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J G Ballard

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  • J G Ballard

    J G Ballard (1930 - 2009) was born in Shanghai, China and, along with Thomas Hardy, he is my favourite British author. His contribution to British TV & Cinema: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0050618/. He wrote one original film script for Hammer's When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth (1970), where he was incorrectly credited as J B Ballard. He described it as the worst screenplay ever written, and took a perverse pride in that fact. Many of his novels & short stories have been adapted for screen & TV.

    Here's a rare TV film made for the BBC in 1971 - Crash (taken from a chapter in his 1970 collection of 'impact novels' The Atrocity Exhibition, Jonathan Cape London,US as Love and Napalm: Export USA), directed by Harley Cokeliss and featuring Ballard himself as the male driver & narrator, and the gorgeous Gabrielle Drake as the female driver. Ballard's novel Crash was released later in 1973. Warning: brief nudity.
    Last edited by agutterfan; 10th March 2017, 11:11 PM.

  • #2
    Also one of my favorite authors. He excelled in both mainstream and science fiction, but I'm particularly keen on his autobiographical novels, 'Empire of The Sun' (filmed by Spielberg), 'The Kindness of Women', and 'Miracles of Life'.

    Thanks for the YouTube link agguterfan.

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    • #3
      Thank you for that link - it's a fascinating film.

      I have to dispute Ballard's own assessment of When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth - I've seen far worse. In fact, it's a huge guilty pleasure and I even bought a bootleg version before it became officially available. Of course, the fact that it features the gorgeous Victoria Vetri wearing a skimpy prehistoric bikini had nothing to do with my decision
      Last edited by Antonylds; 4th March 2017, 04:46 PM.

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      • #4
        I'll definately check this out, I'm a huge admirer of Ballard's work.

        I went to the NFT screening of Cronenberg's Crash in the 1990s, with both Ballard and Cronenberg doing a Q+ A and signing afterwards. To my absolute shame I don't remember a single thing that was discussed, though I do remember disliking the film. I did get a copy of the book signed by both, so at least I know I was there!

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        • #5
          Caught the film High-Rise this week on Film4. Interesting, though it's really hard to visualise the slow but ineluctable progress, psychological and physically, of the characters when on film, whereas you easily get caught up in the increasingly outlandish events when reading (and it was one of his longest books up to then). Personally I thought it was a mistake to film it in its original 70s period, as if to suggest that this kind of pyscho-social breakdown and withdrawal from the outside world is intrinsically so last century. The rise of internet and social media (where the people one encounters outside this kind of contact being called randomers by today's youth) makes it still relevant, as sadly does the class system. It's a shame Nic Roeg never got to film it as planned.

          Mind you, checking his imdb credits, I was surprised to see films made of The Atrocity Exhibition and Low-Flying Aircraft (a Portuguese - Swedish collaboration???) - anyone seen them? Good website for him too ... http://www.ballardian.com/
          Last edited by agutterfan; 1st April 2017, 12:57 PM.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by agutterfan View Post
            Caught the film High-Rise this week on Film4. Interesting, though it's really hard to visualise the slow but ineluctable progress, psychological and physically, of the characters when on film, whereas you easily get caught up in the increasingly outlandish events when reading (and it was one of his longest books up to then). Personally I thought it was a mistake to film it in its original 70s period, as if to suggest that this kind of pyscho-social breakdown and withdrawal from the outside world is intrinsically so last century. The rise of internet and social media (where the people one encounters outside this kind of contact being called randomers by today's youth) makes it still relevant, as sadly does the class system. It's a shame Nic Roeg never got to film it as planned.
            I agree. Ballard has been generally well-served by movie adaptations but HIGH-RISE struck me as the weakest one by far.
            Mind you, checking his imdb credits, I was surprised to see films made of The Atrocity Exhibition and Low-Flying Aircraft (a Portuguese - Swedish collaboration???) - anyone seen them? Good website for him too ... http://www.ballardian.com/
            THE ATROCITY EXHIBITION is brilliant, and remarkably faithful to Ballard's most experimental book. I'm amazed you haven't seen it. It's been out on DVD for a while, complete with two director's commentaries, one of which features Ballard. (Yikes, I've just checked and it seems to be out of print and horribly expensive! I hope it gets a re-release at some point). LOW-FLYING AIRCRAFT was also excellent. Unfortunately that doesn't seem to have been released as an English-friendly DVD at all. Fortunately it was shown with English subtitles during BBC4's Ballard season in 2003 so it shouldn't be too hard to find a copy.
            According to Tim (VIDEO WATCHDOG) Lucas there is an unauthorised adaptation of CRASH called NIGHTMARE ANGEL. I'd love to track that down...

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