Session Ten: Montgomery Clift documentary (work-in-progress session)

In this work-in-progress session, filmmakers Robert A. Clift and Hillary Demmon will present and show extracts from their forthcoming documentary project, which scrutinizes the popular image of Clift’s uncle, classic Hollywood film star Montgomery Clift.

Tuesday 27 March 2018, 13:00

Birkbeck Cinema: FREE event [book here]

The screening will be followed by a conversation between the filmmakers Robert A. Clift, Hillary Demmon and Essay Film Festival director Dr. Michael Temple.

Classic Hollywood film star Montgomery Clift is largely credited with bringing a new, vulnerable style of acting to Hollywood, crafting characters with an emotional range that defied prior conventions of masculinity and paved the way for a new generation of actors that included Marlon Brando and James Dean. He was also one of the first stars to reject the seven-year contract in the studio system, asserting his independence to choose scripts and directors. Best known for films like A Place in the SunFrom Here to EternityRed River and Judgment at Nuremberg, Monty worked with some of the most famous names of his time: actors Elizabeth Taylor, John Wayne, Marilyn Monroe, and Frank Sinatra; and directors Fred Zinneman, William Wyler, George Stevens, Alfred Hitchcock, Elia Kazan and John Huston.

In the public imagination, however, Clift’s influence on Hollywood tends to be overshadowed by a focus on his personal life. Popular written and televised biographies have established Clift as a brooding, closeted gay star whose “inner torment” drove him to addiction and “the longest suicide in show business.” This forthcoming documentary from Clift’s nephew Robert A. Clift and Hillary Demmon interrogates that narrative and considers alternative understandings of the actor’s life and work.

This first-person essay film follows the memories of family, friends and loved ones, and delves into a rich archive of materials left behind by both Monty and his brother Brooks Clift.