Parker, Alan 1944–
PARKER, Alan 1944–
Full name, Alan William Parker; born February 14, 1944, in Islington, London, England; son of William Leslie (a house painter) and Elsie Ellen (a dressmaker) Parker; married Annie Inglis, July 30, 1966 (divorced, January 6, 1992); married Lisa Moran (a producer); children: (first marriage) Lucy Kate, Alexander James, Jake William, Nathan Charles. Avocational Interests: Cartooning.
Addresses: Agent— Michael Wimer, Creative Artists Agency, 9830 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills, CA 90212.
Career: Director, writer, actor, and executive. Alan Parker Film Co., Buckinghamshire, England, founder and partner, beginning 1970; Dirty Hands Productions, principal. Worked as an advertising copywriter in London, 1966–69; Collett, Dickensen & Pearce Advertising Ltd., director of television commercials, 1969–75. British Screen Advisory Council, member, beginning 1985; head of Film Council, beginning 1999; lecturer at film schools. Hospital Equipment News, worked as office boy.
Member: British Film Institute (chair, 1997–99), British Academy of Film and Television Arts (member of council), Directors Guild of Great Britain (founding member and vice chair), Writers Guild of Great Britain, Directors Guild of America, Writers Guild of America, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
Awards, Honors: Television Award from British Academy of Film and Television Arts, International Emmy Award, and British Press Guild Award, all 1976, for The Evacuees; nomination for Golden Palm, Cannes International Film Festival, 1976, Film Award, best screenplay, and Film Award nomination, best direction, both British Academy of Film and Television Arts, 1977, all for Bugsy Malone; nomination for Golden Palm, 1978, Film Award from British Academy of Film and Television Arts, Academy Award nomination, Golden Globe Award nomination, and Directors Guild of America Award nomination, all best director, 1979, all for Midnight Express; Film Award nomination, best direction, British Academy of Film and Television Arts, and Cesar Award nomination, best foreign film, Academie des Arts et Techniques du Cinema, both 1981, and Guild Film Award in gold, best foreign film, Guild of German Art House Cinemas, 1982, all for Fame; nomination for Golden Palm, 1982, for Shoot the Moon; Michael Balcon Award, outstanding contributions to British film, British Academy of Film and Television Arts, 1984; Grand Jury Prize and nomination for Golden Palm, both Cannes International Film Festival, 1985, for Birdy; British Press Guild Award, best documentary, 1985, for The Turnip Head's Guide to British Cinema; National Board of Review Award, 1988, Academy Award nomination, Golden Globe Award nomination, and Directors Guild of America Award nomination, all 1989, and Film Award nomination, British Academy of Film and Television Arts, 1990, all best director, and nomination for Golden Berlin Bear, Berlin International Film Festival, 1989, all for Mississippi Burning; nomination for Golden Palm, 1990, for Come See the Paradise; Lifetime Achievement Award, Chicago Film Festival, 1988; Best Director Award, Tokyo International Film Festival, 1991, Film awards, best film (with others) and best direction, British Academy of Film and Television Arts, 1992, and London Critics Circle Film Award, British director of the year, 1992, all for The Commitments; decorated commander, Order of the British Empire, 1995; Golden Satellite Award, best comedy or musical motion picture (with others), International Press Academy, Golden Globe Award nomination, best director of a motion picture, and Film Award nomination, best adapted screenplay (with Oliver Stone), British Academy of Film and Television Arts, all 1997, for Evita; European Silver Ribbon, Italian National Syndicate of Film Journalists, 1997; Lifetime Achievement Award, Cinema Expo International, 1999; Audience Award, Karlovy Vary International Film Festival, 2000, for Angela's Ashes; CEC International Award, Cinema Writers Circle of Spain, 2000; knighted by Queen Elizabeth II, 2002; nomination for Golden Berlin Bear, 2003, for The Life of David Gale; also recipient of numerous advertising awards.
Our Cissy (short film), 1973.
