Thursday, 9 February 2017

Vale Alec McCowen - A great actor passes, A Facebook crowd converses and remembers

The great British actor Alec McCowen has just died. Here’s the notice in the New York Times. This caused a bit of local Facebook outpouring. Here it is reprinted with some pictures.

David Hare started things offDied at 91. My very favorite role is his superbly named "Henry Puling" in Cukor's Travels with my Aunt.

Geoff Gardner The comic by play between McCowen and Vivien Merchant and her gourmet cooking in Frenzy sticks in the mind...

Kenneth Albert Calascione Perhaps my favorite scenes in Frenzy

David Hare Yes I think I agree. We re-watched last year with some other late Hitch's, and it suffers from Jon Finch's performance and another gruesome Brit Pop score by Ron Goodwin. The dinner table scene is classic, and the corpses in the potato sacks on the back of the truck ain't bad either.

Vivien Merchant, McCowen, Franzy
Kenneth Albert Calascione  Corpse. Singular. Unless you were seeing double that day.

Eddie Cockrell A great actor. Saw him on the London stage in 1982 in Christopher Hampton's adaptation of George Steiner's "The Portage to San Cristobal of A.H." A spine-chilling, magnificent performance. And TRAVELS WITH MY AUNT is an unjustly low-profile gem.

Maggie Smith, McCowen, Travels with my Aunt
David Hare I love Travels, as much as I do his final masterpiece Rich and Famous. The only minor negative from Travels is the very dated, "upbeat" Tony Hatch score. But the magically short yet powerful Michel Legrand credits music for Rich and Famous always wipes me out, and more than cancels out 2 hours of la Hatch from his filmography which is easy to ignore anyway. I hope by now with the official canonization of Dame Maggie the agnostics on Travels can finally appreciate the real strength of her performance. I find her totally wonderful and the bigness is always directed for the present tense Augusta, while she shades the past incarnations superbly. This is one of the very great Cukor films about persona, and performance, like Bhowani Junction, Holiday, Star is Born, Heller in Pink Tights, Les Girls, Chapman Report, Sylvia Scarlet, A Woman's Face.....

Eddie Cockrell Don't forget the Carpathia's wireless operator in A NIGHT TO REMEMBER and his small part in the criminally underrated rogue Bond entry NEVER SAY NEVER AGAIN.

McCowen as Q, Never Say Never Again

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