The Third Leader: A Bronx Tale

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The Independent Online

Perhaps it is to do with his other films, which have not always been as good. Nevertheless, he has always managed the rare trick of retaining his charm whatever the role, right from Son of Ali Baba (1952) and his famous line, delivered in straight Bronx, "Yonder lies de castle of my fadder" (he insists it was, in fact: "Yonder lies the valley of the sun, and beyond, the castle of my father.")

Perhaps it is to do with an attitude to life that has not seen a great deal of reconstruction. He has been married five times, refers in print to his fourth as "what's her name", and has said: "I wouldn't be caught dead marrying a woman old enough to be my wife."

Recently, too, he has taken exception to Brokeback Mountain on the grounds that John Wayne wouldn't have liked that sort of thing.

Still, it's hard not to warm to a man who recalls scoring minus zero in a school spelling test because he misspelt his own name: "I forgot to put the t in Schwartz." So let us thank him for the memories while agreeing that, as Some Like It Hot so memorably concluded, nobody's perfect. And surely, for the stage version, they could have given him an honorary Tony.