Footsteps (short film), 1973.
No Hard Feelings, released theatrically, 1973, broadcast on television, BBC (England), 1976.
Bugsy Malone, Paramount, 1976.
Midnight Express, Columbia, 1978.
Fame, United Artists, 1980.
Shoot the Moon, Metro–Goldwyn–Mayer/United Artists, 1982.
Pink Floyd: The Wall (also known as The Wall ), Metro–Goldwyn–Mayer, 1982.
Birdy, TriStar, 1984.
Angel Heart, TriStar, 1987.
Mississippi Burning, Orion, 1988.
Come See the Paradise, Twentieth Century–Fox, 1990.
(And producer) The Commitments, Twentieth Century–Fox, 1991.
(And producer, with Armyan Bernstein and Robert F. Colesberry) The Road to Wellville, Columbia, 1994.
(And producer; also music producer and music conductor, with others) Evita, Buena Vista, 1996.
(And producer) Angela's Ashes, Paramount, 1999.
(And producer) The Life of David Gale, Universal, 2003.
Film Work; Other:
Music conductor, Jaws 3–D, Universal, 1983.
Fortunata y Jacinta, Brepi Films, 1969.
Consigna: Matar al comandante en jefe (also known as Commando di spie ), Italica Film, 1970.
Himself, On Location with: FAME, 1980.
Eejit record producer, The Commitments, Twentieth Century–Fox, 1991.
Tormented film director, Evita, Buena Vista, 1996.
Dr. Campbell, Angela's Ashes, Paramount, 1999.
Partygoer, The Life of David Gale, Universal, 2003.
The Evacuees (movie), BBC (England), 1976.
The Turnip Head's Guide to British Cinema (special), Thames Television (England), 1986.
Television Appearances; Specials:
The Making of "Midnight Express, " 1977.
A Personal History of British Cinema by Stephen Frears (also known as Typically British! ), [England], 1994.
The 100 Greatest TV Ads, Channel 4 (England), 2000.
Interviewee, It's Black Entertainment, Showtime, 2000.
Stanley Kubrick: A Life in Pictures, Cinemax, 2001.
Fading Images, 2001.
There's Only One Madonna, BBC (England), 2001.
The Inside Reel: Digital Filmmaking, PBS, 2001.
Television Appearances; Episodic:
"The Entertainment Business," Bravo Profiles, Bravo, 1998.
"The Fine Art of Separating People from Their Money," Arena, Bravo, 2000.
"New Years Compilation," I Love 1980's, BBC2 (England), 2001.
Sen kvaell med Luuk, TV4 (Sweden), 2003.
Also appeared in an episode of Whatever Happened to ... Clement and La Frenais?
Himself, 100 Years of Horror: Witchcraft and Demons, 1996.
Director of music videos, including "Don't Cry for Me Argentina" and "You Must Love Me," both by Madonna, 1996.
Melody (also known as S.W.A.L.K. ), Levitt–Pickman, 1971.
Our Cissy (short film), 1973.
Footsteps (short film), 1973.
No Hard Feelings, released theatrically, 1976, broadcast on television, BBC (England), 1976.
Bugsy Malone, Paramount, 1976, published by Bantam Books, 1976.
Angel Heart, TriStar, 1987.
Come See the Paradise, Twentieth Century–Fox, 1990.
The Road to Wellville (based on the novel by T. Coraghessan Boyle), Columbia, 1994.
Angela's Ashes, Paramount, 1999.
Score, Jaws 3–D, Universal, 1983.
Lyrics, "Jack's Theatre Song," Come See the Paradise, Twentieth Century–Fox, 1990.
"Kaiser Bill," Angela's Ashes, Paramount, 1999.
Rhodes (miniseries), BBC (England), then PBS, 1997.
Puddles in the Lane (fiction), G. Whizzard Publications, 1977.
Hares in the Gate (cartoons), 1983.
A Filmmaker's Diary, 1984.
