We’re not ones for obituaries here, but when news of Michael Winner’s death broke earlier this week, there was a bit more reminiscing than usual on the MostlyFilm forum. I can’t explain why it felt right to do so, but we decided to give a send off to this most eccentric of English directors. A man remembered for his notoriety as a restaurant critic, as the director of exploitative, violent trash like Death Wish or Dirty Weekend and, most damningly, for those bloody insurance commercials, Winner was also a director with great verve and wit. The below-discussed I’ll Never Forget What’s’isname, for example, is an overlooked gem, standing out from the wigged-out wallpaper of drearily off-the-wall Swinging Sixties films (yeah, Blow Up, I mean you), and, quite apart from his frequent collaborations with Oliver Reed and Charles Bronson, this is a man who has worked with some incredible names; Orson Welles, Sophia Loren, Anthony Hopkins, Joan Collins, Alain Delon and Lauren Bacall to name only a fraction. Clearly he did something right.
After the jump – as the cool kids call it, right? – we have contributions from our own Neil Hargreaves and a guest contribution from blogger and film-maker David Cairns. As David said in his note to me, it’s not the obituary he would’ve wanted. But, to me, it’s better than reducing him to a catchphrase (unless, perverse to the end, that would be exactly what he would want).