Graduated from acting in Charlie Chaplin silents to directing numerous films, usually light comedies or musicals. Bacon was one of Warner Brothers reliable contract men for a number of years; some of...
Enigmatic and deliberate Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy makes no reservations while unraveling its heady spy story for better or worse. The film based on the bestselling novel by John Le Carre is purposefully perplexing effectively mirroring the central character George Smiley's (Gary Oldman) own mind-bending investigation of the British MI6's mole problem. But the slow burn pacing clinical shooting style and air of intrigue only go so far—Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy sports an incredible cast that can't dramatically translate the movie's impenetrable narrative. Almost from the get go the movie collapses under its own weight.
After a botched mission in Hungary that saw his colleague Jim (Mark Strong) gunned down in the streets Smiley and his boss Control (John Hurt) are released from the "Circus" (codename for England's Secret Intelligence Service). But soon after Smiley is brought back on board as an impartial observer tasked to uncover the possible infiltration of the organization. The former agent already dealing with the crippling of his own marriage attempts to sift through the history and current goings on of the Circus narrowing his hunt down to four colleagues: Percy aka "Tinker" (Toby Jones) Bill aka "Tailor" (Colin Firth) Roy aka "Soldier" (Ciaran Hinds) and Toy aka "Poor Man" (David Dencik). Working with Peter (Benedict Cumberbatch) a conflicted younger member of the service and Ricki (Tom Hardy) a rogue agent who has information of his own Smiley slowly uncovers the muddled truth—occasionally breaking in to his own work place and crossing his own friends to do so.
Describing Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy as dense doesn't seem complicated enough. The first hour of the monster mystery moves at a sloth's pace trickling out information like the tedious drips of a leaky faucet. The talent on display is undeniable but the characters Smiley included are so cold that a connection can never be made. TTSS sporadically jumps around from past to present timelines without any indication: a tactic that proves especially confusing when scenes play out in reoccurring locations. It's not until halfway through that the movie decides to kick into high gear Smiley's search for a culprit finally becoming clear enough to thrill. A film that takes its time is one thing but Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy does so without any edge or hook.
What the movie lacks in coherency it makes up for in style and thespian gravitas. Director Tomas Alfredson has assembled some of the finest British performers working today and they turn the script's inaccessible spy jargon into poetry. Firth stands out as the group's suave slimeball a departure from his usual nice guy roles. Hardy assures us he's the next big thing once again as the agency's resident moppet a lover who breaks down after a romantic fling uncovers horrifying truth. Oldman is given the most difficult task of the bunch turning the reserved contemplative Smiley into a real human. He half succeeds—his observational slant in the beginning feels like an extension of the movie's bigger problems but once gets going in the second half of the film he's quite a bit of fun.
Alfredson constructs Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy like a cinematic architect each frame dripping with perfectly kitschy '70s production design and camera angles that make the spine tingle. He creates paranoia through framing similar to the Coppola's terrifying The Conversation but unlike that film TTSS doesn't have the characters or story to match. The movie strives to withhold information and succeeds—too much so. Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy wants us to solve a mystery with George Smiley but it never clues us in to exactly why we should want to.
The Ghost star won the cash for The DNA Foundation - founded by Moore and husband Ashton Kutcher - in the Pepsi Refresh Celebrity Challenge after she picked up the most public votes in an online poll.
And Moore's foundation has offered the cash to the Girls Educational & Mentoring Services (GEMS), which supports women who have suffered sexual exploitation and domestic trafficking.
GEMS founder/Executive Director Rachel Lloyd says, “I am thrilled that GEMS has gained powerful allies in Demi Moore and The DNA Foundation and honoured to be the beneficiary of a Pepsi Refresh Grant. The grant will support us in the important work of transforming survivors of domestic trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation into future leaders."
But Bacon's own charity won't miss out - SixDegrees.org, which is currently raising funds for Haiti, will also be handed a $100,000 (£62,500) grant.
With the huge Broadway success of Mel Brooks' The Producers, it looks like you can bring the movies to the stage.
On Monday, Brooks' musical stage adaptation of his classic movie received 15 Tony nominations, including nods for best musical, for stars Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick, and for Brooks for best book and score. Brooks based the show on his 1968 film, which starred Zero Mostel and Gene Wilder. A down-on-his-luck Broadway show producer and his accountant decide to produce the worst show ever, after raising thousands of dollars in investments, and watch the money roll in when the show flops miserably. Of course, the fictional musical, Springtime for Hitler, becomes a smash success, thereby ruining them both. Broderick's character is much different from Wilder's original character, but the film poses a perfect scenario for a real-life Broadway musical.
