Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Scene 4: Directed by Francois Truffaut, Written by Dickens

Wow, the birthdays of two very famous figures have cropped up, along with Google tributes, in two days! 

The first birthday Google celebrated with a three picture reel on the 6th February was Francois Truffaut, the famous French director.

Since I do not know much about the French director, beyond the names of his most famous films The 400 Blows (1959) and Jules and Jim, I did a little research on him. 

It turns out Francois Truffaut was one of the critics writing in the magazine Les Cashiers du cinema, along with Jean-Luc Godard, and was part of the French New Wave or La Nouvelle Vague film movement. His first film, The 400 Blows, won him a prize at the Cannes Film Festival.

Of course he's done many more films beyond his black and white classics. One film in particular I want to see is The Story of Adele H (1975) about Victor Hugo's daughter, which also stars a young Bruce Robinson aka the director/writer of the cult classic Withnail and I (1987) and the recent Johnny Depp film The Rum Diary (2011). 

Truffaut not only made films though, like many directors he was also an actor and made appearances in several of his own movies. He was also in Steven Spielberg's Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977) as a UFO specialist. 

The second birthday is of course Charles Dickens' 200th. 

Though he famous for being one of our great novelists, it has to be noted that part of the reason his work is so well known, is because it has been adapted for film and television screens so often. 

To celebrate the bicentenary the BBC had several documentaries, as well two new television adaptions of The Mystery Edwin Drood and Great Expectations, on TV last Christmas. 

The Dickens' story adapted the most for screen is probably A Christmas Carol. It has been done again, and again, from the black and white version Scrooge (1951) to the colourful A Muppet's Christmas Carol (1992) to the most recent 3D Motion capture wonder with Jim Carrey - A Christmas Carol (2009).

Meanwhile David Lean's Great Expectations (1946) is generally regarded to begin with one of the most famous scenes in cinema history - that of young Pip being grabbed by the criminal outside the churchyard. 

The great actor Alec Guinness was also in the film, playing Pip's friend Herbert Pocket. Alec Guinness then of course went on to play Fagin in Oliver Twist (1948) which was again directed by David Lean, just two years later. Some people may not know but Guinness's association with Dickens doesn't end there, he later played Jacob Marley's ghost in yet another adaption of A Christmas Carol in 1970. 

For more information on both Dickens in film and Francois Truffaut, I recommend checking out the BFI Youtube channel, and Imdb!

1 comment:

  1. Excellent post, I am glad you mentioned Guinnes's particular role.