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OLBERMANN: And to our number one story on
the Countdown, and a few simple facts; somewhere in the English-speaking world right now it
is happening; a kid of about 11 or 12, maybe younger, maybe older, is watching for the
first time an episode of “Alfred Hitchcock Presents.” He will be shortly made simultaneously
scared out of his mind in a way no slasher movie could cause and also impressed. He will
want to know who are the people who did this to him? He will watch the credits and see a name listed
as actor or director or associate producer or executive producer, Norman Lloyd. Somewhere
else, somebody else is seeing the underappreciated Hitchcock classic “Saboteur” for the first
time and will be amazed by the just crazy enough title character, and watch the credits
and see the actor’s name, Norman Lloyd. Or it was this past Sunday night on the American
Life Cable Network and somebody else was discovering the subtlety of the character of Dr. Outlander
(ph) in the 1980’s staple “St. Elsewhere,” played by Norman Lloyd. Or the choreographer
in Charlie Chaplin’s movie “Limelight,” or Finley in Jean Renoir’s “The Southerner,”
or the president of What’s The Matter You in the “Adventures of Rocky and Bulwinkle,”
or on “The Practice,” or in his most recent major film, as they like to say, “In Her Shoes,”
in his scene in bed with Cameron Diaz, or in a legendary performance as Cinna the poet
in the Orson Welles’ version of Julius Caesar just 70 years ago, or in a new documentary
film, the title of which, intended to be a rhetorical question, becomes more than a little
ironic when you realize just how ubiquitous he has been in a career that began right around
1932. It is called “Who is Norman Lloyd.” The answer joins me after this excerpt from
the film. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) ROY CHRISTOPHER, PRODUCTION DESIGNER: You
pick up a book on Charlie Chaplin – you’re coming through a book on Charlie Chaplin,
and there is a picture of Charlie Chaplin around a swimming pool with Paul Legot (ph)
and god knows who all, and there is Norman Lloyd. You pick up a book on Orson Wells and the
Brute Theater. You’re thumbing through it. There is Norman Lloyd. KARL MALDEN, ACTOR: Who is Norman Lloyd? If
you don’t know Norman Lloyd, you should know Norman Lloyd, because he is the history of
our industry up to now. NORMAN LLOYD, ACTOR: I was summoned one day
by the fellow who was the head of then the studio. He said, Norman, there seems to be
a problem. TOM FONTANA, FRIEND OF NORMAN LLOYD: I had
no idea that Norman was black listed in the 1950s. I can only imagine that it must have
hurt deeply. (END VIDEO CLIP) OLBERMANN: As promised, actor, director, producer,
and at this point probably America’s 22nd or 23rd ranked men’s tennis player Norman
Lloyd. What a pleasure it is to see you in the flesh, sir. LLOYD: Nice to see you, Keith. I have admired
you for a long time, ever since the sports days. OLBERMANN: I can beat you on that. I have
admired you longer than you have admired me. There is no question about that. Here comes
something, maybe the one thing you have never done or been in, maybe the one thing, a movie
about you. What is this like? LLOYD: You have got me. I don’t know, do I
play the heavy, or do I play the lead? But, “Who is Norman Lloyd” is apparently about
me. OLBERMANN: Did you enjoy it? Was it an unnerving
thing to watch or to experience? LLOYD: I enjoyed it, because the approach
to it was very interesting. We went everywhere in this town that I had played in California
to the stages that we shot on, and so on. And I got a retrospective. I got a sense of
a long life in show business, 75 years. OLBERMANN: Seventy five years. And on top
of everything else, you were in the earliest known American television drama “On The Streets
of New York,” televised on NBC August 1939. You had a show on this network, in my network
in 1939? LLOYD: If you would call it a show. It is
an example of the worst acting ever seen by man or beast. And when they ran it again last
night at the film forum, I warned them that it was the worst acting. When I saw it, it
was worse than that. OLBERMANN: It had improved with memory? LLOYD: It had just – it had gotten so bad
that it almost got good. I was thoroughly ashamed of it. But it’s provided a lot of
laughs for the audience. OLBERMANN: The one movie I was in, I like
to show to people and say, I got an award from the National Cabinet Maker’s Society
for the most wooden performance of 1987. I’m afraid – the opposite end of the spectrum,
I’m afraid to spoil the ending or the plot of “Saboteur” for anyone who hasn’t seen it
yet. If you haven’t, go see it now. But about the Statue of Liberty scene – there is something
I didn’t know about it until I was doing my reading today, and – let me just play the
penultimate part of that seen and then ask you this question. We will leave you hanging there for a moment.
