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John Fraser

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  • John Fraser

    Fraser was born in Glasgow in 1931. I first saw him when "TheTrials of Oscar Wilde" was shown on television, in which he played a decorative Bosie Douglas. This was at a time when I was becoming obsessed with the 1890s poets, and probably for that reason, it made a great impression on me. I think that the portrayal of Bosie was rather rose-tinted, and in fact the whole film could leave you wondering what exactly Wilde (Peter Finch) was supposed to have done.

    I haven’t often seen him in films, though he made many, including “The Wind Cannot Read” with Dirk Bogarde, and “El Cid.”. His autobiography, “Close Up” (2004) is full of anecdotes, some more scandalous than others. He had the enterprising idea of taking productions of Shakespeare around the world to places where the plays are not often seen, and this is the subject of his earlier book “The Bard in the Bush” (1978). He has published at least one novel.

  • #2
    Nice one Zither!!! Great thread!!! ;-)

    I've seen him in a few films including El Cid, Doctor In Clover and A Study In Terror (a favourite!). I've got The Trials Of Oscar Wilde put aside to watch one afternoon. I've read the Bard In The Bush - years ago, I would like to read it again one day. I enjoyed Close Up a lot too.

    So he must be in his 80s now, and still living in Italy I guess...

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    • #3
      Yes, I think he spends part of the year in Italy and the other part here, or he did a while ago.

      After reading the autobiog I wrote to him, saying that the film had made an impression on me, and also that we had had his 45rpm record (how old-fahioned!) I mentioned before. He kindly wrote back, saying that it was touching that I remembered these things, as it was all so long ago. (He has very good handwriting, by the way).

      I think you'll like the Oscar Wilde film.

      It's fairly certain I inherited the record, so I'll try to find it.

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      • #4
        Yes a very good actor, even when appearing in a load of crud like Pete Walkers Schizo (1976)

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Tigon Man View Post
          Yes a very good actor, even when appearing in a load of crud like Pete Walkers Schizo (1976)
          I haven't seen that, but it sounds awful!

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          • #6
            I don't know which of his records you mean, but here's a link to three of them.

            http://www.45cat.com/artist/john-fraser/uk

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            • #7
              Thank you - it was the first one. I recognise the sleeve! I thought it was probably an EP, which sounds antiquated.

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              • #8
                To enlarge any of the images, just left click on one of the record sleeves or labels.
                Last edited by darrenburnfan; 2nd March 2017, 02:40 PM.

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                • #9
                  It's only the first song (Why Don't They Understand?) that I remember, but bizarrely, I do remember both tune and words, though it's been at least twenty years since I heard it!

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                  • #10
                    It was released by PYE on a ten inch 78, but not on a 45 rpm seven inch single. Like Philips, PYE were rather late in moving over to 7 inch singles and didn't start pressing them until January, 1958. They made up for this by releasing some earlier hits on 45 rpm EPs, although John Fraser never got into the charts with any of his singles.

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                    • #11
                      Always liked him, he appears in two of my favourite British visual works - film Repulsion (1965) and TV series Danger Man (1964), he appears in the brilliant episode "Don't Nail Him Yet". And he was a handsome man, no doubt!
                      Click image for larger version  Name:	Repulsion-1965-John-Fraser-Catherine-Deneuve-pic-2.jpg Views:	1 Size:	48.4 KB ID:	565

                      Last edited by agutterfan; 5th March 2017, 09:37 PM.

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                      • #12
                        There's a review of Close Up here

                        http://sensesofcinema.com/2006/book-...s/john_fraser/

                        I like the bit about Dirk Bogarde "who wrote five volumes of autobiography without telling us a thing"!



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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by zither View Post
                          There's a review of Close Up here

                          http://sensesofcinema.com/2006/book-...s/john_fraser/

                          I like the bit about Dirk Bogarde "who wrote five volumes of autobiography without telling us a thing"!
                          It's a wonderfully catty book, a great read for anyone interested in 1960s cinema

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by zither View Post

                            I haven't seen that, but it sounds awful!
                            You're not wrong there Zither.
                            Pete Walker made several very stylish minor horrors in the mid seventies, including Frightmare, House of Whipcord and House of Mortal Sin. However Schizo was among his lesser efforts.
                            Steve Chibnall's 'Making Mischief, The Cult Films of Pete Walker is a superb companion piece book on his work.
                            I'd be interested in John Hamilton's views on his work. Was Pete a cheeky opportunist, moving in when the Brit movie industry was on its knees, or was there some semblance of real talent there.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Tigon Man View Post
                              Steve Chibnall's 'Making Mischief, The Cult Films of Pete Walker is a superb companion piece book on his work.
                              I'd be interested in John Hamilton's views on his work. Was Pete a cheeky opportunist, moving in when the Brit movie industry was on its knees, or was there some semblance of real talent there.
                              Interesting question, Tigon Man, I think Pete Walker, if he wasn't being candid, would characterise himself as a cheeky opportunist but you only have to look at some of the garbage being produced elsewhere for the same budget to see there is skill there. It's a mistake to over analyse this stuff, they are exploitation movies made to make a quick buck- any subtext is incidental. The huge advantage these filmmakers had was because the industry was on its knees they could get craftsmen for a reaosnable price.

                              Btw, great to see Tony's face smiling out from your avatar! He's another who would concede any art in his work was by accident rather than judgement.

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