I think that the best way to end this Sunday would be to write a tribute to my 7th favourite actor, the one and only Burt Lancaster. I really love this classic actor and, today, November 2, we celebrate his birthday.
After working in a circus, Burt was already 32 when he started a brilliant film career. His first movie was The Killers (1946) directed by Robert Siodmak. After that, he played in many other great movies: From Here to Eternity, Vera Cruz, The Professionals, Elmer Gantry (he won the Best Actor’s Oscar for this one), Sweet Smell of Success, The Leopard, Airport and much more.
The first Burt Lancaster’s film I saw was The Unforgiven directed by John Hutson in 1961. This film also stars Audrey Hepburn and Lilian Gish. This western made me want to watch more Burt Lancaster’s films. Talking of Westerns, Burt was a real western’s actor. After The Unforgiven, I had the chance to see him in Vera Cruz, Gunfight at OK Corral, The Scalphunters and The Rainmaker.
Talking about The Rainmaker (Joseph Anthony, 1956), I have to say that my favourite Burt Lancaster’s performance is the one in this film. Ok, I haven’t seen Elmer Gantry yet but, in The Rainmaker, he is just brilliant. The way he moves and expresses himself with such energy is just wonderful to watch. This film also stars Katharine Hepburn, Earl Holliman, Lloyd Bridge and Wendell Corey. I especially love the first scene. Burt’s monologue is so captivating!
If The Rainmaker is my favourite Burt Lancaster’s performance, my favourite Burt Lancaster’s movie is the masterpiece From Here to Eternity directed by Fred Zinnemann in 1953. This is the kind of movie I can watch forever and never get tired of it. It’s just great. Of course, we all remember this famous kissing scene on the beach between Burt and Deborah Kerr. One of the most famous love scenes in cinema’s history. The script was brilliant and so were the actor’s performances: Burt Lancaster, Deborah Kerr, Montgomery Clift, Donna Reed and Frank Sinatra.
I love Burt Lancaster yes, because of his talent, but also because he was someone very unique. He had this thing that makes him different from the other actors. It was maybe his famous smile, but I think it was also his gaze. I have always noticed that the way Burt Lancaster was acting with his eyes was very special. Burt Lancaster could be funny, he could be dramatic, he could be mean. He could be one of the greatest actors of his generation or of all times! And he was!
Burt Lancaster was not only an actor, he also was a good person. He had good tastes: he loved to play piano, read and drawing and also had a beautiful singing voice. We also remember Burt Lancaster for being one of those actors who fight for American civil rights. He attended “The March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom” in 1963 with some other famous actors: Sidney Poitier, Charlton Heston, Marlon Brando and Harry Belafonte. He was also one of the first actors with Elizabeth Taylor to fight against the AIDS, this terrible disease.
As you can see, Burt Lancaster was someone that deserves to be remembered for many good reasons. Happy birthday Burt Lancaster!