' Westminster school followed by

London University. But Tony is still an Irish citizen and the pleasurable memories remain. ever evoked by the Ireland ofJoyce‘s creation. ‘I think there is an acerbic quality to Joyce. He is a critic and sharp as a whip. but I also think that is less obvious in "The Dead' than in any of the other stories in Dubliners. For me that party represents the Ireland that I recognise. When I went to pubs and hung around with Irish musicians and so on. the people were not that far removed from those people at that party. that easy going atmosphere. and also the quality of the conversation. its humour and lightness. Personally that meant a tremendous deal to me. having gone to a school in England and being very aware of how the English tend to regard the Irish as in some way defective. . . It was like sending a bouquet back to lreland.‘

‘Goes beyond optimism

Tony's screenplay is faithful to the original perhaps because of that. but in leaving Gabriel‘s last monologue absoluter intact. Tony was also paying tribute to the emotiveness of ‘wonderful writing‘ which he had been familiar with for twenty years. ‘For a lot of the story. you don‘t know the direction the story is going in. You are with this square. Gabriel is not an artist. he is a solid citizen. and you don‘t really see where you are heading. All through the evening. these topics come up almost

like musrcal refrains. the idea of young singers dying. the snow. . . People seem to be talking about apparently disparate subjects yet the same metaphors keep creeping in and all this is preying on your sensibilities. . .'I‘his is the developing of the background. which when (iretta makes her revelation. will drown you like a tidal wave. I‘ve seen a number of people coming out of the theatre weeping

and when they do that. they’ve been

hit. and that‘s the intention to make people feel. An awful lot of films. you come out as cold as a fish. but what greater thing can you do than make someone feel‘."

The ending is almost unbearably bleak if you choose to take it that way. but Angelica Huston for one has seen optimism there the marriage will begin again. Some critics have even argued that the blanket covering of the snow is like a blank piece ofpaper on which to start again. ‘I think there is no question about the marriage going on’. agrees Huston. 'but it isa little bit like talking about optimism after Hiroshima has been flattened. The marriage will persist. but my first thoughts are not those ofoptimism. I‘d like to think that the ending goes beyond optimism or pessimism and goes simply into reality. that anybody who stays with Joyce to the end of that story sees something they may never have seen beforehand. . . You know you come out of a film am the world is different. 'I'hat‘s the sort of thing I would like to see in people

gaze/M7 ,



looks as if of course they couldn’t do

when they come out of The Dead.‘

The 'reality' ofthe message is all the stronger for the authenticity of the setting. researched minutely by the production team. "l‘hat house in the story was modelled on an actual house existing in Dubin. now in danger of being pulled down .‘ The team used a combination of the real exterior and a replica built in (.‘alifornia. where the complex interiors were also shot. "l'his wasn‘t Hollywood. this was a concentration camp that was stuck together for the making of this picture‘. says 'I‘ony of the eight week shoot. ‘We stayed in this motel in Valencia which was five minutes away from this industrial building we took over for the shooting.’ 'l'ony had a key piece of advice for the makers: ‘If you can see the characters‘ breath. you’re in Dublin. If you can‘t see their breath you‘re in California.‘

For Tony. The Dead is one of the greatest of his father‘s films. ‘and dad himselfsaid he was glad he hadn‘t made it when he was younger because the whole thing is balletic. What seems completely natural and easy actually takes the tnost exact choreography. A scene as simple as two young men coming up the stairs and meeting the two old ladies and a girl coming out of the bathroom and introducing them that's spaghetti until you go over it 40 or 50 times and then. when you actually see it. it all

‘Come out weeping~

it any other way. 'l‘hat takes sorting out like you wouldn‘t believe.‘

Tony has had what he calls a ‘mongrel‘ career. working at one time as a clarinettist in a wind quartet. later as an antique dealer. as the room with its desks and dark furniture testifies. A glance round at the walls. reveals a room obscurely masculine and bedecked with various inexplicable objects. ‘Yes those are some things I have collected in my time. Those are Polynesian clubs they're beautiful . shapes I think.‘ In the very different movie world. he has worked as a publicist. an assistant director and as g a music researcher. but it is clear that his heart is now in writing. 'l'm not i planning to retire‘. he concedes with a grin."l'he one I‘m working on is ' based on the greatest duel of i American history. between ' Alexander Hamilton who had been secretary of the 'I'reasory and Aaron Burr who had been vice president. . It's a good story. . . .' he says with the enthusiasm of the historian. If he‘d had a beard he would have been scratching it. ‘I‘m writing it for HBO who are thinking ofexpanding it for l a feature film. otherwise it will be a film on pay 'l'V.‘ It is hard to resist asking ifthis will lead to directing. ‘I feel a very strong foundation in screenplay writing. An awful lot of people move from writing to directing and that is a very nice avenue to go in. but the main thing is not to try to cheat yourself along the way. lfyou are going to take responsibility for something as I expensive. time-consuming and demanding as directing a picture. i

you better know exactly what you‘re doing and I feel very comfortable at this moment just becoming truly proficient in one branch of this business.‘ But surely people will be waiting for him to step into the footsteps ofhis father. 'l‘ony hesitates. ‘Well yes. . .‘ 'l‘hen chuckles ‘All right. make me an offer lcan‘t refuse.‘ But he is cautious with good reason. "I'here are enough ambitious people around and there are ambitious people who have got no talent and I don't ever want to associate myselfwith that. It is much nicer ifsomebody has got ability that they achieve on whatever level . . . Then there is the backbiting. This is one of the things that inhibited me when I first came into the film business. that dad‘s name was a great one for opening doors. but the door had a nasty habit ofslamrning and your fingers getting caught about five minutes later. 'l‘hat's something I would like to avoid.‘

As it happens 'I‘ony‘s projects tend to avoid comparism any way. He has for example. a script about falconry up his sleeve. Never mind the metropoles of the film world. for Huston. Scotland is the place to be. ‘I was in Sutherland just recently grouse-hawking with peregrines. I adore Scotland. It reminds me a little of Ireland and I like the wildness and the moors. . . It is a perfect antidote to Los Angeles. Everything that Los Angeles is. Scotland isn‘t and vice versa. Having been up there a few weeks I feel a new man. I do have a flat in LA. but it is not my prefered place. Scotland is one ofthe few places I would like to put down some roots. I'd like to let a moor for grouse-hawking and make an annual pilgrimage.‘ Fitting praise for a country wich as he points out has ‘four of the most beautiful creatures: the salmon the red grouse. the falcon and the stag. and the golden eagle. five.‘

It is not the show-biz talk you might

expect. yet strangely enough. this particular passion begins to sound more and more as if it might might just make a memorable director's debut for this shy chip offthe old block. ‘I've got an iron clad story. . . when you have something that nobody has seen before and you have new technology especially new developments to camera. then there is a visual aspect to it which could be absolutely tremendous.‘ As he has confessed on more than one occasion. ‘I know ofnothing more dramatic. It is mygreat ambition to bring something involving falconry to the big screen.‘ Eat your heart out (‘ecil B. de Mille. The Dead can be seen at the Edinburgh Film/tousefrom 13—1 9 December and at the Glasgow Film Theatre 25—30 January. The (i F'I‘is also running a modest Huston season including Red Badge ()f ( ‘ourage. Fat City. Wise Blood. and l’rizzi 's Honour. See Film Listings for details. ()ne ofHuston ’s finest acting appearances in son Danny 's Mr Corbett 's Ghost can be seen on Scottish Television on 31 January.



The List 11 Dec l987—7Jan 198811