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Sidney J. Furie Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (1) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (2) | Trade Mark (4) | Trivia (21) | Personal Quotes (2)

Overview (1)

Date of Birth 28 February 1933Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Mini Bio (1)

Toronto-born Sidney J. Furie has enjoyed an incredibly distinguished career that has spanned more than five decades. Having dabbled in every genre, Furie has directed films starring Marlon Brando, Frank Sinatra, Robert Redford, Diana Ross, Michael Caine, Peter O'Toole, Rodney Dangerfield, Barbara Hershey, Gene Hackman, Donald Sutherland, Laurence Olivier, and countless others.

He directed the first two feature-length fiction films ever made in English Canada, A Dangerous Age (1957) and A Cool Sound from Hell (1959), both independently financed, before emigrating to London in 1960. In 1961, he directed five feature films in a single year, before finally scoring his first box-office success with The Young Ones (1961), starring "British Elvis Presley" Cliff Richard. The critical and commercial success of Furie's 1963 British New Wave film The Leather Boys, a kitchen sink drama starring Rita Tushingham and Dudley Sutton, delivered him to the attention of high-powered producer Harry Saltzman, who hired him to direct the groundbreaking film The Ipcress File (1965), which won the BAFTA award for Best Picture. Michael Caine became an overnight star because of the film's success. The film also screened in competition at the Cannes Film Festival.

Furie then emigrated to Hollywood to direct Marlon Brando in The Appaloosa (1966) and Frank Sinatra in The Naked Runner (1967) for Universal and Warner Brothers respectively. Paramount Pictures, then under the aegis of the new Gulf+Western management regime, hired Furie in 1967. Furie would work as a Paramount filmmaker for the next eight years. Beginning in 1968, he directed five films for the studio. His box-office hit Lady Sings the Blues (1972) was nominated for five Academy Awards, and was Paramount's second biggest money-maker that year behind only The Godfather.

In 1981, he directed The Entity (1983), a cult classic that was named by Martin Scorsese as the fourth best horror film ever made, ranking ahead of both The Shining and Psycho. He was assigned to direct Superman IV: The Quest for Peace in 1987, but was challenged by substantial last-minute budget cuts and a script he could not change (engineered personally by Christopher Reeve). Throughout the 1990s and 2000s, he returned to his native Canada to helm a series of films, often direct-to-video pictures, ranging from the war drama Going Back (2001) to the Canadian-British co-production Global Heresy (2002), a comedy starring Peter O'Toole and Joan Plowright. Other career highlights include The Boys in Company C (one of the first Vietnam War pictures about combat soldiers, later to provide the basis for Full Metal Jacket), the underrated action epic Hit! (1973), and the Iron Eagle series. He has also maintained dual citizenship between the U.S. and Canada. In 2010, he was given the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Director's Guild of Canada.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: ConFluence-Film

Spouse (2)

Linda Potkin (October 1968 - present) (2 children)
Sheila Hiltz (1956 - 1968) (divorced) (4 children)

Trade Mark (4)

An imagistic visual style, often with a patented use of multiple cameras.
Shoots through and around foregrounded objects to offer a "refracted" view of the action. The style is overt and especially prevalent in The Ipcress File, The Appaloosa and The Naked Runner, his Wild Angle Trilogy.
Long takes that play out in intricately composed master shots (some clock in at over five minutes in length)
Dynamic camera movement that captures the action of a scene, in lieu of cutting to coverage

Trivia (21)

He originally had a budget of $36 million dollars for Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (1987). Just before filming was to begin, Cannon Pictures, which was starting to suffer financial problems, slashed the budget to $17 million. As a result, Furie had to cut corners by doing things like reusing special effects.
Was originally hired to direct The Defender (2004), but left due to illness during the prep period. Leading actor Dolph Lundgren directed the film.
In 2009, director Martin Scorsese placed Sidney J. Furie's The Entity (1982) on his list of the 11 Scariest Horror Films of All Time. It placed #4 on the list, above Kubrick's The Shining (1980) and Hitchcock's Psycho (1960).
In 1999, Sidney J. Furie's espionage thriller The Ipcress File (1965) was included at number 59 on the BFI's list of the 100 greatest British films of the 20th century.
Stanley Kubrick was a big fan of The Boys in Company C (1978) and cited Sidney J. Furie's war movie as the direct inspiration for Full Metal Jacket (1987). Many critics have identified similarities between the two films including, not least of all, the casting of R. Lee Ermey who plays Marine Drill Instructor Sergeant Joyce in Furie's film and Gunnery Sergeant Hartman in Kubrick's.
Furie was originally in line to direct The Godfather for Paramount. Producer Albert S. Ruddy had just come off Little Fauss and Big Halsy with Furie, and was handed the task of producing The Godfather after that film had been brought in under-budget and under-schedule. Ruddy personally requested Furie to direct the picture, but Francis Ford Coppola's Italian heritage won the day.
Walter Shenson offered Furie the chance to direct A Hard Day's Night because of his success with the Cliff Richard pictures The Young Ones (1961) and Wonderful Life (1964). Furie declined.
Fired from The Jazz Singer (1980) and quit Night of the Juggler (1980). Of the former, he claims that he wanted to get fired from that production.
Mentioned by name in Motown: The Musical.
Lady Sings the Blues (1972) was inducted into the Classic Cinema Hall of Fame at the 2006 Black Movie Awards. Furie was given a trophy as the film's director.
Attended Carnegie Institute of Technology, or Carnegie Tech (now Carnegie Mellon University) in Pittsburgh in the early 1950's.
He developed the films Dead Heat on a Merry-Go-Round (1966) and Eye of the Devil (1967) but left both projects early on.
He was personally asked by Rodney Dangerfield to direct My 5 Wives (2000). Dangerfield had a rocky history with most of his directors, and left many sets in disgust, never to return to many of them. Furie was Dangerfield's favorite directing collaborator.
His favorite films are Vincente Minnelli's The Bad and the Beautiful (1952) and John Ford's They Were Expendable (1945).
Cites seeing Captains Courageous (1937) as a young boy as having been the formative movie-going experience growing up in Canada. He told his mother about wanting to make movies after seeing it.
When meeting Vittorio Storaro on the set of Francis Ford Coppola's One from the Heart (1982), Storaro was reported to have exclaimed to Furie, "You don't have to tell me who you are! I've stolen from you!" Storaro explained that when The Ipcress File (1965) was released in Italy, it was one of the most influential films for the Italian cinematographers just getting started.
Directed one Oscar nominated performance: Diana Ross in Lady Sings the Blues (1972).
Both parents were Polish-Jewish immigrants who arrived in Canada in 1930. The name "Furie", however, has French roots.
In Time magazine, Richard Corliss named Furie's Lady Sings the Blues (1972) as one of the Top 25 Important Movies on Race.
Was instrumental in helping John Boorman get hired to direct Point Blank (1967).
His college classmates at Carnegie Tech included actor Alan Oppenheimer and legendary Beverly Hills Playhouse director/acting teacher Milton Katselas.

Personal Quotes (2)

The truth is, whether your film is about the great mythological character you have to do right, or it's a little movie that nobody ever heard of, you still approach it like it's the most important thing in the world. But failing goes with the territory. Filmmakers are like gunslingers, and you don't win every duel.
I don't actually consider The Entity (1982) to be a horror film--it's a supernatural suspense movie. Horror is such a huge topic that has slasher films and other horrible crap attached to it and I'm not a fan of that stuff at all. I like something that gets you thinking and "The Entity" was certainly that kind of film. Horror is a convenient word that is often applied but I don't think horror is a genre at all. Its more of a term.

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