3 items from 2013
Watching Steve McQueen’s widely acclaimed 12 Years a Slave, you may find yourself wondering why it took so long for someone to film Solomon Northup’s remarkable life story. After all, the dramatic story is based on a memoir that was published way back in 1853. Then you find out that it has been filmed before, by one of America’s most legendary multi-hyphenate artists, the photographer-writer-director-musician Gordon Parks (Shaft, Leadbelly). Produced for public television, Solomon Northup’s Odyssey was broadcast on American Playhouse. (Out-of-print videos of it sell for a lot of money nowadays, but you can stream it on Amazon Instant, under a different title.) As a made-for-tv movie from the mid-eighties, it had a very modest budget and could never come close to the brutality of McQueen’s film. Yet Parks’s film is beautiful in its own right, lacking the ferocious immediacy of McQueen’s work, but »
- Bilge Ebiri
Oscar- and Emmy-nominated producer Marc Merson died Sunday at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. He was 82. Merson is best known for producing the features Doc Hollywood, The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter and Leadbelly. On the TV side he produced several series including Kaz and We’ll Get By and TV movies Riding High and Hickey. He received an Oscar nomination in 1970 for producing the short People Soup, starring Alan Arkin. In the 1960s, he produced a musical version of Shaw’s Androcles And The Lion with songs by Richard Rodgers for NBC and the Emmy-nominated The Love Song Of Barney Kempinski, scripted by Murray Shisgal and starring Arkin, for the ABC Stage 67 series. »
- THE DEADLINE TEAM
Marc Merson, best remembered for producing the feature films “Doc Hollywood,” “The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter” and “Leadbelly,” died Sunday, Sept. 29, at Cedars Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles. The veteran producer of film and television was 82.
The many TV series he produced including “Kaz,” “We’ll Get By,” “The Waverly Wonders,” “Jessica Novak” and “Off the Rack.” In the 1960s, he produced two highly regarded television specials: a musical version of George Bernard Shaw’s “Androcles and the Lion” with songs by Richard Rodgers, and the Murray Schisgal-scripted “The Love Song of Barney Kempinski,” which launched ABC’s “Stage 67″ series.
He is survived by his wife Nina Wilcox Merson; two daughters; seven grandchildren; and two sisters.
- Variety Staff
3 items from 2013
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