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Apr 29 2018

Michael Anderson (1920-2018)

by Nathaniel R

We lost one of our oldest Oscar nominees this weekend.98 year old film director Michael Anderson passed away of heart disease.The quadrilingual reportedly very amiable director had a long career stretching from a couple of acting gigs in the 1930s through directingThe New Adventures of Pinnocchioin 1999.His two biggest claims to fame were the Best Picture winning blockbusterAround the World in 80 Days(1956,one of the biggest hits of its decade) and the sci-fi hitLogan's Run(1976).People keep referring toLogan's Runas a cult hit online but it was actually just a regular sized success ("cult"is a really strange term in the modern vernacular which doesn't seem to mean what people think it means when referring to the fanbases of films.I've even heardMean Girlsdescribed as a cult-classic.Child,that is mainstream!)

His two most famous pictures were both naturally eyed for remakes...

Michael Anderson Jr,Michael York,Jenny Agutter,and Farrah Fawcett in "Logan's Run"

Around the World in 80 Dayswas remade rather uneventfully in the Aughts and Hollywood keeps threatening to remakeLogan's Runbut there have been a lot of false starts over the years with that one.

His personal favorite from his career was the British war pictureThe Dam Busters(1955) -- have any of you seen that?Other notable films includeThe Wreck of the Mary Deare(1959) on which he replaced Alfred Hitchcock when he vacated the director's chair (!),  the Natalie Wood/Robert Wagner duetAll the Fine Young Cannibals(1960),Doc Savage: The Man of Bronze(1975),andJawsrip-offOrca(1977).His son Michael Anderson Jr,who seems to have retired from acting,followed his dad into the movie business appearing in films likeThe Sundowners,The Sons of Katie Elder(as "Bud") andLogan's Run(as "Doc") .

Do you have any strong memories of Anderson's films?

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Reader Comments (8)

Very nice write-up on Michael Anderson.I'll always have a place in my heart for Around the World in 80 Days because I love all of the old Hollywood cameos (any movie that's going to include an Edmund Lowe sight gag is fine by me).

Anderson's passing makes Franco Zeffirelli the oldest living Oscar nominee for Best Director.Norman Jewison is now the oldest living filmmaker to direct a Best Picture winner.And Clint Eastwood remains the oldest living Best Director winner.

April 29,2018 | Unregistered CommenterSean T.

This is sad news - but what a long life!Thanks for the write-up,Nathaniel.Around the World in Eighty Days is one of my favourites - a sparkling adaptation of the novel.You mention the lacklustre remake in the aughts,but for me,the true remake is the 1989 BBC travel series in which Michael Palin travels around the world following Phileas Fogg's route as closely as he can (and without using airplanes!).Great stuff all round.

The Dam Busters is also fine work.I've never seen Logan's Run - must sort that out!


April 29,2018 | Unregistered CommenterEdward L.

I seem to remember seeing "The Dam Busters"on television a few years back.The plot was about using concrete barrel non-explosive aerial bombardment to break dams providing power to Nazi facilities somewhere in Scandanavia.I remember watching the barrels bounce along the ground a few times before smacking the front of the dam.Can't seem to recall the dam breaking but,given the need for a happy ending in most storytelling,I imagine it did.

April 29,2018 | Unregistered CommenterCarl

the director oflogan's runlives to be clocks are a lie!

April 30,2018 | Unregistered Commenterpar

Thanks for a very nice write up to the under appreciated Michael Anderson.I was always a sucker for a David Niven film.So Around the World in 80 days was a childhood favourite
Dambusters was shown on a Canadian Public TV channel several times,it's a taut suspenseful film which just happens to be true.
The sequence of the bombing run was the template that George Lucas imitated for Star Wars.Dambusters is more effective at conveying the extreme level of danger to the pilots.

April 30,2018 | Unregistered CommenterLadyEdith

Now Claude Lelouch is the longest-surviving nominee,for A Man and a Woman (1966)

April 30,2018 | Unregistered Commenterken s.

I liked a couple of movies he did in the late 50s: Chase a Crooked Shadow,a Carol Reed esque psychological mystery starring Anne Baxter and Richard Todd and Shake Hands With The Devil a broody film about the IRA featuring an always good James Cagney as the baddie of course and an against type Glynis Johns as one of the Irish rebels.

April 30,2018 | Unregistered CommenterAdam Tawfik

The information in your article is very useful.

August 12,2019 | Unregistered Commentergirls go games

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