"Edward Woodward would"
November 16, 2009 7:55 AM   Subscribe

 
Ewar Woowar is ea?
:(
posted by seanyboy at 7:57 AM on November 16, 2009 [13 favorites]


ot.
posted by seanyboy at 7:59 AM on November 16, 2009


I loved The Equalizer. Thank you Mr. Woodward.

What a better world it would be if this could said about all of us on our passing:

"I can't ever remember, in all the productions he undertook, anyone having a bad word to say about him and he never had anything bad to say about anyone else either."
posted by pixlboi at 8:02 AM on November 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


Edward Woodward may be the first guy I realized my mom had the hots for who wasn't my dad. She watched "The Equalizer" obsessively. I did too, but in my case because he was my first English Television Badass. If my dad had died young, I would have been very much in favor of my mom marrying him, because he was even cooler than Tom Selleck.
posted by middleclasstool at 8:03 AM on November 16, 2009 [4 favorites]


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posted by ob at 8:05 AM on November 16, 2009


A life in clips.
posted by Electric Dragon at 8:05 AM on November 16, 2009


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posted by the_very_hungry_caterpillar at 8:07 AM on November 16, 2009


The Wicker Man is one of my favorite movies. I read it as a brilliant parable about intercultural communication, and the consequences of failure to keep an open mind.

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posted by Faint of Butt at 8:09 AM on November 16, 2009 [3 favorites]


I remember some old East End lag on an interview saying that Woodward was, realistically speaking, not big and rough looking enough to be the Equalizer, but that he did have that slightly mad quality in his eyes which a dangerous man has to have - "'E looked like 'e would 'urt yer."
posted by Phanx at 8:14 AM on November 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


ALL OVER MY EYES!

I'm not the disrespectful one here. Nicolas Cage is.
posted by mccarty.tim at 8:20 AM on November 16, 2009


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Apparently, I've had Edward Woodward confused with John Thaw (aka Inspector Morse and Inspector Jack Regan) for years. It must have been their similarities in appearance and the fact their characters never shied from fisticuffs.

The Equalizer taught me that I should always check for body armor after I shoot someone.
posted by Kikkoman at 8:26 AM on November 16, 2009


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I love The Equalizer. I remember watching it when it was first aired, but those viewings tended to be cut short whenever my Mom remembered that I was probably not old enough to be viewing the violence. I watched the whole series again in college when A&E would show it during the daytime.

It was great to see Woodward in Hot Fuzz, which is one of my favorite movies ever. That movie is packed with so much talent that it's almost impossible to watch without going "Hey, it's _____ from _______!" every ten minutes. The Equalizer! James Bond! Manny! Tim! Davy Jones! Belloq! Filch! Marsha! Pompey Magnus! Cato! The commentary tracks are, except for the Tarantino one, hilarious (My favorite line is Simon Pegg describing Timmothy Dalton as smelling like "leather and wealth.").
posted by robocop is bleeding at 8:31 AM on November 16, 2009 [3 favorites]


Sgt. Howie is one of he great unsympathetic leads in film history. In his own way, he is every bit the fanatic that the residents of Summerisle is, and, while he might not deserve his fate, he has every chance to avoid it, but is so blinkered by his faith and his bullying representation of the law that his ending is inevitable. He's probably right at the end, that the Wicker Man will not bring back the crops, but that's not the issue. The issue is that he has spewed contempt for everybody on Summerisle since the moment he set foot on it, even though their world of older gods and rituals just plain seems more fun than his grim ritualism. Edward Woodward was perfect as Howie; may his grave be protected by the ejaculation of servants.
posted by Astro Zombie at 8:31 AM on November 16, 2009 [7 favorites]


Whereas I see Howie as extremely sympathetic, considering the cold-blooded way the islanders selected him, and manipulated him the entire time he was on Summerisle. A fanatic, yes, but also a damned innocent.

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posted by daveje at 8:39 AM on November 16, 2009


As usual, Astro Zombie gets it. Does Howie deserve his fate at the end of the movie? Perhaps not. But does he have it coming to him? Most certainly yes.
posted by Faint of Butt at 8:40 AM on November 16, 2009


Late-night Callan repeats on my family's black-and-white in the mid-1980s... ahhh, great stuff. The Equalizer couldn't compete.
posted by rory at 8:41 AM on November 16, 2009


Also loved The Equalizer. And how in the hell did I miss him in Hot Fuzz?

