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 Posted:   Sep 24, 2020 - 11:02 PM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

After the recent high-water mark of WHERE EAGLES DARE, CARAVAN TO VACCARES was one more in the long line of also-ran pictures made from Alastair MacLean novels. The picture was the ninth film adaptation of one of MacLean's stories, and the fourth in 3 years. The typically Maclean convoluted plot begins mysteriously in southwest France, where a young gypsy leads an armed man to meet another man near the area's famous ancient ruins. The armed man then kills them both and uses a rifle to blow out the tire of an incoming trailer whose two owners are supposed to finalize some sort of a deal at a different location. Shortly after, the man meets the couple from the trailer and pulls out his gun.

Meanwhile, British photographer “Lila” (Charlotte Rampling), who is on her way to a notorious gypsy festival in Vaccares, is picked up by American tourist “Neil Bowman” (David Birney), who is just driving through the area. Minutes later, they reach the location where the armed man and the owners of the trailer are, and Neil steals his gun. Everyone then heads in different directions.

At an upscale resort, Neil and Lila encounter “Duc de Croyter” (Michael Lonsdale), a wealthy landowner, who convinces them to help him smuggle Hungarian scientist “Zuger” (Michael Bryant) into the United States where he would be able to develop a new technology that will solve the world's energy needs. However, when Zuger is introduced to them, the three immediately become targets and are forced to run for their lives.

Michael Lonsdale in CARAVAN TO VACCARES

Geoffrey Reeve directed this 1974 British-French production. Michael Lonsdale’s dialogue was dubbed for the English-language prints. Stanley Myers’ score has not had a release. The film had limited distribution in the U.S. in early 1975.

 Posted:   Sep 25, 2020 - 9:19 AM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

Master of the surreal Luis Bunuel directed 1974’s THE PHANTOM OF LIBERTY. In a series of tangentially related vignettes, an invading French officer seeks to resurrect a dead queen in Toledo, 1806. Schoolchildren are passed filthy postcards on a modern-day French playground. A man's visit to the doctor is interrupted to follow a nurse's trip to the country, where she meets some odd monks and an S&M couple at an inn. A social gathering reverses the roles of the bathroom and the dining table. A young girl disappears and her distraught parents seek the help of the police. A mad sniper is apprehended by the police and put on trial. A Prefect of Police receives a phone call from his dead sister, and goes to her tomb to see if she's really there.

The cast includes such names as Monica Vitti, Jean Claude Brialy, Adolfo Celli, and Michael Lonsdale as an eccentric hatter who invites four monks, a woman and a teenager to his hotel room where he is dominated and spanked by his woman in a S&M fetish. The film has no credited musical score, only some classical snippets on the soundtrack.

Anne-Marie Deschodt, Michael Lonsdale, and Milena Vukotic in THE PHANTOM OF LIBERTY

 Posted:   Sep 25, 2020 - 11:44 AM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

In 1975, Joseph Losey finally got to make his long-cherished film of Bertolt Brecht’s play GALILEO, about the 17th-century Italian mathematician, astronomer and physicist Galileo Galilei (Topol) in dire difficulty with the Roman Catholic hierarchy for his supposedly heretical theories about astronomy. The Inquisition forces him to recant his support of the ideas of the Polish astronomer Copernicus that the Earth rotates around the Sun. Michael Lonsdale played Cardinal Barberini, a friend of Galileo who later becomes Pope Urban VIII.

Losey had always planned to make a film of Galileo with Charles Laughton, whom he had directed on stage in the U.S. in 1947, and upon whose adaptation of the play this screenplay is based (adapted for the screen by Joseph Losey and Barbara Bray), but he could not find the financing before Laughton died in 1962. Hanns Eisler and Richard Hartley provided the unreleased score.

 Posted:   Sep 25, 2020 - 12:36 PM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

Based on a true story, Costa-Gavras’ SPECIAL SECTION is set in occupied France during WWII, where a German officer is murdered. The collaborationist Vichy government decides to pin the murder on six petty criminals. Loyal judges are called in to convict them as quickly as possible. Michael Lonsdale plays the real-life Pierre Pucheu, French Minister of the Interior.

Eric Demarsan’s score for the 1975 film was released on an RCA Victor LP in France, but has never been re-issued on CD.

