Fellow Film Club Members & Movie Buffs:
We have had a wonderful start on our first month’s 2013 film theme: Biographical films about Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Last Friday we had a nice turnout after the holidays for SUNRISE AT CAMPOBELLO. This Friday, the Tacoma Film Club is proud to screen the seldom-seen HBO film, WARM SPRINGS. SUNRISE was basically a film of the hit Broadway play, whereas this wonderful film gets us closer to the real FDR. The HBO film was directed by veteran director Joseph Sargent. He had directed 86 films from 1959-2008. He is primarily known for directing television drama, but he also directed some theatrical features, including TO HELL WITH HEROES (1968), COLOSSUS, The Forbin Project (1970), THE MAN (1972), WHITE LIGHTNING (1973), THE TAKING OF PELHAM 123 (1974), MACARTHUR (1977). He had been an actor on Broadway in the 1950’s, and was well known as an actor’s director.
This film was nominated for three Golden Globes. It was also nominated for sixteen Emmys, and it won five of them, including Best Made-for-TV Movie, Best Musical Score, Best Sound, & Best Supporting Actress-Jane Alexander.
The musical score was done by Bruce Broughton, who has composed scores for 123 films from 1974-2011, including SILVERADO (1985), JACKNIFE (1989), BETSY’S WEDDING (1990), TOMBSTONE (1993), KRIPPENDORF’S TRIBE (1998), & LOST IN SPACE (1998). He has been nominated for 23 Emmys, and won 10 of them, including the one for WARM SPRINGS (2005).
The cinematography was done by Robbie Greenberg, who has lensed 40 films from 1978-2012, including YOUNGBLOOD (1978), FAR NORTH (1988), THE MILAGRO BEANFIELD WAR (1988), FREE WILLY (1993), and WILD HOGS (2007).
Trivia: Pay attention to David Paymer playing Louis Howe, and compare it to the great work done earlier by Hume Cronyn in SUNRISE AT CAMPOBELLO. This HBO film worked hard at authenticity. They filmed at Warm Springs in the pool where FDR swam, used the cottage that FDR had stayed in, used the actual automobile that FDR owned, with the hand controls. They used CGI to make Branagh’s legs look more like he actually had polio.
Jane Alexander, who played Sara Roosevelt in WARM SPRINGS, FDR’s mother, had played Eleanor Roosevelt earlier in the TV mini-series ELEANOR & FRANKLIN.
Goofs: The newsreel footage in the early scenes, having FDR addressing the crowd during the 1924 election, was bogus, since the “Talkies” did not appear in Hollywood until 1927-1929. There were several 50 star flags being waved at the 1924 Convention.
WARM SPRINGS (2005)
Directed by Joseph Sargent @ 121 minutes.
The film stars: Kenneth Branagh, Cynthia Nixon, David Paymer, Tim Blake Nelson, Jane Alexander, & Kathy Bates.
Synopsis: This is an in depth look at FDR’s pre-presidency days, in the early 1920’s when he was first diagnosed with polio, through his rehabilitation at Warm Springs, GA, up to his nomination of Al Smith for the Democratic Presidential candidate in 1928.
Tagline: The greatest challenge FDR ever faced was the one we never saw.
Rotten Tomatoes, since this was a cable film, and not a theatrical one, listed NO reviews for it, but did show that 75% of the audience liked it.
Robert Bianco of USA TODAY wrote, “Although she is plowing much the same territory as did SUNRISE AT CAMPOBELLO, writer Margaret Nagle found her own unique way into the untold story. WARM SPRINGS can proudly take its place with the very best of HBO’s films–reminding us that though we may live in an age of political pygmies, we once had giants.”
Tom Shales of the WASHINGTON POST wrote, “Kenneth Branagh as FDR looks in retrospect like a 20th century Lincoln, a man who saved his country from collapse during the Great Depression, and helped save the world from going to hell in WWII.”
In NEWSDAY, it was written, “Branagh is astonishing as FDR; never has another actor so effectively channeled his magnetic energy. Branagh radiates electricity like a dynamo.”
So be very sure to mark your calendars in order the join the TFC on Friday, January 11, 2013 and enjoy the screening of WARM SPRINGS. We will show the film at our new home, the Center for Spiritual Living, located at 206 North J Street, on the corner of Division and J Streets, right across the street from Group Health hospital. Join us early downstairs in the kitchen area for fellowship, doors open at 6:00 p.m. It is still lovely for any of you who are so inclined to bring along snacks or beverages, including wine, to share with others. We must remember to clean up though, before we go upstairs to watch the movie; there is a strict rule that there be no food or drink in the Sanctuary.
We appreciate your donations to assist us with Club expenses, like renting the space.
Donation boxes are located both downstairs & upstairs. Thank you in advance for helping out. We certainly do appreciate all of you who attend. I will have the 2013 TFC membership cards for anyone who wants to join officially, or renew their membership from last year. The film will screen at about 7:15 p.m, and it runs 121 minutes, so it should be over around 9:20 p.m. Feel free to hang around for a few minutes after the film while I check and lock up the building. See you at the movies!!