Alexis Kanner.
Results 1 to 19 of 19

Thread: Alexis Kanner.

  1. #1
    Senior Member Country: Scotland Grey Wyler's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Posts
    218
    Liked
    0 times
    Back in early 2004 i published an independent work on Alexis. It had a very small run of 200 copies, and i sold out quite a while back. Comments were on the whole favourable, but i was not satisfied by the end result.



    At the moment i am finishing off some rewrites, but hope that the new edition will be out at the end of August.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Country: UK
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Posts
    2,526
    Liked
    1 times
    Send me a PM and we can talk about getting you some publicity in FAB, the Gerry Anderson fan club magazine, which I'm involved with. UFO fans will want to read more about Alexis due to his stand out performance in Cat with Ten Lives.



    Have you been in touch with the Prisoner fan club Six of One and their splinter group The Unmutuals. I haven't had any contact with them for yonks, but I'm sure they'd be interested.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Country: Scotland Grey Wyler's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Posts
    218
    Liked
    0 times
    Funnily enough ddock, the title is "Hear The Word Of The Lord", just always seemed right somehow.



    Lord Brett, i have sent you a PM.

  4. #4
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Posts
    234
    Liked
    0 times
    Funnily enough you seem to be bang on,thanks for that,i look forward to your corrective book..remember the kid is looking over your shoulder,please write with care number 48 is overlooking your shoulder,Alexis was very particular who penned to paper his accomplishments...good luck

  5. #5
    Senior Member Country: UK Moor Larkin's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Posts
    6,472
    Liked
    120 times
    name='Grey Wyler']It had a very small run of 200 copies
    I've got a Limited Edition then?



    Will you be able to vouch for this story from 1994?



    Kings and Desperate Men was probably my 3rd or 4th job in film - I'd just turned 19. Alexis Kanner (the director & producer) and my father (both my parents work in the industry) have known each other since they were teenagers. Alexis hired me as his assistant, and I wound up doing the casting, being the 2nd AD and hiring the production manager... (it's usually the other way around, but Alexis didn't know anyone in town)



    When we started looking around for someone to play Patrick's wife, I said that we needed " a Margaret Trudeau type". Alexis said "Great. Get her." She was, of course, the estranged wife of the Primeminister of the country, and was all over the news here after her wild party weekend with the Rolling Stones. I hid her agents phone number from Alexis for a week... It was the first of many things to go very, very wrong on that film. Alexis took pills to wake up, pills to go to sleep and scotch in between . Not an easy situation.



    Alexis wouldn't make decisions - about anything. The first day of shooting came, and he hadn't made a decision on who was to play any of the kidnappers. Utterly distraught, I went to the 1st AD and asked him what the hell we were going to do. He told me to call 4 of the actors we had auditioned for those roles, and which ever 2 answered their phones first got the roles. And that is precisely what we did.



    After 3 days of shooting, we stopped issuing call sheets. There was no point -we weren't shooting anything that was on them. We were shooting miles of footage, but none of it seemed to come from the script.. Patrick and Alexis were doing their own thing.



    That was about when the 1st AD took to wearing a referee's shirt and a whistle.



    Patrick doesn't suffer fools gladly, and he took every opportunity to make Margaret's life miserable (and therefore mine) The place was crawling with RCMP folk, particularly when the children came to visit. It made us all uncomfortable (and put a damper on the crew's extra- curricular activities) and I don't think that Patrick liked the fact that she was the centre of attention. There was the day that he "fired" her - she was in tears, the crew was in stitches, and I had to take her aside and tell her that, no - Patrick didn't have the authority to fire her... He got a real kick out of that. He used to stalk the hallways muttering about "that woman" Then there was the time that he told her she couldn't act and shouldn't be in the film - which prompted her to throw a fit. She made a run at him and he grabbed her by the throat. I started running to get the guys, but they had heard one hell of a commotion coming from the makeup room and were rushing down the hall. One of the guys pulled Patrick away from her, grabbed her and tried to wrestle her down the hall into the elevator to take her up to her room. (We were shooting in the Four Seasons Hotel where they were all staying) They took her up via the service elevator, and Patrick raced up the stairs, so that when the elevator doors opened he was already standing in the door of his room and started taunting her again. She went for him and he slammed the door. Margaret then started kicking at his door with these gorgeous red suede boots she always wore and calling him every name in the book. And we could hear him laughing on the other side of the door. For some strange reason those boots have stuck in my head all these years.



    Days went by. and we didn't seem to be any closer to getting this film in the can.



    The walls of the hotel hallways were covered in styrofoam so we could move equipment through without damaging them. Slowly but surely, graffiti began to appear. " King and Desperate Crew" for example.



