Roeg, Nicolas

Tagged: Film | People

(1928-2018) UK director who entered the Cinema industry as an editing apprentice in 1947, rising to cinematographer in 1959 and working in this capacity on (inter alia) the Edgar Allan Poe-based The Masque of the Red Death (1964) directed by Roger Corman and the Ray Bradbury-based Fahrenheit 451 (1966) directed by François Truffaut. He made his debut as director with the non-genre psychological thriller Performance (1970). Psychic flashes (see ESP) feature in his effective suspense movie Don't Look Now (1973), based on Daphne du Maurier's story "Don't Look Now" (in Don't Look Now coll 1966), but Roeg's first full-fledged sf film was the well-regarded The Man Who Fell to Earth (1976), based on The Man Who Fell to Earth (1963) by Walter Tevis and starring David Bowie. Roeg was also to have directed a late-1970s film version of J G Ballard's High-Rise (1975), but this project failed (see also High-Rise).

Further genre movies are the fantasy The Witches (1990), based on Roald Dahl's The Witches (1973), a critical success but a box-office failure; the supernatural Cold Heaven (1991), based on Brian Moore's Cold Heaven (1983); and, again supernatural, Puffball: The Devil's Eyeball (2007), based on Fay Weldon's Puffball (1980). Mention should also be made of Roeg's atmospheric Television-movie adaptation of Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness (February-April 1899 Blackwood's Magazine as "The Heart of Darkness"; 1925) as Heart of Darkness (1993).

Roeg's characteristic cinematic style, with deliberately disorienting film editing giving a mesmerizing Time Out of Sequence spin to originally linear narratives such as the novel The Man Who Fell to Earth, was distinctive and influential. He was made a CBE (Commander of the Order of the British Empire) in 1996. [DRL]

see also: Ian Cameron.

Nicolas Jack Roeg

born London: 15 August 1928

died London: 23 November 2018

about the film-maker

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