Hugh Hudson, director of 'Chariots of Fire,' dies at 86

The First Art Newspaper on the Net    Established in 1996 Friday, February 23, 2024


Hugh Hudson, director of 'Chariots of Fire,' dies at 86
His first film — about two runners, one Christian, one Jewish, who compete at the 1924 Summer Olympics — won four Oscars, including for best picture.

by Richard Sandomir



NEW YORK, NY.- Hugh Hudson, a director whose first feature film, “Chariots of Fire,” won four Oscars in 1982, including for best picture, died Friday in London. He was 86.

His family announced the death to the British news media but did not cite a cause.

“Chariots of Fire,” based on the true story of two British sprinters who competed at the 1924 Summer Olympics in Paris, was nominated for seven Oscars and won four, including for composer Vangelis’ musical score and for the screenplay by Colin Welland, as well as for costume design. Hudson was nominated for best director but lost to Warren Beatty, the director of “Reds.”

“Hugh Hudson was the fulcrum around which ‘Chariots of Fire’ was built,” David Puttnam, the film’s producer, wrote on Twitter after Hudson’s death.

Hudson had an affinity for the leading characters of his film: Eric Liddell, a devout Christian who resisted pressure to run in the 100-meter race at the Olympics because the heats took place on Sunday, the Sabbath; and Harold Abrahams, the son of a Lithuanian Jew who vowed to use running to fight antisemitism. Each man won a gold medal — Liddell for the 400-meter race, which was held on a weekday, and Abrahams for the 100-meter sprint.

“I think David Puttnam chose me because he sensed that I’d relate to the themes of class and racial prejudice,” Hudson told The Guardian in 2012. “I’d been sent to Eton” — a prestigious all-boys boarding school — “because my family had gone there for generations, but I hated all the prejudice.”

To play Liddell and Abrahams, Puttnam refused to cast stars; instead, he chose Ian Charleson and Ben Cross, who were both best known for their television work.

“If I put stars in it, the film would never have been successful,” he told The Jewish Chronicle newspaper in 2011. “With unknown actors, you look at them afresh.”

The most famous sequence of the movie is seen during the opening credits: about two dozen young men, clad in white shirts and shorts, running on a beach in slow motion, their faces creased with pain and exhilaration.




During the shoot, on the West Sands Beach in St. Andrews, Scotland, Hudson blasted Vangelis’ “L’Enfant” over loudspeakers. He wanted it to be the film’s theme, but Vangelis promised to compose something original, according to the online publication Art of the Title.

The result was an instrumental blend of acoustic piano and synthesizer that provided a lush, pulsating accompaniment to the dramatic scene of young men in training. The song spent 28 weeks on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart, peaking at No. 1.

Hugh Donaldson-Hudson was born Aug. 25, 1936, in London to Michael Donaldson-Hudson, an insurance broker, and Jacynth (Ellerton) Donaldson-Hudson. His parents divorced when he was young. He attended a boarding school before entering Eton, where he dropped “Donaldson” from his surname.

He served in the British Army’s Royal Dragoon Guards and worked in advertising in the late 1950s before he started making documentaries and television commercials. Some of those commercials were for Ridley Scott Associates; Alan Parker, who also worked for Scott, hired Hudson as a second-unit director on “Midnight Express,” his 1978 film about an American student imprisoned for trying to smuggle hashish out of Turkey. Puttnam was one of that film’s producers.

Hudson’s best-known commercials included one in which Joan Collins splatters herself with a glass of Cinzano white wine, to the delight of another actor, Leonard Rossiter, seated beside her on an airplane; and another showing robots building Fiat Stradas in a factory in Turin, Italy, to the music of Figaro’s entrance aria from “The Barber of Seville.”

Hudson followed “Chariots of Fire,” with “Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes” (1984), which received three Oscar nominations, including one for Ralph Richardson for best supporting actor. Writing in The New York Times, Vincent Canby called it an “unusually intelligent and serious entertainment for the mass market.”