 Posted:   Sep 25, 2020 - 1:09 PM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

Working again with director Joseph Losey, Michael Lonsdale co-starred in THE ROMANTIC ENGLISHWOMAN. “Elizabeth Fielding” (Glenda Jackson) returns from spa town Baden Baden, Germany where she met gigolo conman “Thomas” (Helmut Berger). Her husband “Lewis” (Michael Caine) is having writer's block and imagines all manner of things his wife is doing. “Catherine” (Béatrice Romand) is the hot nanny. “Isabel” (Kate Nelligan) is Elizabeth's gossiping friend whom Lewis hates. “Swan” (Michael Lonsdale) is a criminal tracking Thomas. Then Thomas shows up at the Fielding home.

Richard Hartley’s score for the 1975 film has not had a release. For a low-key British drama, the film had an acceptable U.S. run, with a box office take of $2.8 million.

 Posted:   Sep 25, 2020 - 1:38 PM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

In 1942, in Paris, "Mr. Robert Klein" (Alain Delon) is a bon-vivant art dealer who exploits French Jews who need to raise money selling their artworks. He is enjoying the occupation and not caring about the suffering of others, happy to be with his mistress “Nicole” (Francine Bergé), who is married to his lawyer friend “Pierre” (Michael Lonsdale). Life takes a turn when he receives a Jewish newspaper in the mail addressed to a man of the same name. Though he notifies the police of the mistaken identity, it is exactly his curiosity and desire to clear up the matter quickly that piques their suspicion that he might be a Jew. He decides to carry out his own investigation, and search for the other MR. KLEIN.

Suddenly another piece of mail arrives, a letter from a woman named "Florence" urging Klein to come to her. Following the lead, Klein goes. The trip takes him to an aristocratic mansion, sequestered in the snow-bitten wilderness. He is received cordially and tells his story to the master of the estate and to Florence (Jeanne Moreau) who is interested in getting her letter back. They don’t know what’s become of the second Klein either.

Joseph Losey directed this 1976 tale of identity and paranoia. This was the third and final film that Losey and Michael Lonsdale made together. The film's score, by Egisto Macchi and Pierre Porte, was released on an EMI-Pathe LP. It was re-issued on CD by CAM in 1992.

 Posted:   Sep 25, 2020 - 3:31 PM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

During WWII, trying to sneak “Professor Bergson” (James Mason) through Nazi territory and into Spain, officials for the Allies turn to “The Basque” (Anthony Quinn) for help. Tasked with guiding Bergson and his family, including wife “Ariel” (Patricia Neal), son “Paul” (Paul Clemens), and daughter “Leah” (Kay Lenz), through THE PASSAGE over the Pyrenees, The Basque reluctantly takes the job, trying to keep the group together in order to sneak them past the Germans. Out to stop the mission is “Captain Von Berkow” (Malcolm McDowell), a deranged Nazi looking to prove his worth to the party, hunting sympathizers such as “Alain Renoudot” (Michael Lonsdale) and “The Gypsy” (Christopher Lee) as he makes his way across Europe, keeping The Basque and his special cargo on the run.

J. Lee Thompson directed this 1979 adventure. Michael J. Lewis issued his score for this little-seen British film on a promo CD. THE PASSAGE earned $2.9 million at the U.S. box office.

 Posted:   Sep 25, 2020 - 4:03 PM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

MOONRAKER was Roger Moore’s fourth outing as James Bond. While on its way to England, A U.S.-manufactured space shuttle is hijacked, then flown to an unknown location. In his effort to track it down, MI6’s “James Bond” (Moore) travels to San Francisco, where he visits Drax Industries, the company that built the shuttle. When a talk with its owner, billionaire “Hugo Drax” (Michael Lonsdale), leaves 007 with more questions than answers, he delves into the matter a bit further, discovering along the way that a CIA operative named “Holly Goodhead” (Lois Chiles), who’s posing as an astronaut in training, is also searching for the lost shuttle. With the help of Drax’s personal assistant, “Corrine Dufour” (Corrine Clery), Bond uncovers information that leads him first to Venice, and then Rio de Janeiro, where he learns that Drax, who was most certainly behind the hijacking, has a scheme that, if successful, could result in mass murder on a global scale.

Michael Lonsdale and Corinne Cléry were cast in order for this 1979 movie to qualify as an Anglo-French production, under the 1965-1979 film treaty. Lonsdale did his own dubbing in the French version of the movie, but Cléry, who is also French, did not dub herself.

