Bill Forsyth

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stroszeck
Joined: Tue Jun 07, 2005 10:42 pm

#1 Post by stroszeck » Thu Apr 27, 2006 2:25 am

After a friend recommend HOUSEKEEPING (only available on VHS) I liked it so much that I rented and watched LOCAL HERO yesterday - and absolutely loved it. How this film was able to quietly slip through the 80s (Its actually from 1983) is beyond me -- subtle acting, wonderful humor, and a real sense of affirmation of life. The funny thing is that it could've dived headfirst right into the ugly realm of cliches but TOTALLY managed to avoid that.

Why has Bill Forsyth been so ignored up to this point? I have also heard of a film he did earlier in his career called GREGORY'S GIRL, but have yet to watch that one. Anyone else interested in this man's body of work? Or is it really just my friend and myself?

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carax09
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#2 Post by carax09 » Thu Apr 27, 2006 7:38 am

You are not alone. Forsyth is definitely a genius of understatement. When "Mac" looks out at the Houston skyline at the end of Local Hero, it's one of the most quietly moving moments in all of cinema, in my opinion. And I LOVE that mermaid. Housekeeping and Gregory's Girl (Caracas anyone?) are great too, but not quite on par.

Panda
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#3 Post by Panda » Thu Apr 27, 2006 9:10 am

Forsyth is a taste worth cultivating. I've seen "Gregory's Girl", "Local Hero", "Housekeeping", and "Comfort and Joy."

There are many moments in all these films that can only be described as "magical." I particularly like the story (from "Local Hero") of the rabbit who doesn't go anywhere except into the pot despite all the attention it gets. It's like a small metaphor for the film itself. A beautiful, self-sustaining, enclosed world.

Panda

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Faux Hulot
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#4 Post by Faux Hulot » Thu Apr 27, 2006 11:05 am

The aforementioned are all lovely films, though having known a few people in my life who stopped being able to hold things together, Housekeeping is the one that sticks with me the most.

Looking at Forsyth's IMDB listing, I see two subsequent features I've never heard of, including what's apparently a sequel to Gregory's Girl. Anybody here seen it? Or know why he's not made a film since then?

Gregory's Two Girls (1999)
Being Human (1993)
Breaking In (1989)
Housekeeping (1987)
Comfort and Joy (1984)
Local Hero (1983)
Andrina (1981)
Gregory's Girl (1981)
That Sinking Feeling (1980)

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GringoTex
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#5 Post by GringoTex » Thu Apr 27, 2006 11:34 am

stroszeck wrote:Why has Bill Forsyth been so ignored up to this point?
He was an art cinema crowd favorite through the 90s, but, correct, you don't hear much about his work anymore.

kieslowski
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#6 Post by kieslowski » Thu Apr 27, 2006 2:41 pm

Faux Hulot wrote:Looking at Forsyth's IMDB listing, I see two subsequent features I've never heard of, including what's apparently a sequel to Gregory's Girl. Anybody here seen it? Or know why he's not made a film since then?

Gregory's Two Girls (1999)
Being Human (1993)
Breaking In (1989)
Housekeeping (1987)
Comfort and Joy (1984)
Local Hero (1983)
Andrina (1981)
Gregory's Girl (1981)
That Sinking Feeling (1980)
Gregory's Two Girls isn't completely successful, despite having a great premise (Gregory is again having a crush on a footballing schoolgirl - only now he's middle-aged and a schoolteacher). It is however available on DVD in the UK. Being Human was a Hollywood-made epic cut down to about half its length and saddled with a narrator, and comes across as very strange.

On the recent Comfort and Joy DVD Commentary track, Forsyth says he's still writing - if only someone were to make one of his scripts. But That Sinking Feeling, Gregory's Girl, Local Hero and Comfort And Joy remain some of the most charming films made in Britain.

Astroman
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#7 Post by Astroman » Thu Apr 27, 2006 7:44 pm

Local Hero lands somewhere in my top five favorite films of all time and space (it's a list that exists in all four dimensions. When I'm really tired).

