Malcolm McDowell (born 13 June 1943) is an English actor, whose career spans more than four decades. McDowell is known for his early roles in the controversial films if…, O Lucky Man!, A Clockwork Orange, and less favourably, Caligula. Since then, his versatility as an actor has led to varied roles in films and television series of different genres, including Tank Girl, Star Trek Generations, Gangster # 1, the TV serials Our Friends in the North, Entourage, and Heroes, and the 2007 remake of Halloween and its sequel.
McDowell was born Malcolm John Taylor in Horsforth, then in the West Riding of Yorkshire, now a part of the City of Leeds, the son of Edna (née McDowell), and Charles Taylor. His family later moved to Bridlington, since his father was in the Royal Air Force. McDowell trained as an actor at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (LAMDA).
McDowell made his screen debut as school rebel Mick Travis in if… (1968) by British director Lindsay Anderson. If… satirises, and is famous for its depiction of a savage insurrection at an English public school, the film is associated with the 1960’s counter-culture movement because it was filmed by a long-standing counter-culture director at the time of the student uprisings in Paris in May 1968. It includes controversial statements, such as: “There’s no such thing as a wrong war. Violence and revolution are the only pure acts”. It features surrealist sequences throughout the film. Upon release in the UK, it received an X certificate. The film stars McDowell in his first appearance as Anderson’s “everyman” character Mick Travis.
The Mick Travis films are three films directed by British film director Lindsay Anderson and written by David Sherwin, featuring McDowell as Mick Travis, in which Travis features not so much as a single character with a character arc, but as an everyman character whose role changes according to the needs of the storyteller.
In if…, his first appearance (and McDowell’s film debut), Travis first appears as a disaffected public school boy boy whose anti-establishment attitude and experiences lead to armed insurrection at a public school. In O Lucky Man!, co-written by Sherwin and McDowell, Travis becomes a picaresque character, often compared to Voltaire’s ingénu character Candide, in a satirical drama that starts with Travis’s first job as a mobile coffee salesman and, after many adventures involving arms-sale scandals, experiments in human-animal genetics by the mad scientist Doctor Millar (played with relish by Graham Crowden), and a sojourn with the musician Alan Price, ends in his rebirth as a film star, thanks to a slap by a film director played in a cameo by Anderson.
In Britannia Hospital, Travis is a reporter attempting to make an investigative documentary about a hospital where Doctor Millar, the mad geneticist from O Lucky Man! is continuing his unspeakable experiments. if…. won the Palme d’Or at the 1969 Cannes Film Festival. McDowell also made the incredible documentary Never Apologize (2007), a film of a one-man-show in which Malcolm McDowell talks about Lindsey Anderson.
His performance in if…. caught the attention of Stanley Kubrick, who cast McDowell as the lead in A Clockwork Orange, adapted from the novel of the same name by Anthony Burgess. He won great acclaim (nominated for a Golden Globe in the category of Best Actor) as Alex, a young hoodlum brainwashed by a dystopian British government of the near future.
He made his Hollywood debut as H. G. Wells in Time After Time (1979). He often portrayed antagonists in the late 1970s and 1980s, including the title character in Caligula (1979). He later remarked upon his career playing film villains: “I suppose I’m primarily known for that but in fact, that would only be half of my career if I was to tot it all up.”
McDowell appeared in the 1982 remake of Cat People. He is also known in Star Trek circles as “the man who killed Captain Kirk” in the 1994 film Star Trek Generations, in which he played the mad scientist Dr. Tolian Soran.
In 1992, he played himself in Robert Altman’s The Player (1992), in which he chastises protagonist Griffin Mill (Tim Robbins) for badmouthing him behind his back. He co-starred with actress and artist Lori Petty in the action/science fiction/comedy film Tank Girl (1995).
He gave strong performances in Gangster No. 1 (2000), and I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead, (2003) in which he played a straight married man who rapes a young drug dealer to “teach him a lesson”. McDowell appeared as Dr. Sam Loomis in Rob Zombie’s remakes of Halloween and Halloween II (in 2007 and 2009, respectively).
McDowell is set to appear in the upcoming film Silent Hill: Revelation 3D as Leonard Wolf, an insane cult leader. In between all that, he has featured in countless TV series and B-Movies. However, looking at that list you can forget McDowell’s claim that villains only make up half of his career, it may be so, but those villain roles are unforgettable.
Saul Bass was born on May 8, 1920, in the Bronx, New York, to Eastern European Jewish immigrant parents. He graduated from James Monroe High School in the Bronx and studied part-time at the Art Students League in Manhattan until attending night classes with György Kepes at Brooklyn College. He began his time in Hollywood during the 1940s doing print work for film ads, until he collaborated with filmmaker Otto Preminger to design the film poster for his 1954 film Carmen Jones. Preminger was so impressed with Bass’s work that he asked him to produce the title sequence as well. This was when Bass first saw the opportunity to create something more than a title sequence, but to create something which would ultimately enhance the experience of the audience and contribute to the mood and the theme of the movie within the opening moments. Bass was one of the first to realize the creative potential of the opening and closing credits of a movie.
