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Screen Icon: Cliff Robertson (1923-2011)

I was extremely sad to hear that cinema legend, Cliff Robertson had passed away. As well as being an accomplished film star (winning an Academy Award in 1968 for his lead role in sci-fi/drama Charly), Robertson also showed skill as a writer and director. He was one those actors that had the rare talent of making a bad film     miles better, by simply appearing (I'm talking to you Escape From LA!). Here are some of my favourite of his performances:

633 Squadron (1964)
Robertson stars as an RAF pilot who's squadron is given the assignment of destroying a German rocket factory in Norway. Roberson's performance is perhaps one of the most convincing WW2 film performances, possibly because of his own personal knowledge of aircraft. There's something very nostalgic about Robertson in this - oozing the charm of a solid & charismatic war-time Commander.


Batman (1967)
You know you're a star when you've guest starred in the original Batman series (Just ask Roddy McDowall, George Sanders, Joan Collins, Vincent Price, Otto Preminger or Zsa Zsa Gabor). Robertson starred as Shame, an incredibly stupid yet villainous gunfighter - it's clear Robertson enjoyed the role and is embracing the camp nature of the show.


JW Coop (1971)
Robertson wrote, directed and starred in JW Coop, the story of a rodeo cowboy returning from an eight year spell in prison, trying to make up for the years that he lost. Combining elements of the modern western with a powerful character study - it's an incredibly competent picture from Robertson as writer, director and actor. This really proves him as one of cinema's most underrated stars. 


Obsession (1976)
Robertson moved onto edgier territory here as he teams up with Brian DePalma. Obsession is BDP's answer to Vertigo and shares an incredibly similar plot but features more of BDP's trademark style. Robertson shines as the troubled yet, incredibly refined lead that works perfectly in the context of the film.


Escape From LA (1996)
I'm not going to pretend this is a good film but it does have one saving grace (and it's not Peter Fonda and Kurt Russell taking on a CGI wave) - Cliff Robertson, who's deliciously evil as the corrupt, cold and calculating President. His scenes are worth a watch. 


Spider-Man (2002)
I had a tear in my eye when Uncle Ben died, yes I said it. My first time seeing Cliff Robertson was when I was ten years old watching Spider-Man and I was immediately interested in this wise old gent. Now, I can still look back on the film, albeit it's not as impressive as it was to a ten year old but I still appreciate how powerful his performance is and it remains one of my favourites. 


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