Yesterday, I mentioned how Alan Jay Lerner dismissively wrote about Stanley Donen in his autobiography as "Someone named Stanley Donen. Whether Lerner was right or wrong about what was done to the score he wrote with Frederick Lowe for the movie musical, The Little Prince, that starred Gene Wilder, that's for film scholars to decide. I just thought it was a wee dismissive of someone considered one of the great directors of film musicals, and who made a lot of non-musicals, as well.
As I noted, Stanley Donen co-directed Singin' in the Rain,On the Town and Damn Yankees!, and directed Seven Brides for Seven Brothers and Funny Face, along with non-musicals Charade and Bedazzled. He also co-directed the musicals The Pajama Game and It's Always Fair Weather and directed the musical Royal Wedding and non-musicals Arabasque, Blame It on Rio, Movie Movie, and Saturn 3...among many others. (I should note that he directed three films written by Larry Gelbart.)
And for all this, he received the Lifetime Achievement Oscar in 1997, the year of Titanic. I described this as him giving "one of the all-time great acceptance speeches. Really." I know that's hyperbole, but I can back it up.
(Would I leave you hanging like that?!)
So, here then, presented to him by Martin Scorsese, is Stanley Donen's acceptance speech. Which gets the crowd roaring. (Side note: when you see Gregory Peck in the audience, Donen directed him in Arabesque.) Tell me if this isn't, actually, one of the great acceptances. Most especially for Lifetime Achievement. And easily one of the most memorable. Hey, I tries nots to steers ya wrong!
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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