Just in


When I pressed the record the series on SKY ARTS in the Discovering Film star programmes I thought I had seen them all but going to my television planner I saw there were many more to savour.

I have seen profiles of the careers of Laurence Olivier, Jams Mason, Robert Taylor. Warren Beatty, Charlton Heston, Alec Guiness and John Wayne and enjoyed them all even though some of these stars I estimated had more or had bigger talent than others.

I particularly enjoy the contributions of Ian Nathan of Empire Magazine. On Chuck Heston he was critical of the Michael  Moore’s documentary/expose.

Everyone knows with blunt editing over long interviews recordings you get pretty much the result you wanted.

In Chuck Heston’s case he came cross as a deranged reactionary President of the NRA. Nathan observed that he was a film star over six decades who did not just made epics but ground breaking sci-fi like Planet of the Apes. He was an actor who liked a challenge.

There are a few disappointments. I don’t quite know the film credentials of writer and social commentator Bonnie Greer as a film historian. She talk assertively but I wonder if that is cover for lack of cinematic  knowledge alongside heavyweight Neil Norman she is lightweight.

In the bio of Laurence Oliver there was no reference to the World at War; on Alex Guiness they did not mention his mother was a woman of “easy virtue”, or that he was bisexual, or that he learned from William Holden in Bridge Over the River Kwai the commercial benefits of negotiating a percentage of box office as he then did in Star Wars. I did learn however that James Mason achieved a first at Cambridge University  in architecture and was a conscientious objecotor.  All in all an excellent series for film buffs and more causal viewers.

About Neil Rosen

Neil went to the City of London School and Manchester University graduating with a 1st in economics. After a brief stint in accountancy, Neil emigrated to a kibbutz In Israel. His articles on the burgeoning Israeli film industry earned comparisons to Truffaut and Godard in Cahiers du Cinema. Now one of the world's leading film critics and moderators at film Festivals Neil has written definitively in his book Kosher Nostra on Jewish post war actors. Neil lives with his family in North London. More Posts