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 Post subject: Richard Attenborough
PostPosted: Mon Aug 25, 2014 1:46 am 
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Prince Judah
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Lord Richard Attenborough has just died at age 90 - http://www.bbc.com/news/entertainment-arts-28923074

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ABOVE: Attenborough in 2008

Oscar-winning British film director Richard Attenborough has died at the age of 90, his son has said.

Lord Attenborough was one of Britain's leading actors, before becoming a highly successful director.


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 Post subject: Re: Richard Attenborough
PostPosted: Mon Aug 25, 2014 2:17 am 
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Prince Judah
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Brit and Lord Richard Attenborough got his start as a film actor way back in the early forties and his breakthrough role was in the British film Brighton Rock (1947), as a young psychotic gang leader named "Pinkie." Attenborough was an unlikely film star - he always looked pudgy and unimposing, but he was fairly big in films by the sixties, notably as the leader of the prisoners in a WW2 prison camp in The Great Escape (63). Steve McQueen & James Garner were the 2 big stars but Attenborough was credited firmly 3rd as "Big X," the mastermind behind the big escape.
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He seemed to do well as soldiers in film and as 2nd lead to big stars - he was a loud stiff upper lip in Guns at Batasi (64) and rejoined McQueen (as sailors) for The Sand Pebbles (66). These were military roles but very different in style - he was quiet and shy in the latter role. He also supported James Stewart in the survival adventure Flight of the Phoenix (65). By the start of the seventies, his roles were smaller in support - appearing with John Wayne in Brannigan (75) and as yet another damaged soldier in Conduct Unbecoming. There was a gap in the eighties when he turned to directing and modern audiences are probably more familiar with his comeback role as a rich entrepreneur in the Jurassic Park films (only the 1st two, in 1993 & 1997), exulting over bringing dinosaurs back on an island. He was also in a remake of Miracle on 34th Street (94), in the Santa Claus role.

Attenborough is also well known as a director, specializing in biographies and epics - an early effort was Young Winston (72), on Winston Churchill. When epics were already out of style, Attenborough went against the grain with A Bridge too Far (77), an all-star war film on World War II, and Gandhi (82), for which he won 2 Academy Awards (director & producer). There was also the small suspense film Magic (78). Later he directed A Chorus Line (85), Cry Freedom (87) and the biopic Chaplin (92), with Robert Downey Jr. in the title role.

In 1967, he was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE). He was made a Knight Bachelor in 1976 and in 1993 he was made a life peer as Baron Attenborough, of Richmond upon Thames in the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames. R.I.P.


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 Post subject: Re: Richard Attenborough
PostPosted: Tue Aug 26, 2014 4:44 pm 
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I'm a bit embarrassed to say I haven't seen Gandhi yet, and I had no idea he directed it! Most people from my generation will remember him most from Jurassic Park, and I understand why. It was such a magical experience seeing it in the theater when I was 8. I'll be watching The Great Escape in his honor this week.

R.I.P.

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You know, McKay, you're a bigger fool than I thought you were. And to tell you the truth, that just didn't seem possible.


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 Post subject: Re: Richard Attenborough
PostPosted: Thu Jan 29, 2015 10:24 pm 
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Prince Judah
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I had an interesting night last night, staying up very late to watch a quartet of films starring Richard Attenborough. For whatever reason, the TCM Channel had a mini-marathon of his films last night and these were all films I had not yet seen! And, more, I didn't mention any of these films in my brief bio/R.I.P. for Attenborough above. I rarely watch this many films in a row, but it was hard to resist this opportunity. These were in b&w except the first one that ran on the channel, 10 Rillington Place, which was also the the most recent film, from 1971.

10 Rillington Place was about a serial killer who operated way back in the 1940s; Attenborough played the killer. This was how a serial killer film was done before the genre became popular, after The Silence of the Lambs (1991). It was based on a real person and events. Picture Hannibal Lecter, just shorter, pudgier and much more low key. That was the thing - Attenborough's killer is this bald, small, timid man who seems harmless but gets these psychotic moments; most of his victims were women and prostitutes; he would gas them with his device, like a dentist putting a patient to sleep. But, it gets even worse
Spoiler:
(the killer goes so far as to kill a baby girl and later his own wife),
and there's also a miscarriage of justice ; John Hurt also stars. I think Attenborough wanted to do this film as an argument against capital punishment - the police do a poor job and get the wrong man at first - but after watching this, I wasn't really convinced that executions should be prevented; Attenborough's killer was very chilling by the end and maybe he wasn't in his right mind, but I didn't mind thinking that he should be executed.

The next one was The Angry Silence (1960), a drama about a union strike and Attenborough being a lone worker who goes against the grain, gaining the enmity of all his fellow workers. Oliver Reed had a small role as one of the younger workers. Then, another thriller, Seance on a Wet Afternoon (1964), an unusual one about a husband-wife team of spiritualists who decide to kidnap a rich man's young daughter. Attenborough again played a timid criminal; his wife, the psychic who holds seances, is the one who calls the shots. This had a very slow beginning; in the first 15 minutes, the two talk over their plan - well, the wife does most of the talking - and I thought this would be a boring film, but it becomes quite suspenseful in the middle act.

Finally, there was the entertaining crime caper, The League of Gentlemen (1960). Jack Hawkins stars as an ex-military man who organizes a team of other ex-army guys who had all fallen on bad times or bad luck. They come up with a simple but effective plan to rob a bank. Attenborough played one of the team. Again, Oliver Reed has a small role, just one scene in which he plays a young gay man auditioning for some ballet who mistakenly walks in to the room where the team is discussing their plan. These were all British films, with that distinctive British flavor. All were nicely-done films and showed Attenborough in a very good light, different from his famous roles (all mentioned in the previous posts); it was a good night - I did stay awake even though it was close to 4 AM in the morning by the time the last film ended.


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