Re­mem­ber­ing the tal­ented Mr Minghella

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - News -

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

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