More than 30 years before Peter Jackson made history with the Lord of the Rings trilogy, the Fab Four became interested in turning the novel into one of their famous films. John Lennon reportedly contacted the great Stanley Kubrick trying to persuade him to take the project. Lennon even split the roles between the band taking Gollum for himself and casting McCartney as Frodo, Starr as Sam and Harrison as Gandalf. Unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately) they were turned down by both Kubrick and J.R.R.Tolkien. Soon after, the band dissolved and the project was abandoned. It’s still quite amusing to imagine what a film would it turn out had it become one of the Beatles’ fancy musicals. Well, we’ll never know.
Ever wondered how did Anthon Hopkins manage to look so creepy in his portrayal of the psychopath Dr. Hannibal Lecter? Well, partly this was because of his eyes. If you pay attention to him in the movie, you’ll notice that most of the time he doesn’t blink. Anthony Hopkins said in an interview that he was inspired by a friend of his who never blinked, something that made everyone around him nervous.
According to the Guinness Books of Records, the scene where Shelley Duvall swings a bat at Jack Nicholson in Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining, has the record for number of retakes with 127 shots. The filming was indeed a real struggle for the actors as perfectionism was at a whole different level. The scene where Scatman Crothers explains the Shining was shot so many times that reportedly the actor broke down crying “What do you want mr Kubrick?”. It’s perhaps no surprise that Jack Nicholson swore never to work with Stanley Kubrick again.
In 1927, the first feature film with audible dialogue was released. The Jazz Singer made a huge impression at the time and prompted studios worldwide to experiment with the inclusion of sound in their films eventually leading to the decline of the silent film era. Ironically, the dialogue wasn’t intended at all. Originally, the film was only supposed to have synchronized music, but after the song “Dirty Hands, Dirty Face”, Al Johnson ad-libbed the line “Wait a minute, wait a minute. You ain’t heard nothin’ yet”. It was decided that the line should be in the movie (after Sam Warner’s insistence some sources claim), a few more lines were recorded and the rest is history.
Janet Leigh, the leading actress in Hitchcock’s masterpiece, developed a phobia of showers after watching the film. Leigh portrayed Marion, the girl who gets murdered in the iconic shower scene. Reportedly, she had trouble taking showers for decades and she only did when absolutely necessary locking all the doors and having the curtain open. The actress herself has said in an interview: “I never realized before how completely vulnerable we are. Seeing the movie and seeing how defenseless one is — you can’t see, the curtain’s shut; you can’t hear, the water’s running. You’re a sitting duck it did a number on my head.”
A festival called Lebowski Fest is held annually in many cities in the USA. It started from a small bowling alley in Louisville, Kentucky and by now it has become a huge event with people dressing as characters from the film, playing bowling and drinking Caucasians. Jeff Bridges, Julian Moore, John Goodman and many other members of the movie cast have attended the festival and there’s even a documentary about it. If you live in the UK like me you can also attend a similar festival in London called “The Dude Abides”.