• Remembering Leonard Kastle

    By Susan Arosteguy

    We received the sad news that Leonard Kastle, director of The Honeymoon Killers, passed away on Wednesday at his home in Westerlo, NY, at the age of eighty-two. In addition to writing and directing that film, Mr. Kastle was an accomplished opera composer and librettist. He used the works of Gustav Mahler, his favorite composer, to great effect throughout The Honeymoon Killers.

    He was a brilliant, spiritual man who graciously let my colleagues Abbey and Robert, myself, and a film crew into his home in 2003 for the interview that appears in our release of his film. He spent a few hours with us and gave possibly the longest interview ever about his musical career and single foray into filmmaking.

    The research he did for the film inspired Abbey and me to follow his path and visit the New York State Archives to read the letters between Martha and Ray, the real-life honeymoon killers on whom the characters were based, along with their trial records, which proved to be a chilling experience.

    In 2004, I had the pleasure of traveling with Leonard to the USA Film Festival for a Q&A after a screening of The Honeymoon Killers. Humble and gracious, Leonard made quite an impression on the film community in Dallas. I think he was pleased to receive the well-deserved attention for what Truffaut called his favorite American film. Ann Alexander at the festival wrote to me this week, “He was such a lovely man and artist. One of those guests we felt so absolutely privileged to have been fortunate to host. I have thought of him so many times since his visit. He had such a big impact on me and all of us—such a lovely, cultured man.”

    Leonard was a one-of-a-kind genius and a man of faith who believed that one day he would meet his “Great Director.” We will all miss him terribly.

    This video clip from 2003, in which Leonard Kastle talks about directing The Honeymoon Killers and working with the film’s lead actress, Shirley Stoler, is a tribute to the man’s vision and sensitivity.

    Remembering Leonard Kastle Remembering Leonard Kastle

6 comments

  • By Cecelia Levin
    May 23, 2011
    04:41 PM

    Thank you for these extraordinarily kind words about my uncle. He felt deeply rewarded by his relationship with Criterion films- especially Susan, Robert and Abbey. Moreover, he loved so many of the films that were part of the Criterion series. Everyone who met Leonard was awed by his brillance and creativity, and he will be missed by a countless array of friends and admirers— and me.
    Reply
  • By Les Dreyer
    May 24, 2011
    03:47 PM

    I only met Leonard once, yet the impression he made stays with me today. He was one of the most talented creative and charming gentlemen, one of a kind, whose likes we shall not see again soon. It broke my heart when I submitted his opera, The Pariah, to the Met Music Director , whom I am sure did not even get around to considering it for performance, despite Mr. Kastle's incredible credentials and artistic accomplishment in both the world of music and film.
    Reply
  • By John
    July 27, 2011
    07:16 PM

    I love this movie!! One comment about the audio, the audio kept going in and out, the dialog was soft where the yelling got overbearing. Will this issue be corrected in the future maybe with a stereo or 5.1 soundtrack??
    Reply
  • By Susan Arosteguy
    July 28, 2011
    02:47 PM

    Hi John, Thanks for your comment. THE HONEYMOON KILLERS was made on a small budget and the sound recorded in mono. Unfortunately, no more elements exist to create a new sound mix.
    Reply
  • By Mike Camoin
    September 24, 2012
    12:12 AM

    Susan, we interviewed Leonard in his last documented attempt to produce "Wedding At Cana," a religious thriller in 2001. Wish Leonard had experienced that miracle one last time of making a movie. He was the best! Love to chat. mike@videosforchange.com
    Reply
  • By Greg Dahlke
    April 07, 2013
    11:13 PM

    At the end of the movie when Martha calls the police to Bryon Center Road in Wyoming MI--the house is still there!
    Reply

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