Doc News: Judy Garland; Tupac Shakur; Colin Hanks

– Oscar winner Rob Epstein  (“The Times of Harvey Milk,” “Common Threads: Stories from the Quilt”) is re-teaming with longtime collaborator Jeffrey Friedman following their sort of venture into narrative filmmaking (“Howl”) for a project involving the late Judy Garlandaccording to 24 Frames. Also on board is filmmaker Steven “Flip” Lippman, who makes short musical documentary  films. This feature documentary, titled “Stay All Night,” will piece together a “re-creation” of Garland’s famous 1961 comeback concert at Carnegie Hall, which was not filmed. However, Super 8mm backstage material has been uncovered, and this will be combined with music excerpts and interviews with people who were there. The idea is not to present a certain record but an experience as close to being there as possible. It doesn’t sound like they will actually be reenacting the concert, which is what the use of the word “re-create” seems to imply. It’s in beginning stages, though, so it will be some time before we see what the trio achieves. Meanwhile, Epstein and Friedman (who are likely just producing “Stay All Night”), are currently still trying to get their Linda Lovelace biopic, “Lovelace,” off the ground.

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Hear Elizabeth Taylor in Oscar Winner “Genocide”

Embarrassing as it is, I have to admit I’ve never actually watched a movie starring Elizabeth Taylor, who died this week. She was that kind of Hollywood icon that made you feel like you’d seen all her work, even if you hadn’t. Seriously, it came as a huge surprise that I hadn’t seen any of her films in their entirety. Although, I guess I don’t usually like the kinds of heavy dramas she regularly appeared in, so maybe it’s not that shocking.

Another film I’ve never seen in full is Arnold Schwartzman’s “Genocide,” which won the documentary feature Oscar in 1982. It features narration by Taylor and Orson Welles. He does the more dominant voice of God stuff, while she handles the reading of letters. According to writer Rabbi Marvin Hier in the companion book Genocide: Critical Issues of the Holocaust, A Companion to the Film Genocide, Taylor was convinced to do the film by then-husband Senator John Warner and refused pay because the project was “very special to her, since she regarded the Jewish people as her people, and wanted to identify personally with the tragedy of the Holocaust.”

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