John Schlesinger: “I’m very pleased with some of my films, but I’m also critical of what I’ve done”

I honestly can’t imagine that a filmmaker such as John Schlesinger needs any further introduction. His name rings like a bell; after all, as a major filmmaker from 1962 to 2000, he directed some of his era’s best films, such as “Darling” (1965), earning his leading lady Julie Christie a Best Actress Academy Award, a poetic masterpiece such as “Far From the Madding Crowd” (1967, recently remade), the controversial “Midnight Cowboy” (1969), winner of three Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Director, and from then on, he just kept on making one masterpiece after another.

“I do think all of my films share the same theme; very few have happy endings, many have question mark endings. If I do get a sort of happy ending, they’d accuse me of being sentimental. But all of them are about people resisting compromise but having to face it; people pushed to a corner who have to survive in some way, whatever their experiences may be—physical or emotional. I think the films are about survival in very strange circumstances,” Mr. Schlesinger (1926-2003) says in this 1994 interview at his London home where he resided at the time when I met him for the first time, and it sums up the essence of his view as a visionary storyteller and filmmaker.

Mr. Schlesinger, first an actor in minor parts until 1958, then a documentary maker for the BBC for the next three years, turned to direct features in 1962 with a small and intimate masterpiece called “A Kind of Loving.” Since then, most of his films were nominated for or awarded with BAFTA or Academy Awards; he had the privilege of directing some of the finest and most talented actresses around, such as Glenda Jackson, Julie Christie, Vanessa Redgrave, and Shirley MacLaine—all Academy Award winners—and it was only in the 1990s that he found it difficult to do the projects he firmly believed in. “The Next Best Thing” (2000) starring Madonna turned out to be his final effort as a filmmaker. But what a tremendous legacy he left behind. So here he is, the legendary filmmaker and heart-warming storyteller by the name of John Schlesinger.

Mr. Schlesinger, could you tell something about “Dead Give Away” which ultimately and recently got canceled? What happened exactly?

It’s a story of what happens to movies now. It’s the casting, you know, there are only so few bankable names which they are prepared to pay vast sums of money to, so they can guarantee the picture. They may open the picture, but they can not guarantee success. Otherwise, why do they not always have successful films with these highly paid stars. But unfortunately, it’s the only way to get a film off the ground now. You gotta come up with someone who’s got the appeal, not only to the American distributors but also to the overseas distributors. It’s really a tough time.

“A Kind of Loving” (1962, trailer)

Could we go back to your debut film, “A Kind of Loving” [1962], to me always one of the most intelligent, stylish, and beautiful pictures of the decade? It earned you four BAFTA nominations right away, and you also won the Silver Bear at the Berlin Film Festival. You made quite an entrance.

Well, the film was very well received in Germany and Italy; the French wouldn’t show it, they said, ‘Oh, les amants anglais, oh, oh!’ They just said it was a silly film. But the film did very well overall; we didn’t need France because in those days you could make a film with limited sources and still could get quite a generous time to shoot. It was possible back then to make a profit in this country alone—a very different system and a very different situation compared to now.

Were you in your early days influenced by the ‘The Free Cinema’ movement?

The Free Cinema is something I had nothing to do with whatsoever. It is a name for a group of directors who made documentaries, and they called it ‘The Free Cinema,’ with people like Karel Reisz and Tony Richardson. At that time, I was working for television. They regarded me as a maverick, you know. Lindsay Anderson once said, ‘You must aim higher for television.’ Which, of course, I was doing in my own way. So I’m not connected with the Free Cinema. However, what it did, it opened some doors to a kind of naturalism which we perhaps needed in the theater, ‘Look Back in Anger,’ John Osborne, all these kinds of things which were happening in the British theater. When they started making films, they insisted on not selling the rights but forming their own company. So Tony made his own films. That’s what opened the doors, so I suppose, in a way, that period was very productive.

Julie Christie won an Academy Award as Best Actress for her performance in John Schlesinger’s “Darling” (1965)

Do you still watch your first movies, like “A Kind of Loving,” “Billy Liar” [1963] or “Darling” [1965], all classics now, when they’re shown on TV?

No, I hate television. Once a film is on television, it’s on the wrong-sized screen. I have seen them at festivals where they have honorary retrospectives, but I don’t watch the entire movie. “Darling” is even the least favorite movie that I’ve ever made. I think it’s too pleased with itself: it’s a bit knowing. There are scenes in it which I thought at the time were wonderful; I was boasting about what a good shoot I had, and I liked Julie [Christie] an awful lot—she was amazing—but I think “Billy Liar,” my second film [also with Julie Christie], is a much better film. “Darling” had so much success in America, that when we came back here for the opening, it got quite badly treated by the press. I was upset at the time, but I thought they were probably right. I know “Darling” was popular, but I don’t look back thinking, ‘God, that was a good film.’

far-from-the-madding-crowd-posterWhat about “Far from the Madding Crowd” [1967], your third film with Julie Christie? Pretty superb and quite a masterpiece, wouldn’t you agree?

