Dedications: My four late friends Rory, Stan, Bryan, Jeff - shine on you crazy diamonds, they would have blogged too. Then theres Garry from Brisbane, Franco in Milan, Mike now in S.F. / my '60s-'80s gang: Ned & Joseph in Ireland; in England: Frank, Des, Guy, Clive, Joe & Joe, Ian, Ivan, Nick, David, Les, Stewart, the 3 Michaels / Catriona, Sally, Monica, Jean, Ella, Anne, Candie / and now: Daryl in N.Y., Jerry, John, Colin, Martin and Donal.

Monday, 25 April 2011

Jerzy Skolimowski's fascinating movies

Above: Gina Lollobrigida and (presumably) John Moulder-Brown in KING QUEEN KNAVE (from a novel by Nabokov), 1972.
Polish director Jerzy Skolimowski, now in his '70s and still-making movies also writes, paints, presides over Film Festivals and is certainly highly-regarded and attracts quality casts - but somehow his films are practically impossible to see! There was, finally, a recent dvd issue of his 1970 oddity DEEP END, but KING QUEEN KNAVE in '72 seems impossible to see now and I think it barely surfaced in London, despite its stars David Niven, Gina Lollobrigida (looking sensational) and John Moulder-Brown again, who was the lead in DEEP END, set in that East London swimming pool where tease Jane Asher works, he is the new attendant who becomes fascinated by her, and Diana Dors in her blowsy era is also on hand looking for satisfaction!

Jerzy began in the Polish cinema of the early '60s, scripting Polanski's highly-regarded debut KNIFE IN THE WATER - one of his early films as director is the 1967 THE DEPARTURE with Jean-Pierre Leaud which was popular at the time. THE ADVENTURES OF GERARD though in 1970 was tossed away as a dubbed supporting-feature, which I did see at the time, with Peter McEnery as the hussar of Conan Doyle's stories, with Claudia Cardinale, Eli Wallach and Jack Hawkins. THE SHOUT in 1976 was regarded as an oddity and little-seen too, despite the presence of Alan Bates, Susannah York and John Hurt - as I said, top quality casts! MOONLIGHTING with Jeremy Irons about Polish workers stranded in then early-80s London was premiered on the BBC here, and the 1984 SUCCESS IS THE BEST REVENGE with Michael York and Anouk Aimee (reunited from JUSTINE!) was only ever shown once here on the BBC2 channel!

Skolimowski now though has a new film, which has been getting some attention, so hopefully we may get to see it in London before too long - ESSENTIAL KILLING, about a Taliban member who lives in Afghanistan is taken captive by the Americans after killing three American soldiers. He is transferred to Europe for interrogation but manages to escape from his captors and becomes an escaped convict on a continent he does not know. Topical stuff! with Vincent Gallo and Emanuelle Seigner.
John Moulder-Brown is one of those fascinating actors one knows nothing about - even his IMDB page is blank - but he keeps working, now in his 50s. When he was young and pretty, apart from the two Skolimowski titles above, Visconti cast him as Prince Otto in the monumental LUDWIG, 1972, and Maximilian Schell cast him as the lead in his 1970 version of Turgenev's FIRST LOVE which was a nice period piece I caught at a film festival screening, with Dominique Sanda and writer John Osbourne!

DEEP END is now being re-released in selected cinemas (here in the UK) from May 6 and a new dual-format dvd is out in July from the BFI. Interesting comments on it in this weekend's papers by Jane Asher and John Moulder-Brown (now 57). It will be good to see a good print of it again - Now for those other titles like KING QUEEN KNAVE and GERARD!

1 comment:

  1. Re: King Queen Knave.