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Cast
| Notes | Pictures | My Summary |

Cast

Person Job
Malcolm McDowell Actor - Mick Travis Trilogy
Lindsay Anderson Interviewed in 1992
Brian Cox Actor - In Celebration
Stephen Frears Assistant Director on if.... (1992 Interview)
Patrick Godfrey Voice of Lindsay
Richard Harris Actor - This Sporting Life (1992 Interview)
Gavin Lambert Screenwriter
Helen Mirren Actress - O Lucky Man!
Brian Pettifer Actor - Mick Travis Trilogy
Paul Ryan Editor - Lindsay Anderson the Collected Writings
Martin Scorsese Director
Gerda Stewenson Narrator

Directed by Becky Brazil

Notes

Pictures

Malcolm during his interview

My Summary

This documentary features mostly interview snippets..

The music 'O Lucky Man!' plays.
Helen Mirren - he was very difficult in many ways, but I loved him.
Brian Pettifer - he was a lonely man, it was sad.
Malcolm McDowell - he was a rebel who wanted to question everything.
Martin Scorsese - he was one of the few people out there making film work a different way.

if… clip of the headmaster getting shot and the gun battle. It won the Palme d'Or in 1969, transformed Lindsay's career and made a star of Malcolm.
Paul Ryan - If established him as a European director with clout.
MS - It's the most powerful film of the 60s, still shocks.
MM - I got a call from Lindsay at 4pm on a Sunday when if…. opened at the Plaza and he said to get right over here. My dad drove me there and I thought the line was for the Odeon, but the line went right past it. Lindsay was saying it was for us.
Gavin Lambert - winning the palm surprised him.
PR - Lindsay felt like he could do anything after if…. and was thought as a significant filmmaker.

1969 a year of student riots.
Lindsay Anderson - We were very lucky that the film came out when it did, but we weren't trying to make a statement of the time.
MM - there was a picture of kids on a roof in France with a machine gun and it was like a still from the film, Lindsay couldn't have been more pleased.
Stephen Frears - Lindsay said it was a desire for young people to change and the school was the perfect place for the metaphor.
LA - We were fortunate that they shot at Cheltonham, not by design, we tried 3-4 schools and it seemed to work. It was what I felt about school and life - not to trust it.
GL - We were at the same school, he was a year older and discovered a mutual passion for the films. He was going somewhere, but he didn't know where.
Brian Cox - Lindsay said he was a child of empire to a dad who was a major general who didn't have time for children.
GL - He and his mother butted heads, but were fond of each other. She provided him with a trust fund.
BC - He was a Scotsman, so he was an outsider like they all felt.

He went to Oxford and started Sequence magazine.
MM - Lindsay did great pieces of criticism, 'Stand Up Stand Up' was to reject the crap of English cinema.
Lindsay's Diary 4/28/46 - I want to write about British films, the time is right for constructive criticism, there's too much adulation all the time.
MM - That was the time, they wanted escapism, but he wanted the truth.
GL - Finally the director was the major artist in filmmaking, in the end it was he who made or broke the movie.

He made his own film Meet the Pioneers.
GL - It was typical of Lindsay, not a typical documentary.
Diary 8/31/48 - some people skyrocket to fame, but I'm not one of these, I won't achieve it before I am 40.
He won an Oscar for Thursday's Children, then started Free Cinema.
GL - Ihey all shared things - wanting to make films not of the rich, but of the working class.

Clip - This Sporting Life.
BC - LA was in awe of the potential of the working class word, man dealing with masculinity, male female struggle.
Richard Harris - something touched him, it was great writing,
BC - It's astonishing for a debut film, it shows pain and doesn't flinch from it.
MS - It was a big influence on me, every week things were reinvented, that was it for me.
PR - It's his greatest film, powerful acting and directing.

Diary 4/23/62 - I am helpless about how I feel with Harris, how could I resist.
LA - Richard was not the easiest with actors, if people feel exhausted form watching the film, it's all there in the shooting.
MM - I know Harris tortured him, he could smell weakness at 50 paces and of course exploit it.
GL - He directed him with care and love and it was Harris's best performance.
Clip of Mrs. Hammond leaving.
MM - He fell in love with many of his leading men, it was a great fondness, Richard, me, it was not homosexual, it was love, it was a moral pattern with him.
GL - He was a moral guy and it was hard to show what he wanted. When he saw I had no problem doing it, he was indignant and mad.
Diary 11/16/44 - with a homosexual trend can I ever be happy. You don't look forward to uncertainty.
MM - If he came out like (John) Schlesinger, he wouldn't have made these films.
GL - His private pain was the cross he bared.

