Saturday, December 5, 2015

#SaturdayMatinee: Papillon starring Steve McQueen & Dustin Hoffman ... Scripted by Trumbo


Trumbo, in theaters now, is about the outspoken blacklisted writer Dalton Trumbo. Todays Saturday Matinee is the Dalton Trumbo-scripted 1973 film Papillon starring the late, oh so great, Steve McQueen as Henri Charierre—aka Papillon for a butterfly tattoo on his chest—an innocent man convicted of murder and sent to Devil’s Island for life and Dustin Hoffman as fellow prisoner Dega. 



Our friend Roger Ebert didn’t much care for it, giving Papillon 2 out 4 stars, calling it “an expensive, exhaustive, 150-mintue odyssey that doesn’t so much conclude as cross the finish line and collapse. It has been outfitted with expensive stars and a glossy production, but it doesn’t really make us care. When Steve McQueen finally escapes from Devil’s Island we’re happy more for ourselves than for him: Finally we can leave, too.” 



So why bother taking some of your precious Saturday hours to watch the movie? Because seeing those expensive stars together on screen isn’t something you can do everyday. Er, well actually it is, Papillon is available to stream on iTunes, GooglePlay, Amazon, YouTube and Vudu.



But seriously ... the film, which was well received by other critics and films fans has grown in stature over the years. There’s a remake in the works and it’s considered to be one of Steve McQueen’s last great roles, The Towering Inferno being one of them. McQueen died 7 years later.  




Papillon is also one of Trumbo’s last scripts. According to the TCM website Trumbo actually appears in the film in a brief cameo as the prison camp commandant. 



They note that Dustin Hoffman ‘modeled his character of Dega on the writer, later telling an interview, "He's a real feisty man and he's got a combination of toughness and sophistication and integrity that I felt were right for Dega....So I said, why didn't he write the character of himself, so to speak?" And that is exactly what Trumbo did.’ 


Released in 1973, Papillon was based on the memoir by Henri Charrière. Lorenzo Semple Jr, credited as a co-writer on some other awesome 70’s films like The Parallax View, The Drowning Pool and Three Days of the Condor is also credited for this script. Who wrote what and how much? You’d have to take that up with the WGA.

The legendary Jerry Goldsmith received one of his many (18) Oscar nominations for the score.

Here's the trailer ...

#Papillon    #SaturdayMatinee   #Trumbo

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