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Star Power
Discuss the people who make what we watch.
59

Obits
Topic by: dwhudson
Posted: October 26, 2002 - 12:00 PM PDT
Last Reply: August 20, 2004 - 10:33 PM PDT

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author topic: Obits
dwhudson
post #1  on October 26, 2002 - 12:00 PM PDT  
A topic we can turn to when someone of note passes on.
dwhudson
post #2  on October 26, 2002 - 12:01 PM PDT  
And we begin with Richard Harris. Thought I'd post links to obits in the New York Times, the Guardian and the BBC.

Having posted that, I almost hate to add... While he certainly had his moments (in Unforgiven, for example), Harris was never a favorite of mine. Out of the whole British Angry Young Men scene, and of the all the actors he's usually lumped together with -- the obits mention the two most obvious, Peter O'Toole and Albert Finney -- he would be, in fact -- gulp -- last on my list of those I'd like to watch again.

As always, it's a matter of taste and interpretation, but as for me, he never managed to convince me that I was looking at the character and not at Harris. Who tended to come off as more than arrogant, as a guy quite full of himself who seemed to be wishing right there and then that he were somewhere else. The Cassandra Crossing, not a great film to start with, of course, is the most extreme example of this. I happened to catch a bit of it on TV a few weeks ago and thought, My God, man, you're in the same room/compartment with Sophia Loren! The least you could do is stop posing for the camera and engage with that phenomenal woman.

"I hate movies," the NYT quotes him as saying, probably back during this period. "They're a waste of time. I could be in a pub having more fun talking to idiots rather than sitting down and watching idiots perform."

Well... you can tell.

Like I say, I'm not comfortable blurting all this out the day after his death was announced, but there you go. Now that I have said it, though, I should add that he did become more enjoyable to watch in his later years and seems, by all accounts, to have been, at the same time, less of pain to be around. The NYT follows that quote with:

"But toward the end of his life, he also said, 'I feel most alive when I'm working on a film.'"

I'm glad he eventually grew to appreciate the great fortune his undeniable talent brought him.
yulek
post #3  on October 26, 2002 - 1:12 PM PDT  
i liked him in Silent Tongue, Sam Shephards very strange western.
oldkingcole
post #4  on November 18, 2002 - 10:52 PM PST  
James Coburn (the knife-throwing "Britt" from The Magnificent Seven) died today at age 74 of a heart attack. :-(

The CNN obit is here: http://www.cnn.com/2002/SHOWBIZ/Movies/11/18/obit.coburn.ap/index.html
dwhudson
post #5  on November 19, 2002 - 12:54 AM PST  
Damn. Loved that voice.

In Richard E. Grant's diaries, the craziest and most panicky chapter is the one on Hudson Hawk, which must have been a nightmare. Bruce Willis being the aloof star, Joel Silver being his usual insane self, etc., as budgets went through the roof and everyone slowly realizing that the movie is not turning out well, to put it mildly, etc. Throughout, though, there's one steady rock, the guy who'd seen it all and was phased by nothing. Coburn, of course.

I liked this bit, too. They're shooting in Budapest:

"We have discovered a lone Italian restaurant that serves fresh vegetables. Fifty American dollars is the current monthly wage. We are Midas-like, easily paying twelve bucks for dinner, which induces a conscience strike until James Coburn advises, 'Let this old swine cast you a pearl -- compassion but no guilt.'"

You can just hear him saying that, can't you?
Eoliano
post #6  on November 19, 2002 - 3:54 PM PST  
> On November 18, 2002 - 10:52 PM PST oldkingcole wrote:
> ---------------------------------
> James Coburn (the knife-throwing "Britt" from The Magnificent Seven)

Wasn't he playing an Australian in Magnificent Seven?

DLeonard
post #7  on November 20, 2002 - 10:30 AM PST  
One of my favorite Coburn films is sadly not available on DVD (what else is new?), Sergio Leone's Fistful of Dynamite also called Duck, You Sucker. His co-star just happens to be another great actor who recently passed away, Rod Steiger.

There is of course a VHS version, but c'mon, we're talking about a world class filmmaker (Leone) and two award winning actors.
Eoliano
post #8  on November 21, 2002 - 10:10 AM PST  
> On November 20, 2002 - 10:30 AM PST DLeonard wrote:
> ---------------------------------
> One of my favorite Coburn films is sadly not available on DVD (what else is new?), Sergio Leone's Fistful of Dynamite also called Duck, You Sucker. His co-star just happens to be another great actor who recently passed away, Rod Steiger.
>
> There is of course a VHS version, but c'mon, we're talking about a world class filmmaker (Leone) and two award winning actors.
> ---------------------------------

The original Italian title for Duck, You Sucker/Fistful of Dynamite is Giu La Testa, and it's available in a SE in Italy, but alas, it's only in Italian with Italian subtitles! This is of course a region 2 PAL format. You would think that European DVD distributors would want to cash in on the entire EU community with more subtitle options. It's a marvelous, very cynical film, with excellent action sequences and terrific performances by Coburn, Steiger & Romolo Valli.
dwhudson
post #9  on November 28, 2002 - 5:28 AM PST  
Karel Reisz died on Monday, but I didn't hear about it until I saw this obit in today's Daily Telegraph. He'll probably be remembered most for directing Saturday Night and Sunday Morning and The French Lieutenant's Woman and producing This Sporting Life, a movie that's popped up early in this topic. There aren't too many of Britain's Angry Young Men left.

