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Last Tango in Paris (1972) Poster

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Both Marlon Brando and Maria Schneider admitted that they felt raped by Last Tango in Paris (1972) and refused to speak with director Bernardo Bertolucci ever again.
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According to his autobiography "Brando: Songs My Mother Taught Me," the reason why Marlon Brando refused to do a full frontal nude scene was because his "penis shrank to the size of a peanut on set."
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According to Maria Schneider, the infamous "butter scene" was never in the script and it was improvised at the last minute by Marlon Brando and Bernardo Bertolucci, without consulting her.
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While filming, director Bernardo Bertolucci tried to explain the point of the film to Marlon Brando, suggesting that his character was Bertolucci's "manhood" and that Maria Schneider's character was his "dream girl." Brando later maintained that he had absolutely no idea of what Bertolucci was suggesting or even talking about.
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Maria Schneider said, much later in life, that making this film was her life's only regret, that it "ruined her life," and she considered director Bernardo Bertolucci a "gangster and a pimp."
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This film was banned in Chile for nearly thirty years. It was also banned in its country of origin, Italy, until 1987.
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Marlon Brando improvised most his dialogue for the film because he felt that some of the dialogue was not to his liking.
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After the film's release in Europe, director Bernardo Bertolucci, producer Alberto Grimaldi, Marlon Brando and Maria Schneider were all indicted by a court in Bologna, Italy for making the film under the term "ultalitarian pornography." They were all acquitted of the charge shortly thereafter, with Bertolucci losing his civil rights (including his right to vote) for five years.
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Marlon Brando later admitted in his autobiography "Songs My Mother Taught Me" that after making this film, he vowed to never again become so vulnerable for a role.
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Maria Schneider gave frank interviews in wake of the film's controversy. She claimed that she had slept with fifty men and seventy women, that she was "bisexual completely," and that she used heroin, cocaine and marijuana.
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This film was originally to revolve around a passionate, homosexual relationship, but the idea was scrapped when the French actor for whom the idea was conceived backed out of the film.
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According to Maria Schneider, Marlon Brando's lines were routinely taped to her naked body because of his dyslexia and reluctance to memorize his dialogue.
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As the film was banned in Spain, the town of Perpignan on the French-Spanish border was besieged with visitors crossing the border to see it.
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When informed that Ingmar Bergman had said that this film only made sense if it were about two homosexuals, director Bernardo Bertolucci responded that he accepted all criticisms of his film as valid.
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Director Bernardo Bertolucci shot a scene which showed Marlon Brando's genitals, but explained the following year, "I had so identified myself with Brando that I cut it out of shame for myself. To show him naked would have been like showing me naked."
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The story Paul tells Jeanne about his mother, about how she taught him to appreciate nature, which he illustrates with his reminiscence of his dog, Dutchy, hunting rabbits in a mustard field, is real, based on Marlon Brando's own recollections of his past.
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When Marlon Brando arrived for the first day of shooting, he had on makeup "two centimeters thick," according to director Bernardo Bertolucci. Brando, who had applied his own makeup, did not understand the natural, low-light conditions cinematographer Vittorio Storaro was going to work with to get the look of the film. Bertolucci had to remove much of the make-up from Brando's face with a handkerchief.
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The idea of this movie grew from director Bernardo Bertolucci's own sexual fantasies, stating that he "once dreamed of seeing a beautiful nameless woman on the street and having sex with her, without ever knowing who she was."
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Such was the controversy over Last Tango in Paris (1972) that the print was smuggled into the U.S. for its debut in a diplomatic pouch from Italy. The film was due to have its premiere at the New York Film Festival, where tickets were going for $150.
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Transamerica Corporation insisted on having their name removed from the United Artists logo, as they were so offended by the film's content.
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The original screening version of this film was over four hours long.
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An art lover, director Bernardo Bertolucci drew inspiration from the works of the British artist Francis Bacon for the opening sequence of cast and crew credits.
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This film created considerable controversy in Canada. The Ontario Board of Film Censors passed a cut version of the film to be shown in theaters. Upon release, the board received over one hundred complaints from the public from the Toronto area alone. In Nova Scotia, the film was rejected outright and the film board attempted to lay obscenity charges on the distributor.
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Warren Beatty turned down the role of Paul.
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During the publicity for the film's release, director Bernardo Bertolucci said Maria Schneider developed an "Oedipal fixation with Marlon Brando." Schneider said Marlon Brando sent her flowers after they first met, and "From then on, he was like a daddy." In a later interview, Schneider denied this, saying, "Brando tried to be very paternalistic with me, but it really wasn't any father-daughter relationship."
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Jean-Louis Trintignant and Dominique Sanda were both approached for the leading roles. Sanda withdrew because she was pregnant.
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When Marlon Brando was asked what the movie was about during his 1979 Playboy Magazine interview, he responded, "Bernardo Bertolucci's analysis."
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Alain Delon and Jean-Paul Belmondo turned down the role of Paul.
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The movie's line, "Go, get the butter." was voted at #67 of "The 100 Greatest Movie Lines" by Premiere in 2007.
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This film was chosen by Premiere Magazine as one of the "100 Movies That Shook the World," in their October 1998 issue. The list ranked the "most daring movies ever made."
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Argentine Tango composer Astor Piazzolla was going to write the music for this film and had actually submitted demos to director Bernardo Bertolucci. Bertolucci instead chose famed jazz musician Gato Barbieri as the film's composer, because he felt that his saxophone playing would give the film a more rich and sultry feel for the film.
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Almost ten years after its original release, United Artists re-released this film in 1982 with an R-rating, and not the infamous X-rating it had obtained in 1972. The film was only a couple of minutes shorter than the preferred director's cut.
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The film is included on Roger Ebert's "Great Movies" list.
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In protest against the film only receiving a minor cinema cut in the U.K., a private prosecution was brought against United Artists in January 1974 by 69-year-old Edward Shackleton, a Salvation Army member and leading member of the executive committee of the pro-censorship Festival of Light party. Although the case went as far as the Old Bailey, it collapsed when it was ruled that the Obscene Publications Act did not, at that time, apply to films.
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When Paul puts on the Colonel's kepi (the French military hat that had belonged to Jeanne's father) and says to Jeanne, "How do you like your hero? Over easy or sunny side up?" Marlon Brando, the author of most of the film's English dialogue, is using egg imagery because the gold braid on an officer's hat is referred to as "scrambled eggs" in the U.S. military. Brando attended Shattuck Military Academy (from which he was booted out) and failed his physical for the U.S. Army during World War II, due to a bum knee hurt playing high school football.
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In a poll of favorite films sponsored by the AFI's "Private Screenings," actor Alec Baldwin chose Last Tango in Paris (1972) as his favorite film.
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Catherine Deneuve was considered for the role of Jeanne.
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This was one of the first films to feature the use of the word "cunt". It was used for the first time in mainstream cinema two years earlier in Mike Nichols' Carnal Knowledge (1971) but it was not a word in common usage when Last Tango in Paris (1972) was made.
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Included among the "1,001 Movies You Must See Before You Die," edited by Steven Schneider.
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There was just one take of the controversial anal rape scene.
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Two-hour queues to see the film when it first opened in Paris were quite normal.
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Included among the American Film Institute's 1998 list of the 400 movies nominated for the Top 100 Greatest American Movies.
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Pauline Kael's rave review of the film was heavily featured in the advertising in the USA.
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A favorite film of Robert Altman's.
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The only film that year to be Oscar nominated for Best Director, but not Best Picture.
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Sylvia Kristel tested for the role of Jeanne, but failed the audition.
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