Remembering Munro, Brown, and More

The Daily — Dec 12, 2017

“Grant Munro, a Winnipeg filmmaker whom the National Film Board calls a ‘Canadian film and animation legend,’ has died at the age of ninety-four,” reports Debra Yeo for the Toronto Star. Munro is probably best known for appearing in Norman McLaren’s Neighbours (1952; image above), an anti-war short “which brought the NFB its second Academy Award and was added to UNESCO’s Memory of the World global heritage collection in 2009.” At the NFB, Albert Ohayon introduces a playlist of films by and with Munro.

Just now catching up with the news, by way of Ray Kelly at Wellesnet, that Juan Luis Buñuel, son of, yes, Luis Buñuel, and father of filmmaker Diego Buñuel, has passed away at the age of eighty-three. Among the films Juan Luis Buñuel are the horror movie Au rendez-vous de la mort joyeuse (Expulsion of the Devil, 1973) in which Gérard Depardieu, twenty-five at the time, has a small role, and La femme aux bottes rouges (The Lady with Red Boots, 1974), starring Catherine Deneuve and Fernando Rey. Kelly points us to a conversation Peter Tonguette had with Buñuel in 2005 about working with Orson Welles on Don Quixote, first as a translator and eventually as an assistant director. “I saw him many years later in Paris at the studios. I said, ‘Hi, Orson! What . . .’ And he stopped me. He said, ‘Yeah, “What ever happened to Don Quixote?” Well, Francisco Reiguera [the actor who played Don Quixote in the film] died, the horse died, Akim Tamiroff [who played Sancho Panza] died . . .’”

Anthony Harvey, who directed Katharine Hepburn and Peter O’Toole in The Lion in Winter (1968), left us last month. Writing for the Guardian the other day, Ronald Bergan recalls visiting Hepburn in 2001 and her remarking that Harvey was a “‘real English gentleman and a brilliant director, one of the best I’ve ever worked with.’ That was high praise indeed from a movie star who had worked with such greats as Howard Hawks, John Huston, John Ford, George Cukor, and Frank Capra.” Harvey was also “a respected editor, working on The Spy Who Came in from the Cold (1965, directed by Martin Ritt), The L-Shaped Room (Bryan Forbes, 1962), and Lolita (1962) and Dr Strangelove (1964), both directed by Stanley Kubrick. It was Kubrick who advised Harvey to move from the cutting room to the studio floor.” Harvey, who directed George C. Scott in They Might Be Giants (1971) and Liv Ullmann in The Abdication (1974), was eighty-seven.

“Johnny Hallyday, the French answer to Elvis Presley, who kept audiences enthralled for nearly sixty years with his Gallic interpretations of American rock ’n’ roll and his turbulent offstage life, has died,” reports William Grimes for the New York Times. Hallyday, who appeared in Jean-Luc Godard’s Détective (1985), Patrice Leconte’s The Man on the Train (2002), and Johnnie To’s Vengeance (2009), was seventy-four.

“Bruce Brown, a pioneering filmmaker who helped introduce America to surfing with a story of two friends chasing after the perfect wave in The Endless Summer [1966], has died,” reports Steve Marble for the Los Angeles Times. “Brown, who long ago had retreated to a ranch near Santa Barbara to spend his days surfing, riding motorcycles and racing sprint cars, was eighty.”

William H. Gass, “a proudly postmodern author who valued form and language more than literary conventions like plot and character and who had a broad influence on other experimental writers of the 1960s, ’70s and beyond,” has died at the age of ninety-three, reports Dee Wedemeyer for the New York Times.

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