Sunday, June 2, 2013


Last week I bookmarked a piece on Martin Landau, fully intending to write a blog posting, but for whatever reason, I had forgotten to do anything with it: Toronto Sun entertainment columnist Bruce Kirkland wrote a story on the veteran actor's memories of working on director Joseph Mankiewicz's 1963 epic/epic-opus Cleopatra...

"Martin Landau, 'Cleopatra' survivors"

Due to a massive cut in the film's running time, as ordered by Darryl F. Zanuck, the legendary head of 20th Century Fox, many of Landau's scenes were left on the cutting room floor (as was the case for other actors in the production).

Cleopatra is one of the few films I own on DVD, but as much as I like the flick, especially its magnificent opulence, my favourite cinema-take on the famous Queen of the Nile is probably Carry On Cleo (1964).

The recently restored 243-minute version of Cleopatra was released on Blu-ray last Tuesday.

I've long been a fan of Martin Landau's work. One of his peak performances, no doubt, was as "Leonard" in Alfred Hitchcock's 1959 cracker North By Northwest. One of his weakest roles -- notice I said "roles" and not "performances" -- was that of "John Koenig" in the television series Space: 1999 (1975-1977). As much as I like Landau, I think he was miscast in this show. (Series co-producer Sylvia Anderson felt the same way; as a matter of fact, her first pick was Robert Culp -- a great choice, in my opinion.)

History was set, however, and the fact is Martin Landau did his best to carry Space: 1999. The series does continue to have a following and there is the odd convention. One such recent get-together of 1999 fans, "Alpha 2012", was held in Burbank, California, back in September of 2012. I mention this mainly because Landau made a surprise appearance (after originally having to cancel on the event's organizers).

Here is a short video called "Space:1999 - Alpha:2012 Convention Highlights"...

No comments: