Long-Distance Runner: A Memoir

Overview

Tony Richardson died on November 14, 1991. This book was discovered on the day of his death, hidden at the back of the same dark cupboard where he kept his Oscars. As his daughter Natasha movingly writes in her foreword, it is an "entertaining, humorous, and very personal account of the people and places he loved, the films he made, and the things that were important to him." Tony Richardson was born on June 5, 1928, in Shipley, Yorkshire. After Oxford University, he joined BBC Television and in 1955 set up the ...
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Overview

Tony Richardson died on November 14, 1991. This book was discovered on the day of his death, hidden at the back of the same dark cupboard where he kept his Oscars. As his daughter Natasha movingly writes in her foreword, it is an "entertaining, humorous, and very personal account of the people and places he loved, the films he made, and the things that were important to him." Tony Richardson was born on June 5, 1928, in Shipley, Yorkshire. After Oxford University, he joined BBC Television and in 1955 set up the English Stage Company at the Royal Court Theatre with George Devine. Richardson's time at the Royal Court, directing John Osborne's Look Back in Anger, The Entertainer and Luther, among many other productions, heralded a new departure for postwar theater. Through his films he brought this new theatrical realism to the screen. The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Runner, A Taste of Honey, and Tom Jones (which won the Academy Award for Best Picture and Best Director) were among his most acclaimed movies from this period. Later films include The Charge of the Light Brigade, The Border, The Loved One, and The Hotel New Hampshire. In this candid memoir, Tony Richardson focuses on his passion for theater and film. He shares stories of working with Albert Finney, Peggy Ashcroft, Vivien Leigh, and Alan Bates in England - and Tab Hunter, Jack Nicholson, and Diana Ross, among many others, in America. We attend the rehearsals in which the young Laurence Olivier transformed himself into Archie Rice in The Entertainer, in Richardson's words "one of the single most thrilling moments in the theatre." And he describes directing an impossible Tallulah Bankhead in a spectacularly ill-fated production of Tennessee Williams's The Milk Train Doesn't Stop Here Anymore. Richardson writes beautifully of his quiet Yorkshire upbringing, surrounded by women he both loved and feared. He tells of his marriage to Vanessa Redgrave, the births of his daughters, his affair with Jeanne Mo
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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
This book is a series of personal reminiscences by film and theater director Richardson. The manuscript was found by his daughter, Natasha, after his tragic death from AIDS. While Natasha had some doubt that Richardson intended it for publication, readers will be glad she made the decision to provide a last intimate look at the life of one of the creative geniuses of theater and cinema. In spite of Richardson's slight tendency to ramble, his personal insights into cinema productions like Tom Jones (1963) and personalities like Jeanne Moreau make this a most worthwhile book. This book should appeal to both the theater professional and the student of theater or cinema, and any library with a theater history or cinema history collection should consider purchasing it. Additionally, because it is so informal and personal, it will attract many casual readers as well.-- Jon P. Cobes, Central Wyoming Coll., Riverton
Brian McCombie
Movie and stage director Richardson ("Tom Jones", "Hotel New Hampshire") writes an autobiography that is at once compelling and disappointing. His childhood of separation and alienation is reminiscent of a Dickens novel both in tone and in description, and the British class system receives much of the blame. But the story and mood change as Richardson attends Oxford and begins his directorial apprenticeship. His personality, so vividly revealed in the introductory chapters, is diminished if not exactly lost. There is much behind-the-scenes information about the stage and movie industry, and Richardson is not afraid to explore the personalities of important actors and actresses, such as Laurence Olivier. The intricacies of moviemaking concern much of the book's last half, from the financing of movies to working with quirky (when not outright deranged) actors and actresses. Of Richardson the person there are many details but there is little resonance--except in a few places, as where he admits that "Tom Jones", his biggest success and recipient of the Academy Award for Best Picture was "botched" and "incomplete." Still, a strong picture of the acting industry and what it takes to succeed.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780688121013
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 10/1/1993
  • Edition description: 1st ed
  • Pages: 368

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