For the shot of Drax being ejected into space, a camera was placed on the floor (looking upward) and Michael Lonsdale was pulled fifty meters (one hundred sixty-four feet) up into the air by a cable.

Roger Moore and Michael Lonsdale in MOONRAKER

Roger Moore is believed to have conducted approximately 390 interviews for the promotion of the $34 million movie. It seems to have paid off. At the box-office, MOONRAKER set new records for a Bond film, earning almost $58 million worldwide after just eight weeks in release. To date, its grosses have exceeded $210 million.

John Barry’s score was released on a United Artists LP, but even in its most recent CD re-issue from Capitol/EMI Records (2003), the 31-minute LP has not been able to be expanded.

 Posted:   Sep 25, 2020 - 4:29 PM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

THE BUNKER was a dramatization depicting the events surrounding the last weeks of Adolf Hitler (Anthony Hopkins) in and around his underground bunker in Berlin before and during the battle for the city in 1945. Michael Lonsdale co-starred as Hitler's private secretary Martin Bormann.

George Schaefer directed this made-for-television film, which aired on CBS on 27 January 1981. Composer Brad Fiedel scored the movie largely as an extended improvisation using sounds he created on the then-new Prophet-10 synthesizer.

 Posted:   Sep 25, 2020 - 10:47 PM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

In THE HOLCROFT COVENANT, “Noel Holcroft” (Michael Caine) is told by enigmatic Swiss banker “Ernst Manfredi” (Michael Lonsdale) that Noel’s father, a notorious Nazi, left him a $4 billion fortune to be used to make amends for the Nazis’ horrible crimes. This money is the product of a covenant between Holcroft’s father and two other Nazi officers who supposedly turned on Hitler in the final days of the war. The terms of the covenant dictate that Holcroft must locate the eldest offspring of the others to access the vast sum, but as the only British-born American citizen of the trio, he will be in charge.

Michael Caine and Michael Lonsdale in THE HOLCROFT COVENANT

John Frankenheimer directed this 1985 thriller, which was based on a Robert Ludlum novel. The score by Stanislas Syrewicz has not had a release. The film was a bust at the box office, taking in only $400,000 in the U.S.

 Posted:   Sep 26, 2020 - 12:33 AM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

In THE NAME OF THE ROSE, Sean Connery plays a progressive and rebellious Benedictine monk, “William of Baskerville,” who is sent with his aide,” Adso von Melk” (Christian Slater), to a Northern Italian monastery to participate in a theological conference. When they arrive, they discover that a monk has recently died after falling from the top of a seminary. William is sharp and senses a cover-up from the shifty-eyed Abbott (Michael Lonsdale). His application of sharp logic and deduction uncovers a plot to hide a library of outlawed books by the ultra-conservative monastic order.

F. Murray Abraham, Christian Slater, and Michael Lonsdale in THE NAME OF THE ROSE

Jean-Jacques Annaud directed the 1986 film. James Horner’s score was released by Virgin and Teldec. The film grossed a below-average $7.2 million in the U.S.

 Posted:   Sep 26, 2020 - 10:30 AM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

In THE REMAINS OF THE DAY, butler "James Stevens" (Anthony Hopkins) has sacrificed body and soul to his service in the years leading up to World War II. He realizes too late how misguided his loyalty was to his lordly employer “Lord Darlington” (James Fox). Emma Thompson, as the housekeeper “Miss Kenton,” becomes Stevens’ nemesis, unafraid to defy his authority, too often ready to tease his eccentricities and, strangely, equally as much an individual.

While the Stevens/Kenton relationship is ongoing, Lord Darlington is frequently entertaining politicians and aristocrats who lean, as he does, toward placating the Nazis in efforts to avoid another war. He first dismisses two Jewish servants (Emma Lewis and Joanna Joseph) because “larger issues are at stake.” The French envoy, “Dupont D’Ivry” (Michael Lonsdale), is mostly concerned with his sore feet and delivers half-hearted pledges of peace toward the Germans.

Michael Lonsdale and Anthony Hopkins in THE REMAINS OF THE DAY

James Ivory directed the 1993 drama. Richard Robbins' score was released by Angel Records. Although THE REMAINS OF THE DAY did not come close to cracking the top 50 films at the box office for 1993, it still grossed a respectable $23 million in the U.S.

