In the UK it may come as a surprise to anyone under the age of thirty that Michael Winner- currently an especially belligerent food critic and smarmy celebrity voice for hire- was once a film director, first in the UK, and then in Hollywood, and along the way managed to work with among the most venerated actors of their generation. And for this work- the bulk of which had dried up before the mid-1980s- he is being honoured with a lifetime achievement award by culturally estimable arts organisation, American Cinematheque. Winner, fresh from a competitive twitter smug-off with the similarly self-satisfied Victoria Coren, is appearing at the Egyptian theatre (one of Cinematheques two Hollywood theatres) where he will present a showing of some of the films for which he is primarily being celebrated. Winner will be present at showings of both The Mechanic and Scorpio. Although Winners most enduring and iconic work is the seminal Charles Bronson film Death Wish, between commercials Winner is still keen to point out the list of Hollywood greats with whom he has worked including Orson Welles, Marlon Brando and Sophia- though most, if not all, of these working relationships were forged at low points in the careers of said stars- and could count both Oliver Reed and Stanley Kubrick among his personal friends. When asked about the lack of similair recognition from Film festivals and organisations in the UK, Winner said:
"The English got swept away with this comic personality I created. They think you have to be very serious and do a lot of nose pinching but the American directors have a great joviality. They go with the films, and this is a celebration of films."And so it will be that a man most famous at home for a catchphrase from a car insurance advert will be honoured by an organisation that can count the likes of Martin Scorsese and Francis Ford Coppola amongst its board of directors. And while it should not be forgotten that Winners inactivity is in large part a consequence of having become a commercial liability, the likes of Scorpio, The Mechanic and Death Wish are all worth revisiting for their cold unflinching style.