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1985, Hanway Films, 109 min, UK, Dir: Nicolas Roeg

This adaptation of Terry Johnson’s play brings together four of the most iconic personalities of the 20th century in a thought-provoking meditation on fame, power and the unknowability of the human soul. As she is filming a movie in New York City, Marilyn Monroe (Theresa Russell) visits Albert Einstein (Michael Emil) as Joe DiMaggio (Gary Busey) and Senator Joe McCarthy (Tony Curtis) circle around them. Roeg’s non-linear approach to the story opens fascinating windows into the characters of the actress, the professor, the ballplayer and the senator, and this speculative drama earned the Technical Grand Prize at the 1985 Cannes Film Festival.

1987, Cineplex-Odeon Films, 107 min, UK, Dir: Bruce Robinson

This black-comedy gem, produced by George Harrison's HandMade Films, stars Richard E. Grant and Paul McGann in the title roles as rarely employed but often inebriated actor friends who decide to escape the squalor of their Camden flat for a weekend at a country cottage owned by Withnail’s gay Uncle Monty (Richard Griffiths). Filled with wonderful period details (the film is set in 1969) and hilariously quotable dialogue, WITHNAIL & I ranks among the best British films of the last 30 years.

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