Adrian Wootton

Adrian Wootton talks musical movie legends

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 Musical Movie Legends Sammy Davis Jr, Barbra Streisand, David Bowie and Marilyn Monroe recounting these unique stars’ enthralling life stories and career highs, accompanied by swathes of film clips and images from their personal and professional histories.

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


Sammy Davis Jr: Breaking Barriers

Monday 05 August: 5.15pm to 7.15pm; Village Roadshow Theatrette at the State Library

A ground-breaking Vaudeville cum Las Vegas troubadour, Sammy Davis Jnr (1925-1990) was a legendary African-American all-round entertainer – musician, singer, dancer, impressionist, and actor in concerts, musical theatre and film & TV. He was a member of Frank Sinatra’s famed ‘Rat Pack’, appearing in such films as Ocean’s 11 (1960), Johnny Cool (1963), Robin and the 7 Hoods, A Man Called Adam (1966), Salt and Pepper (1968), One More Time (1970), and The Cannonball Run (1981), as well as opposite Shirley MacLaine in Bob Fosse’s 1969 musical film Sweet Charity, while Broadway successes included Golden Boy and Mr. Wonderful. Davis was also a fan of cult Australian TV series Prisoner: Cell Block H, even visiting the show’s Melbourne set! Wootton explores the life and career of this remarkable artist, whose legacy also includes being a civil rights champion that helped break-down showbiz racial barriers in the 1950s and 1960s


Barbra Streisand: Diva & Activist

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

American megastar singer, composer, actress, director and producer Barbra Streisand is a showbiz legend – and gay icon – with multiple accolades to her name, including Oscars, Grammys, Emmys, Golden Globes, Peabodys and a Tony. Having recorded more than 60 albums and sold more than 150 million records, she is among the best-selling recording artists of all time and the only recording artist ever to have a number-one album in each of the last six decades. Her movie career started with her reprise of her Broadway and West End hit turn as Fanny Price in Funny Girl (1968), with other film musical roles including Hello, Dolly! (1969) and A Star is Born (1976), while she played screwball heroines in such comedies as The Owl and the Pussycat (1970) and What’s Up, Doc? (1972), and dramatic roles in the likes of The Way We Were (1973) and Nuts (1983), while she was director, producer and star of Yentl (1983), Prince of Tides (1991) and The Mirror Has Two Faces (1996). Wootton chronicles the extraordinary life and career of Streisand, who is known for her outspokenness, philanthropy, activism and progressive politics having been a major fundraiser for Bill Clinton.


David Bowie: Iconoclastic Genius

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

Renowned for his experimentation and distinct visual presentation, multi-awarded English songwriter, rock star, performer, fashion icon, and stage and screen actor David Bowie (1947-2016) was one of the most influential artists of the last century who pioneered glam rock with his flamboyant androgynous alter ego Ziggy Stardust. Among the world’s best-selling music artists, with global record sales of 140 million, Bowie was also an accomplished actor (who, prior to success as a musician, studied avant-garde theatre and mime), whose memorable films included The Man Who Fell to Earth (1976), Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence (1983), Labyrinth (1986), The Last Temptation of Christ (1988) and The Prestige (2006). Wootton discusses the dazzling career and complex life of the iconoclastic Bowie, who was widely hailed as the Picasso of Pop and a Master of Reinvention.


Marilyn Monroe: Enduring Pop-Icon

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

One of the most famous actresses of her time and an enduring icon in popular culture whose 1950s stardom and celebrity power made her one of the most photographed persons of the 20th century, chanteuse and musical star Marilyn Monroe (1926-1962) was known for playing comic ‘blonde bombshell’ characters in such legendary films as Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, How to Marry a Millionaire, The Seven Year Itch (one of her biggest box office successes) and her Golden Globe-winning turn in the all-time classic Some Like it Hot. Wootton explores the legacy of Monroe, whose tragically short life, conflicted public image, troubled private life and struggle for professional respect all contribute to the endless fascination with this doomed legend.