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The Last Emperor
dlast Bernardo Bertolucci found people from Pu Yi’s life to advise on the movie, including the Emperor’s manservant and the governor of the prison where Pu Yi was interned. Pu Yi’s younger brother and Li Wenda, who had helped Pu Yi with his autobiography, were also located and included in the process.

Male dressers had to be hired for the Buddhist lamas in the film, as they are prohibited from touching females.
This is the first feature film to be filmed inside the Forbidden City, and the first in China since 1949, though a documentary for NBC had been filmed in 1973. The Chinese Film Co-Production Corporation traded domestic distribution rights for use of their studios and of extras, both of which were necessary to the project.
Filming of the coronation scene ironically prevented Queen Elizabeth II from visiting the Forbidden City while on a state visit.
The mansion in Changua where Pu Yi lived from 1934 to 1945 is now a museum.
No private automobiles were allowed in the Forbidden City, so even Peter O’Toole navigated by bicycle.
This is the first film in Bernardo Bertolucci’s Oriental Trilogy, which also includes “The Sheltering Sky”, 1988, and “Little Buddha”, 1993.
“The Last Emperor” cost $24 million and took 16 weeks to shoot. It was shot mostly in China, but also in Italy. Information gathered from IMdB and TMCDb

Upcoming Hollywood at Home Features
That Last Emperor, Saturday, April 19th at 9 p.m.
Platoon, Saturday, April 26th at 9 p.m.
Cabaret, Saturday, May 3rd at 9 p.m.

Join Victoria Lucas as our host for Hollywood at Home. Lucas provides historical background and a Hollywood insider's look at our Saturday night films. A film producer and screenwriting consultant, Lucas comes from a family of actors, producers, writers, and directors. Join Lucas each week for fascinating insights to our Hollywood at Home feature.

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This Week

last emperor Saturday, April 19 at 9 p.m.

Directed by Bernardo Bertolucci and written by Mark Peploe and Bertolucci, this epic film won six Oscars in 1988 for Best Picture, Best Score, Best Cinematography, Best Art Director, Best Costume Designer and Best Sound. The movie stars John Lone, Joan Chen and Peter O’Toole.

last emperor posterPlot
“The Last Emperor” is the story of Pu Yi, who was indeed the final imperial ruler of the Ching Dynasty (1644 – 1912) in China. The story begins with his birth, continues through his childhood in the Forbidden City in Peking; to his abdication and subsequent attempt at civilian life; includes his exploitation by the invading Japanese; a prison sentence for working against the State; into the life of a lowly worker in the Peoples’ Republic of China.

For a brief period in his youth, Pu Yi acquires an English tutor in the person of Peter O’Toole, whose character attempts to bridge the apparently unbridgeable gap between Chinese and Western cultures for both the audience and the Emperor. There are many other beautifully balanced tensions in this movie, including those between royal behavior and self-indulgence; the individual and the collective; responsibility and identity; and more.

The cinematographer, Vittorio Storaro, built a reputation on using what he called the psychology of color in this film by employing strong tints of yellow or red or green to represent emotional states. The visual experience of extraordinary photography, scenery, costumes, and colors is reason enough to watch this film, but fine acting and impressive music, all woven into a fascinating and unique story, wonderfully enhance the experience.

By Cicely d'Autremont

Airs Saturday, April 19 at 9 p.m.