Edward Montgomery Clift an Indisputably Outstanding Talent
Peter Graves narrates this account of the life and career of Edward Montgomery Clift, whose fine acting talents gain popular and critical acclaim with his rise to legendary status as stage and film star Montgomery Clift.
This begins in Omaha, Nebraska, in September of 1920, with the birth of twins, Roberta Ethel and Edward Montgomery, who is mistakenly listed as Edwin Montgomery on the certificate, to parents, Ethel Fogg Clift and William Brooks Clift, who have an elder son, a little more than one year older, William Brooks Clift Jr., the three of whom Ethel dresses and treats as triplets.
Mother Ethel "Sunny" Clift aspires to the Southern aristocracy, which she maintains forms her heritage, as the marriage of her biological parents is annulled by her father's wealthy family, and so she is given for adoption at birth.
Ethel often takes her "triplets" to Europe to learn the customs of the leisure class, rather than to enroll them in schools, while father, William Sr., works as a banker back in Omaha, to finance this expensive upbringing.
Some of this episode's highlights regarding Montgomery's life beyond his formative years include sketches of some of the great turmoil which he faces in Hollywood and beyond, as he attempts refuge in his Manhattan townhouse during the years of his acting career....
* At age 13, Montgomery makes his Broadway acting debut, and returns to stage for several years to follow.
* Broadway stars Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne take Montgomery under their wing to serve as mentors during his early years in theatre.
* Montgomery becomes a professionally-skilled photographer, taking pictures of many interesting subjects.
* During a trip to Mexico, Montgomery becomes ill, and this marks the beginning of his downfall as prescription pill addiction begins.
* During the early 1940's, wealthy former Broadway star Libby Holman begins to control Montgomery's career, leading to her advice for him to reject certain screen roles in films which have since become Classics.
* On many occasions after his 1948 film debut, Montgomery has spoken of the theatre much more highly than of Hollywood and the film industry, which initially receives his acting talents well.
* To prepare for his role as Father Michael William Logan in "I Confess" (1953), Montgomery enters a Quebec monastery for a year's time, dressing in the robe uniform, while studying the brethren.
* Young actor James Dean reportedly would often telephone Montgomery for advice and friendship.
* During the filming of "Raintree County" (1957), Montgomery is involved in a near-fatal one-vehicle accident in Beverly Hills, California, after exiting a gathering at the residence of Elizabeth Taylor. Friend Kevin McCarthy discovers Montgomery, who requires a great deal of medical attention as a result of the accident.
* Montgomery's health in decline in the aftermath of the unfortunate accident, insurance companies refuse to cover him during films after negative experiences on the set of "Freud" (1962).
* Because studios are no longer taking chances on Montgomery, his friend Elizabeth Taylor offers to front $1,000,000 to insure his presence for his casting in "Reflections in a Golden Eye" (1967). But Montgomery would not have the opportunity to star alongside Elizabeth for this potential film project.
* Under the care of his agent, doctor and lawyer, who collaborate upon assigning a male nurse to guard their distinguished client/patient, Montgomery remains in his Manhattan brown-stone townhouse for the duration.
Interview Guests for this episode consist of Patricia Bosworth (Biographer), Eleanor Clift (Journalist/former sister-in-law), Jeanne Levy (friend), Actresses Andrea King and Hope Lange, Actors Brooks Clift (Brother, 1984 interview), Jack Larson and Kevin McCarthy, Edward Dmytryk (Director), Donald Windham (Playwright), Donald Taradash (Screenwriter), William Tuttle (MGM Makeup Department), Jack Clareman (Attorney), Richard C. Robertiello, M.D. (Psychiatrist), and Doctor Arthur Ludwig (Physician).
Archive footage includes Montgomery Clift with Co-stars, Jennifer Jones, Frank Sinatra, John Wayne and others, as well as audio recordings of Ethel "Sunny" Clift, plus audio recordings of Montgomery Clift.
Film clips include scenes from "The Search" (1948), "Red River" (1948), "The Big Lift" (1950), "A Place in the Sun" (1951), "I Confess" (1953), "From Here to Eternity" (1953), "Stazione Termini" a.k.a. "Indiscretion of an American Wife" (1953), "Raintree County" (1957), "Lonelyhearts" (1958), "The Young Lions" (1958), "Suddenly, Last Summer" (1959), "The Misfits" (1961), "Judgment at Nuremberg" (1961), "Freud" (1962), and "The Defector" (1966), plus a radio interview on "Tex and Jinx Show" (1948), and a television interview on "Hy Gardner Show" (1962).
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