It's an absolute tonic; I actually feel better after watching it (which reminds me, I need to watch it again soon). Very quoteworthy: "I'll be a good Gordon, Gordon." "It's blue all over! It's blue all over!"* Lancaster's performance is wonderful, Riegert's probably never been better before or since, it's just an absolutely great film. And what I wouldn't give to have a real-life Felix Happer running an oil company these days.

As far as why Forsyth's not been working lately, I remember hearing an NPR report on Gregory's Two Girls back in the day, essentially lamenting its lack of stateside distribution and what that might portend for those (his) kinds of movies. Seems to have been an accurate call, unfortunately. Perhaps he's disillusioned about the difficulties (financing, marketing) of making the kinds of films he wants to make. See also: Davies, Terence.

*edit: Red. Red all over.

God, I watched this over the weekend. It's been over ten years since I've sat and watched it all the way through. Could have sworn it was blue. My color-blind bad.

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Fletch F. Fletch
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#8 Post by Fletch F. Fletch » Thu Feb 07, 2008 4:36 pm

Movie City Indie recently ran a piece on Forsyth about what he's doing now, with plenty of links and some YouTube interviews.

And here's an excellent retrospective piece on Gregory's Girl. Makes me want to watch this great film again.

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MichaelB
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#9 Post by MichaelB » Thu Feb 07, 2008 7:10 pm

I finally caught up with That Sinking Feeling, but was unexpectedly disappointed - it had great moments, but it seemed to me to be a case of a director finding his feet than a fully-achieved gem in its own right.

Gregory's Girl, however, is absolute perfection, and I'm jealous of anyone who has yet to see it.

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Fletch F. Fletch
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#10 Post by Fletch F. Fletch » Mon Oct 06, 2008 4:25 pm


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ellipsis7
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#11 Post by ellipsis7 » Mon Oct 06, 2008 5:03 pm

MichaelB wrote:Gregory's Girl, however, is absolute perfection, and I'm jealous of anyone who has yet to see it.
I caught a GREGORY'S GIRL and CHARIOTS OF FIRE double bill in a fleapit in South Manchester (Didsbury et al.) in the early 1980's... Who was the actress who was a singer, not the other one who was the footballer girl? ...

It all seems an age away - they gave away a LOCAL HERO DVD with The Observer the weekend before last, but I've not watched again yet - whereas the TV BRIDESHEAD, on which I did work launching, is apparently like yesterday, or so the critics say...

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otis
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#12 Post by otis » Mon Oct 06, 2008 5:26 pm

ellipsis7 wrote:Who was the actress who was a singer, not the other one who was the footballer girl?
The great Clare Grogan, lead singer of Altered Images. Believe she had a small role in Comfort and Joy too.

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ellipsis7
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#13 Post by ellipsis7 » Mon Oct 06, 2008 5:35 pm

Yes the very one - she made that film for me I remember....

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otis
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#14 Post by otis » Mon Oct 06, 2008 6:08 pm

You're not the only one...

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colinr0380
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#15 Post by colinr0380 » Mon Oct 06, 2008 6:34 pm

otis wrote:
ellipsis7 wrote:Who was the actress who was a singer, not the other one who was the footballer girl?
The great Clare Grogan, lead singer of Altered Images. Believe she had a small role in Comfort and Joy too.
I'm probably a philistine for saying this but I particularly remember her role as Kristine Kochanski in a couple of episodes from the early seasons of Red Dwarf before the role was recast with the eminently irritating Chloë Annett during the final excruciating season (the only other similar casting switch from perfect for the role to completely wrong that comes to mind was the one that occured to Marty McFly's girlfriend between Back To The Future parts 1 and 2!) and also her cameo in an episode of Father Ted!

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tojoed
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Re: Bill Forsyth

#16 Post by tojoed » Mon Jun 22, 2009 7:30 am

That Sinking Feeling coming to DVD in September.

