Remembering the talented Mr Minghella
Reel News was saddened to hear of Anthony Minghella’s death last week. Nobody who encountered this intelligent, articulate, friendly film-maker had a bad word to say about him.
The child of ice cream merchants from the Isle of Wight, Minghella studied at the University of Hull. After dabbling in the theatre, he worked his way up the television ladder (dogsbody on Magpie, ITV’s Blue Peter clone; script editor on Grange Hill) before gaining a kind of fame as director on Inspector Morse.
Truly, Madly, Deeply, a film often described as an upmarket Ghost, was made for the BBC, but found a cinema audience on its release in 1990. Then, after one ill-advised American film, came the mighty awards-machine that was The English Patient. Minghella and producer Saul Zaentz had to fight like Visigoths to persuade the studio that Michael Ondaatje’s novel was filmable, then scotch a demand for Demi Moore to play the Kristin Scott Thomas part. The film won nine Oscars.
Whatever one may think of that film or its successors – The Talented Mr Ripley, Cold Mountain – no movie enthusiast could deny Minghella’s enthusiasm or dedication to film. His TV adaptation of Alexander McCall Smith’s The No 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency is, poignantly, to be broadcast on BBC1 this Sunday. Farewell to a darn good egg.
Minghella with his Best Director Oscar for The English Patient