Friday, March 21, 2008

A Loss

The writer and director Anthony Minghella died the other day from complications of surgery to remove cancer of the tonsils and neck. He was 54 years old.

When you think of the great filmmakers of the end of the 20th century and the beginning of this one, Minghella is probably someone you overlook but shouldn't. Between 1990 and 2006 he made seven films which were nominated for a total of 24 Oscars, winning ten. The biggest of the bunch was The English Patient for which he won best director. He also directed Cold Mountain and the not yet released The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency. That's not a bad track record for the son of ice cream factory owners from the Isle of Wight.

My favorite film of his is The Talented Mr. Ripley which felt as if it could have been directed by Alfred Hitchcock, which is no surprise because the Ripley was adapted from the novel by Patricia Highsmith who wrote Hitchcock's Strangers on a Train. The common thread of all the Minghella films mentioned here is that they were adapted from novels and not originally created for film. This is ironic because Minghella was a great writer, his first film Truly, Madly, Deeply was from his original screenplay and is perhaps his most personal work.

He will be missed.

PeterH