Nicolas Roeg: From tea-maker to director’s chair

Film director whose fragmented style bewitched and bewildered his audiences.

His early experience as a cinematographer brought a stunning visual quality to his work.He often exasperated the critics and gained a reputation as being hard on his actors. And he took a delight in jumbling scenes and time to both bewitch and bewilder his audiences.

Nicolas Roeg was born in St John’s Wood in north London on 15 August 1928. His father Jack, who was of Dutch ancestry, worked in the diamond trade but lost a lot of money when his investments failed in South Africa.

The first film he remembered seeing as a child was Babes in Toyland, starring Laurel and Hardy.

Roeg did his National Service after World War Two before getting a job making tea and operating the clapper board at Marylebone Studios, where he worked on a number of minor films.

By the dawn of the 1960s he had progressed to camera operator, notably on The Trials of Oscar Wilde and Fred Zinnemann’s film The Sundowners.

He was part of the second unit on David Lean’s Lawrence of Arabia. Lean later sacked him as director of photography on Doctor Zhivago after the two constantly quarrelled.

Many of the stunning scenes that won the latter film an Oscar were shot by Roeg but he was not credited.

His breakthrough came in 1964 when he worked as a cinematographer on Roger Corman’s film The Masque of the Red Death, an adaptation of the Edgar Allan Poe short story, starring Vincent Price.

Corman was gaining a reputation for spotting and developing new talent and boosted the careers of other future directors including James Cameron and Martin Scorsese. Continue reading

BAFTAs 2019: Steve Coogan is joined by his daughter Clare

He was up for the Leading Actor BAFTA for his role as Stan Laurel in the biopic Stan & Ollie. Steve Coogan, 53, may have lost out on the award, but he had his beloved daughter Clare by his side as he walked the red carpet at London’s Royal Albert Hall on Sunday night for the 72nd British Academy Film Awards.The actor looked dapper in a sharp tuxedo as he posed with Clare, 21, who works for the Labour party.

Steve Coogan at BAFTASteve Coogan at BAFTA

Steve Coogan at BAFTA

Source: BAFTAs 2019: Steve Coogan is joined by his daughter Clare | Daily Mail Online

Elsa Lanchester stuff

Elsa with Dick Cavett part 1

elsa-lanchester_young
Young Elsa

Thanks to her bohemian upbringing, Lanchester was always looking for venues to express her creativity. In the mid-1920s she decided to open a nightclub in London called Cave of Harmony. This gave Lanchester an outlet for performance, as well as becoming a popular meeting spot for London artists and intellectuals such as H.G Wells, Aldous Huxley and James Whale.

Cavett Show Part 2
Bride of Frankenstein

Lawton released three LP albums in the 1950s. Two were entitled “Songs for a Shuttered Parlour” and “Songs for a Smoke-Filled Room” and were vaguely lewd and danced around their true purpose, such as the song about her husband’s “clock” not working. Laughton provided the spoken introductions to each number and even joined Lanchester in the singing of “She Was Poor But She Was Honest”. Her third LP was entitled “Cockney London”, a selection of old London songs for which Laughton wrote the sleeve-notes. – Wikipedia

Albert Finney: the most almighty physical screen presence

Finney was the face of the vibrant new wave of working-class postwar British cinema, and maintained a fierce vitality in his distinguished later performances

From moon-faced youth to weatherbeaten later years, Albert Finney was an almighty force on screen: a clenched fist of physicality, a battering ram of uningratiating power, almost priapic with defiant confidence, with the battle-readiness of a prop forward or sumo wrestler. His presence was very different from the long-limbed spindliness or feline charm of contemporaries such as Peter O’Toole, Tom Courtenay and Terence Stamp, those other young lions of postwar British cinema who showed that regional and working-class voices had a new, real power. And, in retirement, Salford-born Finney lived long enough to hear his name invoked as a lost hero by those enraged that, in the 21st century, working-class actors were being marginalised in Britain once again.

Finney was a unique actor, although it was his fate to be compared, wonderingly, to other people. Ken Tynan famously reeled away from Finney’s Rada graduation show calling the teenager a new Spencer Tracy. Later in his theatrical career, he was dubbed a new Olivier. I would say that he was Britain’s Jean Gabin. But none of that is quite right. He was a brilliant and utterly distinctive actor, deeply rooted in a theatrical tradition but capable of naturalistic performances, a product of Britain’s vital new “kitchen-sink” cinema. And as a producer, Finney gave early breaks to Tony Scott and Stephen Frears, helped get Lindsay Anderson’s If… off the ground, and was a driving force behind Mike Leigh’s first feature, Bleak Moments. Continue reading