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Gore Vidal
#1
I just read that Gore Vidal passed away. Here's the NYT's obituary.

His latest work was trash, but he was also the author of Julian, which was a brilliant novel about Julian the Apostate.
Jona Lendering
Relevance is the enemy of history
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#2
And we have a thread about Julian.
David J. Cord
http://www.davidcord.com
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#3
Moved to the Dis Manibus section.
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Robert Vermaat
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#4
Quote:I just read that Gore Vidal passed away. Here's the NYT's obituary.

His latest work was trash, but he was also the author of Julian, which was a brilliant novel about Julian the Apostate.

Yes, I think "Julian" was very good, I have read it twice...
Virilis / Jyrki Halme
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#5
And do not forget his work on the 1959 film Ben Hur.

From IMDB:

Gore Vidal was uncredited as a screenwriter, although producer Sam Zimbalist promised he and Christopher Fry, who worked on the script independently from Vidal, a screen credit. Karl Tunberg, who wrote the original screenplay that had been very much rewritten into a shooting script by Vidal and Fry, claimed the credit. Zimbalist died before the movie ended, and thus could not testify at the guild arbitration hearing. Tunberg won the credit, but failed to win the Oscar. The film had been nominated for 12 Oscars, and won a record 11 (since tied). The movie's sole loss was for Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium, and usually is attributed to the fallout from the credit dispute, which Vidal made widely known.

Upon reading Karl Tunberg's original script, William Wyler had written in the margins "awful...horrible". Consequently, he brought in Gore Vidal - who was on contract with MGM at the time and hated being so - to rewrite the screenplay. Vidal also thought that Tunberg's script was dreadful and initially didn't even want to take on the project. He changed his mind when Wyler promised to get him out of the remaining two years of his contract. Christopher Fry then polished up Vidal's work on the screenplay and wrote a new ending. Neither Fry or Vidal received screen credit for their work on the film, something which infuriated Wyler so much that he leaked the story to the press.

According to Gore Vidal, as recounted in The Celluloid Closet one of the script elements he was brought in to re-write was the relationship between Messala and Ben-Hur. Director William Wyler was concerned that two men who had been close friends as youths would not simply hate one another as a result of disagreeing over politics. Thus, Vidal devised a thinly veiled subtext suggesting the Messala and Ben-Hur had been lovers as teenagers, and their fighting was a result of Ben-Hur spurning Messala. Wyler was initially hesitant to implement the subtext, but agreed on the conditions that no direct reference ever be made to the characters' sexuality in the script, that Vidal personally discuss the idea with Stephen Boyd, and not mention the subtext to Charlton Heston who, Wyler feared, would panic at the idea. After Vidal admitted to adding the homosexual subtext in public, Heston denied the claim, going so far as to suggest Vidal had little input into the final script, and his lack of screen credit was a result of his being fired for trying to add gay innuendo. Vidal rebutted by citing passages from Heston's 1978 autobiography, where the actor admitted that Vidal had authored much of the final shooting script.

:wink:

Narukami
David Reinke
Burbank CA
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#6
I, too loved his Julian. Before reading today about him passing away I didn't realized that he wrote the script for Ben-Hur, one of my favorite Roman movie.
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#7
Quote:And do not forget his work on the 1959 film Ben Hur.
Ah? Never knew that.
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Robert Vermaat
MODERATOR: Forum rules
FECTIO Late Roman Society
THE CAUSE OF WAR MUST BE JUST
(Maurikios-Strategikon, book VIII.2: Maxim 12)
[Image: artgroepbutton.jpg]
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#8
The Economist has an obituary that emphasises how classicism inspired him.

Quote:He was an ancient both in thought and predilection, inspired by classicism even more acutely than the founding fathers he revered. Plato was his companion, and “the Agora” his word for the braying marketplace of public taste. Suetonius’s “Twelve Caesars”, he said, persuaded him to be an essayist. His closest avatar was probably the emperor Julian in his novel of 1964, the noble lonely pagan against the Galileans, for whom he fashioned “one last wreath of Apollonian laurel to place upon the brow of philosophy”, before the barbarians smashed the gates. Indeed there was, in his gilded youth, the air of an “archaic Apollo” about him, as one admirer sighed to another in his memoir “Palimpsest”.
David J. Cord
http://www.davidcord.com
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