The key sentence of the obit is this one: "For the first time he found himself in daily contact with working-class children and their parents, and realised that the way they were depicted in British films of the time - as criminals or comic relief - bore little relation to reality."

Sounds like the beginning of more than a few movements in film, art and lit. In Reisz's case, it meant eventually working with directors Lindsay Anderson, Tony Richardson and a few others to create what's sometimes called the British New Wave, known more for its social realism than for the formal frolicking of its French counterpart.
Eoliano
post #10  on December 11, 2002 - 9:29 AM PST  
Saturday Night and Sunday Morning knocked me out back then, as did mmany British films at the time. Then there is Morgan!, which was quite a hoot, and although I've been tempted to revisit it again, I doubt it will be quite as amusing as it was in 1966.
Eoliano
post #11  on January 6, 2003 - 8:51 AM PST  
The great cinematographer Conrad Hall died on Saturday.
dwhudson
post #12  on January 6, 2003 - 9:35 AM PST  
It is indeed sad news. For context, he was nominated for nine Oscars and won two.

His Oscars were for Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and American Beauty. Here's a shot of Hall taken in 2000, another from American Beauty and another from his most recent work, Road to Perdition. Just look at all the other amazing work he did. I know you were looking forward to seeing in person, Eoliano, at the Palm Springs festival.
underdog
post #13  on January 6, 2003 - 4:40 PM PST  
This may be an obscure one, but important nonetheless. Ian MacNaughton, the man who directed (all but four episodes of) Monty Python's Flying Circus on the BBC passed away at the age of 76 after a car crash. The man must have had incredibly patience to deal with all those anarchic personalities.

A good obituary is on the LA Times site.

And now for something completely different... :(

C
Signalstation
post #14  on January 13, 2003 - 10:32 AM PST  
Kinji Fukasaku, director of Battle Royale, lost his fight with cancer at age 72. He was working on a sequel to Battle Royale and apparently his son will continue the project without him.
dwhudson
post #15  on January 14, 2003 - 2:20 AM PST  
And another. Maurice Pialat, died Saturday in Paris. A Reuters piece; in the IMDB story, Gilles Jacob, president of the Cannes festival, is quoted: "Pialat is dead and we are all orphaned. French cinema is orphaned."
Eoliano
post #16  on January 14, 2003 - 12:34 PM PST  
French President Jacques Chirac called the auteur (Maurice Pialat) a "master of the cinematographic art" who "leaves a deep imprint on the history of French film. "

Would G.W. Bush ever deign himself to utter such words about one of our filmmakers?
dwhudson
post #17  on January 14, 2003 - 2:03 PM PST  

> Would G.W. Bush ever deign himself to utter such words about one of our filmmakers?

If he ever tries to pronounce "cinematographic" I want it on tape.
SRhodes
post #18  on January 14, 2003 - 5:58 PM PST  

I didn't see the mention here posted this in the Asian Cinema topic"

Harry Knowles has posted about the death of Japanese director Kinji Fukasaku who directed over sixty films during a career that lasted over 40 years. He includes a plea for his work to be released properly on DVD.

I saw a screening of his Battle Royale at PFA last year which was introduced by my roommate Patrick Macias who has a section on Fukasaku including an interview in his book Tokyoscope: The Japanese Cult Film Companion. He wites:

"Who is Kinji Fukasaku? A Japanese Sam Peckinpah - a masterful purveyor of chaotic screen violence and macho aesthetic. Or: a politically radical film craftsman whose keen-eyed observations engage the moral complexities of postwar history. Outside of Japan, Fukasaku's name is connected, if at all, to four wildly anomolous films which saw the light of day in the international marketplace [The Green Slime, Black Lizard, Message from Space and the Japenese portions of Tora! Tora! Tora!]... Imagine if Peckinpah were known interenationally for Convoy and that Julian Lennon video."

Midnight Special has an overview of his career including a filmography and interview.

SRhodes
post #19  on January 14, 2003 - 6:12 PM PST  

Also Bay area documentary filmmaker Jaime Kibben who worked on segments for the PBS newshour, his own work and did sound on documenaries like the Thin Blue Line. He was working on a documentary called "Holy Land: Common Ground" in Israel when he was killed in a car accident.

An obit ran in the Chron.
Eoliano
post #20  on January 14, 2003 - 9:31 PM PST  

> If he ever tries to pronounce "cinematographic" I want it on tape.

He's in the oval office practicing right now - "sin-a-matuh-geraffic - sin-a-matuh-geraffic - sin-a-matuh-geraffic - sin-a-matuh-geraffic."
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