Cinema: Mad Monarch As Gang Lord

KING LEAR

At the 1985 Cannes Film Festival, Minimogul Menahem Golan sat down with Jean- Luc Godard and, on a table napkin, jotted down a movie contract. Cinema's old enfant terrible (Breathless, Weekend, Hail Mary) would write and direct a modern King Lear. Norman Mailer would play the mad monarch, Woody Allen the fool.

Guess what? Things didn't work out quite that way. Allen, identified as "Mr. Alien," does deadpan a bit of Shakespeare's text. Mailer and his daughter Kate do appear briefly, but the novelist indulged in a "ceremony of star behavior" and left town. So Godard vamped. He hired...

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