It was very beautiful to look at. I had a wonderful designer, Richard Macdonald, and it was my first film in color. He taught me a lot about controlling color. One of the reasons that color is dangerous is because black and white leave so much more to the imagination. Take the famous shower sequence in Alfred Hitchcock’s movie “Psycho” [1959]. If it had been in color, I think all the blood spatters and everything else would have been almost unbearable. But in black and white, it leaves something to the imagination. In “Midnight Cowboy” [1969], I used greyish color because so much in it was about neon, advertising, Times Square, and all this kind of thing. I was frightened of using color, I liked black and white very much, so I had to learn to use color until it was totally controlled. I haven’t shot a black and white movie since, although I shot sequences in black and white. “Far from the Madding Crowd” had two things: it was a famous classic, which is a disadvantage because everybody had the classic in their head—the casting, the scripting, everybody has their view of the book because they knew it so well—that is, if they knew it. So that was a disadvantage if I look back and think maybe we weren’t quite free enough with the adaptation of it. It dealt mostly with man dwarfed in the landscape, and he’s not up to it; he’s inadequate and struck down by some terrible disaster; he has to pick up the pieces, which is what life is about. So I’m drawn to this philosophy of Hardy, and the film was wonderfully designed by Richard Macdonald, who unfortunately died last year, and it was lit by Nicolas Roeg, so I had a very good collaboration on that. It’s not my favorite film, but I’m very proud of  it.

What are your favorite films? A tough choice, I presume, since you are such an accomplished filmmaker with so many wonderful films to your credit.

I’m fond of my first two [“A Kind of Loving” and “Billy Liar”], and from my middle period, I’m very fond of “Midnight Cowboy,” “Sunday, Bloody Sunday” [1971]—the amazing Glenda Jackson—and “The Day of the Locust” [1975].

Don’t you think that “The Day of the Locust” is probably your most underrated film?

Yes, I think it is. It was poorly received. I think it was misjudged, but I think it’s beginning to get appreciated now. I think it’s a very good film, and of all my failures, it’s the one I’m most proud of. I regard the novel as probably the best piece of writing of Hollywood that’s ever been written. It was suggested to me as a film many years before I ever made it by a producer who brought it to me, and there was no way that anybody was going to give me a break to do it. You need a great commercial success to be able to get the work to hang yourself a film or two afterwards, if you know what I mean by that. I liked the idea of it, and then Warner Brothers asked me, after the success of “Midnight Cowboy,” ‘What would you like to do? Come make a film for us.’ I said that I’d like to do “The Day of the Locust,” so a day later, they bought an option on it. We had a series of meetings, [screenwriter] Waldo Salt was brought in, and we started to work on it. Later on, I got very disillusioned because Warner Brothers only wanted to spend a small amount of money on it, certainly not enough considering there would be some big sequences in it. I had also gone through the experience—having won the Academy Award as Best Director that year [for “Midnight Cowboy”]—of a film of mine being canceled, a project I was passionate to do. So I was in one of those negative moods of the work—that kind of attitude, so I stopped working on the script, and the then-producer said, ‘Look, I need help, you helped me a lot on “Midnight Cowboy.” Please, don’t desert me.’ I didn’t see the point, so I told him to take his money and run because it would not be made. It was the beginning of my eyes being widely opened about the monstrosity of our profession in terms of the dealings we have with front offers. Everybody got such stories, and they will continue to have such stories—no matter who you are. So it’s not just me; it’s universal to the business that we’re in. We’re asking for vast sums of money to put our fantasy on the screen, and they, in turn, are spending sums of money advertising and get it to the public. So they’re looking at it with different values. I remember that, finally, I agreed I needed to do some work on the script, so we did, and I started to get excited again. I adored Walt Salt, a highly intelligent and very sensitive man who’s been through terrible problems with the McCarthy period [he had been blacklisted from 1951 to 1962]. Also, there had to be a way of working with him; he was very difficult to pin down. You really had to sit next to him and say, ‘Tomorrow, ten pages, please.’ The script had to get made that way rather than wait for him to finish it. The first draft of “Day of the Locust” was a disaster; it was dreadful. He almost waited for D-day before we had to deliver; he dashed it off. It was only by sitting next to him, creating the pressure which he needed to write, that we ever got a screenplay that began to excite me. Then we changed producers, and I felt I had a good partner with me who was strong, and we were able to convince Paramount to make the picture.

