Sir Sean Connery (1930-2020)

I tend to mark the deaths of actors / filmmakers on here only when they meant something to me personally. I don’t usually feel the need to elaborate on what that “something” was; posting an acknowledgement of their passing is a way of doffing a digital hat in their direction. I think that those of whom I have acknowledged in that way in the last few years are generally people who mean something to me from film viewing in adulthood…but Sean Connery feels like someone I’ve been watching my whole life.

I grew up in an era when the UK only had four TV channels. The Bond films were a standard feature in the TV listings on all public holidays (they often still are, although they seem to favour Craig and Brosnan in terms of what gets shown regularly now) and I have clear memories of watching them with my grandfather on bank holidays. I can’t say that I am a Bond “fan” but they are part of the cultural fabric of this country and therefore take on an almost mythical resonance. But although Sean Connery is in many ways the definitive Bond, he did not allow the role to define him, by which I mean that he didn’t allow it to limit him. When I think of Connery, I think of James Bond, but also The Untouchables, The Man Who Would Be King, The Name of the Rose, Robin and Marian, The Offence, and Time Bandits (and I’m aware that I haven’t seen the full breadth of his filmography). But in terms of the pure pleasure of cinema, the Indiana Jones series is right up there for me, and my favourite Connery role is that of Henry Jones Snr (not least because of how much he seems to be enjoying himself).

Olivia de Havilland (1916-2020)

Olivia de Havilland in 1945

Farran Smith Nehme’s Sight & Sound appreciation of de Havilland (on the occasion of the actress’s centenary in 2016).