"Biography" Burt Lancaster: Daring to Reach (TV Episode 1996) Poster

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A Unique Career Arc
duke102919 October 2013
Burt Lancaster started his storied career as an anti-hero in 40s Film Noir drama and an athletic action hero playing roles that would have gone to Errol Flynn a decade earlier. However, he was savvy enough to realize he couldn't be an action hero forever and wanted to grow as an actor.

He began to alternate his physically demanding, swashbuckling roles like "His Majesty O'Keefe,", "The Flame and the Arrow," "Ten Tall Men," and "The Crimson Pirate," which relied on his training as a circus acrobat, with serious dramas opposite more veteran co-stars like Joan Fontaine in "Kiss the Blood Off My Hands,", Shirley Booth in "Come Back, Little Sheba," Anna Magnani in "The Rose Tattoo," and Katharine Hepburn in "The Rainmaker." All the leading ladies were Oscar winners.

Lancaster usually came off second best to these more experienced performers, but he was learning the craft of screen acting from these seasoned players and expanding his dramatic range while maintaining his original fan base. Ultimately Lancaster evolved into a superb screen actor with an Oscar for "Elmer Gantry" and nominations for his two finest performances in "Birdman of Alcatraz" and "Atlantic City." He continued to keep his legion of fans happy with his more boisterous roles like "The Professionals" and "The Scalphunters." I can't think of another actor with that kind of career arc.
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Good Look at the Actor
Michael_Elliott16 May 2013
Burt Lancaster: Daring to Reach (1996)

*** (out of 4)

Pretty good documentary taking a look at the life and career of Burt Lancaster. The likes of Jeff Corey, Earl Holliman, James Hill, Rhonda Fleming, Sydney Pollack, Ted Post and Virginia Mayo are on hand to tell stories about the actor. The documentary clocks in well under a hour so it's not as definitive as one would hope but I think fans of the actor should have a good time. I think the best aspect is its title because the documentary really does show how brave Lancaster was with the type of roles he was willing to play. As we go through countless pictures in the actor's filmography, one really realizes that he could play just about anything. The film offers up countless clips from his movie and one really remembers just how talented Lancaster was. The cast tells some pretty funny stories about what type of person Lancaster was and especially when it came to working with him and how he'd often play director, which didn't always sit well with the real director. Mayo tells some fun stories as does Post who directed the actor in the late 70s. There's no question that a more detailed documentary is certainly needed but fans of the actor should still enjoy this one.
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