×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Elaine Stritch at Liberty

Reviews of the legiter "Elaine Stritch at Liberty" left no superlatives on the table -- the show was a tour de force combining comedy, drama, music and a singular life spent committed to the theater. HBO's docu widens the lens to expose even more of Stritch, yet doesn't limn anything not covered in the one-woman show.

Reviews of the legiter “Elaine Stritch at Liberty” left no superlatives on the table — the show was a tour de force combining comedy, drama, music and a singular life spent committed to the theater. HBO’s docu widens the lens to expose even more of Stritch, whether it be historical, pre-performance or in rehearsal, yet doesn’t limn anything not covered in the one-woman show. The richness of the stage work, however, far exceeds anything the filmmakers bring to the docu; funny how a well-written reminiscence can work better than a black-and-white photograph.

In “At Liberty’s” credits, John Lahr is billed as having “constructed” the piece, which Stritch has “reconstructed.” Andy Picheta, Nick Doob, Chris Hegedus and DA Pennebaker have furthered reconstructed the work to show bits of its evolution and Stritch’s timidity away from the footlights. Their best historical addition is footage from the recording of the “Company” cast album; it captures moments of defeat and recuperation that underline Stritch’s determination and commitment.

Enough of the stage show — a Tony winner and a hit in London, Gotham’s Public and on the road — remains untouched in the film, as she covers her resolutely Catholic childhood, her move to New York as an 18-year-old and a handful of romances, including dates with Marlon Brando, Ben Gazzara and Rock Hudson. Hers is a convivial life with consequence — love, drinking, Noel Coward and more drinking take up the bulk of the anecdotes — and the honesty with which she attacks her triumphs and shortcomings remain intact, despite the filmmakers’ embellishments.

Elaine Stritch at Liberty

HBO, Sat.,May 29, 8 p.m.

Production: Filmed in New York and London by HBO in association with the BBC, Iambic Prods., Creative Battery, Zip and Pennebaker-Hegedus Films. Producers, Chris Hunt, Frazer Pennebaker, Rick McKay; associate producers, Walker Lamond, Rebecca Marshall; director, Andy Picheta.

Crew: Camera, Nick Doob, Chris Hegedus, DA Pennebaker; sound, Paul Fournier; editor, Picheta. Reviewed on videocasette, Los Angeles, April 26, 2004. (In Tribeca Film Festival -- Spotlight.) 90 MIN.

More TV

  • Greg KinnearPhoto Call with Greg Kinnear,

    Greg Kinnear Cast in Amazon Comedy Pilot 'Good People' From Lee Daniels, Whitney Cummings

    Greg Kinnear has signed on to star in the Amazon comedy pilot from Lee Daniels and Whitney Cummings, Variety has learned. Kinnear joins previously announced cast members Lisa Kudrow and Cummings, the latter of whom is co-writing the series with Lee Daniels in addition to starring and executive producing. Titled “Good People,” the half-hour project [...]

  • WGA Agency Packaging Fight Placeholder Writer

    Gersh Agency Stirs Ire After Canceling Network Meeting for Former Client

    In a sign of hostility in the war between the WGA and Hollywood’s largest talent agencies, Gersh Agency has come under fire from TV and film writers for canceling a network meeting that it had arranged for a now-former client. Writer Jorge Reyes disclosed the incident in a series of tweets on Monday. Reyes asserted [...]

  • THE DARK CRYSTAL: AGE OF RESISTANCE

    TV News Roundup: 'Dark Crystal' Series at Netflix Sets Summer Premiere Date

    In today’s roundup, Netflix announces the premiere date for “The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance.” DATES “The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance,” the prequel series to the original fantasy film, will premiere on Netflix on Aug. 30. Taron Egerton, Anya Taylor-Joy and Nathalie Emmanuel will voice the three Gelfling heroes, once again portrayed as animated puppets, named Rian, Brea and [...]

  • Reed Morano shot by Celeste Sloman

    Reed Morano, Amazon's 'The Power' Drop Georgia Over Abortion Bill

    Reed Morano has decided to no longer film any scenes from Amazon Studios’ “The Power” in Georgia, following the signing of the state’s anti-abortion bill that would restrict abortions beyond the point of detection of a fetal heartbeat, which typically occurs around six weeks of pregnancy. “The Power” canceled interviews with those working in local [...]

  • Jeff Daniels MSNBC

    Jeff Daniels Says 'It's the End of Democracy' if Trump Gets Re-Elected

    Jeff Daniels took a swipe at President Donald Trump and the GOP during an appearance on MSNBC on Monday. Daniels spoke with Nicolle Wallace on MSNBC about his role as Atticus Finch in the Broadway production of “To Kill a Mockingbird,” a story about racial politics and discrimination in 1930s Alabama, and spent the segment [...]

  • Bryan Cogman

    'Game of Thrones' Alum Bryan Cogman Boards 'Lord of the Rings' Series at Amazon

    Bryan Cogman is trading one iconic fantasy world for another. Cogman, who most recently worked as a writer and co-executive producer on “Game of Thrones,” has signed on to consult on the upcoming “Lord of the Rings” series at Amazon, Variety has learned from sources. He will work alongside the writing team of JD Payne and [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content