Looking back now, after all this time, are you pleased with the casting of “The Day of the Locust”?

I think we might have made a mistake. I remember the producer who first sent me the thing years before had said, ‘I think you need an older woman than in the novel.’ In the novel, she’s seventeen and very difficult to handle with all these kinds of attitudes, you know, acting the role of the big star, which she tended to do in the story. I thought Karen Black was a wonderful actress, but looking back, she’s not attractive. The other problem is not to make her too attractive. We also read the script with Raquel Welch—one of the ideas of the casting—and we decided that she was just too beautiful to play the part. There was something off-beat about Karen Black, wanting to make it, her eyes too close together, things like that. I also thought we found a big star with William Atherton, but he wasn’t. The best performances are from Donald Sutherland and Burgess Meredith.

Where and how did you get the idea of casting silent screen actress Madge Kennedy in “The Day of the Locust” and the following year also in “Marathon Man”?

I was introduced to her by George Cukor. I loved Madge Kennedy, so I thought I had to cast her.

“The Day of the Locust” (1975, trailer)

Do you like silent films?

I made a study of them, but I’m not a film buff. I got to the movies, in London it’s not so easy, you never know when the film starts, in Los Angeles where I spend a lot of time going to the cinema, it is much easier. Besides, there are a lot of other things I’m interested in, like music, theater, opera. I go to see live performances as often as I can. I’ve been to an awful lot of them since I’ve come back to London.

You also directed for the theater. Being a renowned filmmaker, what was that like?

I did my first production in about 1964, a short play that had never been performed before, by a friend of mine, Peter Hall. He asked me to do it, and I immediately agreed; then I did my first Shakespeare. I was very nervous, but I did it. Although I liked the pure way you work with actors in the theatre, my head was really into movies. You know, you’re working with the text; you grow with the text. There was a time in my life when I lost confidence in myself, and I went back to the theater to do a Sam Shepard play, just with four actors, and it was such a great experience to do because we were working just with four very good actors. I had a very good time, and that gave me my confidence back.

midnight-cowboy-posterHow do you explain the success of “Midnight Cowboy”?

If I knew that, I would never stop turning out successful movies. I didn’t know it was going to be that successful; I chose to do it when a lot of my friends and advisors said, ‘Be very careful what you do after “Far From the Madding Crowd.”‘ That was a flop, and they said I shouldn’t be doing this. “Midnight Cowboy” was quite ahead of its time; when you look at it now—we just celebrated the 25th anniversary of its release—it couldn’t be made today. No studio would touch it. It earned me an Academy Award, and it was nice to have won it. It probably means more to me now than it did then.

With “Marathon Man” [1976], you worked again with Dustin Hoffman. Was that just a coincidence?

I thought he was the right casting for it, but he didn’t. He wanted us to write the script as if he was an adult, a teacher rather than a student. We tried that and decided it wasn’t working, so I went back to him and said, ‘I know you are 38, but mentally in this film, you gotta think yourself in a state of 28 and being a student. I can’t make you a teacher, which is what you wanted.’ And this is exactly what we did and it worked out very well.

Other films of yours, such as “The Believers” [1987] and “Pacific Heights” [1990], are also thrillers. Are you a fan of the genre or of Hitchcock?

Yes, but I don’t sit down and look at Hitchcock films and then say, ‘Let’s make it, and we’ll use this and that.’ But I think Hitchcock used very clever irony—because he’s British, of course—horror and suspense brilliantly. I’m afraid the Americans are not very big on irony. I do like the sharpness of thrillers, the possibilities of when you’re playing games with the audience. I enjoy doing that. “The Believers” was dealing with an improbable, not totally believable story, you know, the idea that people can be sold, taken in by that particular aspect of religion that they do actually something bad to themselves as a result of it. The film had some things that I liked very much; I like thrillers that are about things that I’m frightened of. It’s a way of getting back at me; I’m quite frightened of the idea of spiders pushed into the body or that somebody can put a spell on you. I suppose some things are possible, and I was attracted to the movie because of that.

While “Madame Souzatzka” [1988] is totally different kind of movie.

I think it has a very good heart. It’s also about art and commercialism. The commercial aspect is very central in many people’s lives, how to survive it.

Do you stay with a movie until the very end, the editing, with all the final finishing touches a film needs?

Yes, absolutely.

And you’re always there from the very beginning as well?

