The Agony and the Ecstasy

On Sunday nights years ago, I used to watch Disney programs on television.  What I saw on this Sunday night was “The Agony and the Ecstasy,” the film from 1965 about Michelangelo painting the Sistine Chapel.  I had seen the ending of “Diamond Head” earlier in the day and thus felt that I was getting too much of Charlton Heston.  Yvette Mimieux was also in that earlier film.  Rex Harrison was Pope Julius II.  He did not get along with Heston during the making of this film.  I think that artists are not the greatest subjects for films, even if I did like “Moulin Rouge” and “Lust for Life.”  I didn’t see Charlton Heston as the artist type, and he didn’t have the right idea about what kind of a person Michelangelo was.  Did the real Michelangelo scream as much as this one did?  Harrison as Julius was rather comical in his complaints about how much time the painting was taking.  I’ll finish when I’m finished.  I can understand that.  The director was Carol Reed, who couldn’t get through “Mutiny on the Bounty” because of Marlon Brando.  This movie was another one that lost money, although Reed would do well with “Oliver!”  It was hard for me to think of “The Agony and the Ecstasy” as being a Carol Reed film, and I guess that has to do with the setting, which involves historical figures.  When doctors treat patients by bleeding them, you know that it was a long time ago.  I think that Carol Reed’s direction did make a difference in the quality of the film.  Diane Cilento was a good actress.  She was nominated for an Oscar for “Tom Jones,” and she was married to Sean Connery.  She died in 2011.  It seemed that for Reed and the actors, the story of “The Agony and the Ecstasy” was a bit like dealing with producers and studio executives.  It was also about the completion of a big project that is nearly impossible.  I think that I liked “Moulin Rouge” the most out of all these movies about painters.  “The Agony and the Ecstasy” had the least drama because what he had to deal with was an annoying person who had a lot of complaints about his work.  Rex Harrison didn’t want to have facial hair for his role.  I had the feeling that if I were on the set, I would have found Harrison difficult.  He wasn’t a reason to see this movie back in 1965.  According to the Brandon Brooks Rewind radio segment for April 10, Freddie and the Dreamers had a Number One single in 1965 with “I’m Telling You Now.” The Academy of Country Music named Alabama as the Artist of the Decade in 1989.  In 1970, Paul McCartney announced that he was leaving The Beatles.  In 1976, Peter Frampton had the Number One album on the Billboard chart, “Frampton Comes Alive!”  In 1992, Sam Kinison died at age 38 as he was driving to Laughlin, Nevada after his car was struck by a pickup truck.  In 1994, Charles Osgood succeeded Charles Kuralt as host of the CBS Sunday Morning show.  In 2001, Eminem was sentenced to two years of probation for carrying a concealed weapon after he struck a man kissing his wife.

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