It would take him 5 years to make if….
PR - Projects didn't come up, he had a successful career as a theater director though.
In Celebration
BC - He saw himself primarily as a filmmaker, tragically he didn't do enough of it, he did theater, but it wasn't his first love.
MM - He loved him films so much that he invested so much of himself in them so it wasn't a question of grabbing a script and start shooting.
It would be 1973 until OLM
GL - Part of the film was MM, it was his idea, he took a small idea and made it a big idea.
OLM clip - the chocolate sandwich club.
MM - He took a swipe at everything, every institution, it was a real epic.
PR - He brought in Alan Price for the music and it was so long. One of the critics staggered out and said you can't make us watch a film this long. He said, 'why not, your job is to sit and watch it you twit.'
Diary 2/2/72 - HM is very humorless, not very charming, but I like her.
HM - He should talk! He was the most bossy, but I loved him. In his meanness and barbs there was truth and I loved that.

Reviews weren't great.
MM - After the excitement of if…. it was disappointing, critics were gunning for it this time. I think it is a great, great, film.
GL - LA was scared of making a film in Hollywood, he dreaded the amount of interference he would get.
MS - He might've been too far out for them to fit in their system.
MM - He was tempted, he was fascinated by it, he put his little toe in the waters to test it, but if they got serious he would run away.
BF - Through the years he was offered things, like Gorky Park and a Sutherland/Gould film on the back of the success of MASH. He said 'oh, really?' there was no chance he would do it. He regretted things later, but you make the choices.
GL - He never thought he could live in Hollywood, there was too much BS there, he preferred British hypocrisy over American dishonesty.
BC - He was really a Brit.
GL - He has patriotism and it make him angry because it was for better things, he would abandon ship.

The Falkans war made him change.
Diary 12/30/82 - I made the decision to stick with BH for better for worse.
BH clip - Nurse off duty for 10 minutes.
GL - They are like a trilogy of LA's view of British life.
BH clip - Honored to meet you.
MM - I think as far as the trilogy goes I suppose there is a disenchantment as they move on and a less optimistic view of life. It opened during the Falkans war, he was called unpatriotic, I mean how ridiculous?
GL - People just didn't want it. After it was shown at Cannes a British critic came up to him and said, "You don't leave us much hope do you?" I'm not in the hope business he replied.
Diary 1/1/85 - I grow more conscious of difference of dissidence, the fact my work appreciated by a very few
BP - It irritated the right, the left and the center, it found very few admirers.
PR - The rejection of it wounded him very deeply, finally fatally, he never recovered from it.
Diary 1/13/85 - I may proudly choose to go from where I'm not wanted, there's rejected, I don't use the word failure, into the 80s I'm more alone than ever.

Wham in China
Diary 3/12/85 - how did 2 lower class boys from Watford transform themselves into these stars traveling the world? It's a complete mystery.
GL - He was far less interested in the band, the guys, he wanted to go to China and show how China was affected by the band. He made a lot of footage of George Michael, giving both China and the band equal time. GM fired him and LA had enough of the pop world.
GL - It was irresistible to direct Lillian Gish and Bette Davis in a film, how could you turn it down?
BP - There were a few scripts, but he couldn't get financing for them, he would've made more.
BC - He wanted to make films all the time, but he was out of the loop, I hate that expression, but he had to be there all the time. Plus you can't have any opinions and LA had a lot of them. Also he let people know them.
Diary 3/20/92 - I'm still taking pills, a side effect of fatigue, or is it depression from a career drawing to a close?
BP - He was lonely, being alone your whole life can't be easy. Even though his flat always had people there, it was empty a lot of time. There were no intimate relationships.

8/30/94 - news report of his death.
MM - I was in Tuscany when I got a call from my ex-wife, Mary who just said, "I'm very sorry, but he died."
GL - It was very shattering, I hadn't expected it. He knew he had some heart trouble, but he said the doctor told him he had an irregular heartbeat that could be fixed by medication, but it couldn't. It was very sudden.
BP - I went to London and met with his brother Murray at his flat, it was very sad to be in someone's house when they aren't in it and I've missed him continually since that day.
MM- Even though he didn't make a huge amount of films, what he left us with were masterpieces.
BC - If he had been French or anything else he would've been treated properly, in this country he's the gifted amateur.
GL - His legacy is to insist on a personal style and the making of a personal film no matter what.
MS - He had the passion and the conviction of the ideas he put in those films.
BC - I think the heirs of Free Cinema are the heirs of LA.
BP - Was LA the best director I've ever worked with? Yes, by a long, long distance.

© 2006-08 Alex D. Thrawn for www.MalcolmMcDowell.net