FIRST RATE ACTORS: THE FLAWLESS FILM CAREERS OF
PAUL MUNI, KATHARINE HEPBURN AND WILLIAM POWELL
Recipient of the LLS 2004 Excellence in Teaching Award
DESCRIPTION: Among the hundreds of stars who have graced the silver screen, only a few were truly first-rate actors. Conversely, few truly great actors ever became legendary movie stars. Paul Muni, Katharine Hepburn and William Powell were among the very few who were both. They became “stars” from their very first films and maintained that status until their last films. This lecture series we will spend two weeks on each of these three cinematic legends, watching both their first and their last pictures. Paul Muni is the only actor to receive Academy Award nominations for both his first and his last starring roles. Katharine Hepburn stole the spotlight from John Barrymore in her first film and dominated the screen in her last more than 60 years later. As for William Powell, he was just as dapper and distinguished as detective Philo Vance in 1929 as he was as “Doc” in 1955’s Mr. Roberts. Dr. Stone will introduce each film and then, following our viewing, we will engage in what should be a lively discussion on each of the six films starring our three flawless legends.
- The Valiant (1929): In his first motion picture, Paul Muni plays a condemned murderer who desperately tries to convince two women that he is neither their son nor brother.
- The Last Angry Man (1959): In his 28th and final motion picture, Muni received a Best Actor nomination for his portrayal of Dr. Sam Abelman.
- A Bill of Divorcement (1932): In this, her first film, Katharine Hepburn literally steals the movie from legends John Barrymore and Billie Burke.
- Love Affair (1994): In her 50th and final film, Hepburn leaves costars Warren Beatty and Annette Benning in the dramatic dust in this remake of An Affair to Remember.
- The Canary Murder Case (1929): In his first talking picture William Powell scored an immediate hit starring as the keen, debonair detective Philo Vance.
- Mr. Roberts (1955): In Powell’s 94th and final film, he plays a World War II Navy doctor aboard a US cargo ship.
BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION: Now in his 13th year with the Lifelong Learning Society (LLS), kurt Stone is a best-selling author, essayist, political activist, actor and ordained rabbi. He calls himself a “Hollywood Brat,” having been born and raised in and around the film industry, and calls his love and knowledge of film “a genetic inheritance.” Dr. Stone is the author of two books on the U.S. Congress, and, for the past eight years has written more than 400 oped pieces for his online blog, The K.F. Stone Weekly.
|1:00 PM – 3:00 PM
Mondays, April 8, 15, 22, 29; May 6, 13
Barry and Florence Friedberg Auditorium, Boca Raton Campus
$51 member / $81 non-member