michael_gothard_archive: (Michael Gothard circa 1991)
Described in the Chicago Tribune as "A classic the whole family can watch: big entertainment, big production values, a lot of interesting moral story lines to deal with,” this version of ‘Frankenstein’ was based more closely on the original version of Mary Shelley’s classic horror story than previous efforts, and was said to have had a budget of about $4.5 million – high for a typical network movie at time.

Michael Gothard was cast as the Bosun of a ship trapped in Arctic ice. He and the rest of the crew are out walking on the ice, presumably hunting for food, when they see two combatants on sleds, chasing each other across the frozen waste.

Dr Victor Frankenstein is thrown from his sled and taken on board, where he tells the tale of how he created the monster which now pursues him, to the ship’s Captain.

Michael’s character, the Bosun, is the Captain’s right hand man, on whom the Captain relies for information, and to keep his motley crew in line.

Astonishingly, the scenes of ice and snow in which Michael features were filmed at Pinewood Studios.

Near the end of the Pinewood shoot, Patrick Bergin, who played Dr Frankenstein, sustained a broken arm when falling from a sled, and filming of his last scenes was delayed.

Director, David Wickes, had made use of Michael Gothard’s talents before, on 'Jack the Ripper.’

In correspondence, David Wickes says:

"Frankenstein was largely shot in Poland. It was the first mainstream movie to be shot there after the Iron Curtain came down . . . a wild place in those days. Ted Turner must have thought I was bonkers.

Anyway, before I cast each actor, I warned them about the problems — bad roads, worse food, you name it. (Ask Stephen Spielberg who followed us in with Schindler’s List !)

Most of the actors and crew just gulped and blinked — but Michael was different. He listened to all my warnings, then he smiled his famous smile and said 'Great ! Can’t wait !'

... Michael had a screen presence unlike that of any other actor with whom I have worked. He could frighten an audience with a glance. His soft, husky voice was electrifying and he knew how to use it to maximum effect.

Each time I welcomed Michael to the set, I knew that we were about to get something special in the can. There are very few actors in that category."

The stunt arranger on ‘Frankenstein’, Peter Brayham, would also have been well known to Michael, from ‘Arthur of the Britons’, ‘Stopover’, and 'Jack the Ripper.’

‘Frankenstein’ received good reviews, but was not released in the UK until 29 December 1992 – nearly a month after Michael’s death.
When released in the US in June 1993, it gained the highest ever audience ratings for TNT in the USA (72% cable audience share) and received 3 ACE nominations and 1 ACE Award.

More details on ‘Frankenstein’ from David Wickes Productions

Frankenstein is now available on DVD from WB Shop

IMDB entry
michael_gothard_archive: (London)
This report by Jeff Kaye was printed in the Chicago Tribune on 15 Jan 1993, after the film’s UK premier on 29 January 1992, but before its US premiere, which wasn’t until June 1993. Michael Gothard appeared as the Bosun in this film, and his scenes were filmed at Pinewood, as described in the report.

Tnt Goes Back To The Source For `Frankenstein'

Harsh winds are stirring up such a thick cloud of snow across this patch of frozen tundra that it's difficult to see the team of huskies pulling the oversized sled in the distance.

The dogs yelp with enthusiasm as they race past a snowdrift and circle back toward their starting point.

It's a mighty surprising scene for the unprepared observer.

The surprise has nothing to do with the fact that this is all taking place just outside London on a warmish autumn day. This is, after all, Pinewood Studios, one of the most famous movie lots in the world. Here, creating a realistic arctic setting, should be a snap. Next to the tundra is a hulking soundstage marked "007" where some of James Bond's most amazing feats have been filmed.

What's remarkable about this icy milieu is that it has been painstakingly constructed, in the name of strict authenticity, to film the opening sequence of a new movie about Frankenstein.

Frankenstein on a dog sled in the Arctic Circle? It's a weird idea that probably would have been deemed utterly preposterous and tossed in the trash if not for the person who thought of it. That person was Mary Shelley, whose 1818 novel "Frankenstein" begins with a disfigured creature and its creator locked in a deadly chase across the great white North.

Boris Karloff and the legion of square-headed descendants who have played Frankenstein's monster in countless films may have provided hours of thrilling entertainment with their versions of the creature. But what really wound up hideously disfigured in those movies was Shelley's novel.

Now comes Turner Network Television to set things right.

The cable channel is producing what it claims to be the most true-to-the-original-story version of Frankenstein ever filmed, with Randy Quaid as the monster (no, his name is not Frankenstein) and Patrick Bergin as his creator (his name is Frankenstein)

...

