Classic Film : Director Martin Ritt and his films

Director Martin Ritt and his films

Martin Ritt was a wonderful director, who began his career with the Group Theater in the 1930s, then worked at the Actor's Studio before beginning his directing career in the Gold Age of Television 1950s. He made his feature film debut with EDGE OF THE CITY (1957), starring John Cassavetes and Sidney Poitier. He had an ability to elicit remarkable performances from actors.

He directed 13 different actors in Oscar-nominated performances: Melvyn Douglas, Paul Newman, Patricia Neal (all for HUD), Richard Burton (THE SPY WHO CAME IN FROM THE COLD), James Earl Jones, Jane Alexander (both for THE GREAT WHITE HOPE), Paul Winfield, Cicely Tyson (both for SOUNDER, Geraldine Page (for PETE 'N' TILLIE), Sally Field (for NORMA RAE), Rip Torn, Alfre Woodard (both for CROSS CREEK), and James Garner (for MURPHY'S ROMANCE). Of those, Neal, Douglas and Field won Oscars for their performances. To say that he was a superb actor's director is an understatement.

My personal favorites of his films are:

HUD, SOUNDER, NORMA RAE, THE SPY WHO CAME IN FROM THE COLD, MURPHY'S ROMANCE, and THE FRONT, starring Woody Allen and dealing with Ritt's personal experience with the Blacklist.

How about you?

Re: Director Martin Ritt and his films

1 Hombre
2 The Spy Who Came in From the Cold
3 Hud

Re: Director Martin Ritt and his films

Interesting that you love HOMBRE best. I enjoyed it, but I could never embrace it with the fervor I feel for your other two choices. HUD is my all-time favorite, maybe because it's a landscape more familiar to my own life, but I think also because I absolutely love the novel upon which it's based, "Horseman, Pass By" by Larry McMurty. Also because I think it's an amazing film.

There's a line in it that I will remember as long as I live: Grandpa says, "Lonnie, little by little the shape of the land changes by the men we admire." Truer words were never spoken, it seems to me.