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posted by jquinby at 8:45 AM on November 16, 2009


I'm glad that Edward Woodward had a long, fulfilled life and a successful career. I'm sad that he's passed though. Hot Fuzz showed that his skills and presence weren't diminished.

Edgar Wright said in his article: While the original Wicker Man (hell, it pains me to even have to preface the title with “the original”) still has an great cult following, there is a generation growing up that only know The Wicker Man (2006) as a camp classic thanks to internet mash ups of Nicholas Cage screaming about bees. When occasionally I hear people talking about the ‘bees’ version without having ever heard of the original film, it depresses me. This is why this endless trend of remakes is very bad indeed.

I had the misfortune of seeing the remake before I saw the Edward Woodward version due to a Netflix error but the sheer terribleness of the Cage version kept it from having an effect on my enjoyment. The Wicker Man is a great film. It's not perfect but its imperfections only added to its quality. I saw the 88 minute version. What's the 102 minute original theatrical release like? Has anyone seen it?
posted by Kattullus at 8:50 AM on November 16, 2009


I remember seeing The Equalizer for the first time, and getting it into my head finally that one did not have to be huge or strong or even obviously a Very Dangerous Person to actually BE the kind of person who can take care of things. That who you knew could be just as powerful a weapon as a gun. That a man didn't need to be a jackass to be a man.

Then I sought out and watched 'Breaker' Morant, specifically because of him, and was amazed.

You have to understand: in 1985, I was 16, a smart kid in an athletically-oriented high school (but perhaps I am redundant in saying that), and had ideas of what was supposed to happen and how I was supposed to react to it, and now I'm watching a TV show and a movie that says that instead of bowing to it, I should stand up and not be bowed by it.

Then I finally read an interview with Edwood Woodward and was blown away by some of what he said. It drove it into me that this was not how it had to be. And I learned a lot from the man. I wrote him a letter thanking him for it, and he wrote me back.

He thanked me for my kind words, and that he was glad that someone had found something important from his work, and suggested that I should read the poem 'If' by Rudyard Kipling.

Thank you, Mr. Woodward.

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posted by mephron at 8:58 AM on November 16, 2009 [17 favorites]


I propose that we memoralize him by torching copies of the Wicker Man remake while holding hands and singing.

Summer has come in,
Loudly sing, Cuckoo!
The seed grows and the meadow
blooms
And the wood springs anew,
Sing, Cuckoo!


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posted by Pope Guilty at 9:07 AM on November 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


the other great ewar woowar joke is the one laurence olivier made to noel coward, which was that his name sounded like a fart in the bath, 'Edwub Wub Wub'.
i mean, if someone' has to take the piss, you wouldn't mind if it was those two..
posted by trulyscrumptious at 9:11 AM on November 16, 2009


What's the 102 minute original theatrical release like? Has anyone seen it?

I used to know a guy who ran a used books and movies shop- the kind of place that's always falling apart and where if the owner's sick, it's closed- and he was not only a big fan of The Wicker Man, but also a serious video collector. I mentioned it one day while in the store, and he smiled and put a tape in the VCR behind the register- it was a rare edition of the full cut. I was treated to somebody who really knew the film flipping back and forth and showing me all the bits that got cut out. Mostly they're scenes of Howie before he comes to the island. The bit where he goes from the inn to speaking in church is actually a callback to one of those deleted scenes. There's also one where he demands that some religious graffiti be taken down, and one where he goes into a shop and demands that it be closed because working on the Sabbath is immoral. The extended cut makes Howie even more unsympathetic, and I can see why it was cut down.
posted by Pope Guilty at 9:12 AM on November 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


What's the 102 minute original theatrical release like? Has anyone seen it?

It was shown on British TV a while back, along with an excellent documentary on the film. Basically it expands on Howie's investigations in the early part of the film plus showing him in church on the mainland making it clear 'he's not been touched by woman'
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 9:13 AM on November 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


Makes sign of protection against Pope Guilty
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 9:15 AM on November 16, 2009 [2 favorites]


I had the misfortune of seeing the remake before I saw the Edward Woodward version due to a Netflix error but the sheer terribleness of the Cage version kept it from having an effect on my enjoyment.

