Sunday, 24 August 2014

RIP Richard Attenborough

Another terribly sad passing, the legendary Lord Attenborough, acclaimed actor and director and the last great of old British cinema has died today at the age of 90  

Regular readers of this blog will know how much of a fan I was of this man. Terribly sad news, a light has well and truly gone out.



  1. Terribly sad, as you say. Watching the news reports reminded me just how long his career went back (I remember someone describing British films of the 40s and early 50s as 'Richard Attenborough cracking up under the pressure and being slugged in the jaw by John Mills'). The tributes did manage to work in most of the highlights of his career, although it must be said that he was a far subtler actor than people perhaps always gave him credit for. THE GREAT ESCAPE was maybe the peak of his Hollywood acting career, but even there his head escaper is not just a jolly good chap; there are elements of obsession and ruthlessness as well. Over time the 'cuddly' elements of the man became mixed up with his screen persona (JURASSIC PARK and MIRACLE ON 34TH STREET), but two of his greatest screen performances are anything but cuddly. BRIGHTON ROCK has a fantastic turn from him as Pinkie, but 10 RILLINGTON PLACE was his greatest. It's a portrayal of such cold-hearted, slithering evil that it makes Hopkins' Hannibal Lecter look like the panto turn that it was. He deserved an Oscar for that.

    I expect that the Beeb will put on some movies to celebrate the man, but it's hard to think of how you can celebrate him with only a couple of films. It's such a varied career.

    1. Absolutely spot on ggary, I could not agree more on all those points you raise. I must admit any man who could produce such a cold blooded baby face psychopath like Pinky as well as the softly spoken mild mannered serial killer John Christie, and go on to play convincingly Santa Claus has to be a man of diverse talent and depth.

      My three favourite performances of his are Brighton Rock, 10 Rillington Place and Seance on a Wet Afternoon and I like nothing better on such damp afternoons than to watch one of his films with a cuppa and some biccies.

      I believe there'll be a documentary tribute tonight at 10:35 and hopefully we'll see a season of films across the channels but as you say they can only hint at the variety his career held.

  2. Such sad news to hear that he'd died. He and his wife owned a house on the island and I saw him out on the street twice. Without him we probably wouldn't have a cinema on the island. He was instrumental in helping getting the Winter Gardens set up.

    I remember being horrified watching 10 Rillington Place (which was a good thing, I was totally absorbed by it) and as a small child my favourite film was Doctor Doolittle. Number one film for me will always be Miracle on 34th Street. I went to see it at the age of about seven and got so entranced that I went and laid down on the aisle floor to watch it. He'll always be Father Christmas to me.

  3. Aw that's so sweet! And a lovely personal connection too