Yes, and that’s a result of my television days when I did exactly the same. I remember when I was working for television, one of the films I made was a documentary about the Victoria bus station. I remember my first trip to Brussels to do a documentary about the World Exhibition in 1958. I enjoyed making these documentaries very much. When I started at the BBC, I got in because of a documentary I had made about Hyde Park, “Sunday in the Park” it was called. It had the makings of something which attracted the attention of someone at the BBC who was in a good position. He gave me a break and nurtured me along very well. That’s what started it.

Ever since your first film, you have been able to perform on the highest level of your profession. You have stayed there ever since, which is amazing.

You think so? It was a struggle to get there for some years, commercials, documentaries, second unit, everything—you name it. Every time you’re out there to make a film, you’re wondering if it’s going to work. I’ve never felt one stayed all the time in a saleable position. I think it’s quite wrong to think that. You gotta challenge yourself every time. I like making films, but I hate the business. I absolutely despise the people I have to deal with most of the time.

You are very modest about your own achievements, aren’t you?

No, I’m very pleased with some of my films, but I’m also very critical of what I’ve done. Some things I like very much, some things I don’t.

There’s this saying that you’re only as good as your last movie. Is it true?

I think now more than ever. I think my generation of filmmakers is having a tough time in making what we want to make. With the right mix of actors and people, I might be bankable all the way. Recently, I’ve had two scripts I liked—unable to finance. I saw Lindsay Anderson last night at a memorial concert for a composer friend; neither he, Karel Reisz, Richard Lester, Arthur Penn—I’m talking about my contemporaries—all people that were really on the map in the sixties, I think everybody is having quite a tussle to get something made. It’s very difficult; inevitably, younger people are coming up, you have to make room for them, you know.

When you made your movies in the 1960s through the 1980s, did you have carte blanche?

I like collaboration. I like working with writers and technicians, and even good producers. Good father figures, I’m very happy with that. I recognize film as a collaborative medium unless you write the script yourself, then you are really the sole author. What is happening now is that you fight for the final cut, which I still have—that’s the 11th commandment, that I should have the final cut—but there are all sorts of restrictions. The film has to be a certain length if it exceeds that length, and the producers and distributors can get their hands all over it… If you test a film and it doesn’t test well, it’s an awful business—if I had tested “Midnight Cowboy” or “Sunday, Bloody Sunday,” if I had put those films before a public who then turned into critics for one night, of course, they’d object to all sorts of things that were in those films which had never been seen with any frequency before. We would have been in a terrible state. I’m convinced I hate previews or the system with which it’s used now to iron it out, to make it appeal to the lowest condominium. This is what happens in the American cinema and, to a certain extent, the British, which is kind of connected to the American cinema. There is still an international cinema, people working in their own language who’d love to break into the American distribution system on a big scale, and there are also certain films that reach America but mostly remain in the art house circuit.

Did you ever think there was a difference between making a film in America compared to working in England?

I love working here, but I don’t want to make films that are just narrow. My greatest pleasure was making two films for television about British spies, written by Alan Bennett, who is of the wittiest screenwriters. I had a huge success with those, but only on the small screen or on video. They were made-for-television. I had a very good time making those films, total freedom; I didn’t have to worry. Nobody was looking over our shoulders trying to make a film that would appeal to as many people as possible. I hoped that for “Midnight Cowboy”; I know that “Sunday, Bloody Sunday” was a rather specialized film, and probably wouldn’t get a very wide release and would offend people. The distributors were ashamed of it; they were frightened of it. Being gay, the most normal thing for that doctor and that boy was to be lovers, to kiss, to be in bed. People walked out, saying this is not a film for nice people. Now, twenty years later, they make a film like “Philadelphia” [1993], which is certainly the first commercially big picture from America to deal with AIDS, but they cut out anything that might offend, anything about Tom Hanks’ private life. I feel they could have risked more, but of course, they pulled back, and what’s happened as a result? It’s a commercial success. I wish it had risked more and still would make a commercial success (laughs).

That’s the kind of movie you would have made, isn’t it?

Let me tell you, I got two scripts that deal with the subject; I don’t know which one will go first, one of them I’ve been working on for six years. The script isn’t just quite good enough—yet. And if you want to do something that’s explosive, potentially, then it must be done very well.

You set high standards for yourself, don’t you?

Very. Perhaps I should not bother as much.

billy-liar-posterHow would you describe your films? Do you think they share a common theme?