You did that back flip yourself? LLOYD: I did the back flip. But I only fell
about four feet, five feet. OLBERMANN: You are not on the Statue of Liberty
for real at the time. I couldn’t do that in Judo class when I was 10 years old. You did
a back flip? LLOYD: I did the back flip because Hitchcock
said I would hope you will be able to do this flip over the railing, Norman, because I want
to be in a shot right on you so that we see you go and we don’t have to cut. OLBERMANN: Right. LLOYD: That’s what he did. He held the camera
and you actually saw me go, not a double. The cut, where you see the body fall and hang
on was about the best stunt man of the time, Davey Shaw (ph). At one time, they used to
have their equivalent of the Oscar was called the Davey Shaw, no more. That is the stunt
man had that. He does the fall. He did it in one take. And that is the exact proportions
of the Statue of Liberty. OLBERMANN: So it’s a piece of work? LLOYD: He really went right through the air
and caught right between the thumb. OLBERMANN: Somebody who hasn’t seen it, we
are just going to leave it there and not tell them what happens after that. But I want to
tell something that we now had a good happy ending – it was a terrible experience, but
the black list, which is mentioned in the documentary – More than what happened, and the gist of it
– if I get it wrong, correct me. The gist of it was, nobody accused you of anything,
but they wanted you to throw your friends under the bus. It was one of those, basically,
right? LLOYD: That was the general picture. OLBERMANN: All right. I want to know whether
you think it, the black list, could happen again. LLOYD: Yes. OLBERMANN: What do we do to stop it? LLOYD: Be vocal in your opposition to it.
As I say in “Who Is Norman Lloyd,” it was cowardice on the part of those in authority
that they fell victim to it, that they agreed to it, that they acquiesced in exercising
a black list. And if they had resisted and said, no, we are not going to do it, you can’t
do it, it wouldn’t have happened. OLBERMANN: It would have been that simple.
And, the point you made – you had an extraordinary observation the other
night when somebody asked you at the film forum in the question and answer session after
the premier of the movie, about Elia Kazan, the great director who did throw people under
the bus, and whose Lifetime Achievement Award at the Academy Awards just in 1999 was still
a subject of extraordinary controversy because he did this. Your observation was, he must
not have trusted his talent? That’s why he went along with it? LLOYD: No. I may have indicated that. I didn’t
mean to put it that way. He was a man of enormous talent. Kazan I worked with a couple of times.
He was a wonderful director. And he had a great sense of warmth and so on for the actor.
He preserved the actor’s ego. He was constantly interested in your performance. Those are
two of the best things that a director can do. But – and he changed his mind politically
from being where he was to he didn’t want anything more to do with it. That is perfectly
acceptable. OLBERMANN: Sure. LLOYD: What is not acceptable is that he gave
names. And the story behind that is he was told by a major producer, it’s your career
that’s at stake. And if you don’t, your career is out the window. He didn’t have to do that.
He could have worked forever, come back in the theater forever. He didn’t have to do
that. OLBERMANN: It was just easier to do it. LLOYD: Yes. OLBERMANN: In some way. Well, let’s close
out on some happier notes. Playing tennis with Charlie Chaplin and he
wouldn’t wear his eyeglasses? LLOYD: Well, yes. You know we actors, we have
our vanity. I wear mine though, because I want to win more than be a good actor, you
see. And Charlie – that is to say he would stay on the baseline. There he is on the baseline.
He could see the ball well. But if he went to the net, the ball was upon him so quickly
that he couldn’t focus. So he wouldn’t wear his glasses and therefore, could never go
to the net in doubles. OLBERMANN: And what he said to you when you
were rallying against him in one of your matches – what you heard him say to himself actually? LLOYD: In a given game, he was well ahead
in the game and his lead began to decrease. I got within one point of tying him in that
game. And I heard him muttering to himself as he went to the baseline to pick up a tennis
ball; Charlie, he said to himself, take all the success you can get. OLBERMANN: Marvelous. Much of what we have
left out is in the documentary “Who Is Norman Lloyd.” There is the obviously named website
for additional info. It is playing at the moment at the film forum here in New York
City. Norman Lloyd himself will be playing at a tennis court adjoining his home first
of next week probably. You have honored me with your presence, sir. Thank you. LLOYD: It has been an honor to be here. OLBERMANN: Thank you. That is Countdown for
this the 1,677th day since the declaration of mission accomplished in Iraq. From New
York, I’m Keith Olbermann, good night and good luck.

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