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Making Montgomery Clift Review - A Reveling Documentary Filled with Hollywood Secrets, Lies and Truth

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Making Montgomery Clift, from The Film Collaborative, brings to the screen the story of Montgomery Clift the 1950's Hollywood matinee idol, one of the new leading men who showed strength and weakness, with a hidden tragic secret.

Told by his nephew, Robert Anderson Clift, along with his wife Hillary Demmon, Making Montgomery Clift examines his tormented life, recounting the early days when he was compared to James Dean and Marlon Brando, Hollywood's new kind of leading man sensitive, able to show his weaknesses, emotions and flaws.

Making Montgomery Clift stars  Montgomery Clift, Brooks Clift, Ethel "Sunny" Clift, Patricia Bosworth, Jack Larson, Judy Balaban, Robert Osborne, Eleanor Clift, Lorenzo James, Tucker Tooley, Vincent Newman, Michael Easton, Mollie Gregory, Woody Clift and Eddie Clift.  


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One of the most influential actors in the history of cinema, Montgomery Clift bucked traditions on and off screen, but countless biographies have reduced him to labels like "tragically self-destructive" and "tormented." Nominated for four Academy Awards his secret would be called the slowest suicide in Hollywood. He battled with studio heads and directors in the creative process.

Making Montgomery Clift examines the flawed narratives that have come to define his legacy with his hidden bi-sexuality becoming an overarching theme and until a fall from favor with legendary director John Huston tolerated.

During the filming of Raintree County, which Clift starred in along with Elizabeth Taylor whom  he had also starred with in the film A Place in the Sun, he fell asleep drunk at the wheel and barely survived. He felt the facial wounds added character, others thought it would derail his career. The accident left him dependent on both alcohol and pain killers with possibility some memory recall issues. Clearly he wasn't the same.

Judgement at Nuremberg, a 1961 film starring a virtual Who's Who of Hollywood's elite began Clift's out of favor season. This season is scrutinized as Clift's character is under attack and without actually targeting his sexual orientation, his professionalism becomes the scapegoat.

Drawing on interviews with family and loved ones and a rich collection of unreleased archival materials from Monty and his brother, Brooks Clift, this fresh portrait of the actor's passions, contributions and commitment to living and working in his own way gives one of Hollywood's underappreciated legends his due.

The documentary deals with the blurred boundaries and high on his own hype, a four time academy award nominee, one would have expected some behaviors to be overlooked and at that time, sexual orientation was one of those behaviors not  openly supported. Gay talent was fine and went home to their own home, Clift allegedly engaged in a sex act while spending the night at a director's home.

This was considered taboo and only deepened the rift between Clift and the Hollywood establishment that nurtured, developed and supported him in what seemed like minutes before.

By the time he began Freud: The Secret Passion directed by John Huston, he was embroiled in a lawsuit with Universal Pictures, Clift and his brother, Brooks Clift, a former FBI employee who audiotaped everything as we see in the beginning of the film, Making Montgomery Clift has both archival footage and audio recordings between the brothers.

Making Montgomery Clift, which recently premiered at the Los Angeles Film Festival, genuinely presents a man, a talent, flawed, a new kind of handsome, who went from one of the hottest men in Hollywood, negotiating his own deals, working with A-list women to shunned, rejected by the community that embraced him.


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Making Montgomery Clift is thoroughly engaging and definitely holds the interest. With film footage, archival footage, audiotapes and interviews with Montgomery Clift biographers Robert Anderson Clift and Hillary Demmon present what can be considered a definitive portrayal that doesn't mask his life, lies or behaviors.

Making Montgomery Clift had its US premiere at the Los Angeles Film Festival. No further word on where it can be seen. Although it does have a streaming feel to it. So one would expect Netflix or any of the others to pick it up.

 

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