My deep appreciation for Woodward has only been increased by the shabby and bizarre job Cage did in the remake. It is deeply instructive when every single shot of the original is better than the whole of the remake. When you shoot at the king, you must kill him. When you shoot at the King of May, sir, you had damned well better kill him.
posted by GenjiandProust at 9:18 AM on November 16, 2009


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posted by aerotive at 9:34 AM on November 16, 2009


Hopefully scattering his ashes over the land will bring an end to the recession.
posted by Artw at 9:39 AM on November 16, 2009


Oh, and if like me you don't know the 3 jokes that Edgar Wright mentioned, here they are:

What do you call a man with a tree on his head?
Edward

What do you call a man with 3 tree's on his head?
Edward Woodward

What do you call a man with 4 tree's on his head?
I dont know but Edward Woodward would!!
posted by Kattullus at 9:39 AM on November 16, 2009 [5 favorites]


GenjiandProust: My deep appreciation for Woodward has only been increased by the shabby and bizarre job Cage did in the remake.

To be fair to Cage it's not like he spun gold into dross. That script plumbs murgatroidal depths of septic terrible.
posted by Kattullus at 9:41 AM on November 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


. but the Equalizer was no Mitchell!
posted by stormpooper at 9:45 AM on November 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


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posted by Smart Dalek at 9:51 AM on November 16, 2009




I really loved The Equalizer. This makes me sad.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 9:59 AM on November 16, 2009


My incredibly strained Edward Woodwood joke, by me aged 10 or something:

If Edward Woodwood worked for the forestry service planting trees, would Edward Woodwood wood woods?
posted by Artw at 10:00 AM on November 16, 2009


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He was twice the man Ed Wood was.
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 10:03 AM on November 16, 2009 [4 favorites]


Oh and I always thought Common As Muck (a comedy drama about binmen on the lines of Auf Weidershen Pet) which he starred in the 90s was really underrated.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 10:04 AM on November 16, 2009 [2 favorites]


THE GREATER GOOD.

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posted by katillathehun at 10:17 AM on November 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


Oh, so sad. I adored him in The Equalizer, and, like many other people in the thread have already said, found that that show really shaped my childhood idealism about how a truly strong person could use power on behalf of the powerless.

And then The Wicker Man, which is the most wonderful metaphor for a thousand years of English history--as Astro Zombie says, the inflexibility of Church and State clashing against the inflexibility of kinship and old religion.
posted by Sidhedevil at 10:21 AM on November 16, 2009


What have you got against the old ways, Sidhedevil?
posted by Artw at 10:23 AM on November 16, 2009


I have The Wicker Man on VHS, which the box says is 101min. I saw the DVD several months ago, and my kids were quick to notice that about seven minutes at the beginning, establishing Sgt. Howie as a rigidly pious man on the mainland and something of a laughingstock to his peers, had been cut. Some of the footage was put back in the cut down DVD version when he's saying his nightly prayers in the pub before being tempted by Willow MacGregor (Britt Ekland) through the walls.

Another few minutes are cut immediately before the temptation scene. Howie goes up to his room, the atmosphere in the pub calms down with a more pensive song by Paul Giovanni, Gentle Johnny, during which Lord Summerisle presents a young man for Willow to initiate into the act of love. Howie can hear the deflowering through the wall, which is what seems to really set off the temptation. It's a shame the song was cut.
posted by 2N2222 at 10:24 AM on November 16, 2009


Loved the Equalizer. The whole premise was great.

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posted by Ironmouth at 10:28 AM on November 16, 2009


Also, I have a distinct memory of the outdoor orgy scene being intercut with images of snails in coitus. A lot of those images.
posted by Astro Zombie at 10:28 AM on November 16, 2009


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I will always remember him as the Ghost of Christmas Present in, IMHO, the best version of A Christmas Carol starring George C. Scott.
posted by MasonDixon at 10:40 AM on November 16, 2009


A few years ago I managed to download all the episodes of Callan that weren't already available on DVD (which is to say all of them except the third season, bizarrely). Really astounding to me, despite the occasional clunkiness. Very bleak - I think Callan only does the job because if he doesn't, he'll be killed; one lead character is summarily killed off halfway through a season; Callan is promoted to department boss (despite being belligerently anti-authoritarian) and is then demoted again for incompetence several episodes later. Woodward's performance is tremendous, simultaneously scary and sad, someone whose only real talent is for killing (and making toy soldiers), who has a strange, touching, but almost sado-masochistic relationship with his informant, the malodorous taxi-driver Lonely, who is in some ways his only friend (which Callan seems to despise himself for).

David Callan is Robert McCall in much the same way that John Drake is Number Six.

Actually, I think I'll watch it again.
posted by Grangousier at 10:42 AM on November 16, 2009


There's a two-disk DVD edition of The Wicker Man that has both the original theatrical version and a longer director's cut. Still one of my favourite movies.

