A big helping of the Big Easy
Filmmakers have long been attracted to the party city and its dark shadows.
By PHILIP BOOTH, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published February 27, 2003
[Photo: Columbia Pictures]
Ellen Barkin, left, and Dennis Quaid star in The Big Easy.
Fat Tuesday marks the grand finale to Mardi Gras season in New Orleans. But the tourists will keep on coming over the next few months, for special events including the French Quarter Festival (April 10-13) and the Jazz and Heritage Festival (April 24-May 4).
For those bound for the Big Easy, or content to appreciate the festivities from afar, here's an abbreviated list of movies related to New Orleans and/or Louisiana.
THE BIG EASY (1987) -- Dennis Quaid is a laid-back homicide detective wooing an uptight assistant district attorney (Ellen Barkin) in this tale of drug violence and police corruption. The cast also includes Ned Beatty and John Goodman (a Jazz Fest fan).
PRETTY BABY (1978) -- Brooke Shields created controversy as an underage prostitute married to a photographer (Keith Carradine) in 1917, in the first American film from French director Louis Malle; his next one was Atlantic City. The Columns Hotel is among the New Orleans locales captured by cinematographer Sven Nykvist. Susan Sarandon co-stars.
KING CREOLE (1958) -- Elvis does the Big Easy, as a pop star troubled by his former life as a juvenile delinquent. Walter Matthau is one of the bad guys, and the best-forgotten "Turtles, Berries and Gumbo" is among the nine Elvis songs on the score.
BELIZAIRE, THE CAJUN (1986) -- Armand Assante plays a faith healer in love with the Cajun wife (Gail Youngs) of a white vigilante in this love story set in the 1800s, an art-house flick made on the cheap in Lafayette. The cast also includes Robert Duvall and Will Patton.
BLAZE (1989) -- Paul Newman is notorious Louisiana governor Earl Long, whose affair with stripper Blaze Starr (Lolita Davidovich) created a major scandal in the 1950s. Cinematographer Haskell Wexler landed an Oscar nomination for his work.
KINGFISH: A STORY OF HUEY P. LONG (1995) -- Earl Long's older brother, the deeply corrupt Huey, is played by John Goodman in a made-for-television movie that opens with the one-time governor and U.S. Senator's assassination in 1935.
ALL THE KING'S MEN (1949) -- Broderick Crawford made his commercial breakthrough as a character loosely based on Huey P. Long in this acclaimed tale of the former country boy's ascension to power. The film, based on the Robert Penn Warren book, won an Academy Award for best picture, and Crawford and Mercedes McCambridge took home Oscars, too.
A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE (1951) -- Marlon Brando bellows "Stella" and acts the brute in this adaptation of Tennessee Williams' play about an aging Southern belle (Vivien Leigh), her plain sister (Kim Hunter) and the latter's cruel husband (Brando). Acting Oscars went to Leigh, Hunter and Karl Malden, and the movie, directed by Elia Kazan, landed at No. 98 on the American Film Institute's Top 100 list.
LIVE AND LET DIE (1973) -- James Bond (Roger Moore's debut in the role) encounters the usual world-threatening crazies and some abhorrent stereotyping in a thriller that makes references to voodoo. The boat chases, and Paul McCartney's Oscar-winning title song, are memorable, though. Yaphet Kotto is heroin magnate Mr. Big, and Jane Seymour is the sexy Solitaire.
NO MERCY (1986) -- Richard Gere and Kim Basinger drag themselves all over New Orleans and environs, and the Louisiana bayou territory in this tale of a Chicago cop (Gere) in love with the stunning companion (Basinger) of a vicious Cajun crime honcho (Jeroen Krabbe).
ANGEL HEART (1987) -- Director Alan Parker combines film noir and supernatural thriller in this story about a gone-to-seed private eye (Mickey Rourke), his encounter with a devilish man (Robert De Niro), and a young Louisiana woman (Lisa Bonet) with a few skeletons in her closet. The legendary Brownie McGhee plays a blues musician. If Parker's convoluted, impressionistic movie works, it's because of the heavily textured atmospherics.
Back to Weekend
© 2006 • All Rights Reserved • Tampa Bay Times
490 First Avenue South St. Petersburg, FL 33701 727-893-8111