Essays: Bruce Beresford |
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Bruce Beresford

From his earliest days as a director, Bruce Beresford was intermittently active as a writer about movies. His articles on the subject were invariably informed by his thorough knowledge of the medium — he had seen almost everything, in all languages — and made especially vivid by his congenital inability to hedge his bets. If he thought a laurelled classic was a dud, he would say so. Similarly, he could spot the hidden success lurking in the work of an otherwise unfortunate name. Above all, he never fell for the auteur theory in any of its forms. What counted was the actual film, not the reputation. Unfortunately his written work about other people’s movies had to be bludgeoned out of him by desperate editors who found that a promised article had to be postponed until one of Beresford’s own movies was finished. I was one of those editors. While arts editor for Granta in Cambridge I extracted a series of articles from Beresford which I plan to run here once I have uncovered the magazines among what I laughingly call my archives. There was an excellent article on John Ford, turning on the point that anyone who admired Ford’s later, “Fordean”, works must have only a very imperfect appreciation of the earlier ones. Meanwhile here is an article Beresford published in the Australian Literary Review in July 2007, on the topic of film adaptations of serious novels — a field of expertise for the director of The Getting of Wisdom. Typically the article covers the whole range of its subject without losing the point in pointless detail: a rare gift even in a professional journalist. His book Josh Hartnett Definitely Wants to Do This has been gratefully welcomed by several of the people mentioned in its pages.