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Monday, 25 August 2014

RIP, Richard Attenborough

I know nothing about Sir Richard Attenborough's personality, his life, his politics -- nor do I wish to. (I admit to no longer being able to enjoy Peter Fry's performances, thanks to TMI.)

But I have always loved him in movies, his characters, even when morally complex, even when outright reprehensible, always had a core of decency, or at least the potential for decency that is a feature of our common humanity.

We are none of us monsters, even when we behave monstrously.

I watched the Great Escape on late night television, baby-sitting, and despite the screen-time given to some yahoo on a motorcycle, found Attenborough, not just the moral center, but the center of the movie. (I was honestly startled to learn later in what esteem Steve McQueen was and is held by movie buffs.)

I think the first thing I'd seen him in was (again, all that baby-siting,) a heart-breaking thing about labor and unions and strike-breaking whose title I can't recall.

And although remakes are usually stupid/inferior/unnecessary, take you pick; and although the earlier one was a hit and his, I believe, was not, Attenborough's Kris Kringle was a gem and the movie a fitting setting for it.

(I can't even think of the scene with the luminous little deaf actress without choking up, and it's not meds this time...)

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