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.

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Gilbert Adair, R.I.P.

Gilbert Adair (1944-2011), who died last week at the age of 66, was a novelist and well-regarded film critic. His movie reviews each week for the London "Independent" were pithy, often withering assessment of that week's most eye-catching release; incrementally, his reviews amounted to a defence of his beloved cinema, but may have been too elitist (or too highbrow for the mainstream) for some.

As he pronounced upon, damned and just occasionally approved of the week's offerings, he did so in a voice that deprecated its owner's undeniable cinephile authority. His fiction ranged from Agatha Christie pastiches to literary thrillers. Three of Adair's books themselves became films: LOVE AND DEATH ON LONG ISLAND (which I have been meaning to write about in connection with other "gay interest" titles), a comic recasting of "Death in Venice", where his stuffy professor wanders into the wrong cinema at the multiplex and becomes infatuated by the teen star on the screen; his somewhat autobiographical account of his days in 1968 Paris, "The Holy Innocents" (filmed as THE DREAMERS by Bertolucci); and "A Closed Book". There was also an impressive body of non-fiction, among which his quite personal history of the cinema, "Flickers", and "Movies", the anthology of film writing that he edited, are still rightly remembered. Adair was one of those very readable (even if one did not agree with him) critics like Pauline Kael or Alexander Walker.

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