 Posted:   Sep 26, 2020 - 11:23 AM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

One of the obsessive speculations in American history is whether Thomas Jefferson, in the years before he became President, had an affair with (and fathered a child with) his 15-year-old slave Sally Hemings. JEFFERSON IN PARIS follows Jefferson (Nick Nolte) to France, where he is the U.S. ambassador to the court of Louis XVI (Michael Lonsdale), following the death of his wife. We see his friendships and flirtations with the French, as well as his relationship with his daughters (Gwyneth Paltrow and Estelle Eonnet) and slaves from home, especially Sally (Thandie Newton), against the backdrop of the beginning of the French Revolution.

James Ivory directed the film, his second and last with Michael Lonsdale. At the time of the 1995 film's release, Lonsdale, who plays Louis XVI, was 64. At the time of his execution, Louis was 39. Richard Robbins’ score was released by Angel Records. JEFFERSON IN PARIS generated an anemic U.S. box office of $2.5 million.

 Posted:   Sep 26, 2020 - 12:44 PM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

In NELLY AND MR. ARNAUD, “Nelly” (Emmanuelle Beart) is in her late twenties and married to a man (Charles Berling) who has failed to evolve into the husband and lover she wanted in her life -- he is an unemployed and self-absorbed loner who rarely walks out of their tiny Parisian apartment. Nelly has tried her best to save their relationship, but now they are also on the verge of a complete financial collapse. “Pierre Arnaud” (Michel Serrault) is in his sixties and financially secure. He lives alone but routinely talks to his ex-wife who has settled down in Geneva and has a drastically different lifestyle. The only other person that Pierre sees and talks to is an old friend and business associate, “Dolabella” (Michael Lonsdale), who has a serious gambling problem.

Claude Sautet directed and co-wrote this 1995 drama. A five-minute suite from Philippe Sarde’s score appeared on a 2002 Sarde/Sautet compilation CD from Universal France. Although foreign language films had been declining at the U.S. box office for several decades, the film still produced a gross of $1 million.

 Posted:   Sep 26, 2020 - 1:18 PM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

Working from the recommendations of a never-seen wheelchair-bound man, five specialists, i.e., RONIN, have been brought together in a Paris warehouse by Irish tactical strategist “Dierdre” (Natascha McElhone) with the promise of a job. Detail-oriented “Sam” (Robert De Niro) may or may not have studied at the CIA to master elite covert operations, while gravel-voiced “Vincent” (Jean Reno) is a home-grown French operative who can get anything for anybody. “Gregor” (Stellan Skarsgård) probably learned electronic communication from the KGB, while weapons expert “Spence” (Sean Bean) and driver “Larry” (Skipp Sudduth) apparently come from less pedigreed backgrounds.

Their mission? Steal a distinctively shaped silver case chained to the wrist of someone. As they pursue the mysterious case from Nice to Arles and back to Paris, cautious bonds begin to form, and each man's character is glimpsed. It is only after the arrival of Dierdre's handler “Seamus” (Jonathan Pryce) that things begin to spin out of control, involving the mysterious “Jean-Pierre” (Michel Lonsdale) and the larcenous Russian impresario “Mikhi” (Feodor Atkine) in a furious scramble to possess the case and stay alive

Michael Lonsdale in RONIN

John Frankenheimer directed the 1998 crime drama. RONIN was Michael Lonsdale’s third and last film with the director. Elia Cmiral’s score was released by Varese Sarabande. The $13 million production found its way into the top 50 box office grossers of the year with a $41.6 million U.S. take.

 Posted:   Sep 26, 2020 - 2:23 PM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

After Palestinian terrorists infiltrate the MUNICH Olympic Village in 1972, taking Israeli athletes hostage, a shoot-out at the airport results in the deaths of several terrorists and all the athletes. Stung by the event, Israel sends a secret Mossad team into Europe to find the leaders and perpetrators and to assassinate them all, led by agent “Avner” (Eric Bana), under the control of Case Officer “Ephraim” (Geoffrey Rush). “Steve” (Daniel Craig), “Carl” (Ciaran Hinds), “Robert” (Mathieu Kassovitz) and “Hans” (Hanns Zischler) make contact with the mysterious “Louis” (Mathieu Amalric) who helps them track down their targets one by one. Michael Lonsdale is “Papa”, who runs his 'business of death', from his kitchen.

Steven Spielberg directed this 2005 drama. French actors Mathieu Kassovitz, Michael Lonsdale, Mathieu Amalric, Marie-Josée Croze, and Valeria Bruni Tedeschi dubbed themselves in the French-language version of the film. John Williams’ score was released by Decca.