The Making of Evita, introduction by Madonna, photographs from the film by David Appleby, Collins Publishers, 1996.
Contributor of articles and cartoons to periodicals, including American Cinematographer, American Film, Cineaste, Films and Filming, Literature/Film Quarterly, and Sight and Sound.
The 1982 television series Fame was based on Parker's screenplay.
International Dictionary of Films and Filmmakers, Volume 2: Directors, St. James Press, 1996.
American Film, September, 1990.
Campaign, September 18, 1998, p. S25.
Empire, October, 1997, pp. 20–21, 88.
Premiere, September, 1991.
Nationality: English. Born: Islington, London, 14 February 1944. Family: Married Annie Inglis, 1966; four children. Career: Mailboy, later writer and director, for advertising industry, London, from mid-1960s; with producer Alan Marshall, set up Alan Parker Film Company to make advertisements, 1970; directed The Evacuees for TV, and first feature, Bugsy Malone, 1975; founding member and vice-chairman, Directors Guild of Great Britain, and member, British Screen Advisory Council; directed The Turnip Head's Guide to British Cinema for Thames TV, 1986; signed deal with Tri-Star Pictures, 1989; also cartoonist and novelist. Awards: British Academy Award for Best Screenplay, for Bugsy Malone, 1984; Special Jury Prize, Cannes Festival, for Birdy, 1984; Michael Balcon Award for Outstanding Contribution to Cinema (with Alan Marshall), 1984; BAFTA Award for Best Director, for The Commitments, 1991. Agent: c/o Judy Scott-Fox, William Morris Agency, Inc., 151 El Camino Drive, Beverly Hills, CA 90212, U.S.A. Address: Lives in Richmond, Surrey, and Los Angeles.
Films as Director:
Footsteps (short) (+ sc); Our Cissy (short) (+ sc)
Bugsy Malone (+ sc)
Shoot the Moon
Pink Floyd—The Wall
Angel Heart (+ sc)
Come See the Paradise (+ sc)
The Commitments (+ role as record producer)
The Road to Wellville (+ pr, sc)
Evita (+ pr, sc)
Angela's Ashes (+ pr, sc)
By PARKER: books—
Bugsy Malone, London, 1976.
Puddles in the Rain, London, 1977.
Hares in the Gate (cartoons), London, 1983.
A Filmmaker's Diary, London, 1984.
In the Lap of the Gods and the Hands of the Beatles, St. Louis, 1990.
The Making of Evita, London, 1998.
By PARKER: articles—
Interviews in Time Out (London), 23 July 1976 and 11 August 1978.
Interviews in Focus on Film (London), April 1980.
Interview in Cinema (London), August 1982.
Cartoons, in Sight and Sound (London), Summer 1983.
"Britain's Angry Young Man," an interview with A. Horton, in Cineaste (New York), vol. 15, no. 2, 1986.
Interview in Literature/Film Quarterly (Salisbury, Maryland), vol. 15, no. 3, 1987.
"The Making of Angel Heart," in Films and Filming (London), September and October 1987.
"Dialogue on Film: Alan Parker," in American Film (Washington, D.C.), January-February 1988.
Interview in American Film (Washington, D.C.), September 1990.
"Paradise Lost: Production of the Motion Picture Come See theParadise," in Premiere, January 1991.
Film Dope (Nottingham), April 1994.
"Cereal Thriller," an interview with Brian Case, in Time Out (London), 11 January 1995.
Interview with Barry Norman, in Radio Times (London), 28 January 1995.
"An Iconic Evita," an interview with Stephen Pizzello, in AmericanCinematographer (Hollywood), January 1997.
"The Thoughts of Chairman Alan," an interview with Nick James, in Sight and Sound (London), November 1997.
On PARKER: articles—
Roddick, Nick, "Alan Parker: From Bugsy to Birdy," in CinemaPapers (Melbourne), July 1985.
Houston, Penelope, "Parker, Attenborough, Anderson," in Sight andSound (London), Summer 1986.
