Saturday, March 24, 2012

Saturday, March 24, 2012 12:08 am by M. in , ,    No comments
Sadly, we report the death of the director, screenwriter and production designer Robert Fuest (1927-2012). Although he is mostly remembered by his cult horror movies featuring the unforgettable Dr. Phibes character (The Abominable Dr. Phibes (1971) and  Dr. Phibes Rises Again (1972)), we would like to pay tribute also to the director of  the unconventional Wuthering Heights 1970 which as the obituary published on Variety says "has some ardent fans" (not the least important, Kate Bush who composed her Wuthering Heights song inspired by the last ten minutes of Robert Fuest's version). Regrettably the film was a box office failure and the critics were not very supportive:
The shape of the film is similarly straightforward, a chronicle spanning 10 or 12 years, although the effect of the chronicle is more than a little confusing because the characters all seem to grow up at different rates of speed, and seldom does a child actor have much physical relation to the adult actor who takes on his character later in the film.
This would be nit-picking in a movie that was otherwise touched with any kind of cinematic grace or intelligence, both totally absent from the decisions made by Fuest and Tilley. (Vincent Canby, The New York Times. February 19, 1971)
The director himself remembered how complicated the shooting of the film in Yorkshire was:
It wouldn't be so bad if we didn't have to match up scenes," says director Robert Fuest. "We've had a wonderful crew, and an heroic cast, but no one anywhere could hope to cope with sleet and snow that won't even fall straight down, but comes down horizontally. It's unbelievable. We've shot some footage just to prove to ourselves that it really happens." To cope, director Fuest has had to work with 'a labyrinth of lighting'. It's meant extra work for all concerned but he claims, "It is adding to the atmosphere." (American International Pictures Press Information for Wuthering Heights (Source))
EDIT: Obituaries published in The Telegraph and The Times.

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