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The Return of REDS

Thursday, September 28---It was one of the more audacious projects ever produced for a major studio. REDS, the politically-charged epic story of American radicals in the early years of the 20th century, was an unlikely film for Hollywood to have produced, especially at the dawn of the conservative Reagan era. The fact that it ever saw the light of day, and in fact become a critical and public success d'estime, is due entirely to the force of personality of its director/producer/star Warren Beatty.

The New York Film Festival is presenting a rare big-screen Retrospective showing of this landmark film on the 25th anniversary of its release, with its quadruple threat director/producer/writer/lead actor Warren Beatty in a rare public appearance. The tenacious Beatty nurtured the idea of making a film on the dramatic life of journalist and political activist John Reed for over a decade, eventually finding the financing, co-authoring the script, producing, directing and starring in the film.

Warren Beatty

Beatty, who had singlehandedly ushered in the "American new wave" of post-studio era filmmaking with the 1967 landmark BONNIE AND CLYDE, used his considerable clout to bring the story to the screen. Instead of a static history lesson, he concentrated on the human dimension and cast an intoxicating mix of lead and character actors to portray the larger-than-life characters of early 20th century New York bohemian life.

In another master stroke, Beatty deftly mixed a DOCTOR ZHIVAGO-like cast-of-thousands sweep of the 1917 Russian Revoluton with the intimate and unconventional love story between Reed and his pre-feminist partner Louise Bryant, wonderfully played by actress Diane Keaton in her acting prime. People, with their pain and their potential for love, are always in the foreground, even as momentous events happen around them.

Diane Keaton

Maureen Stapleton, whose distinguished career in theater and film ended this past March with her death at age 80, won several awards, including her only Oscar, for her supporting role as the fiery radical Emma Goldman. And in an exceptionally sensitive cameo performance as the tortured playwright Eugene O'Neill, Jack Nicholson won the BAFTA Award as Best Supporting Actor, and was nominated for both the Oscar and the Golden Globe for his terrific performance.

Maureen Stapleton as Emma Goldman

A hit with both critics and the general public, REDS was nominated for 12 Academy Awards, winning Best Director honors for Warren Beatty (his first and only Oscar win to date). Beatty was also honored for his directorial achievement that year with a Golden Globe Award, the Directors Guild of America prize and nods from the National Board of Review and the Los Angeles Film Critics Association.

Beatty At The Oscars

"REDS was a milestone in the American cinema of its era", Festival Programming Director Richard Peña commented. "We are delighted to help a new generation of filmgoers discover this important work". Beatty will be on hand at the public screening, to be held on Wednesday, October 4 at 7:00pm at Lincoln Center's Alice Tully Hall.

Sandy Mandelberger
Festivals Editor


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About NewYorkFilmFestival

New York Film Festival
Online Dailies coverage of the 44th NEW YORK FILM FESTIVAL September 29 – October 15, 2006

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