Sunday, 26 April 2009

Wall - Brick Lane

Brick Lane, London

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

George Kennedy / Cool Hand Luke

Last night I saw Cool Hand Luke, for which George Kennedy won an Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his character Dragnet (and HD Stanton and Dennis Hopper were in it too - fantastic). He's always been an actor I've been fond of - for his grittiness - but more so for the tongue in cheek air in films like the Airport series. He always seemed to be enjoying himself. I liked that he was never the big star, and didn't seem to mind - and yet he always improved a film. And always belonged. If he was in it, I'd watch it. And like Harry Dean Stanton, he always seems to appear in films and television when you least expected; or when you'd just plain forgot he'd been there, done that.

George Kennedy was at the BFI last night... he was interviewed on stage afterwards. He's 84 now, and uses a Zimmerframe. It was a slight surprise to see him physically frail... silly; but his persona, and physicality, of the sixties and seventies is so ingrained - 40 years on now. And he was in his forties then. I was surprised how moved I was to see him unsteadily clamber on stage; his flushed smile of thanks; and then even more so to listen to him talk about himself, his adventures. What a sweet, charming, funny man... and self deprecating: "a good character actor, no more than that". Indeed.

I didn't know he cut his teeth on Bilko, another favourite of mine. It's been an area of fascination: where did they find such a cast on that programme: those weird, "ugly", marvelous faces. Not like today's sitcoms, all buffed and shiny. He said they were mostly recruited from vaudeville; the burlesque clubs. Misfits.

He talked of not knowing his father; sleeping in doorways with his mother during the Great Depression; being lassoed by Will Rogers; being taken under the wing of Jimmy Stewart - father figure - a friend - a hero; adventures with Paul Newman, Betty Davis, Joan Crawford; the real deal behind Lucille.

His passion for film shone through - his love of detail - for the physicality of pre-CGI techniques - his appreciation of all the behind the scenes technicians; the set builders. That's where he started his film career.

Asked his advice for aspiring directors and actors: "Don't ... make ... garbage".

It was a treat. Or I'm becoming sentimental.

  • "The Phil Silvers Show" (1956-59)
  • Strait-Jacket (1964)
  • "Bonanza" (1961-1964)
  • The Flight of the Phoenix (1965)
  • Hush...Hush, Sweet Charlotte (1964)
  • The Dirty Dozen (1967)
  • Cool Hand Luke (1967)
  • The Boston Strangler (1968)
  • Airport (1970)
  • Cahill U.S. Marshal (1973)
  • Thunderbolt and Lightfoot (1974)
  • Earthquake (1974)
  • "Dallas" (52 episodes, 1988-1991)

Dieppe walls II

Dieppe, Haute Normandie

Monday, 20 April 2009

Dieppe walls

Dieppe, Haute Normandie

Around about Dieppe's old fishermen's quarter, le Pollet.

Sunday, 19 April 2009

Dieppe 2

Dieppe, Haute Normandie

French whispers...

Dieppe, Haute Normandie

Performance art at Dieppe street market. Stories whispered in French... unknowable to me... surrounded by stories of people . Meaning without knowing. Or, meaning whatever I choose. Or nothing. Soothing - anonymous.