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Monday, August 16 at 12:15

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“Captures the essence of this renaissance man. What a treat to spend time in his company.”
– Leonard Maltin

“He is the history of our industry.”
– Karl Malden

(2007, Matthew Sussman) Norman Lloyd (1914-2021), who died this past May 11 at age 106, was an actor, director and producer who worked closely with Hitchcock (as an actor in two movies and later as producer of his TV show), Orson Welles (he was the last surviving member of Welles’ Mercury Theater), Charlie Chaplin (he played the stage director in Limelight), and Jean Renoir (as an actor in The Southerner; the two were also lifelong friends) – not to mention Elia Kazan, Jules Dassin, Bertolt Brecht, John Houseman, Martin Scorsese, Robert Benchley, Cameron Diaz, Judd Apatow, and Amy Schumer. And it wasn’t just a Zelig-like “brush with greatness” either. Lloyd was at the center of it all.

In this 2007 documentary, we see the amazingly vigorous nonagenarian (a kid of 93 at the time) moving from his twice-a-week tennis match at home in L.A. to spinning yarns at his installation as a life member of Manhattan’s Players Club. But then there’s: a Brooklyn childhood as a kid vaudevillian (“the worst act there ever was”); acting in the theater during the Depression with Kazan; arguing with Welles about his show-stopping role of Cinna the poet in the legendary 1937 Mercury production of Caesar; a tennis friendship with Chaplin and a part in Limelight; and a long association with Hitchcock beginning with his feature film debut as the Saboteur (he’s the guy on the Statue of Liberty), followed by the part of a knife-obsessed psychotic in Spellbound.

Lloyd’s life and career is told through film clips, archival photos, on-set documentary footage, and interviews including Karl Malden (“the bastard’s as old as I am and still at it”), fellow Mercury player Elliot Reid, Sam Goldwyn Jr., Tom Fontana (writer of the TV series St. Elsewhere; Norman was the show’s Dr. Auschlander), Ray Bradbury, Cameron Diaz, the late Patricia Hitchcock (the Master’s daughter), and Peggy Lloyd (Norman’s wife of 75 years), plus the elegant raconteuring of the man himself.

Following Sunday’s screening, director Matthew Sussman and film editor Ray Hubley will appear in person for a Q&A with Film Forum’s Bruce Goldstein, a longtime friend of Lloyd’s, along with appearances via Zoom (from Los Angeles) of Norman’s friends Dean Hargrove (creator and producer of the TV series Matlock and other hit shows) and actor Elliott Gould. Clips of Lloyd’s appearances in Hitchcock’s Spellbound, John Berry’s He Ran All the Way, Scorsese’s The Age of Innocence, and other classics will also be shown.

Blacklisted in the early 1950s, Lloyd was rescued by Joan Harrison and Hitchcock (who simply told the network, “I want him”), who brought him on as associate producer of the Alfred Hitchcock Presents television series. When Harrison retired to marry spy novel titan Eric Ambler, Lloyd became the show’s producer. He also appeared as a featured actor in five episodes and directed an astounding twenty-two episodes himself (including one of the best: Man From the South, with Steve McQueen and Peter Lorre).

Directed by Matthew Sussman. Produced by Joseph Scarpinito and Michael Badalucco.


Film Forum