With a career spanning from the 1940s to the 1980s, Don Siegel is something of a Hollywood legend, a maverick who rebelled from within the system to create tough, gritty, personal movies. As part of our on-going Docs on Auteurs series, we will be honoring Siegel with a presentation of Thys Ockersen’s rare documentary Don Siegel: The Last of the Independents (1980). Shot on the set of Siegel’s penultimate film Rough Cut (1980), Ockersen gives us not only a privileged glimpse of the artist at work, but also Siegel’s reflections on his own life and career.
Working his way up from carrying cans of film, Siegel became a director right as the Hollywood studios were falling apart in the wake of antitrust suits and the rise of television. Weathering all the changes in the industry, Siegel’s long and illustrious career included such films as Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956), Madigan (1968) and Dirty Harry (1971). UnionDocs is honored to announce that film historian Foster Hirsch will be joining us for a post-screening discussion about Siegel’s legacy and career.
Praise for the work of Don Siegel:
“Don Siegel was the outstanding American action director of his generation, a worthy successor to Raoul Walsh and Howard Hawks. His finest work is to be found in a series of male-oriented pictures—tough and tight thrills, Westerns, war movies, noirs. It’s an oeuvre that would be unthinkable in today’s Hollywood, consisting as it does of stylish but unpretentious mainstream films made with intelligence and vitality.”
– Elliott Stein, The Village Voice
“Laced with the irresistibly cinematic energy of human malice, Siegel films defined American genre filmmaking with unparalleled precision and unyielding clarity.”
– Bruce Bennett, The New York Sun
More information on the films of Thys Ockersen are available on his website: http://www.thysockersenfilms.com/