Smith, Gavin, "Mississippi Gambler: Alan Parker Rides Again," in Film Criticism (Meadville, Pennsylvania), vol. 24, no. 6, 1988.
Stam, H., "Het ernstige onderwerp en het grote publiek," in Skoop, April 1989.
"Alan Parker," in Film a Doba, January 1990.
Zimmer, J., "Alan Parker," in Revue du Cinema, July-August 1990.
Apted, M., "One on One: Michael Apted and Alan Parker," in American Film, September 1990.
Kirk, P., "Working for High Standards," in Boxoffice, January 1991.
Chase, D., "Alan Parker," in Millimeter, February 1991.
Lally, K., "Director Parker Makes Hearty Commitments," in FilmJournal, August 1991.
Dibbell, J., "Straight outta Dublin," in Village Voice, August 20, 1991.
Fuller, Graham, article in Interview, August 1991.
Kauffmann, Stanley, article in New Republic, September 16, 1991.
Maslin, Janet, article in New York Times, October 28, 1994.
Denby, David, "The Road to Wellville," in New York, November 14, 1994.
Benoliel, B., "Alan Parker," in Film Dope (Nottingham), April 1994.
Griffin, N., "Madonna Tangos with Evita," in Newsweek, 16 December 1996.
Elder, S., "Musical Man," in New Yorker, 31 March 1997.
* * *
Of all his fellow graduates from the prolific British commercials school of the 1960s (Ridley and Tony Scott, Hugh Hudson, and others), Alan Parker appears to have made far and away the most successful complete transition to theatrical filmmaking. Which is not to say that his movies to date—from Bugsy Malone to Angela's Ashes—have all been wholly successful in either box-office terms, critical reception or, blissfully, both at the same time. However, what Parker has managed always to achieve, with admittedly varying degrees of success, is that elusive blend of strong story and elegant frame, a symbiosis that tends regularly to elude other directors schooled in (and too often hamstrung by) the purely visual.
Two themes could be said to dominate Parker's work: children and controversy. After an award-winning teleplay, The Evacuees, about the bittersweet plight of evacuated London children during World War II, he made his feature debut with Bugsy Malone, an ingenious gangster spoof substituting kids for adults and cream balls for bullets. It was energetic and surprisingly un-quaint, ingredients that also characterised his high-voltage Fame, centering on a group of ambitious students at the New York High School for the Performing Arts. In between, though, controversy had first raised its head in the form of Midnight Express, an ultimately reprehensible and unashamedly manipulative piece of docudrama, unhappily dignified by sheer technique, about the supposed fate of a young American jailed for drug offences in Turkey.
Later, after both Angel Heart, a labyrinthine Faustian tale which was briefly threatened with an American "X" rating, and Mississippi Burning, a powerful civil rights drama that was accused of blatant Hollywood-isation, Parker's unquenchable passion and his admitted preference for "the theatrical edge" have continued to be, rather unfairly, mistaken for a filmmaking arrogance that tends to help make him less than a darling to those critics whom he has always termed "the Sight & Sound mafia."
Shoot the Moon, Parker's most personal film about marital mishaps and muddled offspring, and Birdy, which seamlessly transposed novelist William Wharton's post-World War II traumas to a post-Vietnam setting, best demonstrate his theatrical style carefully crafted into (though never subsuming) strong content. Especially the latter, which deals with two emotionally damaged young men whose bond transcends the scars resulting in a message—common to much of Parker's work—that is joyously life-affirming.
In 1991 Parker released The Commitments, a film based on a novel by Irish writer Roddy Doyle. The film, which garnered mixed reviews, told the story of the efforts of a ragtag group of musicians with widely varied individual agendas and their efforts to launch a successful band. 1994's The Road to Wellville, meanwhile, despite an impressive cast headed by Anthony Hopkins, was a decidedly unsuccessful adaptation of T. Coraghessan Boyle's novel.