RIP.
posted by rjs at 11:04 AM on November 16, 2009


Count me among those who missed him in Hot Fuzz. I'll have to rewatch the DVD.
posted by tommasz at 11:13 AM on November 16, 2009


Oh! those rides across the river
Where the shallow stream runs wide,
When the sunset's beams were glossing
Strips of sand on either side.

We would cross the sparkling river
On the brown horse and the bay;
Watch the willows sway and shiver
And their trembling shadows play.

'Tis a memory to be hoarded -
Oh, the foolish tale and fond!
Till another stream be forded -
And we reach the Great Beyond.

Breaker Morant
posted by stargell at 11:18 AM on November 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


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Loved him in Breaker Morant.
posted by NailsTheCat at 11:27 AM on November 16, 2009


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posted by scody at 11:32 AM on November 16, 2009


The longer cut of The Wicker Man takes place over three days rather than two (which obviously ups the religious symbolism a bit, and is actually more narratively satisfying) - the deflowering (Gently Johnny) is on the first night, the temptation (Willow's Song) on the second.
posted by Grangousier at 12:05 PM on November 16, 2009


When I was living in Park Slope in Brooklyn around the early 90's, there was a pizza place near my apt that, because it was a primarily residential area, was all the cheap food easily accessible. Most pizza places at that time would do the classic diner thing of posting pictures of all the celebrities that had eaten there.

It always seemed like places either had a bunch or none, excepting those outliers that would have 5 or 6 stars from the home country of the owner that nobody else had ever heard of. This pizzeria was notable in having a large blank wall with one lone autographed photo.

Edward Woodward.

I could never get my head around whether the owner was big equalizer fan, or he just happened to stop in with a photo one day, or what was going on there. He was like a patron saint of thoroughly mediocre Brooklyn pizza.

It wasn't until years later that I saw The Wicker Man and immediately fell in love with it.
posted by lumpenprole at 12:23 PM on November 16, 2009



It was great to see Woodward in Hot Fuzz, which is one of my favorite movies ever.


Oh YES, mine too. His casting was one of the touches that made that film brilliant; much smarter than it needed to be. And he was damn good in that role, just the man for the job. I missed that it was him at first (I was too busy laughing at the fact that he looked exactly like one of the curators at the museum, down to the bowtie.) When I looked up the cast again and found out it was him I threw up my hands and laughed, because the whole time I was watching, I was thinking "I see the bits that reference other films, but this WHOLE movie is nodding vigorously to The Wicker Man."


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posted by louche mustachio at 12:47 PM on November 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


.

I saw the 88 minute version. What's the 102 minute original theatrical release like? Has anyone seen it?

I have this version of the film - which may be the same one that rjs mentions above. Apart from having both versions of the film it also has a great documentary on how the film was made and the unfortunate fate it met upon release. In short it is a film written, acted and scored by some amazingly talented people who happened to be working for Hammer Horror studios. Since The Whicker Man had no rubber monsters or fake blood they were not to adept at marketing it.
posted by rongorongo at 12:55 PM on November 16, 2009


Simon Pegg, co-star from Hot Fuzz, has now posted his own tribute.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 1:03 PM on November 16, 2009 [2 favorites]


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posted by juv3nal at 1:24 PM on November 16, 2009


some amazingly talented people who happened to be working for Hammer Horror studios

No, no! It was made by a studio called British Lion, which got bought out by EMI during production. The new owners hated it and not only cut it to shreds but buried it on release, as a support to another misunderstood British Lion horror movie, Don't Look Now.

(Imagine that, you go out to see two new horror films in one night and they're The Wicker Man and Don't Look Now.)

The story of the making of the film is almost as extraordinary as the film itself.
posted by Grangousier at 1:42 PM on November 16, 2009 [2 favorites]


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posted by Halloween Jack at 2:45 PM on November 16, 2009


Never realised he was married to Michelle Dotrice either; I presume their marriage featured fewer mishaps than her TV one with Frank. Thanks for a great body of work, Edward.
posted by Abiezer at 2:51 PM on November 16, 2009


Like Edgar Wright, I remember being slightly terrified of the credits on The Equalizer and grew up praying I'd never miss the train in a deserted subway station. Woodward was a badass in that role in much the same way that Terence Stamp was a badass in The Limey. He didn't fit the mold like Tom Selleck, but there was something steely and dangerous in his eyes that clearly communicated you should not fuck with him.
posted by Roman Graves at 3:05 PM on November 16, 2009


I remember The Equalizer clearly, in a way I don't recall a great deal that I watched on TV while growing up. I'll have to go back and watch some (all?) of it again to see how it holds up and what memories it brings up.