But his next film, “Revolution” (1985), starring Al Pacino as a fur trapper caught up in the American Revolution, was considered a major flop. His other films, none of which did well at the box office, included “My Life So Far” (1999), about a family’s life on an estate in Scotland after World War I; “I Dreamed of Africa” (2000), the story of a divorced Italian socialite who moves to Kenya; and “Finding Altamira” (2016), about the discovery of Paleolithic cave paintings in northern Spain in 1879. In 2011 he made a documentary for BBC Four, “Rupture: A Matter of Life or Death,” about his wife, actress Maryam d’Abo, who had recovered from a near-fatal brain aneurysm.

D’Abo survives him, as does a son, Thomas, from his marriage to Susan Michie, which ended in divorce.

In 2012, “Chariots of Fire” was adapted by writer Mike Bartlett as a stage play in London, first at the Hampstead Theater and then at the Gielgud Theater on the West End.

The stage version was Hudson’s idea, to coincide with London’s hosting of the Summer Olympics that year. “Issues of faith, of refusal to compromise, standing up for one’s beliefs, achieving something for the sake of it, with passion, and not just for fame or financial gain,” he told The London Evening Standard at the time, “are even more vital today.”

This article originally appeared in The New York Times.










Today's News

February 16, 2023

World Premiere of Oswaldo Vigas Show at Boca Raton Museum of Art

Raquel Welch, actress and '60s sex symbol, is dead at 82

Eskenazi Museum of Art Acquires Marks and DePrez Photography Collection

Nahmad Contemporary brings together artworks by Henri Matisse & Jonas Wood

Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival appoints new Artistic Director

Woody Auction announces sale of Part 2 of the Ron Blessing collection

Parting is such sweet spectacle: A collector sells his Hirst, Koons and Calder

One of the world's cleanest new skyscrapers collides with the future

Leading Lalique Department thrives in colourful collection market

Julian Wasser, the 'photographer laureate' of LA, dies at 89

Portrait of André Breton by Max Ernst & Marie-Berthe Aurenche offered at Bonhams

When relationships fail, this museum keeps the stuff left behind

Galerie Isabella Bortolozzi opens an exhibition of works by Chakaia Booker

Broadway and West End Theater owners agree to join forces

Hugh Hudson, director of 'Chariots of Fire,' dies at 86

"Printing the Revolution: The Rise and Impact of Chicano Graphics, 1965 to Now" opens at the Hood Museum of Art

New Conservation Director announced for Old Royal Naval College

'Ingrid Wiener, Martin Roth: From far away you see more' opens at Kunsthaus Graz

albertz benda opens a group exhibition bringing together seven artists

NSU Art Museum Fort Lauderdale announces new exhibition: Picturing Fame

A performance artist pushes the boundaries of drag

Exhibition brings together a selection of Martin Creed's Step Paintings from the past 12 years

'Cornelia Street' review: A musical with local ambitions

Florida College cancels concert over gay singer, drawing backlash

How Gaming Is Shaping Culture Today

How to Choose the Best Online Gambling Site For You

"Verhuizers Utrecht" Easy Solutions for Your Moving Needs

The Role of a Criminal Defense Lawyer in Protecting Your Freedom

Have You Tried This Amazing Stretcheal Cream?

Tubidy Review: Download Music and Watch Video Streaming High Quality!

10 STEPS FOR PERFECT ESSAY WRITTEN

How to get a Special Power of Attorney in Dubai?

best online hotel booking site is booking.com

Personalized Video: Complete Guide (Benefits, Tips, Examples)




Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .

 



Founder:
Ignacio Villarreal
(1941 - 2019)
Editor & Publisher: Jose Villarreal
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Ramírez

Royalville Communications, Inc
produces:

ignaciovillarreal.org juncodelavega.com facundocabral-elfinal.org
Founder's Site. Hommage
to a Mexican poet.
Hommage
       

The First Art Newspaper on the Net. The Best Versions Of Ave Maria Song Junco de la Vega Site Ignacio Villarreal Site
Tell a Friend
Dear User, please complete the form below in order to recommend the Artdaily newsletter to someone you know.
Please complete all fields marked *.
Sending Mail
Sending Successful