    If I were to cast the voice of God, it would be McGoohan. When he bellows, it shakes the rafters. I was somewhat intimidated by him at first - being a big fan and being inexperienced to boot. He was on me about something one day, and the 1st AD called me on the walkie-talkie. I asked Patrick to hang on a second while I responded, and he grabbed the walkie out of my hand and yelled at me to listen to him. I don't know what came over me, but I'd eaten all of his shit I was going to eat and I grabbed it back and yelled "F--- off Patrick! The goddamn AD is calling me and I'm gonna talk to him so you're just gonna have to wait" And from that moment on, we got along just fine!



    There were a couple of other unpleasant incidents - the cinematographer tried to throw Alexis out the 32nd floor window of the hotel and for a moment no one moved to stop him - there was the time Alexis had too much to drink and passed out in one of the other actress's rooms (she left immediately and stayed in Margaret's room) and the next day Patrick was telling everyone that Alexis had spent the night with her, which prompted her to run off in tears and lock herself in her room, It was, of course, MY job to get her to come out...



    Patrick was mean, uncooperative and sexist. HOWEVER, on the last day of shooting....



    We were doing one of the last scenes, where Andrea Marcovicci mourns over Alexis' body as Patrick walks out of the radio station. We'd basically shot the film in chronological order and this was the last shot before we were actually finished. The shot was without sound so the crew started to pack up. As Andrea is crouching over the body, suddenly Patrick steps in and starts to direct her. And it's magic. You can feel something happening. The whole crew stops and is watching. Patrick starts to take her through this whole emotional process. The cinematographer just keeps the camera rolling and we're all standing there mesmerized. Here is a really good director at work!!! He keeps her going until finally the cameraman quietly says that he's out of film. Andrea sort of pulls herself together and gets up and starts to walk away. Patrick says "That's right dear, now you go and have a good cry". Well, she let out this yell of frustration, looked around her for the nearest heavy object and heaved this huge glass knick-knack at Patrick's head. He ducked and it smashed a huge mirror. Then she ran out. The 1st AD said " Uh... that's a wrap..." And the filming of "Kings and Desperate Men" came to an end.



    Why he had to go and do something like that I will never know. It was perfectly clear to everyone on that film that, despite the fact that he was as big a pain in the butt as had ever existed, he was a fine actor. And in the last 5 minutes of shooting, he had shown that he was a GREAT director.



    He gave me a dozen roses and a thank you card at the wrap party - which I have kept. I gave him a brass penny farthing - lord knows where I managed to find the thing... But the nicest thing he said to me one day when he was "in his cups" was " You know Arden, underneath it all, you're really a man." It occurred to me to smack him upside the head, but I realized that it was actually an enormous complement coming from him and in the only way he knew how.



    Despite the problems, I have very fond memories of that film - it makes much better stories than many others I have worked on since. When I saw it at the premiere several years later (Alexis spent almost 2 years in the editing room) it actually wasn't a bad film. He was trying to do something stylistically (particularly with the sound) and he tried to make a "straightforward" hostage drama into something more challenging intellectually. I haven't seen Alexis since then - he was living in New York at the time. I do wonder where he is and if he is okay. Despite all that went on, I am rather fond of him in a strange way.





  6. #6
    Senior Member Country: UK
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Posts
    2,526
    Liked
    1 times
    That's a fascinating story about a film I've always been very fond of, but who is it by?

  7. #7
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Posts
    234
    Liked
    0 times
    This all sounds very colourfull and would make agood film on its ownl..Mcgoohan and Kanner were both very individualistic film makers perhaps taking the leave it till the last moment to extreme.They both really learned their tricks from the mayhem on the Prisoner set and tried to recreate some of that on Kings,I think you can see that in the film.Alexis was very young and impressionable when he did the Prisoner,this series haunted him throughout his short life and he payed the price for being a flame that burnt very bright

  8. #8
    Senior Member Country: Scotland Grey Wyler's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Posts
    218
    Liked
    0 times
    Yeah, wonderful story. By all accounts the filming of Kings was anarchic, what with McGoohan's drinking being out of hand, and arguments on set. What came out of it all though still stands up today, great, great movie. It's such a pity that Alexis did not direct another film.



    Years back i read that McGoohan had viewed M Trudeau as " a woman without morality" and that he had indeed hated the sight of her.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Country: UK Moor Larkin's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Posts
    6,472
    Liked
    120 times
    name='Grey Wyler']Years back i read that McGoohan had viewed M Trudeau as " a woman without morality" and that he had indeed hated the sight of her.
    He seems to attract these kind of moralistic accusations. A 1958 profile listed one of his 'leisure interests' as arguing..... Honestly!

