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November 24, 2018


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Matthew Blankman

Great stuff, Glenn, thanks.

In re: section 1 -
Maybe I'm remembering it incorrectly, but I feel like Lester said the idea for the "flash forward" framework of PETULIA was Roeg's suggestion.

peter Cowie

Quite agree as to his considerable importance, Glenn, although he did not always hit the targets he targeted. A great cameraman too, in his younger days (I interviewed him on Hackney house location for THE CARETAKER in 1962, with a smug, disdainfully Harold Pinter looking on).


This news hurts. Roeg has been my favorite filmmaker since I saw BAD TIMING at 18. Knew he was existing quietly these days and nobody lives forever, but still I expected him to live to 100. He seemed an ancient soul on the few occasions I got to hang with him. Kind, good-humored, quiet-spoken and, not surprisingly, a lascivious wit.

He loved his gin, too. If you listen to the commentary he recorded with Bowie for the old MAN WHO FELL laser disc, you can hear his ice cubes clinking throughout, right next to the mic. By that film's final shot, you could imagine Roeg looked roughly the same. Anyway, he was a generous, avuncular drinker in my company.

About 15 years ago actor/director Michael Sarne told me Roeg was curating art exhibits anonymously in London, having closed the chapter on his movie career. He was probably happier like that, but the news felt tragic -- a world-class artist living in obscurity. Theresa Russell thought the failure of EUREKA, which Nic considered his most personal film, broke his pioneer's spirit. After that he was just killing time on Planet Earth.

All I know for certain is The Movies lost too much luster when Roeg left the scene. He invented a syntax for visual storytelling that could be subliminal and mindblowing in its dexterity. But even at the peak of his fame, very few of us got him. And now his legacy is weak among younger generations. Recently I met several film school nerds who could tell me precisely what lens Kubrick used on every shot in THE SHINING, but they had never heard of Roeg or his filmography. If anything good comes from his death, it will be renewal of his status as one of the 20th century's most creative visionaries.


Before I knew his name I programmed "Masque of the Red Death" at my Chaffey College film series in 1969. Then in 1970's the impact really began. My buddy and I snuck in through bathroom window of a movie theater in San Diego to see "Walkabout" in 1971. Met Nick and Candy Clark when they were living in a little West Hollywood bungalow in 1976. Earth is still messing with our heads today. Bad Timing was too personal to even comprehend as we lost Laurie Bird in its wake. In 1988 I think I was the only person in Cannes who liked Track 29! And got to know Nic while living in London at the beginning of this century. Like the impact of Dylan, the Stones, Van Morrison, and others, can't imagine the past 50 years without Nic's beautiful soul leaving footprints to follow toward some infinite insight just beyond time. Thank you Mr. Roeg for bravely painting on our cave walls, for not letting the bastards stop you from creating! They sure tried!

Andrew Del Monte

What a sad day.

I was lucky to see a retrospective of his great films on 35mm earlier this year, in Vancouver. Performance has become one of my favourites... actually, they all have. Hard to think of anything that could compare to Walkabout, my mind goes to movies like 2001 when I try to think of films analogous to that one. Is Walkabout considered one of the greatest movies ever? I think it should be. Also, I think Bad Timing is perhaps the greatest piece of film editing I've come across. And Theresa Russell! Even if Roeg's films were more conventional in style, but they gave us those Russell performances, they would still be immortal, in my opinion. Russell's testimony at the end of Eureka is totally bonkers, in the best way possible.

Thanks for your tribute. By the way, are you familiar with any of his films, post-Insignificance (besides The Witches)? any worth checking out? Thanks.


That's a fine memorial. There's an interesting interview with him in The Guardian from 2005, where he talks a bit about falling out with David Lean on Zhivago:


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