I hope they’re good quality in any case, and I do think they all share the same theme: very few have happy endings, many have question mark endings. If I do get a sort of happy ending, they will accuse me of being sentimental. But all of them are about people resisting compromise but having to face it; people pushed to a corner who have to survive in some way, whatever their experiences may be—physical or emotional. I think the films are about survival in very strange circumstances. “Darling” was about a girl that could not make up her mind and always thought that something better might be around the next corner. Therefore she was unable to stick to something and what that let her into it. “Midnight Cowboy” was about a fantasy, one thing he does well, which is to screw with great satisfaction, but he ends up living with a friend and companion who needs him desperately, just as badly as he needs him. “Billy Liar” was about a boy who never took the risk to leave the environment he’s desperate to leave to realize his ambitions, to meet someone to take him there, but then doesn’t have the courage to go and feels safer with his fantasy. “A Kind of Loving” was about a man who thinks he loves somebody and realizes he doesn’t really and has to make a compromise to do the right thing: do I stick with her or do I leave her? In those days, people stayed with each other perhaps more than they do now. “Sunday, Bloody Sunday” was about a man and a woman both in love with the same person with different attitudes to that—the man feeling the compromise was worth it, the woman not. Even “Marathon Man” is about someone who has to confront violence, though he’s scared of it. There’s also the Jewish theme in it, which was one of the reasons I did it. His reluctance to get involved in a way that he’s drawn into it and has to deal with it in some way—pushed to the extreme. The effort of a film is so great that I always said, ‘I don’t want to make films just as entertainment. Entertainment can mean many things; it can mean getting the attention of the audience, moving them, making them angry, making them scared, making them think. To me, entertainment is to grab the attention, so I hope the audience leaves after having had a good experience of some kind that’s special. The thing that always angers me, coming from the people who write about the cinema, is that there must always be something that’s absolutely recognizable, the same thing over and over again. They don’t consider you a real filmmaker. I mean, Fred Zinnemann, like William Wyler, made many different kinds of films, from musicals to whatever. “High Noon,” “Julia,” “Oklahoma!”—Zinnemann was a real filmmaker, but people don’t consider you like that if you didn’t achieve that in your life… There was a lot of bullshit about the ‘auteur theory.’ Naturally, the British Film Institute is writing from a more intellectual point of view; I’m not into that, I don’t consider myself an intellectual. I’ve got six films I’m working on the screenplays because now it’s so uncertain as to which you get financed. To put all your eggs in one basket is impossible. Some of the films I’ve been working on for some time, some are newer ones. The one that I think I’m going to do for the BBC next is an adaptation of a very famous novel written in the thirties about a girl who wants to change everybody and everything. It has a lot of charm and humor and is a bit of a satire on D.H. Lawrence and Thomas Hardy. I don’t know if we’re gonna do it because it definitely needs more money. Anyway, I’ve sort of chosen those kinds of themes.

Dustin Hoffman and Laurence Olivier played the leading roles in “Marathon Man” (1976)

Something entirely different: have you ever considered going into politics?

No! I hate politics, I’m not a political animal. I’m concerned about human beings, and politics very often is concerned about conception, ideas and not about human beings at the end of it. Maybe as the start of something, but look at the word revolution and what that’s caused. I’m a filmmaker; I’m a maker of entertainment in all of its forms. I like working in the opera house or in the theater with a play. I’ve done three productions in the opera house, one of them in Salzburg.

What did you think when David Puttnam became the head of Columbia?

Well, I think he was politically inept. I think he played the cards very badly. I think he should have made space for the old brigade and worked with them and used them and not antagonized a system that you can’t beat. Instead of doing that, like ‘I’m going to do it my way and get rid of these people’, he backfired.

Would you accept the offer of running a studio?

No, I would hate it. I’m not an executive; I’m only a filmmaker. I would hate to do it. I was asked to run the course of the Royal College of Art, teaching movies—I don’t want to do that either. I like the idea of influencing, helping younger filmmakers. I went to Sundance last year. It was a very rewarding experience to help people with their films and talk to them, try and be helpful. But I don’t even want to produce other people’s films. Although there are certain people I would like to work with as a producer. Martin Scorsese sent me a book I like; if we can find a way to adapt it, although it’s very difficult to adapt… You know, I have great admiration for filmmakers, particularly Scorsese, but also the Coen brothers [Joel Coen, Ethan Coen], the Taviani brothers [Paolo Taviani, Vittorio Taviani], the great acknowledged masters of course like Luis Buñuel, Federico Fellini, Akira Kurosawa, Billy Wilder, Stanley Kubrick. And I think we’ve got a few young people now, like Stephen Frears, who sometimes hits the mark.

May 11, 1994

+ John Schlesinger passed away in Palm Springs, California, on July 25, 2003, age 77, after complications from a stroke.

