Like Vanessa with Davids Hemmings and Warner (below), Julie Christie and Terence Stamp were two of the brightest new Sixties stars ... only together on screen in FAR FROM THE MADDING CROWD in 1967. We have admired them over the years - and seen them both on the stage - Terry did a DRACULA sometime in the 80s, while it was sheer bliss just to sit and gaze at Julie in an 80s production of Harold Pinter's OLD TIMES. On screen too there is just bliss in just looking at her, as per my other posts on her at Christie label. Both are quite reclusive, playing stardom on their terms - Terence had a renaissance in recent years, what with PRISCILLA QUEEN OF THE DESERT in the 90s (though in drag he looked alarmingly like Sheila Hancock ...) and he promoted the recent SONG FOR MARION a lot, and had a retrospective on him at the BFI, where surprisingly my eternal cult favourite MODESTY BLAISE was not included, but then it was not a particularly happy film for Stamp ....
I used to see Terry around town quite a few times, as when I worked for over 20 years in Regent Street, the apartment block he lived in, the Albany in Piccadilly, backed onto Regent Street, and one saw him a few times in the morning, when he was out getting a carton of milk or suchlike (I resisted the temptation to ask him what Julie, Monica or Silvana were really like). He also had his own range of crisps, and his 3 volumes of memoirs are as essential and engaging as Sarah Miles's in covering that busy showbiz era.
Julie, on the other hand, has kept out of sight a lot, unless to promote some cause dear to her, and had a great late career boost with 2006's drama AWAY FROM HER, for which she was Oscar nominated as best actress. I really wanted her to win this, it would have been perfect to win a second Best Actress Oscar over 40 years after her first - maybe only Katharine Hepburn has achieved that. Although I have the dvd of LA VIE EN ROSE I still have not watched it, I imagine Marion Cotillard is indeed extraordinary as Piaf, but after watching AWAY FROM HER again last night, I still feel Julie should have won. It was also marvellous watching Stamp again in THE LIMEY, that breezy thriller from 1999, where he looks great and has an ideal role tailor-made for him.
AWAY FROM HER remains an astonishing work from a 27 year old novice director, Sarah Polley. it's a drama, which moves and uplifts. It includes charming and funny moments, but even the humor has depth.
We take in the snowy wastes and that plangent soundtrack (sounding rather like Pat Metheny, and including songs like Neil Young's "Helpless") as we watch that long-married couple Grant (Gordon Pinsent) and Fiona; they have reached a stage of lifetime love and devotion based on deep knowledge of each other and acceptance of past misdemeanours. Then Fiona's memory starts to fail and she starts to feel confused and lost. Finally she decides to enter Meadowcamp that facility for patients suffering with Alzheimers. He visits the place but does not like it, and there is that 30 days of no contact to deal with after she enters, he does not want to be away from her. She settles in as he observes, and sees her and another patient getting close. His unfaithfullness caused her pain in their earlier days, now he has to suffer seeing her happy with someone else ... Julie Christie has enthralled me since the early Sixties and BILLY LIAR, and she is no less astounding here, it is a dynamic stunning layered performance and she still looks marvellous. It is another late great role for her, like AFTERGLOW a decade earlier. Olympia Dukakis too is sterling support here, as ever (her lesbian romance CLOUDBURST from 2011 never opened here, but is it on its way to me ..)
THE LIMEY. Take three ‘60s icons: Terence Stamp, Peter Fonda and Warhol’s Joe Dallesandro, add in clips of young Stamp from Ken Loach’s seminal 1967 drama POOR COW, and let Steven Soderbergh direct this 1999 revenge drama. First of all, it looks great with those LA locations and Big Sur and the high life high on those canyons. Stamp, still looking terrific in middle-age here, is the vengeful father out of prison, arriving in America to find out how the daughter he loved but neglected died – seemingly at the hand of well-protected record producer Fonda – capturing that sleazy persona perfectly.
The clips from Loach’s film are well-used, but the Stamp there is not the same character here; and Lesley Anne Warren is good support. I did not recognise Warhol’s Joe till I re-ran it. A neat, brisk little thriller then, Limey of course being American slang for an Englishman; Terry indulges in his own English-speak to confuse those Yanks. Looking at it again now, I enjoyed it even more than first time around. Its pretty nifty, all round.