After reading Scott Murray’s wonderful tribute memoir about Colin Bennett veteran cinephiles Michael Jasper & Bruce Hodsdon have sent in further thoughts
Michael writes: Yes, truly compelling and touching. For the record, last time I saw Colin was when I shared a flight from Melbourne in 1997 for my second journey to the wonderful Vancouver Internatiomal Film Festival. Colin's destination was somewhat closer to home. Such an intelligent, warm and quiet gentleman.
Bruce writes: In 1960 when I was taking my first steps into film buffery at MUFS screenings Colin Bennett was the only journalist in the mainstream press given regular space and a byline as a film journalist although it was about that time that Bill Collins was given a regular two pages in the ABC's TV Times to provide previews of the movies on TV in the coming week. What stood out for me in those pre-auteur days was that Collins and Bennett regularly noted and often commented on the role the director in Hollywood films as none of the other regular film reviewers often did. I think your assessment of Bennett's critical orientation is pretty accurate Scott. On one hand I remember Bennett giving Howard Hawks' Man's Favourite Sport (admittedly not one of Hawks' best films but nonetheless typically Hawksian) in those pre "Hitchcock-Hawksian" days a critical thrashing pretty much in line with the BFI school. On the other hand Colin was also his own man, about the same time focusing on Roger Corman's place in Hollywood as an independent producer-director in a positive review of one of Corman's lesser films as director (The Young Racers) at the time Corman was beginning to make his mark with Poe adaptations. I also recall writing to Bennett in protest about the cutting of about 30 mins from the film version of Arthur Miller's A View from the Bridge, directed by Sidney Lumet, to fit into a double bill in a city cinema. Next Saturday Colin took this up in devoting his weekly column in Sat's Age (in which he then had the opportunity to write about any film related subject of his choosing) to draw attention to this piece of distributor vandalism which he extended into a general piece on distributor cutting.