Thorold Dickinson’s World of Cinema March 19 – 25, 2008
Thorold Dickinson’s long and exemplary career in movies began in 1924, when he was bowled over by Murnau’s The Last Laugh. He began as an assistant and worked his way up to editor, while moonlighting as programmer and all the while watching and studying every new cinematic development on the horizon. Dickinson, from the start, was that rare thing, a true creature of the movies, with an ability to look at the new medium from all sides: as a craftsman, businessman (he was Vice President of the union of cine-technicians for many years), theorist, teacher, activist, and, above all, as an artist. He got his first break as a director in 1937 with a military drama set in colonial Africa called The High Command (which was enthusiastically praised by critic Graham Greene), and while his output was relatively small (nine features and a handful of shorts), he was one of the most consistently fascinating, inventive, and dynamic artists in the history of English cinema. Dickinson was revered, respected and beloved, and his influence is wide-ranging. “He’s certainly one of the most ambitious and talented filmmakers of his time,” said Martin Scorsese, and the films bear out this assessment. He inspired generations of English filmmakers, critics and film lovers.
This tribute to Dickinson has been organized to coincide with the publication of "Thorold Dickinson: A World of Film", a definitive collection of essays, tributes and interviews, meticulously assembled and edited by Philip Horne and Peter Swaab. Mr. Horne will be joining us and introducing many screenings. –– Kent Jones