13 January 2022 302 Views

TBT: John Badham. A masterclass in management

by James Murphy

Notice I say management. Not direction. Yes, the man is a great director. But really, what you see on screen is a product of pitch perfect collaboration. 

John Badham has written volumes on how to direct. MUST read for film fans but also anyone concerned with managing people.

He ‘gets’ how to motivate even the most taxing of actors because he respects the process many of the best practitioners deploy and how that might vary. Badham understands that an action sequence is a story within a story and has its own rules of cohesion and context. Consequently, this director has mastered just about every genre and indeed, has mixed and merged a few on occasion.

What are his ‘must see’ movies?

SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER: Defined the disco era. Can’t wait to see it live in a dance along with a bunch of beautiful women in London soon. Travolta had this film as a calling card for years and his range and star power are clear. Badham turns dance into a kind of action instrument in this masterpiece.

WAR GAMES: This techno-thriller/teen whizz farce is STILL relevant, today. As in could happen. Maybe.

BLUE THUNDER: It’s like BEING in a helicopter!

NICK OF TIME: Underrated gem. Very 1990s. Hitchcock would be proud!

DROP ZONE: Chris Nolan’s DARK KNIGHT owes this a debt.

BIRD ON A WIRE: Mel and Goldie at their most charming. Genuinely thrilling action and plotline, too.

Go look up John Badham. Watch his films. Read his books. Learn that craft!

 



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