“Midnight Cowboy” (1969, trailer)


SINGLE-HANDED (1953) DIR Roy Boulting PROD Frank McCarthy SCR Valentine Davies (novel by C.S. Forester) CAM Gilbert Taylor ED Alan Osbiston MUS Clifton Parker CAST Jeffrey Hunter, Michael Rennie, Wendy Hiller, Bernard Lee, Peter Van Eyck, John Schlesinger (German Guard)

THE DIVIDED HEART (1954) DIR Charles Crichton PROD Michael Balcon, Michael Truman SCR Jack Whittingham CAM Otto Heller ED Peter Bezencenet MUS Georges Auric CAST Cornell Borchers, Yvonne Mitchell, Armin Dahlen, Alexander Knox, Theodore Bikel,  John Schlesinger (Ticket Collector)

OH… ROSALINDA!!! (1955) DIR – PROD – SCR Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger CAM Christopher Challis ED Reginald Mills CAST Anthony Quale, Anton Walbrook, Dennis Price, Ludmilla Tchérina, Michael Redgrave, Mel Ferrer, Roy Kinnear, Jill Ireland, John Schlesinger (Gentleman)

THE LAST MAN TO HANG? (1956) DIR Terence Fisher PROD John W. Gossage SCR Gerald Bullett, Maurice Elvey, Ivor Montagu, Max Trell (novel by Gerald Bullett) CAM Desmond Dickinson ED Peter Taylor MUS John Wooldridge CAST Tom Concay, Elizabeth Sellars, Eunice Gayson, Freda Jackson, Hugh Latimer, Anthony Newley, John Schlesinger (Dr. Goldfinger)

THE BATTLE OF RIVER PLATE (1956) DIR – PROD – SCR Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger CAM Christopher Challis ED Reginald Mills MUS Brian Easdale CAST John Gregson, Anthony Quayle, Peter Finch, Ian Hunter, Bernard Lee, Patrick Macnee, Christopher Lee, Barry Foster, Anthony Newley, John Schlesinger (Prisoner on Gaf Spee)

BROTHERS IN LAW (1957) DIR Roy Boulting PROD The Boulting Brothers SCR Roy Boulting, Frank Harvey, Jeffrey Dell (novel by Henry Cecil) CAM Max Greene ED Anthony Harvey MUS Benjamin Frankel CAST Henry B. Longhurst, Edith Sharpe, Ian Carmichael, Richard Attenborough, Peggy Ann Clifford, Jill Adams, John Le Mesurier, Terry-Thomas, John Schlesinger (Assize Court Solicitor)

SEVEN THUNDERS (1957) DIR Hugo Fregonese PROD Daniel M. Angel SCR John Baines (novel by Rupert Croft-Cooke) CAM Wilkie Cooper ED John Shirley MUS Antony Hopkins CAST Tony Wright, Stephen Boyd, Kathleen Harrison, James Robert Justice, Shirley Anne Field, John Schlesinger

STORMY CROSSING (1958) DIR C.M. Pennington-Richards PROD Monty Berman SCR Brock Williams (story ‘Black Tide’ by Lou Dyer, Sid Harris) CAM Geoffrey Faithfull ED Douglas Myers MUS Stanley Black CAST John Ireland, Derek Bond, Leslie Dwyer, Cameron Hall, Arthur Lowe, John Schlesinger (Tim, Garage Mechanic)

A KIND OF LOVING (1962) DIR John Schlesinger PROD Joseph Janni SCR Willis Hall, Keith Waterhouse (novel by Stan Barstow) CAM Denys Coop ED Roger Cherrill MUS Ron Grainier CAST Alan Bates, June Ritchie, Thora Hird, Bert Palmer, Gwen Nelson, Malcolm Patton, Pat Keen

BILLY LIAR (1963) DIR John Schlesinger PROD Joseph Janni SCR Willis Hall, Keith Waterhouse (novel by Keith Waterhouse) CAM Denys Coop ED Roger Cherrill MUS Richard Rodney Bennett CAST Tom Courtenay, Julie Christie, Wilfred Pickles, Mona Washbourne, Ethel Griffies, Finlay Currie, John Schlesinger (Officer in Dream)

DARLING (1965) DIR John Schlesinger PROD Joseph Janni SCR Frederic Raphael (story by John Schlesinger, Frederic Raphael, Joseph Janni) CAM Ken Higgins ED James Clark MUS John Dankworth CAST Julie Christie, Dirk Bogarde, Laurence Harvey, Roland Curram, Alex Scott, Basil Henson, Helen Lindsay, John Schlesinger (Theatre Director)

FAR FROM THE MADDING CROWD (1967) DIR John Schlesinger PROD Joseph Janni SCR Frederic Raphael (novel by Thomas Hardy) CAM Nicholas Roeg ED James Clark,  Malcolm Cooke MUS Richard Rodney Bennett CAST Julie Christie, Terence Stamp, Peter Finch, Alan Bates, Fiona Walker, Prunella Ransome, Alison Leggatt

