Peter Yates, 1928–2011

Inside Criterion / Production Notes — Jan 10, 2011

I was deeply saddened by today’s news of the passing of Peter Yates, whom I had the honor to meet while producing Criterion’s DVD for his great seventies crime picture The Friends of Eddie Coyle. His death marks the loss of a warm, generous individual—reason enough to remember a person—as well as of a talented filmmaker whose gift was expressed, to my mind, by a deceptively simple, eloquent, direct style. His kind of visual storytelling has gradually disappeared as “unique voices” and “visionaries” flaunting overblown pyrotechnics and equally overblown running times get touted by Tinseltown every other week. Yates wasn’t just the “Bullitt car chase guy.” He was a true craftsman, someone who believed in efficient storytelling and a rigorous attention to detail, and I will always remember him fondly.