The Marathon Man, screenplay by William Goldman
A different version of this note and thoughts on other books are available at:
- https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLEVa4_CsRStSBBDo4uJWT8BSWtTTn0N1E and http://realini.blogspot.ro/
William Goldman has won the Academy Award for best screenplay, for Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.
He has also worked on:
- All the President's Men
- A Bridge Too Far
And many other films
He is the author of a classic book on Hollywood...
- Adventures in the Screen Trade
You can read there about what happened on the set of The Marathon Man, A Bridge Too Far and other movies.
The mean things did by Redford after Butch Cassidy and during the preparation for All the President's Men.
How Redford, Paul Newman, Marlon Brando and James Dean have become stars.
What stars demand...such a lot!
I think the reader of this book is so much more enlightened about The Screen Trade after reading it.
To say from the start, I did not like Marathon Man too much.
The acting is not brilliant.
There is a sense of artificiality, from my angle.
Laurence Olivier is a Titan, but I understand he was really sick when he came to play the supporting role.
And Dustin Hoffman was cruel to him.
It was evident to all those working on the set that The great Olivier was in pain.
And yet, Hoffman wants to walk together and improvise.
Dustin Hoffman we are told is an actor who loves improvisation.
And so they walk and they walk...and they walk.
The feet of Laurence Olivier were swelling.
It is probable that Hoffman wanted to get control and assert his position as the lead actor in front of a Demiurge of acting profession.
As an adage, we learn that another actor, knowing that he has to face Laurence Olivier in another production, could not sleep and had a breakdown, fearing the stature, brilliance of this lord.
For all the reverence, the awe that William Goldman has inspired, I still think that the plot is not excellent in the case of Marathon Man.
Predictable, rather long, the brother who is such a great fighter is killed too easily, the scene with the diamonds being ingested sounds outre to me.
Another revelation from Adventures in the Screen Trade refers to the same Dustin Hoffman.
In a scene, he has to wake up in the middle of the night.
He is scared and looks for a flashlight on the table near the bed.
That is the idea in the script.
Only he does not like it and doesn't want to do it.
He keeps everyone on hold.
His partner is waiting at the door, for one hour or more...
- Why is he fussing so much over this?
- So much Ado About Nothing?
Because he wants his fans to keep that image of a tough man, not given to looking for flashlights...
The superhero, macho, Superman...