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tavernier
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Re: Bill Forsyth

#17 Post by tavernier » Wed Jan 20, 2010 7:50 pm

Upcoming Forsyth sighting at Film Forum:
SPECIAL EVENT
BILL FORSYTH

Thursdays, April 15 & 22
Three films by award-winning Scottish writer-director Bill Forsyth: Gregory’s Girl (1981), Local Hero (1983), and the underrated Housekeeping (1987). Mr. Forsyth will be interviewed onstage by Jim Healy, assistant film curator of George Eastman House, following the screening of Housekeeping on April 15.

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MichaelB
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Re: Bill Forsyth

#18 Post by MichaelB » Sat Jan 23, 2010 6:25 am

tojoed wrote:That Sinking Feeling coming to DVD in September.
Since this thread has been revived, it's probably worth warning people that this DVD only contains the dubbed version of That Sinking Feeling - which reputedly absolutely wrecks it.

I haven't seen it, but I have seen the dubbed Gregory's Girl, and can well imagine how awful it sounds.

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tojoed
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Re: Bill Forsyth

#19 Post by tojoed » Sat Jan 23, 2010 7:44 am

That's awful. I'll keep my old TV recording. The US DVD of "Gregory's Girl" has the original soundtrack, and also, what they claim to be an English soundtrack, which turns out to be the original cast speaking with a milder Scottish accent.
The blurb on the back actually says, "Special Features: Original Scottish Language Track". It made me smile, but I'm glad they didn't just use the dubbed track.

Caged Horse
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Re: Bill Forsyth

#20 Post by Caged Horse » Sat Jan 23, 2010 11:43 am

Read the whiny, existential angst-ridden, almost self-parodically misanthropic interview Forsyth gave in the August 1994 issue of Sight and Sound, following the catastrophic reception of Being Human. He comes across as, if not entirely a broken man, so profoundly disillusioned with film-making that his subsequent inactivity is unsurprising.

beamish13
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Re: Bill Forsyth

#21 Post by beamish13 » Sat Jan 23, 2010 12:11 pm

Caged Horse wrote:Read the whiny, existential angst-ridden, almost self-parodically misanthropic interview Forsyth gave in the August 1994 issue of Sight and Sound, following the catastrophic reception of Being Human. He comes across as, if not entirely a broken man, so profoundly disillusioned with film-making that his subsequent inactivity is unsurprising.
I'd love to read that interview. "Being Human" was hacked to pieces, and even David Putnam couldn't save it from its terrible fate. If someone here goes to that Q & A, please ask him if a copy of the original cut of it still exists!

witkacy

Re: Bill Forsyth

#22 Post by witkacy » Wed Apr 14, 2010 4:19 pm

I had a chance to ask David Puttnam about Forsyth in about 1999, when he appeared to publicize his book Movies and Money in NYC @ MOMA. I was there in the bookstore with a friend after work, and literally turned around and saw Puttnam sitting at a table...I hurried to buy his book to have him sign it, got in line, and on hearing someone else mention Forsyth I got so excited I threw away the obscure comment I meant to make to him about the memorable "First Love" series of films of the early '80s (which included among others Experience Preferred... But Not Essential).

I asked Puttnam about Forsyth, and he reacted as if I were asking after someone laid up in hospital and not doing very well...I left half-convinced that Forsyth was truly out of the game, and would never make another film...

But lo and behold - now these years later I have my ticket for tomorrow's NYC appearance by Forsyth after the Housekeeping screening. And the man has actually made some public reference (last year on the BBC) to a new project! Will wonders never cease...

Calvin
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Re: Bill Forsyth

#23 Post by Calvin » Sat Sep 08, 2012 8:28 am

Bill Forsyth was a guest on yesterday's episode of Kermode and Mayo's Film Review. In particular, he was discussing the new restoration of That Sinking Feeling with the original soundtrack.

beamish13
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Re: Bill Forsyth

#24 Post by beamish13 » Mon Oct 08, 2012 4:03 pm

Has anyone heard something new about his project that's currently in development?


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