RIP, sir.
posted by yiftach at 3:19 PM on November 16, 2009


I grew up on Woodward and always loved his work. RIP.
posted by tellurian at 3:23 PM on November 16, 2009


Damn, he was great. Friday nights up late watching Callan with my brother and Dad. Wicker man, Breaker Morant.

Great actor, I will miss him.
posted by mattoxic at 3:30 PM on November 16, 2009


I remember The Equalizer clearly, in a way I don't recall a great deal that I watched on TV while growing up. I'll have to go back and watch some (all?) of it again to see how it holds up and what memories it brings up.

I intend to sit down with the youtube version of the episode where Adam Ant was a bad guy to see if he was really any good. (Adam Ant, that is.) I was still at an age where I was so dazzled by his cheekbones that I'm not sure I could distinguish good acting from bad.
posted by scody at 3:43 PM on November 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


Total badass.

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posted by bwg at 3:46 PM on November 16, 2009


This news made my Mom cry.

Ah well. Shoot straight you Bastards. Don't make a mess of it.

"It really ain't the place nor time to reel off rhyming diction, but yet we'll write a final rhyme while waiting crucifixion. For we bequeath a parting tip of sound advice for such men who come in transport ships to polish off the Dutchman. If you encounter any Boers, you really must not loot 'em, and if you wish to leave these shores, for pity's sake, don't shoot 'em. Let's toss a bumper down our throat before we pass to Heaven, and toast a trim-set petticoat we leave behind in Devon."
posted by tkchrist at 3:50 PM on November 16, 2009 [2 favorites]


That swinging lightbulb meant it was bedtime when I was small. Later, Callan made understanding the adult world easy. Woodward was intimidating but broken as Callan. You could almost smell Lonely's fear of him.
posted by hawthorne at 4:27 PM on November 16, 2009


I never watched The Equalizer much, but I caught a few episodes here and there. There was one episode in which there was a courtroom scene playing out, very standard crime drama stuff. AND THEN out of some lawyer's briefcase pops this knife and some guard does a switch-a-roo and all this misdirection happens and the innocent (bad?) guy on trial gets whisked away in a daring escape...obviously the details are hazy in my recollection but I remember how that scene blew my freakin' mind, and made me realized that sometimes, just sometimes, TV shows could be as awesome as movies.

I'll have to hunt down that scene someday.
posted by zardoz at 5:03 PM on November 16, 2009


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posted by humanfont at 5:15 PM on November 16, 2009


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The Equalizer was not at all the type of show I normally watched, but I've always been a sucker for a British accent. The accent hooked me, but Edward Woodward's acting as Robert McCall kept me. A loss indeed.
posted by booksherpa at 7:30 PM on November 16, 2009


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I loved The Equalizer.
posted by mike3k at 8:45 PM on November 16, 2009


The pilot of The Equalizer is on Youtube in HQ, 3 parts (playlist link).
posted by yiftach at 10:58 PM on November 16, 2009


Callan still the best
posted by bolexboy at 3:00 AM on November 17, 2009


I can't find it now, but I thought he was involved heavily in the first couple episodes of Law & Order.


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posted by lysdexic at 8:42 AM on November 17, 2009


I can't find it now, but I thought he was involved heavily in the first couple episodes of Law & Order.

Nope. I wonder who you're thinking of?
posted by Sidhedevil at 11:46 AM on November 17, 2009


Wow, I was just wondering a day or two if he was still alive. Seeing posters for the new Michael Caine film (Harry Browne) where he appears to be playing another tough guy despite his advanced age led to ponder the idea of an older, tougher British actor archetype and remember when I first encountered that on the Equalizer and just how bad-ass he seemed to me right from the get-go.

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posted by stevil at 3:14 PM on November 17, 2009


Times steals Wright's tribute... nice one Murdoch
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 9:15 AM on November 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


Yikes - that's pretty shocking.
posted by Artw at 9:47 AM on November 19, 2009


One down. @timesonline reprint the tribute in full, as I meant it to be, and link back to the original content. http://tinyurl.com/y9w3s3x

Edgar Wright via Twitter
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 10:38 AM on November 19, 2009


Extra sleazy for an obituary. Good God.
posted by Abiezer at 10:53 AM on November 19, 2009


Tribute from Mark Kermode.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 3:53 PM on November 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


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