Tag Archives: Philip Langner

Memories On The Small Screen

Dear Friends,

Last Saturday a film we produced played on NBC.  It was Judgement at Nuremberg, starring Spencer Tracy, Burt Lancaster, Richard Widmark, Marlene Dietrich, Judy Garland, Maximilian Schell, Montgomery Clift, and Werner Klemperer.

Judgement at Nuremberg

We enjoyed it so much—it was so filled with the author, Abby Mann’s screenplay.  And, despite being thought of as too “intellectual and thoughtful,” it was one of our greatest successes! We just love the story about how the film came together and decided to re-share our story with you today (we originally posted the story below November 2014).

KATHARINE HEPBURN’S UNKNOWN TRIUMPH! 

In 1960, a teleplay was performed on Playhouse 90. The program was called Judgment at Nuremburg, which was a somber and serious piece.
Philip Langner of The Theatre Guild, Inc. received a script “over the transom”—as they say about unknown scripts. The Guild directors liked the script and “knowing” its virtual impossibility as a film, decided—with the author’s agreement—to have a play written and to produce it on Broadway.

At the time, Katharine Hepburn was playing Antony & Cleopatra at the Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford, CT (created by Lawrence Langner). On a very remote possibility, Philip and the author, Abby Mann, drove to Stratford on a matinee day to see Kate.  After the matinee, they went to her cottage.  She opened the door and Philip said politely “Kate, you have a lovely suntan!”  Kate said with her typical Locust Valley lockjaw accent—“That’s not a suntan, those are spots!” Looking back, Philip always wondered if he should have replied, “well, they do look wonderful on you!”

Kate agreed to look at the t.v. production, which she did at The Theatre Guild building on 53rd Street. She liked the teleplay enormously and decided to work diligently to make it into a film.

She sent the play to Spencer Tracy and she succeeded! Tracy sent it to Hollywood producer, Stanley Kramer, who produced it in 1961 with the most incredible cast for such a serious—and therefore risky—film.  Kramer persuaded all 9 film stars to take modest salaries.  The film was released in 1961.

Kramer was the Producer, Philip Langner the Associate Producer, and Abby Mann was the Screenwriter. The incredible cast included:

  • Spencer Tracy
  • Richard Widmark
  • Burt Lancaster
  • Marlene Dietrich
  • Max Schell
  • Montgomery Clift
  • Judy Garland
  • William Shatner
  • Warner Klemperer

Thus, one of the Great War films of all time was created.

And who got it done? Katharine Hepburn.

AND WHO WAS NEVER TOLD ABOUT HER TRIUMPH? The World. 

Judgment at Nuremburg was nominated for 11 Academy awards, winning 2 for Best Actor (Schell) and Best Adapted Screenplay (Mann). The film was recently entered into the Library of Congress National Film Registry.

Best regards,
Philip and Marilyn

PS—The discussion in this film on the subject of war is so important, and of course, it is wildly pertinent in today’s world with North Korea, Iran, Syria, and Yemen all hoping(?) for some war excitement.

And also: we bought a DVD of Judgement at Nuremberg at Amazon, which is currently for on sale for $12.00.  To order your copy, click here.

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Chaplin’s World

Dear Friends,

We received an email today about the opening of Chaplin’s World—a museum in Corsier-sur-Vevey, Switzerland dedicated to the life and works of Charlie Chaplin.  But it is more than just a museum—it is an experience and a peek into Charlie’s world.  You can visit their website to read more about it.  It looks like a wonderful place to spend a few vacation days.

It made us think about our lovely visit with Charlie at his home in Corsier-sur-Vevey.  Needless to say, he was incredible!  Here is a picture from the weekend Marilyn and I spent with Charlie and his lovely wife, Oona.

chaplin

Top Left to Right: Marshall Young and Philip Langner
Bottom Left to Right:  Oona O’Neill Chaplin (daughter of Eugene O’Neill), Marilyn Langner, Charlie Chaplin

 

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An American Theatre

Dear Friends,

Today we want to tell you about a book that we absolutely love!

