Adrian Wootton

Adrian Wootton Talks Tinseltown Trailblazers

Presented by MIFF 37ºSouth Market & Accelerator Lab, Adrian Wootton OBE returns exclusively to Melbourne for another series of his acclaimed Illustrated Film Talks this year focusing on the end of Hollywood’s Golden Age, and the transition into the turbulent 1950s, with a look at four legendary performers who each, in their own way, broke the mould and not only achieved worldwide fame but also altered the very course of film history by their influence and stardom.

A former Director of the London Film Festival, British Film Institute and the UK’s National Film Theatre, Wootton is CEO of Film London & The British Film Commission, Director of the Crime Scene Festival, and a program advisor to the Venice Film Festival, London Film Festival and Italy’s Noir Fest. Wootton has also contributed to the Guardian, Sight & Sound, BBC Radio, and received an Honorary Doctorate by The University of East Anglia.

Each lecture is $15

Interview with Adrian Wootton


Sidney Poitier: Breaking Barriers

Monday 06 August: 5.15pm to 7.15pm; Village Roadshow Theatrette at the State Library

Celebrated as one of America’s greatest actors, Bahamian born Sidney Poitier’s groundbreaking performances, particularly in the 1950s and 1960s, changed Hollywood forever. He was the first black actor to win both an Oscar and Golden Globe, for Lilies of the Field (1963), and become a top-grossing star with three 1967 films concerning race and race relations: In the Heat of the Night, To Sir, with Love and the infamous Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner (opposite Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn). Poitier also directed several movies, including the high-grossing Stir Crazy (1980). Wootton traces the remarkable life and career of Poitier, who is now more than 90 years of age and is venerated as an author, activist, diplomat and humanitarian and was presented with the 2009 Presidential Medal of Freedom by Barack Obama.


Marlon Brando: Bad Boy & Activist

Tuesday 07 August: 5.15pm to 7.15pm; Village Roadshow Theatrette at the State Library

Acclaimed, influential and controversial, Marlon Brando (1924-2004) broke through with his Oscar-nominated role in Streetcar Named Desire (1951), then his cultural icon character of Johnny Strabler in Wild One (1953), and Oscar-winning turn in On the Waterfront (1954) before acquiring a reputation for difficulty, notably with Mutiny on the Bounty (1962), that contributed to a fallow 1960s. Rebounding with his controversial Oscar-nominated performance for Last Tango In Paris (1972) and Oscar-winning role in The Godfather (1972) and high-paying roles in Superman (1978) and Apocalypse Now (1979) before withdrawing from acting in the 1980s only to make a number of ill-fated returns in the 1990s, including the troubled Australian production of Island of Dr Moreau (1996). Wootton describes Brando’s long and complex career, his troubled, often tragic, personal life (which includes obesity and 11 children), and his political activism which included campaigning with the American civil rights movement and, later, against Apartheid, agitating for fair housing and against discrimination, and, most famously, refusing his Godfather Oscar over poor treatment of Native Americans.


Audrey Hepburn: Style Icon to Humanitarian

Wednesday 08 August: 5.15pm to 7.15pm; Village Roadshow Theatrette at the State Library

Acclaimed as one of the most elegant and debonnaire British actresses ever to work in Hollywood, Audrey Hepburn (1929-1993) graced such classic movies as her Oscar-winning turn in Roman Holiday (1953), Sabrina (1954), Funny Face (1957), Breakfast at Tiffanys (1961) and My Fair Lady (1964) with memorable, iconographic appearances. From growing up in Nazi-occupied Holland, to ballerina training in London, to Hollywood stardom, and Oscar, Golden Globe, BAFTA, Tony, Grammy and Emmy wins, Wootton chronicles the life and glittering career of this actor, dancer, model and style icon who is best remembered in her later years for her tireless humanitarian work with UNICEF for which she received the 1992 Presidential Medal of Freedom.


Tony Curtis: Screen Legend to Painter

Thursday 09 August: 5.15pm to 7.15pm; Village Roadshow Theatrette at the State Library

With a six-decade career spanning more than 100 films, Tony Curtis (1925-2010) was one of the great Hollywood stars emerging from the turbulent 1950s working with the biggest directors of the day like Kubrick, Kramer and Wilder. After debuting in frothy costume epics, Curtis made indelible impressions in both serous subjects, such as Sweet Smell of Success (1957) and in his Oscar-nominated turn opposite Sidney Poitier in The Defiant Ones (1959), as well as classic comedies like Some Like it Hot with Marilyn Monroe (1959) and Operation Petticoat with Cary Grant (1959), while also appearing in beloved 1970s TV series The Persuaders with Roger Moore. While chronicling Curtis’s long life, which included overcoming childhood poverty and adult addictions, marrying six times and fathering six children including actress Jamie Lee Curtis, and illustrious career, which included becoming a surrealist painter in later life, Wootton also recounts his own 2008 interview with Curtis.