    I think that might have as much of a bearing on his contrary reputation as anything else....



    Getting back to Alexis: A Canadian website says he attempted to sue the producers of 'Die Hard' for ripping off his plot ideas in Kings...... Have you any other background on that?

  10. #10
    Senior Member Country: UK Moor Larkin's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Posts
    6,472
    Liked
    120 times
    name='ddock54']Mcgoohan perhaps taking the leave it till the last moment to extreme.
    I think the 'voice of God' would boom loudly at that idea. McGoohan frequently referred to his carefully prepared professionalism.



    Alexis this series haunted him throughout his short life
    Well he was 61. Not exactly short by Belinda Lee standards.......




  11. #11
    Senior Member Country: UK
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Posts
    2,526
    Liked
    1 times
    name='Moor Larkin']He seems to attract these kind of moralistic accusations. A 1958 profile listed one of his 'leisure interests' as arguing..... Honestly!

    I think that might have as much of a bearing on his contrary reputation as anything else....



    Getting back to Alexis: A Canadian website says he attempted to sue the producers of 'Die Hard' for ripping off his plot ideas in Kings...... Have you any other background on that?


    I'll do some checking on that, as I remember the case quite well from the time - funnily enough I only mentioned it to a friend last night.



    Years ago I leafed through Margaret Trudeau's autobiography, and it seems she liked PMcG as much as he did her. I don't think he gave her much reason to like him, to be fair.

  12. #12
    Senior Member Country: UK Moor Larkin's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Posts
    6,472
    Liked
    120 times
    name='Lord Brett']I'll do some checking on that
    Cool...

    This is that forum reference by the way:

    Kings and Desperate Men - alt.tv.prisoner | Google Groups

    There is a Canadian of that name on imdb, but no credit is listed for Kings....




  13. #13
    Senior Member Country: Scotland Grey Wyler's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Posts
    218
    Liked
    0 times
    name='Moor Larkin']Getting back to Alexis: A Canadian website says he attempted to sue the producers of 'Die Hard' for ripping off his plot ideas in Kings...... Have you any other background on that?


    Unlikely as it seems, Alexis did indeed launch an unsuccessful action on Die Hard's producers. He was adamant that his material had been ripped off, and was unwilling to back down even when legal costs were adding up. Going as far as to appear on a US chat show to discuss the alleged plagarism.



    It seems that his decision to accept a part in the awful Nightfall was more to do with his lawyers bill, than any artistic merit in the film.

  14. #14
    Senior Member Country: UK
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Posts
    2,526
    Liked
    1 times
    It really is a shame that Alexis didn't work more, especially in the UK (I know some of the background as to why he didn't work in the UK after about 1969, but was told strictly off the record - I'll be interested to see if the same story is in the book).



    Apart from The Prisoner, I think AK's performance in the UFO episode Cat with Ten Lives is absolutely stunning, and he was a real loss to the acting profession.

  15. #15
    Senior Member Country: UK Moor Larkin's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Posts
    6,472
    Liked
    120 times
    name='Lord Brett']I know some of the background as to why he didn't work in the UK after about 1969
    That must have been about when he wrote his first draft of 'Kings & Desperate Men'....



    Was Kings financed by that same Canadian tax shelter sysytem that David Cronenberg talked about financing 'Scanners'? Something about all those films of that system taking place in midwinter, with snow on the ground, as the finance didn't come available until October and the shooting had to be complete by December? .....

  16. #16
    Senior Member Country: Scotland Grey Wyler's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Posts
    218
    Liked
    0 times
    Just a bit of an update here.



    I've been bogged down rather badly with family and work commitments. The end result is that i have had to put back the publication until early in the new year, but it is very much still on.



    If i have not been in touch, my apologies.

  17. #17
    Senior Member Country: Scotland Grey Wyler's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Posts
    218
    Liked
    0 times
    Hear the Word of the Lord. Wednesday 12th March.



    At long last.





    Sorry to all that i have not been in touch with recently.

  18. #18
    Super Moderator Country: Fiji
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Posts
    4,798
    Liked
    114 times
    How do we get hold of copies...?



    Smudge

  19. #19
    Senior Member Country: Scotland Grey Wyler's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Posts
    218
    Liked
    0 times
    I will have copies on e bay midweek, or better than that, just PM me and i will have details off right away.

Similar Threads

  1. Alexis Korner radio show ?
    By billy bentley in forum Off-Topic Discussion
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 06-05-10, 04:10 AM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts