Saturday, October 03, 2009

Introducing the Third Annual Dirk-Fest

I started this blog in November 2007. Less than a month after my inaugural post, two events coincided: I found myself laid up ill and my wife (then my girlfriend) took pity on me and bought me the 'Screen Icons' Dirk Bogarde box set to cheer me up. I was off work a week and watched all seven of the DVDs in the set in short order - and blogged about them just as rapidly.

Bogarde has long been my favourite actor. He had a waspish sense of the sardonic about him coupled with a sometimes camp sometimes brooding tendency to engage with the dark side of his characters, kind of like Oscar Wilde or Noel Coward crossed with Jack Nicholson or Harvey Keitel. His eight volumes of autobiography are like old friends to me, books I've returned to time after time, often revisiting a specific passage or turn of phrase (Bogarde on an American limo driver who deposits him with a patently insincere have a nice day: "I nearly thanked him"), even though it's been demonstrated by his biographer John Coldstream that wholesale swathes of poetic licence were woven into the fabric of his memoirs.

Speaking of Coldstream, his biography of Bogarde is one of the best examples of its kind, up there with Kevin Brownlow's book on David Lean or David Weddle's account of Sam Peckinpah's turbulent life and career. It was 'Ever, Dirk', edited by Coldstream from reams of Bogarde's correspondence that prompted The Second Annual Dirk-Fest in late 2008.

The films covered so far have been:

Welcome, then, to The Third Annual Dirk-Fest. We've got three very different war films, a despatch from the Swinging Sixties, an oddity that pretty much stands as Bogarde's only sci-fi movie (or social horror, depending on how you want to look at it), a spy spoof and an example of the clean-cut heart-throb type product that made Bogarde a matinee idol in his younger years.


Dirk Bogarde said...

I've enjoyed each of your Dirk=Fests. Bravo for each of the insightful and articulate tributes to a great actor.

In your Third Dirk-Fest, I hope the war film you refer to is KING AND COUNTRY, one of the best anti-war films ever made, right up there with Paths of Glory. The Bogarde-Losey collaboration in their five films together was amazing.

Good for you in highlighting Bogarde's films.


Neil Fulwood said...

You're right, it is 'King & Country' and the review is now online.

I'm glsd you've enjoyed the Dirk-Fests so far. I hope you enjoy this year's just as much.