I got to see that documentary of George Plimpton tonight that I mentioned a few weeks back here, Plimpton! Starring George Plimpton as Himself. I'm too exhausted to write much, after all the travel today and my body feeling two hours later, but suffice it to say that the film was a joy and lived up to my hopes. The good thing about Plimpton is that, unlike probably any other writer, there's not only so much footage of him -- but footage in action, whether from documentary film crews, or his TV specials. (Including one that I'd forgotten, when he trained to do a one-night only standup comedy act in Las Vegas!) The film is often extremely funny, but nice too is the depth it tries to go into, especially for a man who was fairly taciturn about his private thoughts. But there are wonderful, and well-known "talking heads" giving commentary throughout. Good, as well,is all the material on his Paris Review magazine, which was so dear to his heart. (And the reason he did so much commercial work later on, to have the money to keep the publication going -- which celebrated its 50th anniversary no long ago.) But ultimately, it's the footage of his exploits which are the pleasure of the film.
The movie opens in Los Angeles on Friday, in three Laemmle theaters (in fact, it's a Laemmele/Zeller Films release). And it also had opened in New York. A Boston open is coming on June 21, so I'm suspect there will be other cities, as well.
I can't find a clip from it, but here's an extended trailer, longer than the one I embedded before. What's nice is that this has more footage of his athletic endeavors here, and also clips from two of his three TV specials, him on the flying trapeze in the circus, and getting walloped by John Wayne when he tried acting in Rio Bravo. Also, if you look closely, you'll see him in his most famous moment which he describes in Paper Lion, falling to his knees in an exhibition NFL game. When they made the feature film version, they Hollywooded it up and made it too goofy -- this clip is the real thing.
(Know that this trailer only runs about 2:50, despite what it shows. There's about 40 seconds of I don't know what that comes after.)
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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