Update

  • Michael Winner was admitted to the Cromwell Hospital in central London, and stayed there for two days until being discharged on 21.02.03
  • It is suggested the problem may be related to the heart bypass operation he had a decade ago.
  • Not particularly eciting news but then he keeps to himself much of the time.

Michael Winner is a British film director born on 30 October 1935 in London.

He is currently known as a bon viveur, writing a food column for The Sunday Times called Winner's Dinners where he writes about how he went to expensive restaurants and hated it there. He clearly has vast quantities of money, and he likes to spend it. Currently, he is also appearing on British television in car insurance adverts (although he really does not need the cash).

His IMDB summary states "An outspoken supporter of the Conservatives for many years, Michael Winner switched his political allegiance to Tony Blair's Labour Party in the 1997 UK General Election."

He was better known, however, for his directing and he is best-known for the Death Wish action films he directed in the 70s and 80s which starred Charles Bronson.

As a director, he is not brilliant and probably average at best, although his films seem to have achieved cult status in some areas.

Winner began his career as a teenager, working as a film critic and writing for many London based newspapers, notably the Evening Standard and The Spectator. He then went on to study at Cambridge University where he edited Varsity. At Cambride University he studied Law, but he was clearly geared to a careers in cinema.

Winner then began to get more experience, directing his very first TV project in the 1950s, although the IMDB lists his first directorial project as Shoot to Kill in 1960.

During the mid 1960s he began to edit, write, produce and direct a series of films, the most famous of which was The System in 1964 ( this was released in America 2 years later as The Girl-Getters).

Winner had previously started his own production company called Scimitar Films. His Hollywood.com biography then states "Winner went on to direct his first feature the teen musical "Play It Cool" in 1962," although this seems to be innacurate given that the IMDB says that Shoot to Kill came in 1960.

Michael Winner's peak came in the mid-60s with a set of cynical, wry films that starred Oliver Reed. Britmovie.co.uk calls these "his best work for the cinema, neither are they as over-directed as the later movies."

He also got acclaim for adapting some clever camera techniques like the "quick-cut", "freeze-frame" and "hand-held" techniques.

At around that time he also became known as a stylish director of hip, and fashionable projects - rather like Tarantino in the mid 1990s

The Jokers is one of his most popular; it's a story about a two upper-class criminals who try to steal Britain's Crown jewels just for the hell of it. Compared to his later films, these are tongue-in-cheek and genuinely funny.

After this Winner moved on to Hollywood and the quality of his films began to decline. He directed a few ambitious, big budget but poor films. In 1974 came Death Wish starring Charles Bronson - this was a commercial success but really marked the end of Winner's good movies. The series was about a vigilante who killed people, and marked Winner out for criticism in the media for relying on sensationalism to sell tickets.

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