The notion of filming the original Frankenstein story began with writer-director-producer David Wickes … "I read the story like everyone else when I was at school," says the British filmmaker, as he sits near a pack of baying huskies on the arctic set. "I was fascinated by it and loved it, and it remained an image forever." He saw all the Frankenstein movies and always believed that they "didn't live up to what I had read."


Wickes finally decided to pursue his idea for the film after a dinner party at which the table talk centered on genetic engineering and the possibility of choosing not only a baby's sex but also its level of intelligence.

"I said, `Well, it's like the Frankenstein story,' and someone at the table said, `You mean the monster with the bolts through the neck?' And I thought, hey, now's the time" to shoot the original version.

An obvious question arises. If the original story is so good, why hadn't anyone filmed it?

"When I started to transpose the novel to movie script, I realized how difficult it was," he says. "A novel is a very different thing from a movie. There are long, introspective thoughts, exhaustively discussed, dismembered and examined under microscopic intensity. You cannot do that in a picture. A picture has to have events and images, dialogue and relationships."

TNT executives not only believed the transformation was possible, but found the idea irresistible …

Full article
michael_gothard_archive: (circa 1982)
Jack the Ripper was a two-part TV dramatisation of the investigation of the infamous murders of London prostitutes. According to Television Heaven, the original transmission of the opening episode was among the top ten ratings for that week, being watched by 14.1 million viewers.

Four different endings were originally filmed, to keep the conclusion of the investigation a secret, until the show was broadcast.

The two one-and-a half-hour episodes were shown on 11 and 18 October 1988.

Michael Gothard played George Lusk, leader of the Whitechapel Vigilance Committee. In the film, Lusk is portrayed as a political rabble-rouser and Marxist revolutionary, and is one of the suspects.

In real life, the activities of Lusk’s organisation mainly consisted of putting up posters and offering reward money.

Casting

In correspondence, the Director, David Wickes says:

"Michael had a screen presence unlike that of any other actor with whom I have worked. He could frighten an audience with a glance. His soft, husky voice was electrifying and he knew how to use it to maximum effect.

Each time I welcomed Michael to the set, I knew that we were about to get something special in the can. There are very few actors in that category."

More details on Jack the Ripper from David Wickes Productions

Per Digital Fix: “Though they had originally started to film on video with a different cast (with Barry Foster in the lead), a vast sum of money was put up by CBS on the condition they made it into a much bigger production with US recognisable stars in it thus the inclusion of Michael Caine, Jane Seymour and Lewis Collins ...”

Per IMDB: “Michael Caine was persuaded to return to TV for the first time in nearly 20 years because of David Wickes's powerful script. Caine later described Wickes as "the nicest, fastest Director I've worked for, and the master of filming Victorian London."’

This was the second film in which Michael Gothard had worked opposite Michael Caine, the first being “The Last Valley” in 1971.

In 1979 he had worked with Lewis Collins on an episode of “The Professionals”: “Stopover.”

More recently, in 1982, he had worked with Lysette Anthony, who had played Rowena, his unwilling betrothed, in Ivanhoe.

The stunt arranger on ‘Jack the Ripper’, Peter Brayham would also have been well known to Michael, from “Stopover” and “Arthur of the Britons.”

Cast photo

Jack the Ripper cast

IMDB entry
michael_gothard_archive: (Default)
This quotation is kindly offered by Michael Gothard's former girlfriend N.B., from a letter he wrote to her on 23 March 1988.

Michael Gothard had worked with Michael Caine on "The Last Valley" in 1971; when Gothard wrote this letter, he had recently been reunited with Caine, to work on David Wickes' film, "Jack the Ripper."

"My reunion with M. Caine, after more years than both of us care to remember, went affably and smoothly, although the nervous director went an intense shade of pale when he tried to introduce us, and neither of us proffered our hands, and I said "we're old enemies."

You could have heard the proverbial pin crash to the floor for a couple of seconds in that studio, until Caine, ever the diplomat, said "we're always enemies in films."

Return of director to normal life, realising that he had not made the worst career move of his life in casting me. In fact, Caine and me had made our salutations a few minutes before."

Caine and Gothard in "The Last Valley" Caine and Gothard in "Jack the Ripper")

In "The Last Valley", Gothard had played Hansen, a mercenary, who rebels against his leader The Captain, played by Caine. In "Jack the Ripper", Gothard was to play political agitator George Lusk, who is a thorn in the side of Caine's Chief Inspector Abberline, and is also one of the suspects for the Ripper murders.

Profile

michael_gothard_archive: (Default)
michael_gothard_archive

October 2015

S M T W T F S
    123
45678910
11121314151617
18192021222324
252627282930 31

Syndicate

RSS Atom

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated Jul. 26th, 2017 08:40 pm
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios