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Thread: Michael Winner

  1. #61
    Senior Member Country: Scotland julian_craster's Avatar
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    Helen Mirren and Michael Winner in sexist spat

    By Gary Cleland

    14/12/2007

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/



    Two stalwarts of British film have begun a remarkable war of words

    after Dame Helen Mirren accused Michael Winner of treating her "like

    a piece of meat".



    Dame Helen Mirren (right) claims Michael Winner asked her to turn

    around to show off her physique



    Dame Helen, 62, said that Winner was "insulting and sexist" and

    deliberately tried to humiliate her on the first - and only - time

    they met.



    That was in 1964, when she was an up-and-coming actress while Winner,

    now more famous as a restaurant critic, was a film director.



    She claimed that Winner made her turn around and show off her

    physique during a casting session. "I was mortified and incredibly

    angry," she said in an interview with Richard Madeley and Judy

    Finnegan.



    "I thought it was insulting and sexist, and I don't think any actress

    should be treated like that - like a piece of meat - at all. Even if

    they haven't done the kind of work that I have done, it was

    incredibly insulting. I was so angry, I was so angry - I still am."



    Winner, however, disputed Dame Helen's version of events, saying that

    he had only met her as a favour to her then agent, Margaret Johnston,

    who was worried that Mirren's refusal to wear a bra in publicity

    photographs would lose her work.



    "I saw Helen and as I had been instructed to deal with the situation

    of her breasts, I did indeed ask her to stand up. I don't remember

    asking her to turn around but if I did I wasn't being serious," he

    said.



    "I can see it now; she was wearing a peasant blouse and a skirt in

    the photographs - with enormous bosoms which were sagging a bit even

    though she was young. I was only doing what the agent asked me - and

    for this I get reviled!



    "Helen's a lovely person, she's a great actress and I'm a huge fan,

    but her memory of that moment is a little flawed."

  2. #62
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    Maybe thats why see didn't get a film part till 1967?.

  3. #63
    Super Moderator Country: UK christoph404's Avatar
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    Im always slightly mystified at the extreme reactions Winner provokes in some people. So he is a film Director who is a bully and shouts at the crew etc? So what? maybe thats how he gets the job done and if you are a member of a film crew who doesn't like directors shouting and screaming at you my advice would be to get out of the film business! If he is a bit of a bully on set I don't think he would be unique in his profession, for example a documentary I watched sveral years ago on David Lean making A Passage to India left me with the impression that Lean was a bit of a tyrant on set with the crew treading egg shells in his presence. I think some directors have a particular way of working and bring facets of their personnality to the film set but I have never really heard stories from within the industry that Winner was awful to work with, quite the contrary in fact.I have enjoyed watching some of Michael Winner's films and some I have not but the fact is he is a hugley succesfull film director and some of his films have been very popular and made large amounts at the box office, that counts for something and whatever you think about the man or read about him in the tabloids I get the impression that within the film industry and amongst actors he is well respected. Sure he has made some stinkers but he has never claimed to be anything more than a film director who wants to make popularist and commercially succesfull films, so I think he gets a lot of unfair flack but I think what upsets his detractors even more is that he doesn't really care or take much notice of the criticism!

  4. #64
    Super Moderator Country: UK batman's Avatar
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    A friend of my mother used to be an electrician in the film business and worked on many Brit films, including several Hammer films, lots of TV stuff and met dozens of well known actors and directors. The only one he ever complained about was David Lean, who he worked for on a couple of films. He called Lean a 'complete bastard', but also the 'most efficient and talented' director he had ever worked for. He worked for Michael Winner too and never said a bad word about him.



    Bats.

  5. #65
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    Quote Originally Posted by julian_craster

    Dame Helen, 62, said that Winner was "insulting and sexist" and

    deliberately tried to humiliate her on the first - and only - time

    they met.



    That was in 1964, when she was an up-and-coming actress while Winner,

    now more famous as a restaurant critic, was a film director.



    She claimed that Winner made her turn around and show off her

    physique during a casting session. "I was mortified and incredibly

    angry," she said in an interview with Richard Madeley and Judy

    Finnegan.



    "I thought it was insulting and sexist, and I don't think any actress

    should be treated like that - like a piece of meat - at all. Even if

    they haven't done the kind of work that I have done, it was

    incredibly insulting. I was so angry, I was so angry - I still am."
    Not trying to defend the obnxious Winner here, but I find it hard to believe an actress would have such an "attitude" back in 1964 when the word "sexist" didn't exist.