The Americanized stage adaptation of the 1997 English hit The Full Monty also got a nomination for best musical. Instead of blue-collar workers from Northern England, the musical features blue-collar workers from Buffalo, N.Y., who not only strip but must sing for their suppers, bringing a whole new meaning to stage presence.
Even though the book was first produced as a Broadway play in the 1960s, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest is best known for its Academy-Award winning film starring Jack Nicholson. This year saw a critically acclaimed revival of the play, staged by the famed Steppenwolf Theatre Co. and starring Gary Sinise as McMurphy, the unconventional convict who turns a mental ward upside-down. The play and Sinise each received a Tony nomination. [for complete list of nominations, go to http://www.broadway.com]
Is this a trend for future shows?
If it's a trend, then it's a "fake trend," said Jed Bernstein, president of the League of American Theatres and Producers.
The success of a show is based on a good story and compelling characters, regardless of its source, he said.
"Whether the material is original or from a movie or from a comic book, if it's a great story, people will gravitate towards it," he said.
Here's a look at some other movies turned into or likely to become stage productions:
That Thing You Do!: Tom Hanks' 1996 directed and scripted film is now being considered for a Broadway musical, with Hanks' production company, Playtone, putting the deal together. They are looking for a top-notch musical director, with Des McAnuff (The Who's Tommy) on the list. The stage production would follow the quick rise and fall of the Wonders, a fictional mop-top 1960s band from Erie, Pa., whose swinging title song (written by Adam Schlesinger) propels them to the top of the pop charts. The idea to turn the film into a stage musical came from the numerous requests to the production company by local high schools eager to mount their own productions.
The Witches of Eastwick: The musical version of the 1987 film, based on the novel by John Updike, is currently playing to rave reviews in London. Starring Lucie Arnaz as Alexandra (played by Cher in the film), the story remains pretty much the same. In the tiny New England town of Eastwick, R.I., three modern-day witches innocently plot to bring the perfect man to them, over several weak martinis and peanut butter brownies. But when their longings are made flesh in the arrival of one Darryl Van Horne, all hell breaks loose.
Saturday Night Fever: Based on the smash 1977 film, the musical seemed to be a natural fit for the stage, with the cool 1970s tunes-and the dancing. The story was the same: Tony Marino dreams of making it big in the world of dancing, but at the same time he must deal with two women in his life--one who wants him and one he wants. The stage musical wasn't able to capture the hearts of theatergoers quite the same way as the film did for its audience. The musical opened on Broadway in 1999 and closed quickly. There also was a British tour that closed in February 2000.
Sunset Blvd.: Andrew Lloyd Webber's staged musical is based on the Academy-Award winning 1950 film starring the incomparable Gloria Swanson and William Holden. The musical opened in London in 1993 and went to Broadway quickly after, starring the larger-than-life Glenn Close. Once again, the stage production did not live up to its hype and couldn't capture the magic of Billy Wilder's exquisite film. Webber also collaborated with Jim Steinman on a musical adaptation of the 1961 film Whistle Down the Wind, based on the Mary Hayley Bell novel. It closed in January after running for 2 ½ years in London, but it has failed to make it to Broadway.
Also, there have been a few other flops, such as the stage production of Big, based on the hit 1988 Tom Hanks film, which opened on Broadway in April 1996 and closed in October 1996. Footloose, based on the just-as-silly 1984 film starring Kevin Bacon, also flopped on Broadway but continues to tour nationally.
The Tony Awards will air June 3 on PBS and CBS.
Graduated from acting in Charlie Chaplin silents to directing numerous films, usually light comedies or musicals. Bacon was one of Warner Brothers reliable contract men for a number of years; some of his best and most fondly remembered films include the Busby Berkeley musicals, "Forty Second Street" (1933), "Footlight Parade" (1933) and "Wonder Bar" (1934), and films ranging from the uproarious black comedy "A Slight Case of Murder" (1938) to the potent melodramas "Marked Woman" (1937) and "Action in the North Atlantic" (1943). In all, Bacon directed over 100 films.