MIDNIGHT COWBOY (1969) DIR John Schlesinger PROD Jerome Hellman SCR Waldo Salt (novel by James Leo Herlihy) CAM Adam Holender ED James Clark, Hugh A. Robertson Jr. MUS John Barry CAST Dustin Hoffman, Jon Voight, Jon McGiver, Brenda Vaccaro, Barnard Hughes, Sylvia Miles, Ruth White, Jennifer Salt, Bob balaban, Viva, Paul Morrissey

SUNDAY, BLOODY SUNDAY (1971) DIR John Schlesinger PROD Joseph Janni SCR John Schlesinger, Penelope Gilliatt, David Sherwin CAM Billy Williams ED Richard Marden MUS Ron Geesin CAST Glenda Jackson, Peter Finch, Murray Head, Peggy Ashcroft, Vivian Pickles, Frank Windsor, Thomas Baptiste, Emma Schlesinger

VISIONS OF EIGHT (1973) DIR John Schlesinger [segment ‘The Longest’], Milos Forman, Kon Ichikawa, Claude Lelouch, Yuriy Ozerov, Arthur Penn, Michael Pfleghar, Mai Zetterling PROD David L. Wolper, Stan Margulies, Isao Zeniya, Pierre Perdon SCR David Hughes, Deliara Ozerowa, Shuntarô Tanikawa CAM Daniel Bocly, Michael J. Davies, Rune Ericson, Alan Hume, Walter Lassally, Jörgen Persson, Igor Slabnevich, Ernst Wild, Arthur Wooster, Masuo Yamaguchi ED Dede Allen, Catherine Bernard, Jim Clark, Lars Hagström, Edward Roberts, Margot von Sclieffen MUS Henri Mancini CAST (includes) Ron Hill, Avery Brundage, Frank Shorter

THE DAY OF THE LOCUST (1975) DIR John Schlesinger PROD Jerome Hellman SCR Waldo Salt (novel by Nathanael West) CAM Conrad Hall ED Jim Clark MUS John Barry CAST Donald Sutherland, Karen Black, Burgess Meredith, William Atherton, Geraldine Page, Richard A. Dysart, Bo Hopkins, Billy Barty, William Castle, Madge Kennedy

MARATHON MAN (1976) DIR John Schlesinger PROD Robert Evans, Sidney Beckerman SCR William Goldman (also novel) CAM Conrad Hall ED Jim Clark MUS Michael Small CAST Dustin Hoffman, Laurence Olivier, Roy Scheider, William Devane, Marthe Keller, Fritz Weaver, Madge Kennedy

YANKS (1979) DIR John Schlesinger PROD Joseph Janni, Lester Persky SCR Colin Welland, Walter Bernstein (story by Colin Welland) CAM Dick Bush ED Jim Clark MUS Richard Rodney Bennett CAST Richard Gere, Lisa Eichhorn, Vanessa Redgrave, William Devane, Chick Vennera, Wendy Morgan, Rachel Roberts

HONKY TONK FREEWAY (1981) DIR John Schlesinger PROD Don Boyd SCR Edward Clinton CAM John Bailey ED Jim Clark MUS Elmer Bernstein, George Martin CAST William Devane, Beau Bridges, Beverly D’Angelo, Hume Cronyn, Jessica Tandy, Geraldine Page, Teri Garr, Peter Billingsley

THE FALCON AND THE SNOWMAN (1985) DIR John Schlesinger PROD John Schlesinger, Gabriel Katzka SCR Steven Zaillian (book by Robert Lindsey) CAM Allen Daviau ED Richard Marsden MUS David Bowie, Lyle Mays, Pat Metheney CAST Timothy Hutton, Sean Penn, Richard Dysart, David Suchet, Lori Singer, Pat Hingle, Dorian Harewood, Mady Kaplan

THE BELIEVERS (1987) DIR John Schlesinger PROD John Schlesinger, Beverly J. Camhe, Michael Childers SCR Mark Frost (novel ‘The Religion’ by Nicholas Conde) CAM Robby Müller ED Peter Honess MUS J. Peter Robinson CAST Martin Sheen, Helen Shaver, Harley Cross, Robert Loggia, Elizabeth Wilson, Harris Yulin, Jimmy Smits

MADAME SOUSATZKA (1988) DIR John Schlesinger PROD Robin Dalton SCR John Schlesinger, Ruth Prawer Jhabvala (novel by Bernice Rubens) CAM Nat Crosby ED Peter Honess MUS Gerald Gouriet CAST Shirley MacLaine, Peggy Ashcroft, Twiggy, Shabana Azmi, Navin Chowdhry, Leigh Lawson, Katharine Schlesinger

