Lana Clarkson was found dead in Record Producer 'Phil Spector’s' mansion, on February 3, 2003 slumped in a chair in the foyer with a gunshot wound to the mouth following a night of drinking with the music making legend. Phil Spector was charged with Clarkson’s murder and the resulting trial was in September 2004.
That trial ended in a hung jury and has become the inspiration for the HBO movie. The trouble is, you can't trust HBO's depection of 'Phil Spector,' But you definitely can enjoy it. There's a lot of heavyweight names attached to this project, first off Academy Award Icon, 'Al Pacino' is playing alledged psycho killer Phil Spector. And just like all the other over top characters he's played in his acting career, like 'Michael in The Godfather', that cop in 'Serpico', or that maniac Sonny Wortzik,in 'Dog Day Afternoon'. We knew deep down all those guys based on true stories were really all bull, but it was all Al Pacino and since his iconic role in 'The Godfather' we roll with it. Mamet may as well have written, "Don't anybody sue us. I'm just making stuff up, using names and a few bits of court testimony that are in the public record."
And in the case of Phil Spector, he wasn't exactly the pillar of sanity in the L.A community, so who really cares if he comes off like a jerk. But even though it concerns actual events. And the movie is based on actual people there's a disclaimer about Phil Spector, we'll see on the screen that states:"This is a work of fiction. It's not 'based on a true story.' It's a drama inspired by actual persons on a trial, but it is neither an attempt to depict the actual persons, nor to comment upon the trial or its outcome."
That's code for.... Lord knows we asked that lunatic Al Pacino to dial his portrayal back, but he told us he'd kill us if we didn't leave him alone. Let's face it he makes' us crap in our pants, he even made his poor female co-star cry and run from Pacino, who came to the set covered in blood everyday and it wasn't even his.
The other big names attached to this TV drama are, Barry Levinson who is the executive producer, David Mamet is both writer and director. Jeffrey Tambor who plays the leading defense lawyer, Bruce Cutler, who brings in attorney Linda Kenney Baden as a last-minute co-counsel. Who's played by Helen Mirren,who seems shocked yet amazed by Phil Spector. The man who invented the "wall of sound," and recorded hits for everyone from the Crystals, Darlene Love and Ike & Tina Turner to the Beatles and the Righteous Brothers. He married Veronica “Ronnie”,Spector lead singer of the Ronnettes, 'Be My Baby', in 1968, whom he divorced in 1974.
A haggard, wild eyed and wigged, Al Pacino is gaudy in David Mamet’s “Phil Spector.” but is accurate from the actual courtroom trials seen on TV in 2004. Pacino’s vision of the legendary music producer is accurate,exciting and an entertaining spectacle. Which combines an pretencious, narcissistic explosive human hand grenade.
Pacino's as Spector was a loud guy who, in some twisted, satanic way, is both a helpless immature little man and a poor disintegrating desperate sad curmudgeon who's fading popularity and good human nature are almost gone. A far cry from when we first see Pacino’s Spector, who's wandering around his darkened mansion in silk pajamas like a rock ’n’ roll cross version of Elvis and Hugh Heftner.
Almost the entire movie focuses on Linda trying to get to know Spector quickly while mounting a defense and assessing whether he should be put on the stand.This almost fictitional Phil Spector movie, basically, is an clumsy two step dance between Linda and her weird client, as he show's his gyrating numerous psychological states by tying his mental gears up between charming quips', tackling questions and totally mental rants. Pacino is an actor set at hydro speed , and Mirren counters' his moves by her calmness. Mamet's dialogue, and as expected, is consise and to the point, aa the two acting pros make the most of it.
Like as his new lawyer, Linda Kenney Baden...Helen Mirren, watches Spector and listens' to him he strokes and brags about his special treasures. Like a white piano on which John Lennon wrote “Imagine.” He rambles' like a racists about how “The Jews didn’t invent the music business, I invented the music business.”Meanwhile like a ham Pacino precicely spits out his lines as usual, and grandiose and pompus like Tony Montana from “Scarface” inside Norma Desmond sanctuary.
Whats' important in this over glorified HBO movie wheter we're impressed and entertained by Pacino as Phil Spector, and of course the verdict that finally comes at the end. Like
how many HBO viewers will watch the trial just to see what the outcome regarding Spector, who spent most of the years following the death of Clarkson out on bail. But that came to an end on April 13, 2009 when, the jury found him guilty of second-degree murder. Then on May 29, 2009 he was sentenced to 19 years to life in jail. Now 73, Spector is serving his sentence in a California prison.
See "Phil Spector" airs on Sunday, March 31st at 7pm on HBO.