Bass became widely known in the film industry after creating the title sequence for Otto Preminger’s The Man with the Golden Arm (1955). The subject of the film was a jazz musician’s struggle to overcome his heroin addiction, a taboo subject in the mid-’50s. Bass decided to create a controversial title sequence to match the film’s controversial subject. He chose the arm as the central image, as the arm is a strong image relating to drug addiction. The titles featured an animated, white on black paper cut-out arm of a heroin addict. As he expected, it caused quite a sensation.
For Alfred Hitchcock, Bass provided effective, memorable title sequences, inventing a new type of kinetic typography, for North by Northwest (1959), Vertigo (1958), working with John Whitney, and Psycho (1960). It was this kind of innovative, revolutionary work that made Bass a revered graphic designer. Before the advent of Bass’s title sequences in the 1950s, titles were generally static, separate from the movie, and it was common for them to be projected onto the cinema curtains, the curtains only being raised right before the first scene of the movie.
Bass once described his main goal for his title sequences as being to ‘’try to reach for a simple, visual phrase that tells you what the picture is all about and evokes the essence of the story”. Another philosophy that Bass described as influencing his title sequences was the goal of getting the audience to see familiar parts of their world in an unfamiliar way.
He designed title sequences for more than 40 years, and employed diverse film making techniques, from cut-out animation for Anatomy of a Murder (1958), to fully animated mini-movies such as the epilogue for Around the World in 80 Days (1956), and live action sequences. His live action opening title sequences often served as prologues to their films and transitioned seamlessly into their opening scenes.
Toward the end of his career, he was rediscovered by Martin Scorsese who had grown up admiring his film work. For Scorsese, Saul Bass (in collaboration with his wife Elaine Bass) created title sequences for Goodfellas (1990), Cape Fear (1991), The Age of Innocence (1993), and Casino (1995), his last title sequence. His later work with Scorsese saw him move away from the optical techniques that he had pioneered and move into the use of computerized effects. Bass’s title sequences featured new and innovative methods of production and startling graphic design.
Saul Bass designed emblematic movie posters that transformed the visuals of film advertising. Before Bass’s seminal poster for The Man with the Golden Arm (1955), movie posters were dominated by depictions of key scenes or characters from the film, often both juxtaposed with each other. Bass’s posters, however, typically developed simplified, symbolic designs that visually communicated key essential elements of the film. For example, his poster for a Man with a Golden Arm, with a jagged arm and off-kilter typography, starkly communicates the protagonist’s struggle with heroin addition. Bass’s iconic Vertigo (1958) poster, with its stylized figures sucked down into the nucleus of a spiral vortex, captures the anxiety and disorientation central to the film. His poster for Anatomy of a Murder (1959), featuring the silhouette of a corpse jarringly dissected into seven pieces, makes both a pun on the film’s title and captures the moral ambiguities within which this court room drama is immersed.
He did great work for Stanley Kubrick, Hitchcock, Otto Preminger and Billy Wilder among other. His last commissioned film poster was created for Steven Spielberg’s Schindler’s List (1993), but it was never distributed. His poster work spanned five decades and inspired numerous other poster and graphic designers. Bass’s film posters are characterized by a distinctive typography and minimalistic style.
In some sense, all modern opening title sequences that introduce the mood or theme of a film can be seen as a legacy of Saul Bass’s innovative work. In particular, though, title sequences for some recent movies and television series, especially those whose setting is during the 1960s, have purposely emulated the graphic style of his animated sequences from that era. Some examples of title sequences that pay homage to Bass’s graphics and animated title sequences are Catch Me If You Can (2002), X-Men: First Class (2011), and the opening to the AMC series Mad Men.
Check out some iconic Saul Bass opening titles HERE
Beyond the Black Rainbow, written and directed by Panos Cosmatos, is a Reagan-era fever dream inspired by hazy childhood memories of midnight movies and Saturday morning cartoons. Cosmatos brings a bold, Kubrickian vision to the screen in stunning detail in this sci-fi fable of a young woman imprisoned in an experimental laboratory and the enigmatic scientist who is her captor. Set in a futuristic 1983, Elena finds herself held against her will in a mysterious facility under the watchful eye of the sinister Dr. Barry Nyle. Pushed to her limits, Elena is left with no choice but to navigate an escape from her labyrinthine prison, in the process revealing its hidden secrets.
Here are 6 of the better poster art images for Kubrick’s ‘The Shining’ (1980). I thought one Shining article today wasn’t nearly enough… Click on the image for a hidden ‘bonus’ poster. Enjoy.
The Shining (1980) for a screening by the Alamo Drafthouse.
Eyes Wide Shut (1999) for a screening at the Castro Theatre in San Francisco.