After all, it's just a ride….

Richard Attenborough RIP

A dozen years ago, when I was working at Westminster Council I recall leaving the building and spotting a quiet figure loitering in the same prone position at City Hall as everyone else suffered before being summoned up to Cabinet to make their case. All alone, no PR people or minders in effect sat this quietly prepared dude who was going through his papers to make his case. His particular issue was introducing a Mandela memorial on the fourth plinth of Leicester Square. Given his pedigree and what he has managed for this country, film and associated business wise I thought his humble approach was fairly amazing;

Cut to a week ago, on a quiet Sunday night I was watching his slightly maligned Chaplin, a film which I’m sure airbrushes some facts but still remains a pleasant romp through that legend’s life and achievements I still had to call it day and gracefully retire to bed. It was a little to obvious, just a little too dour, although Attenborough’s hagiographic directorial style has fallen out of style it still retains some of  David Lean’s distanced leaning interest. Much more interesting is the ‘original’ version of The League Of Gentlemen, a great subversive UK movie which is always eclipsed by the Ealing mafia;

And as a horror movie fan you’re an evil bugger of the most philandering sort for plundering this on us Mr. Attenborough, that legendary section of Dead Of Night taken to its hilarious conclusion;

I think even as I put this together we won’t truly realise what fundamental a figure this was given his presence over such a period, avoiding the inevitable Jurassic Park moments we should remember what a gelatinous figure he was – melding an actors sensibilities with his autobiographical instincts to influence autobiography. Personally speaking I will never forget turning to my parents when I first sat through Ghandi and querying why this nice, peaceful and rational guy was killed at the start of the movie – in our day and frightening age who’s got the answer to that?;


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