 Posted:   Sep 26, 2020 - 3:17 PM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

In 2006, Milos Forman directed and co-wrote the biopic, GOYA'S GHOSTS, in which Spanish painter Francisco Goya (Stellan Skarsgård) faces a scandal involving his muse (Natalie Portman), who is labeled a heretic by a monk (Javier Bardem). Goya also runs afoul of the Inquisitor General (Michael Lonsdale), who believes that his paintings are heretical and represent everything that's wrong with Spain.

Michael Lonsdale in GOYA’S GHOSTS

Forman cast Natalie Portman after noticing her likeness to the girl in Goya's painting "Milkmaid of Bordeaux." Forman cast Randy Quaid as the King of Spain after seeing his work as Tom Parker in the television miniseries ELVIS (2005). Forman phoned Quaid, saying, "You are a great actor. You must be my King or I must repaint Goya". Quaid accepted.

When asked why a film about such a quintessentially Spanish artist was made in English, the director replied "I don't speak Spanish." José Nieto provided the unreleased score for the film.

GOYA'S GHOSTS did not open in the U.S. until 2007. The $50 million production grossed only $1 million in America and a total of $9.45 million worldwide. GOYA'S GHOSTS was Milos Forman's last significant film. He would make one more feature, a 2009 Czech musical called A WALK WORTHWHILE, before retiring from directing at age 77.

 Posted:   Sep 26, 2020 - 4:25 PM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

AGORA is set in a 4th century Egypt ruled by Rome, where “Hypatia” (Rachel Weisz) is a noblewoman of Alexandria. The daughter of “Theon” (Michael Lonsdale), curator of the great Library of Alexandria, she teaches at the Platonist school at the Library. While she also teaches philosophy and mathematics, it is astronomy and physics that are her passions. Her pupils “Orestes” (Oscar Isaac) and “Synesius” (Rupert Evans) would dearly like to become her passion, as would her slave “Davus” (Max Minghella). But Hypatia rejects them all, preferring to channel her energies into discovery rather than into pleasing a man.

Michael Lonsdale and Rachel Weisz in AGORA

Alejandro Amenábar directed and co-wrote the 2009 film. Dario Marianelli’s score was released only in Spain, by Warner Music. The $70 million historical epic barely had a U.S. release in 2010, and grossed well under $1 million. Overall, the film took a big loss, with a worldwide gross of only $40 million.

 Posted:   Sep 26, 2020 - 10:36 PM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

Set in Algeria in 1996 and based on a true story, OF GODS AND MEN focuses on a group of Trappist monks who live in a community comprised of both Christians and Muslims, and into which they seem to be well integrated. They act as spiritual advisers to their flock, but also have a strong relationship with prominent members of the Muslim community. When a group of Islamic extremists show up at their door late at night, demanding that the monks provide them with medicine to help an injured comrade, the broader political and religious turmoil in the country becomes terrifyingly specific for the monks. They are confronted with a decision which is as simple to describe as it is impossible to decide; should they stay, despite the risk they face, or should they leave?

Lambert Wilson is Brother “Christian,” the Prior of the monastery. He resents the intrusion of the warring factions on the monks' work, though his decision to stick it out in the isolated mountains causes him constant anguish. Olivier Rabourdin as “Christophe” is riven with doubt. Brother “Luc” (Michael Lonsdale) has seen it all - literally. During Algeria's war of liberation in the Fifties, Luc was taken prisoner by the FLN, only to be released when they realized that Dr. Luc Dochier was treating Algerians - both FLN fighters and civilians.

Jacques Herlin and Michael Lonsdale in OF GODS AND MEN

Xavier Beauvois directed and co-wrote the 2010 film. The film has no credited musical score. The French film did well in U.S. art houses, with a $4 million gross. It was a bigger hit in France, and finished with a world-wide take of $40 million. The film won the French César Award for Best Film, and Michael Lonsdale received the award for Best Supporting Actor.

 Posted:   Sep 27, 2020 - 1:59 PM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

OF GODS AND MEN was the last of Michael Lonsdale’s films to receive any kind of meaningful U.S. distribution. Lonsdale was one of the great French character actors, who reportedly started acting because he thought it would be the one way to be all the different people he wanted to be but couldn't in one lifetime. And so, we have a lifetime of his work, and his characters, preserved on film. Farewell, Michael.

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