October 25, 2014

Directors

Robert Day (1922-) b. Sheen, England.

An exciting British talent who sank deep into the trough of mediocre TV movies, Day was another cameraman who turned to direction. In the 1950s, the signs were all good. He achieved fine atmospheric effects amid believable high melodrama in three bloodcurdlers, and showed a nice, sense of crazy comedy in the gut-busting Two-Way Stretch (1960), the apogee of all Peter Sellers‘ British comedies. There was Tony Hancock‘s funniest comedy, The Rebel (1961) and also Tarzan the Magnificent (1960), the best Tarzan film since the 1930s. But television was already reaching out its tentacles. There were a few more Tarzan films, good at first then indifferent, in all senses, and the disastrous She (1965), in which Day seemed to have lost all his flair for atmosphere and chills – and in a Hammer film too! By this time he was making countless episodes of TV series, at first in Britain (Danger ManlSecret Agent) then America (The FBI, A Man Called Ironside, and McCloud, among many others). There have been only a few films since, all very minor, and a whole run of poor TV movies, of which Twin Detectives (1976) is possibly the nadir. Occasionally, though, even in a TV movie, Day reminded us not to write him off. Ritual of Evil (1970) really chilled and, a bit later, the suspense in Murder By Natural Causes (1979) did bite home. He married former actress Dorothy Provine in 1969.



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