There’s no room for sentiment with the 78-year-old who tells it like it is – and was – as he prepares to take centrestage at Letterkenny’s An Grianan Theatre on Sunday in his show: “Barry Norman’s Favourite Films”.
Speaking about his time interviewing Hollywood screen legends, the respected film critic told donegaldaily.com: “They’re all replaceable, well, they are, there are also people who say the stars aren’t as great as they used to be, I don’t believe this is true, in fact, I think the best stars today are certainly as big.”
He also didn’t hold back about the current state of the film industry saying that “at least seventy per cent of movies are just about tolerable down to dreadfully awful.”
Norman hasn’t seen The Twilight movies, “made for 15-year-old girls” and describes Arnold Schwarzenegger as, “not an actor but a human special effect” and tells us that John Wayne had to be held back from thumping him.
Anecdotes about Clark Gable, Vivien Leigh, Humphrey Bogart, Spencer Tracy and Ingrid Bergman trip off Norman’s tongue matter-of-factly and whet the appetite for what promises to be a gem of a show for any film fan.
Best remembered for his BBC ‘Film’ review programme which he hosted for almost thirty years, his current tour is an insight into four classic movies with a second half for Q&As.
He says: “I talk about four classic movies and they are the kind of films that most people would have seen and would remember with affection, I hope.”
The films are: The Adventures of Robin Hood (with Erroll Flynn), Dirty Harry, Casablanca and Gone With The Wind.
Asked if people had moved on from these classics, he said: “Of course people have moved on from them. I’ve moved on from them but they are still terrific movies and if you are interested in good films you can’t just move on from a good film because another one that is slightly different has come along.
“A good film is a good film is a good film.
“Listen, I’m not one of those that say, ‘oh they don’t make them like that anymore’ because the best movies today are as good as any other made and technically better than many others made before.
“What I’m uneasy about is the fact that movies nowadays are aimed at a core audience of 15 – 18 yr olds which is a bit terrifying really.
“That mainly lies with the really big Hollywood studios which are now run, not by people who care about film, but by accountants and they just look at the balance sheets.”
He has watched around 12,000 movies and might bristle politely at being asked what’s his favourite film or actor for the umpteenth time, and why not?
Even the title of his show he says is a “total misnomer”.
“I didn’t think of it. Clive Conway my agent did.”
(Clive Conway Celebrity Productions and the website www.celebrityproductions.info)
Straight-talking Barry Norman is at An Grianan Theatre, Letterkenny
this Sunday April 1st at 8pm. Telephone Box Office 074 91 20777 for