PACIFIC HEIGHTS (1990) DIR John Schlesinger PROD Scott Rudin, William Sackheim SCR Daniel Pyne CAM Amir M. Mokri ED Mark Warner, Steven Ramirez MUS Hans Zimmer CAST Melanie Griffith, Matthew Modine, Michael Keaton, Maurie Metcalf, Mako, Nobu McCarthy, Beverly D’Angelo, Tippi Hedren, John Schlesinger (Man in an Elevator)

THE LOST LANGUAGES OF CRANES (1991) DIR Nigel Finch PROD Ruth Caleb SCR Sean Mathias (novel by David Leavitt) CAM Remi Adefarasin ED Sue Wyatt MUS Julian Wastall CAST Brian Cox, Eileen Atkins, Angus MacFayden, Corey Parker, Cathy Tyson, Ben Daniels, John Schlesinger (Derek Moulthorpe), Rene Auberjonois

THE INNOCENT (1993) DIR John Schlesinger PROD Norma Heyman, Wieland Schulz-Keil, Chris Sievernich SCR Ian McEwan (also novel) CAM Dietrich Lohmann ED Richard Marden MUS Gerald Gouriet CAST Anthony Hopkins, Isabella Rossellini, Campbell Scott, Hart Bochner, Ronald Nitschke, James Grant

EYE FOR AN EYE (1996) DIR John Schlesinger PROD Michael I. Levy, Michael Polaire SCR Amanda Silver, Rick Jaffa (novel by Erika Holzer) CAM Amir Mokri ED Peter Honess MUS James Newton Howard CAST Sally Field, Ed Harris, Kiefer Sutherland, Joe Mantegna, Olivia Burnette, Alexandra Kyle, Beverly D’Angelo, Darrell Larson

THE TWILIGHTS OF THE GOLDS (1996) DIR Ross Kagan Marks PROD John Davimos, Mark R. Harris, Paul Colichman SCR Jonathan Tolins, Seth Bass (play by Jonathan Tolins) CAM Tom Richmond ED Dana Cangdon MUS Lee Holdridge CAST Jennifer Beals, Faye Dunaway, Brendan Fraser, Garry Marshall, Jon Tenney, Rose O’Donnell, John Schlesinger (Dr. Adrian Lodge), Patrick Bristow, Jack Klugman

THE NEXT BEST THING (2000) DIR John Schlesinger PROD Tom Rosenberg, Richard Wright, Linne Radman, Leslie Dixon, Marcus Viscidi, Meredith Zamsky SCR Tom Ropelewski, Mel Bordeaux, Rupert Everett CAM Elliott Davis ED Peter Honess CAST Madonna, Rupert Everett, Benjamin Bratt, Ileana Douglas, Malcolm Stumpf, Lynn Redgrave, Josef Sommer


SEPARATE TABLES (1983) DIR John Schlesinger PROD Edie Landau, Ely A. Landau SCR Terrence Rattigan (1958 screenplay of SEPARATE TABLES) CAM Gary Penny ED Peter Buchanan MUS Phillip Smith CAST Julie Christie, Alan Bates, Claire Bloom, Irene Worth, Sylvia Barter

AN ENGLISHMAN ABROAD (1983) DIR John Schlesinger PROD Innes Lloyd SCR Alan Bennett CAM Nat Crosby ED Ken Pearce MUS George Fenton CAST Alan Bates, Coral Browne, Peter Chelsom, Vernon Dobtcheff, Charles Gray, Judy Gridley

COLD COMFORT FARM (1995) DIR John Schlesinger PROD Alison Gilby SCR Malcolm Bradbury (novel by Stella Gibson) CAM Chris Seager ED Mark Day MUS Robert Lockhart CAST Eileen Atkins, Kate Beckinsdale, Sheila Burrell, Ian McKellen, Stephen Fry, Joanna Lumley

THE TALE OF SWEENEY TODD (1998) DIR John Schlesinger PROD Ted Swanson SCR Peter Shaw, Peter Buckman CAM Martin Fuhrer ED Mark Day MUS Richard Rodney Bennett CAST Ben Kingsley, Campbell Scott, Joanna Lumley, Selina Boyack, David Wilmor, Katharine Schlesinger

BROTHERS-IN-LAW (1985) DIR E.W. Swackhamer PROD William F. Phillips SCR Stephen J. Cannell CAM Donald H. Birnkrant ED Jerry Dronsky, John Elias, George R. Rohrs MUS Mike Post, Pete Carpenter CAST Mac Davis, Joe Cortese, Robert Culp, John Saxon, Daphne Ashbrook, Gerald S. O’Loughlin, Lukas Haas, John Schlesinger