island of Fårø. While there, she reminisces about their personal and professional relationships. That sounds fascinating enough. But what makes Liv & Ingmar even more intriguing is that Ullmann's recollections are interspersed with scenes from her Bergman films, which is supposed to show how their personal lives directly affected their professional collaboration.

In that regard, Liv & Ingmar makes Ullmann and Bergman seem like Woody Allen and Mia Farrow, who went from The Purple of Rose of Cairo and Hannah and Her Sisters to Alice and Husbands and Wives.

Ullmann and Bergman's ten movies, a few of which were made for Swedish television, were the following: Persona (1966), with Bibi Andersson; Shame (1968), with Max von Sydow; Hour of the Wolf (1968), with von Sydow; The Passion of Anna (1969), with von Sydow and Andersson; Cries & Whispers (1972), with Ingrid Thulin and Harriet Andersson; Scenes from a Marriage (1973), with Andersson and Erland Josephson; Face to Face (1976), with Josephson; The Serpent's Egg (1978), with David Carradine; Autumn Sonata (1978), with Ingrid Bergman; and Saraband (2003), with Josephson. Additionally, Ullmann had a cameo in The Magic Flute (1975) and was featured in Bergman's 1969 documentary Fårø Document.

Bergman died in July 2007. Liv & Bergman may be screened at Cannes, according to this report, in which Liv & Bergman sound designer Resul Pookutty states, “Two days before Ingmar Bergman died, she returned to him. They spent two days at his residence on the island of Fårø. Then he quietly died in her lap … What a beautiful ending to their romance! This is when I decided I had to be part of Liv Ullmann's dreams.”

Liv Ullmann / Ingmar Bergman photo: NordicStories.

Katharine Hepburn The Lion in Winter Peter O'Toole
Peter O'Toole, Katharine Hepburn, The Lion in Winter

Martin Poll, best known for producing Anthony Harvey's 1968 Best Picture Oscar nominee The Lion in Winter, starring Katharine Hepburn as Eleanor of Aquitaine and Peter O'Toole as King Henry II, died of “natural causes” on April 14 according to various online sources. Poll was 89.

An Avco Embassy release, The Lion in Winter was considered the favorite for the Best Picture and Best Director Oscars. The film had won the Best Film Award from the New York Film Critics Circle, while Harvey was the year's Directors Guild Award winner. However, Carol Reed's Columbia-distributed musical Oliver! turned out to be the winner in both categories.

(Curiously, the previous year another Embassy release, Mike Nichols' The Graduate, unexpectedly lost the Best Picture Oscar to Norman Jewison's United Artists-distributed In the Heat of the Night. But at least Nichols came out victorious.)

Out of its nine nominations, The Lion in Winter won three Oscars. One of these went to Katharine Hepburn, who became the first – and to date only – performer to win three (later four, for On Golden Pond) Academy Awards in the lead categories. Hepburn also made history by sharing her third Oscar with newcomer Barbra Streisand for William Wyler's Funny Girl.

Among Poll's other notable producing credits are Waris Hussein's The Possession of Joel Delaney (1972), which earned Shirley MacLaine a number of good notices (Perry King played Joel Delaney); as an executive producer, Woody Allen's Love and Death (1975), in which Allen and Diane Keaton play Russians enmeshed in a plot to assassinate Napoleon; and Lewis John Carlino's The Sailor Who Fell from Grace with the Sea (1976), a dysfunctional family tale starring Sarah Miles and Kris Kristofferson, and based on a novel by Mishima.

Among Poll's other efforts were the Glenn Ford / Hope Lange comedy Love Is a Ball (1963); Sidney Lumet's Belle de jour-like The Appointment (1969), in which attorney Omar Sharif suspects wife Anouk Aimée is a high-class prostitute; the Elizabeth Taylor / Laurence Harvey mystery Night Watch (1973); the Burt Reynolds Western The Man Who Loved Cat Dancing; and the box office flop comedy mystery Somebody Killed Her Husband (1978), Farrah Fawcett's failed attempt at movie stardom, with Jeff Bridges co-starring.

Another Poll-produced flop was the Sylvester Stallone / Billy Dee Williams 1981 crime thriller Nighthawks; and so were Ivan Passer's psychological drama Haunted Summer, based on Anne Edwards' novel about a special gathering featuring Lord Byron (Philip Anglim), Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin (Alice Krige), and Percy Shelley (Eric Stoltz); and Stuart Rosenberg's My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys (1991), with Scott Glenn and Kate Capshaw.

For television, among Poll's efforts were – both as executive producer – Kevin Connor's Diana: Her True Story (1993), starring Serena Scott Thomas as Princess Diana, and a 2003 Showtime remake of The Lion in Winter directed by Andrei Konchalovsky. Patrick Stewart and Glenn Close starred. Both Close and Konchalovsky received Emmy nominations for their efforts; Close was luckier at the Golden Globes, winning Best Actress in a Mini-Series or a Motion Picture Made for Television, while the film and Stewart were nominated.

According to Poll's Variety obit, he restored the early silent era's New York-based Biograph Studio, which he opened as the Gold Medal Studios in 1956. That was reportedly the largest film studio in the U.S. outside Los Angeles.

Among the films shot at Gold Medal in the late '50s were Elia Kazan's A Face in the Crowd, with Andy Griffith and Patricia Neal; Sidney Lumet's The Fugitive Kind, with Marlon Brando, Anna Magnani, and Joanne Woodward; Delbert Mann's Middle of the Night, with Fredric March and Kim Novak; John Cromwell's The Goddess, with Kim Stanley; and Daniel Mann's Butterfield 8, with eventual Best Actress Oscar winner Elizabeth Taylor, Laurence Harvey, and Eddie Fisher.


         
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