Never Apologise (15)

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Director
Mike Kaplan

The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner04/09/2008

Four out of Five stars
Running time: 120 mins

Hugely enjoyable documentary that is essentially like spending two hours listening to Malcolm McDowell tell you showbiz stories down the pub.

What's it all about?
Never Apologize is a recording of Malcolm McDowell's one-man stage show that originated at the Edinburgh Festival in 2004, as a theatrical evening to help commemorate the 10th anniversary of director Lindsay Anderson's passing. With the aid of a few back-projected film clips and stills, McDowell delivers his own personal reminiscences of Anderson and also reads from Anderson's diaries and letters.

McDowell's best anecdotes involve "If...", the first film they made together, particularly his story about the audition (he hadn't read the script and was surprised when his co-star punched him in the face) and his version of how the celebrated sex scene came about. He also recounts Anderson's amusing feud with actor Ralph Bates (which is tied in with the title) and delivers a moving account of Anderson paying a visit to his idol, director John Ford, on his deathbed.

The Good
Basically, if you're a fan of either McDowell, Anderson or movies in general, then this is a sheer delight from beginning to end. McDowell has terrific stage presence and his delivery is often laugh-out-loud funny.

What's intriguing about the film is the way that McDowell reveals as much about himself as he does about Anderson; his memories of his pre-fame days are especially vivid, as are his memories of his early successes. To that end, he has a terrific story about going up to a trio of actors at the 1968 Cannes Film Festival and asking them what they were smoking – a trio of actors that turned out to be Jack Nicholson, Dennis Hopper and Peter Fonda, who were over with Easy Rider.

The Great
It's worth noting that this is no mere hagiography – Anderson's faults are laid bare too, albeit with obvious deep affection from McDowell.

Worth seeing?
In short, Never Apologise is a hugely enjoyable documentary that will have you either watching or rewatching Anderson's films, as well as seeking out his published diaries. Recommended.

Never Apologise has been reviewed by 1 users
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Content updated: 16/10/2017 23:07

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