Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Tom Webber, a film producer and creator of the BBC documentary David Lean in Close-Up, has announced that BBC Four will be showing the programme again on April 19 at 9pm (UK time). It was one of Eddie's last TV appearances and will be worth watching again.

In August 2006 Eddie gave an informal chat to a group of dedicated movie buffs in the village of Carboneras (Almeria, Spain).
The group organised the event to celebrate the making of 'Lawrence of Arabia', much of which was shot in the province. Eddie talked about his experience working on this and other films he shot in the country.
The event was also notable because Pablo Carbonell - a well known Spanish comedian and actor - turned up to listen to Eddie, as did a chap who had worked as an extra on ‘Lawrence’ and hadn’t seen Eddie in over four decades. I accompanied Eddie to translate for him.
It was fascinating watching how ‘Lawrence’ still captivated the minds of people young and old, despite it having been made 45 years earlier. They hung on every word and listened in complete silence, until they took turns to ask a polite question. Eddie was his usual charming self, even when he revealed that one of the reasons he enjoyed making movies in Spain was because the authorities bent over backwards to help film makers. To illustrate the point Eddie said officials “were bloody easy to bribe!”
My thanks to José Enrique Martínez Moya for sending the pictures, especially as there aren’t many snapshots of me and Eddie together.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

The Times obituary, Saturday February 12th, 2011

Eddie Fowlie - a eulogy

Eddie took a very pragmatic view about life, including the afterlife, which he didn’t believe in. But should there be an afterlife - and not even Eddie could have planned for such an eventuality - there’s every chance God will be quaking in his espadrilles at the thought of Eddie’s arrival.
At this very moment Eddie is probably directing the Great Architect in the Sky on how to organise, arrange and anticipate every eventuality. No doubt, he’ll also be questioning St Peter’s ability to run the show. But in the end, God will have been grateful for Eddie’s advice, of that I’m in no doubt.
Eddie will be up to the task at hand, of course. He was well used to working around larger than life figures – he did work with David Lean on five films, after all.
I remember the first time I met Eddie more than six years ago. I was going to interview him for a local newspaper and we arranged to meet at the El Dorado Hotel which he had built many years before. He shuffled through the lobby towards me and I could tell straight away that he was not really looking forward to being interviewed. He perked up a bit when I suggested taking a photo of him.
But then he enquired what camera I had.
When I told him it was a digital Kodak his face dropped. He let me know in no uncertain terms that no self-respecting professional would be seen dead with such a shoddy piece of equipment. I thought I’d change tack and suggested taking a photo of him standing by the balcony of his home.
Bad move.
His eyes popped out, as though I’d instructed him to strip down to his shorts and do a tap dance on the table. With a withering look he said dismissively: “Ooh no. No reporter ever comes to my house”. Believe it or not, it was the start of a beautiful friendship.
Eddie was an intensely private man. He was also described as irascible, bloody-minded, awkward and downright rude. But that’s not the Eddie I got to know.
I’m deeply grateful and fortunate that my first, rather superficial encounter with him, was not my last. Not least because he was one of the most remarkable men I’ve ever met.
He was a shining example of the self-made man, driven by the conviction that if you’re determined enough, work sufficiently hard and have a special gift - like Eddie had - life is for the taking. For someone trying to write his life-story I often found it hard to unravel his innermost thoughts, but that was because he never stopped long enough to dwell on such trivial matters as the meaning of life. He was in too much of a hurry problem-solving. Like all remarkable men, tomorrow could not come soon enough.
Yet, it’s often those people who appear the most emotionally resilient and the least sentimental who make the most moving and poignant statements. The last time he phoned me about eight weeks ago he was in fine mood; lucid and utterly at peace with himself. I would like to think that he chose that day to tie-up all the loose ends with those people who were close to him. It’s only when I put the phone down that I realised he was saying goodbye.
It was typical of the man to plan everything to the last detail. My wife Susana noted this about Eddie too, and said he probably chose to slip away on a Saturday so that the funeral could be held on a Sunday, as if to say: “No-one is going to miss a bloody day’s work because of me.”
I will miss him and his mischievous sense of humour. I’m proud to have played some role in keeping his memory alive. If only we’d had more time to do more. He told me recently he had so many more stories to tell that he had enough material for a second book. Unfortunately, the old bugger kept it all to himself. It was also typical of Eddie to have the last word.
I hope wherever Eddie is now, he is doing what he always wanted to do: giving free rein to his imagination and, who knows, maybe even embarking on some great new film.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Eddie Fowlie 1921-2011

Eddie passed away quietly in his sleep early this morning at his home in Carboneras. He was 89.
I trust he will now be 'quietly' directing the Great Architect in the Sky on how best to set up the surrounding scenery. Here's to you, Eddie. It was a privilege to have known you.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Radio interview

Did a second radio interview this week to promote the book, this time on Spectrum FM in Mojacar, in the south-east of Spain. I felt it went considerably better than the last one on Talk Radio Europe, not least because Eddie was also interviewed - albeit briefly and only over the phone. The host, Richard Shanley, also played his part as he was clued up about Eddie's background and asked relevant questions.
Eddie, despite his frail health, can be trusted as always to provide the knock-out quote. On this occasion, on being asked about a particular contribution to a Lean film, he mused "What was the name of that bloody film?" on air. It's a shame Eddie's not strong enough to appear on more shows - be it radio or TV - the public is missing a golden opportunity to see and hear this candid man in action.

Friday, December 3, 2010

New publication date

The book's launch has been moved forward to Friday, December 10. All guns blazing - just like Eddie himself.