January 2, 2017


Donald Cammell (1934-1996) b. Edinburgh, Scotland.

Donald Cammell

Born in Edinburgh, Scotland, Donald Cammell was the son of Charles Richard Cammell, heir to the Cammell Laird shipbuilding fortune. Cammell started out his career as a painter and found popularity amongst the hip in 1960s Swinging London. He entered the film world by scripting The Touchables (1968). Directed by Robert Freeman and rewritten by Ian La Frenais, the ludicrous story revolved around a pop idol abducted by four girl fans. This was quickly followed by Cammell’s first co-writing credit with Duffy (1968), the story of an aging hippy who helps out two half-brothers rob their wealthy father. Cammell’s directorial debut was the psychedelic psychodrama Performance (1970), starring Mick Jagger and James Fox, the story of a London gangster who hides out with a reclusive rock star in his bohemian household remains a cult favourite. Demon Seed (1977), was originally intended as a comedy by Cammell but the studio opted instead for a rather slow-paced sci-fi thriller. The story involved a super computer that firstly imprisons, and then attempts to impregnate the wife of its creator. Following Demon Seed, Cammell did not complete another directorial project until the mystical serial killer film White of the Eye (1987). Cammell’s final directorial effort was Wild Side (1995), an erotic thriller starring Christopher Walken and Anne Heche. The film was cut extensively by the production company much to the fury of Cammell who had his name removed from the credits; eventually it was released straight-to-video with the director credit going to ‘Frank Brauner’. In April of 1996, Cammell committed suicide by a gunshot to the head.

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