David Mamet won the Pulitzer Prize in Drama for his play/screenplay, Glengarry Glen Ross, a tour de force of brilliant and often profane dialogue. Uploaded by sonypictures.com.
David Mamet is one of the all-time masters of film/stage dialogue. His preference for natural conversation, in which characters often interrupt each other and sentences are left unfinished, has come to be known as “Mamet speak.” He has written fiction, nonfiction, screenplays, and stage plays. He has written and produced. And though his isn’t a household name, he is well respected for his diverse talents.
Alec Baldwin was brilliant in Glengarry Glen Ross. Uploaded by dailyfill.com.
You’ll recognize a few of Mamet’s works, though they aren’t blockbusters. He received the Pulitzer Prize in Drama for the adult play Glengarry Glen Ross, which waas also a remarkable movie. He also received Oscar nominations for The Verdict (Great American Things, Sept. 18, 2009) and Wag the Dog. Other movies he’s responsible for (as screenwriter) include The Untouchables, Ronin, and Hannibal. He’s also directed a couple of small gems: The Spanish Prisoner and State and Main.
I love this description of Mamet from his biography on FilmMakers.com:
Mamet makes few distinctions between working on the stage and the screen; He believes both involve putting the material on its feet and seeing how it plays. With movies, that’s done in the editing room or sometimes on the set. With plays, it’s done during rehearsals. In neither case does he see himself handicapped by being both the writer and the director. “There are two stages,” Mamet says. “First I write the best script I can and then I put on my director’s hat and say, ‘What am I going to do with this piece of crap?'”
De Niro gained 60 pounds (after this poster, obviously) for his role in Raging Bull. Uploaded by deniro.narod.ru.
“You talkin’ to me?” No, Bobby, I was just doing today’s… “You talkin’ to me?” …today’s post, that’s all. Put the gun down, okay? “You talkin’ to me?” Uh, not really… “Well then, who the hell else are you talking to?” Okay, it was a great scene, but… “You talkin’ to me? I’m the only one here.”
I love Robert De Niro. I’ve seen many of his movies, and like Robert Duvall (Great American Thing No. 135) I think he’s incapable of giving a bad performance. Two of his lesser-known roles are my favorites – as Sam in Ronin (1998), probably the best car-chase movie ever, and as bounty hunter Jack Walsh opposite Charles Grodin in Midnight Run (1988).
Uploaded by smh.com.au.
De Niro’s made something of a specialty in playing mobster parts. Let’s see. There’s The Gang Who Couldn’t Shoot Straight, The Godfather: Part II, Once Upon a Time in America, The Untouchables, Goodfellas, Casino, and Analyze This and That. Dese. Dem. Dose. You know if there’s a movie in development about mobsters, the producers will be saying, “I wonder if we can get De Niro.”
He’s been nominated for six Oscars and won two (Raging Bull and The Godfather: Part II). Oh, and De Niro has a new picture coming out next year called Frankie Machine. Guess what part he plays? Yep, he’s a retired mob hit man who’s lured back to the job. What were the chances?
Copyright 2009-2011, Robin G. Chalkley. All material on these pages, and the listing of items as Great American Things, is copyrighted. The exceptions are the photographs and videos, which remain the property of their respective owners.
Header photo used courtesy of Flickr photographer too melo.