It’s called An American Theatre: The Story of the Westport Country Playhouse by Richard Somerset-Ward.  It has a forward by Joanne Woodward and Paul Newman.

american theatre book

We are absolutely amazed by this book because it has thousands of details about the Westport Country Playhouse.  We cannot imagine how anyone could have found so many events that happened over a 70-year period!  It even tells a story about how one certain Philip Langner forgot his lines in The Girl of the Golden West, which starred June Havoc!

While we certainly have an emotional tie to the Westport Country Playhouse, we think that anyone interested in theatre or theatre history will appreciate how detailed this book is about the story of summer theatre from the second oldest summer playhouse in the country.

You can order your copy from Amazon.

Westport was wonderful—the most fun we’ve ever had!

Also if you’re interested in visiting the Playhouse this summer, here is their list of shows:

The Invisible Hand (July 19-August 6)

What the Butler Saw (August 23-Sepember 10)

Camelot (October 4-10)

Click here to order tickets!

Happy summer theatre-ing!

Philip & Marilyn Langner

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Katharine Hepburn’s Unknown Triumph!

In 1960, a teleplay was performed on Playhouse 90. The program was called Judgment at Nuremburg, which was a somber and serious piece.

Philip Langner of The Theatre Guild, Inc. received a script “over the transom”—as they say about unknown scripts. The Guild directors liked the script and “knowing” its virtual impossibility as a film, decided—with the author’s agreement—to have a play written and to produce it on Broadway.

At the time, Katharine Hepburn was playing Antony & Cleopatra at the Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford, CT. On a very remote possibility, Philip and the author, Abby Mann, drove to Stratford on a matinee day to see Kate.  After the matinee, they went to her cottage.  She opened the door and Philip said politely “Kate, you have a lovely suntan!”  Kate said with her typical Locus Valley lockjaw accent—“That’s not a suntan, those are spots!” Looking back, Philip always wondered if he should have replied, “well, they do look wonderful on you!”

Kate agreed to look at the t.v. production, which she did at the Theatre Guild building on 53rd Street. She liked the teleplay enormously and decided to work diligently to make it into a film.

She sent the play to Spencer Tracy and she succeeded! Tracy sent it to Hollywood producer, Stanley Kramer, who produced it in 1961 with the most incredible cast for such a serious—and therefore risky—film.  Kramer persuaded all 9 film stars to take modest salaries.  The film was released in 1961.

Kramer was the Producer, Philip Langner the Associate Producer, and Abby Mann was the Screenwriter. The incredible cast included:

  • Spencer Tracy
  • Richard Widmark
  • Burt Lancaster
  • Marlene Dietrich
  • Max Schell
  • Montgomery Clift
  • Judy Garland
  • William Shatner
  • Warner Klemperer

Thus, one of the Great War films of all time was created.

And who got it done? Katharine Hepburn.

AND WHO WAS NEVER TOLD ABOUT HER TRIUMPH? The World.

Judgment at Nuremburg was nominated for 11 Academy awards, winning 2 for Best Actor (Schell) and Best Adapted Screenplay (Mann). The film was recently entered into the Library of Congress National Film Registry.

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Not Just a Producer…

…but a Director (of Elephants!) too!

philip elephant

India, circa 1970s

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Italy…We Think!

The “problem” with visiting all the fabulous places on our Theatre At Sea cruises is that we took so many wonderful pictures.  Of course, we labeled none of them because at the time we foolishly said: we’ll never forget something so grand!

Fast forward a few (a lot) of years and here we are…we think in Italy, but we can’t entirely be sure.  Judging by the smiles, it was definitely a great day!

pl and mc italy

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Theatre At Sea 2008

One of the most exciting parts of The Theatre Guild was our Theatre At Sea club, which sailed on fabulous cruise ships with a contingency of Broadway actors, sightseeing and performing our way around the world!  Here we are in 2008 aboard the Crystal Serenity with our group that went to the Mediterranean! 

TAS 2008

 

 

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Taxi Ride!

PL and MC

Philip and Marilyn Langner, the producers of the Theatre Guild, taking a taxi ride in Libya on one of our 35 Theatre Guild Cruises!

Come with us on our next theatre cruise adventure!

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