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Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival


The Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival (FLIFF) reels out over 200 films from around the globe. Filmmakers and celebrities attend many of the screenings and events during the festival. Parties and gatherings at area "hot spots", on board yachts, and on the beach will provide audiences an opportunity to hob knob with film talent and other movie buffs.

 

 


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Eli Wallach Honored At Fort Lauderdale Film Festival

 

Eli Wallach in THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN

Friday, November 7--------The venerable actor Eli Wallach, a raconteur at 93 years young, was honored last evening at the Cinema Paradiso following the rare screening of the 1950s cause celebre BABY DOLL, which was the actor's debut film. The event, sponsored by the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences, also included a tribute to Wallach's leading lady (on the stage, screen and in real life), actress Anne Jackson. Both were at their witty best, dodging repartees and offering priceless tidbits of their memorable careers over the past six decades.

 

Wallach, who was described as the oldest living actor who still works steadily in film and television, showed no signs of slowing down, as he offered up intimate stories of legends Elia Kazan, Tennessee Williams, Henry Fonda, Sergio Leone and other greats that he has worked with over the past 60 years. Generally cast as an "outsider" (an Italian carpetbagger in BABY DOLL, a Mexican bandit in THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN, an Italian don in THE GODFATHER III), the genial actor is actually a Jewish boy from Brooklyn. He credited his Brooklyn roots growing up in a melting pot of the early part of the 20th century for giving his roster of characters their authenticity and specificity. "The only time I've had a chance to play Jewish is when I became an old man", Wallach joked from the stage.

 

Wallach was born into a Jewish immigrant family in Brooklyn on December 7, 1915. After a stint in the army during World War II, he drifted onto the New York stage, eventually winning choice parts in such plays as MR. ROBERTS, THE ROSE TATTOO, CAMINO REALE and other lauded productions of the 1950s. Wallach was one of the earliest members of the Actor's Studio, the ground-breaking school and repertory company based on the famed "method acting" style.  On stage he appeared in numerous productions, including Ionesco's ‘Rhinoceros' (‘61, with Zero Mostel), ‘The Tiger' and ‘The Typist' (‘63, with his wife Anne Jackson), ‘The Waltz of the Torreadors' (‘73-74, with Anne and their daughter Roberta Wallach) and Tom Stoppard's ‘Every Good Boy Deserves Favour' (‘79). In the late 90's, Eli enjoyed a success in the Off-Broadway hit ‘Visiting Mr. Green'.

Wallach was one of the first recognized actors in the emerging medium of television, having appeared Eli appeared on the small screen in the late 40s in many of the live dramas of the period. He was memorable as the Dauphin opposite Julie Harris' Joan of Arc in ‘The Lark' (NBC,'57) and won an Emmy for ‘The Poppy Is Also a Flower' (ABC, ‘66), a public service film about the increasing drug problems. He has continued to appear in miniseries, such as ‘Seventh Avenue' (NBC, ‘77), ‘Skolde' (CBS, ‘81), ‘Anatomy of an Illness' (CBS, ‘84), ‘Legacy of Lies' (USA Network, ‘92) and as the patriarch of a mob family in the ABC drama ‘One Family Honor' (‘85-86).

On the big screen, he came into prominence in the Tennessee Williams', BABY DOLL (‘56). He portrayed numerous, often hot-headed characters, from the Mexican bandit leader, Calvera, in THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN (‘60) to Clark Gable's buddy in THE MISFITS (‘61) to the cunning Tuco in Sergio Leone's landmark ‘spaghetti Western' THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY (‘67). He mellowed into more sober roles, like the rabbi in GIRLFRIENDS and the psychiatrist evaluating Barbra Streisand in NUTS (‘87) but he could still play unsavory types, including a short sighted hitman in TOUGH GUYS (‘86) and Mafioso Don Altobello in THE GODFATHER III (‘80). Other movies include LORD JIM, THE MOON-SPINNERS, HOW TO STEAL A MILLION, THE BRAIN, THE DEEP, CINDERELLA LIBERTY, MOVIE, MOVIE, THE HUNTER, SAM'S SON, THE IMPOSSIBLE SPY, THE TWO JAKES, ARTICLE 99, MISTRESS, and NIGHT AND THE CITY.

His recent appearance in the romantic comedy film THE HOLIDAY (2006) has found him a new legion of fans not even born when BABY DOLL first hit the screens with such controversy in 1956. "I never understood what all the fuss was about", Wallach commented about his celebrity. "For me, it was a job...I job I tried to do well."

 

Sandy Mandelberger, FLIFF Dailies Editor

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About Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival

Mandelberger Sandy
(International Media Resources)


Online Dailies for the 24th edition of the Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival , October 23 - November 11, 2009


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