Danny Houston, Robert Mitchum, Walter Walter Huston discussed on Maltin On Movies


Hi Leonard Maltin and I'm Jesse Molten and you're listening to the mall movies are great pleasure to have our guest today Danny Houston. Thank you for having me well. It's it's a treat to have you here because we're fans. We're unabashed fans who said that before but we tend to have the people on this show that we really admire you are one of them and you've done such extraordinary work as an actor. I just asked you off. Mike like because I didn't want to embarrass myself by not knowing if you ever had formal training as an actor you said no no I actually haven't had the the great luxury and privilege to observe wonderful actress at work peering over my father's shoulder father's formidable formidable laws for actually actually he's a giant. It's impossible impossible to do that but but yeah it was just I was just talking the other day about my memories of of being a young kid in the Atlas Mountains of Morocco watching my father direct man would became and you know for a kid were the blue people there Michael Caine Sean Connery Christopher plummer and and it was just an exciting adventures kipling esque time and and and to see see these guys at work was just incredible treats but also I observe Keanae. Did you always know or was it faded that you would be in this business. There was a sense of doom and and but I I saw my father at times. Believe it or not struggle. you know the amount of money involved to make a film also a circus act around founded Maybe the sometimes the nonsense so so I I love to paint. I like to draw draw and I went to I went. I resisted I I went to I went to art school and I think it was my first source second year in art school I we then went to WHO opening gallery openings and as as part of the course and I I saw people drinking warm white wine and that there was just as much nonsense around the the art world Egos et CETERA CETERA and how to market yourself and and and so finally relented and I went to film school where I went to the London international the National Film School and my first job as as a as a director was was it was for my father he was watching the the tests that they did for credit sequence were filmed that he may call under the volcano and Wonderful Malcolm lowry Albert Finney and and he there were these papers shade dolls from day of the dead and they were very static struggling to how how to make how to make it more exciting to make the shots more exciting and I used to make him depending what country we're in. I'd make him a drink. Drink when we were looking at Daly's at Russia's and in this particular case it was Kubilius Rum and coke and I brought brought him his drink uncanny and he said no no no the coke should only colored the rum and and then he looked at me and he said Danny they might you be interested in directing the title sequence and and it was put the fear of God in me and but of course I said yes and he handed over Gabrielle Figura one of the Great Cinema just gave me hard up again and I shot the sequencing Quinson much to my delight he liked it and Mr Figueroa. Mr Figaro was I as Gabrielle because my father just discovered a steady case at any to come over here. Michelle look look at that now. What is it? It's a steady cam. Wow how is yeah. I don't have to lay tracks as cameras attached the man I can just I don't have to waste all that time and and it was a complicated shopped the it started in the theater and then it came out through a market and into a square with bright light and I said to figure out so how do you how do you light it from darkness to light. How do you do it and Gabriel said it's all a question of balance and and that's the lesson I got from one of the Great Masters assault question a balance but give us a real shot the sequence for me. I I was able to get the camera in there move around these these dolls and and and yeah much to my delight liked it. Oh boy how would you have been I would have been in my early twenties. uh-huh what an Opportunity Man oh man now remember the first film set you visited. It probably is. I'm I'm Mike my understanding of fiction and reality are a little confused in all honesty but I like to say if if one of my father's films measuring stick that I was conceived during a film you may call Freud and born a during the Bible a completely honest and TV them on night of the Iguana but but my my my first the first film that I saw in the editing bay being made was the Bible and and the film starts and for all of us. I guess our our our parents are godlike for for a while at least but in this particular case the the film starts and I hear my father's voices in the beginning God my father is God yeah and then the the film continues and he plays Noah and there he is walking walking into the Ark with all these Animals side-by-side i Alec Wow dad's Noah and then my mother turns up in the film and She's playing Hager and she's she's in the desert dying of thirst. I she's been injected by Abraham and and she's that I have Thurston then she but she has a kid and the kid wasn't me I house thoroughly and and I've been confused ever since my goodness and just to just to sort of sort all of this out so everybody everybody understands and your blood lines are extremely a elite. I think that's the best word for your grandfather was the great Walter Walter Huston one of the finest actors whoever trump the boards as we say and who won his Academy Award as best supporting actor in your father's movie the treasure of the Sierra Madre in a role that your father wrote specifically for him to play and then I father won an Oscar that same year for making the movie so they it was the first ever father's son duo to walk away with ostrich the same evening and and rightly so. Has It ever happened again. I don't think I wouldn't I don't know I don't think the same picture but of course my sister Estrin Jellicoe won an academy award for honor and your your father was he nominated for for that was nominated didn't win right so they came close yeah. They came close. I I remember I remember my father talking about Humphrey Bogart and saying they're having a conversation that he told me he said that he bogey were discussing whole award thing and and how those sort of vulgarity to it and cheapness to having to sell yourself in that way ah but then when when Bogart one his his academy award my father said he seemed inordinately proud yes you can you can be flippant about it until you're GonNa win exactly exactly and your grandmother. Walter's wife was a formidable actress. Yes L. Yes of course my sister Angelica and now my nephew Jack yes which is a tremendous family business. I hoped it sag gives you guys like extra stor credit somewhere to have that many of you in their family rate discount or something I think I wish I could be absolutely picture but I think I attended a press conference for Mr North film that you directed from from a screenplay that was sort of rewritten by your father yes and that's I'm looking my my year nineteen eighty eight and which has now thirty years ago if we can believe that and he was originally to star in it as I understand the he was unable to do yeah he called me on his way to Newport Rhode Island where we filmed it and he said Danny if I if I ever were to fall. Ill are they were to happen. I'd like to have something just to stand by just in case I I saw I'm I'm sure I'm sure you'll be fine but short. If it makes you feel that Isa I'll give Robert Mitchum McCall and so he he called Robert Mitchum and and had him stand by sadly he did become it'll and checked into the hospital at Newport in Newport Rhode Island Island and Robert Mitchum heroically turned up and set to my follow John I'm sorry about the circumstances and dances but when I'm here I'm delighted to be here and when you left the room my father was an intensive care. Basically my father lowered in his oxygen. Mask looked at me and said bigs hoax I ever pulled this. I think talks about the the generosity of the man you know the the the the largeness of spirits and and showing that that that little bravado and at that point speaks volumes yeah. They're so how many there are a lot of terms my dad nigh are annoyed by only because they're used so frequently icon you no legend these people say it for everything you know but truly your family. You've got icons icons and legends and it's always interesting to then here about the human side because especially in my house growing up with this one on you know again. The name Houston loomed large so to then hear stories when someone talks about something personally hell even just saying so Robert Mitchum in came through so nice. I'm sure every kid when they're making their first movie has Lauren Bacall Harry Dean Stanton David Warner Virginia Matson Mary Stuart masterson and Anthony Edwards and Anthony Edwards lead the lead role in the lead role now. This has to be the dumbest most obvious question I could ask but were you intimidated working with these people and if so how did you work through through that well because you're going to direct them now in a in a story and you're not doing it for a studio. You're doing doing independently on a location so there are other pressures involved as well. Yeah I mean I mean the the intimidation really came from my life father. I mean just as a kid growing up if if you were summoned you would literally shake in your in your boots and and then everything was okay but that was that was that sort of moment of extreme fear and and these guys that were working on the films that I was making whilst my father was alive had such great respect for my father and and and they were keen on on helping me out so I never really felt any any any power play but wonderful yeah it is. I directed my father. in a in a an hour long film called Mr Corbett's Ghost that I made for English television and he played the collective soul's typecast as and and we we started the I think it was one of the first days of filming roaming and my father got her line..

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