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Alan Bridges obituary

Television director in the glory days of the BBC, who went on to make feature films

Alan Bridges, who has died aged 86, was a leading director during the glory days of the BBC, from the mid-60s to the early 70s. Today, whenever media pundits analyse the history of television drama, they wax lyrical about The Wednesday Play and its successor Play for Today, bemoaning the virtual disappearance of the single play.

By the time Bridges started working in the Wednesday Play slot, he was already one of the BBC's most experienced TV directors – he had directed excellent 10-part adaptations of two 19th-century classics, Great Expectations and Les Misérables (both in 1967) – but he relished the "right to fail" ethos at the BBC, enjoying working with exciting contemporary writers.

While continuing to have a distinguished television career into the 80s, adeptly moving from the popular to the experimental, from the modern to the classical,
See full article at The Guardian - TV News »

Alan Bridges obituary

Television director in the glory days of the BBC, who went on to make feature films

Alan Bridges, who has died aged 86, was a leading director during the glory days of the BBC, from the mid-60s to the early 70s. Today, whenever media pundits analyse the history of television drama, they wax lyrical about The Wednesday Play and its successor Play for Today, bemoaning the virtual disappearance of the single play.

By the time Bridges started working in the Wednesday Play slot, he was already one of the BBC's most experienced TV directors – he had directed excellent 10-part adaptations of two 19th-century classics, Great Expectations and Les Misérables (both in 1967) – but he relished the "right to fail" ethos at the BBC, enjoying working with exciting contemporary writers.

While continuing to have a distinguished television career into the 80s, adeptly moving from the popular to the experimental, from the modern to the classical,
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

Alan Bridges: a director of genuine if occasionally overlooked brilliance | Peter Bradshaw

The gifted film-maker, winner of the top prize at Cannes in 1973, did not always get the acclaim he deserved in his native Britain

The death of the British director Alan Bridges at the age of 86 is a great sadness. Bridges was a brilliant poet and cinematic satirist – in tones both mordant and melancholy – of the English class system of the early 20th century, and a director with a flair for psychology and interior crisis, as evidenced by movies like The Return of the Soldier (1982) and The Shooting Party (1985).

A film-maker to bear comparison with Joseph Losey and John Schlesinger, he was one of the few British directors to win the top prize at the Cannes film festival. Bridges earned that accolade with his wonderful 1973 movie The Hireling, when the award was called the Grand Prix – jointly, in fact, with Jerry Schatzberg's marvellous Scarecrow, another film only recently being rediscovered.
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

Scarecrow – review

Gene Hackman and Al Pacino are a winning combination in Jerry Schatzberg's blue-collar road movie from 1973

The 1973 Palme d'Or at Cannes was shared by two disparate, odd-couple road movies: Alan Bridges's The Hireling, in which chauffeur Robert Shaw drives rich widow Sarah Miles on visits to English cathedrals, and Jerry Schatzberg's Scarecrow, starring Gene Hackman (recently released violent convict) and Al Pacino (recently signed-off gentle merchant seaman) who meet in California and set out to hitchhike to Pittsburgh where they intend to open a car wash. Both films are largely forgotten now, but neither is without merit.

Scarecrow, an elliptical mixture of the tough (Pacino is raped on a prison farm) and the whimsical (the title tells us that scarecrows are successful because crows find them funny), is the best film in Schatzberg's small but interesting oeuvre. The magnificent cinematography by Vilmos Zsigmond has dusty images of
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

Can Cannes keep on top?

Cannes, which has announced its 2012 line-up, has some serious competition. As Tribeca begins and ahead of Sundance London, our critics examine the big hitters on the film festival circuit

It has been a quiet few months on the film festival front. The last two biggies, Sundance and Berlin, were back in the depths of winter; but now things are suddenly getting interesting. Tribeca, the New York trendoid-magnet, has just started, and Cannes, the swanky Cote d'Azur schmoozathon, has reared its finely contoured head on the horizon. The UK is even getting in on the action, with the much-anticipated arrival next week of Sundance London, an offshoot of Robert Redford's indie-maven event in Park City, Utah.

Sundance London is an example of that industry buzzword "diffusion", whereby name events set up franchises overseas. Tribeca has been doing it since 2009 in Qatar, co-organising the Doha film festival. It's a byproduct of
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

In the village of the damned

Michael Haneke's Palme D'or winner offers a spellbinding tale of bigotry and brutality in a pre-Great War rural German community, says Philip French

Numerous novelists, dramatists and film-makers have been attracted to the period immediately preceding the outbreak of the First World War to give their work a touch of nostalgia, irony or historical resonance.

Jb Priestley, whose life had been transformed by his experiences on the Western Front, was among the earliest with his 1934 play Eden End, set in 1912 Yorkshire. Isabel Colegate's novel The Shooting Party (filmed by Alan Bridges in 1984) takes place at a grand country house in 1913. István Szabó's movie Colonel Redl cuts straight from its eponymous antihero's death to the Austro-Hungarian army going into battle, though it was as early as 1916 that the Austrian wit Karl Kraus launched one of the last century's greatest cliches by having a newsboy enter a Viennese cafe shouting: "Extra!
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

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