Film by Richard Attenborough and what a spectacular movie. How brilliant that Attenborough chose to tell the story of Gandhi who actually started life in South Africa. Who would have known? I read that Attenborough wanted to make this movie for many years, but there were several serious obstacles to overcome. One was, obviously, the financing. Another was finding the right actor (who could 'look' the part, and Accra the movie) to be Gandhi.
When Attenborough 'discovered' Ben Kingsley he knew the film would be made. Ben Kingsley is a UK Shakespearean actor who performed for the National Theater for several years. A man with great acting skills and tremendous passion; his life would never be the same after 'Gandhi'. Kingsley carries the film very well; there is much substance in the story. Through years of conflict we learn how Gandhi's will power is stronger than the British resolve...
A great movie and an enormous achievement by Richard Attenborough (and team).
Marcia and I saw this movie in a quality cinema in central London; she took me there for my birthday, and what a gift it was. Later on I heard about the difficulties around the script writing process. The film carries Ridley Scott's signature; he is a true cinema master, and he tells a powerful story. Turns out Scott was not satisfied with the script and brought a second writer into the process, and even a third.
The writers figured a new set-up: the main character's wife & child had been murdered, as a piece of recent history to the story of the film. This meant that the main character (Maximus, played by Russell Crowe) had no incentive to live; he wanted to give his life while getting justice for his wife & child. This changes the tone and nature of the story drastically, and what a great choice that is. It changed the film from a fantasy action adventure (for a teenage audience) to a existential epic about saving the (Roman) Kingdom from a mad emperor, and facilitating the rise to power of a caring and charismatic new leader. Powerful.
Then, during production, a shocking thing happened: actor Oliver Reed (playing the character of Proximo) died during filming; and not all of his scenes had been filmed. What a huge challenge. The writers had an emergency get-together, watched the out-takes and invented a new sup-plot for the near-ending of the film; it works beautifully. It might even be that this sub-plot, this story 'resolution' is better than what was been written. And what a swan-song from Oliver Reed; he is absolutely terrific in this film, and so is Russell Crowe. Russel Crowe has been in some very interesting movies! Ridley Scott is a very gifted film maker; all of his films are impressive.
Gods and Kings (Ridley Scott director)
Good Will Hunting
Great Expectations (1946, David Lean director)
Great Expectations (1998, Alfonso Cuaron director)
Great Expectations (2012, Mike Newell director)