    Winner has made some terrible, terrible films but he made one truly great film in THE MECHANIC. Sure, he was working from a Lewis John Carlino script but I'm sure many of his lesser films were good on paper too; it's hard to explain how this existentialist thriller turned out so well, perhaps just one of those happy accidents.



    CHATO'S LAND certainly isn't a good film, but also I have a (soft) spot for it my DVD collection...and it's fun reading Winner's account of the making of it in his highly entertaining autobiograpy.

  6. #66
    Super Moderator Country: England
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    I think the reason people genuinely dislike Winner is a combination of factors. He is (And admits it) a terrible snob; he namedrops like Niagara Falls; and despite a few competent films (and a lot of dross) he parades himself as Britains greatest living director. Not while Ken Russell breathes he isn't.No-one minds a self-publicist if there is some meat below the tinsel; Hitchcock was a huge self-publicist, but was an immense talent with a huge CV and a quiet private life. Winner has none of those things.

  7. #67
    Senior Member Country: Scotland julian_craster's Avatar
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    A lengthy interview with the legendary British and US film director Michael Winner can be found here:



    Camera Journal: Michael Winner





    [interview too long to post here.....]

  8. #68
    Senior Member Country: UK Merton Park's Avatar
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    Good interview, well worth reading.



    Thanks for that.

  9. #69
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    Excellent read.



    He's seems to have had a bad press, Michael Winner - but I like him. He's forthright and hugely talented.

  10. #70
    Super Moderator Country: UK batman's Avatar
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    'Tis an excellent read. When I was still an actor a friend and I sent a script we had written to him and some other producers/directors/agents. The only two 'names' who replied were Simon MacCorkindale (for Amy) and Michael Winner. He sent a charming hand written letter which I still have somewhere. He still rejected our script!

  11. #71
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    I like him very much. He is basically good-hearted and if nothing else he is honest and forthright, not kow-towing to political correctness. That counts for a lot with me.

  12. #72
    Senior Member Country: UK Freddy's Avatar
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    Many thanks for that JC. Mr. Winner is one of my favourite directors and whenever on tv he always comes across as a nice chap.



    Co-incidently he was on Celebrity Cash in the Attic last week selling some of his film momentoes, one of which was a b/w still of him auditioning Julie Christie in Play It Cool.



    Proceeds went to the Police Memorial Trust.



    Regards



    Freddy

  13. #73
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    Let's not get carried away here.. Michael Winner is a GOD-AWFUL director of forgettable shoddy films.

  14. #74
    Super Moderator Country: UK batman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alec Harvey
    Let's not get carried away here.. Michael Winner is a GOD-AWFUL director of forgettable shoddy films.
    MW has directed some excellent films ....



    The System

    The Jokers

    I'll Never Forget What's'isName

    Death Wish

    The Nightcomers

    Lawman

    Dirty Weekend

    Hannibal Brooks



    .... some of his later output may be poor but you can't knock the fact that he is one of the UKs most internationally successful directors.

  15. #75
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alec Harvey
    Let's not get carried away here.. Michael Winner is a GOD-AWFUL director of forgettable shoddy films.
    Which films are you thinking of to arrive at that conclusion?



    He has quite a canon of work - is that your opinion based on all of his works?

  16. #76
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    Absolutely

    The Nightcomers? Death Wish?

    These are appalling crude films. The comedies you mention now look like the refuse of *Swinging London*

  17. #77
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    Success means nothing. Quality is what counts

  18. #78
    Super Moderator Country: UK batman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alec Harvey
    Success means nothing. Quality is what counts
    Then old Michael is doing well .... international success with some quality films!

  19. #79
    Super Moderator Country: UK batman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alec Harvey

    The Nightcomers? Death Wish?

    These are appalling crude films. The comedies you mention now look like the refuse of *Swinging London*
    I disagree .... The Nightcomers is a good film, well made and featuring one of Brando's best later performances. Death Wish is an excellent example of a 70s thriller. Again it is well made and has a fine performance from Bronson plus a genuinely exciting story.

  20. #80
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alec Harvey
    Absolutely

    The Nightcomers? Death Wish?

    These are appalling crude films. The comedies you mention now look like the refuse of *Swinging London*
    Thats what forums are all about - no right or wrong, just opinion and perspective

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