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Peter Yates, a director of distinction, passes away

Posted by Patrick Sauriol on Monday, January 10, 2011

Late Sunday evening the news broke on Nikki Finke's Deadline that director Peter Yates had passed away. He was 82 and suffering from what the site only refers to as a "long illness."

Yates was one of those names on the periphery of becoming an A-list director, fully competent in his craft but never quite breaking through into the next level. While I'm on the border of speaking ill of the man's work (and I truly don't mean to do a disservice to his memory), as I look back at his resume, few of Yates' films ever stood out and most feel trapped in the eras in which they were made. Still, even though several of his films themselves aren't memorable or well regarded today, I always felt that Yates was able to impart a certain kind of classiness and sophistication to his work. That made his pictures stand out from the other average popcorn entertainment and likely helped sell more tickets for his masters. As an example, consider that Yates' best remembered movie is likely to be Bullitt from 1968, the Steve McQueen film that's famous for its amazing car race through the streets of San Francisco. That riviting action sequence is the reason you remember the movie  and why it's one of the first things that pop into my mind when remembering the work of Peter Yates.

He was nominated for four Oscars in two different films, once in 1979 for the better remembered Breaking Away (as a producer and director), the other for a 1983 picture called The Dresser that, if I can be honest, is even hard for film buffs to recall. Other films that Yates directed that might ring a bell include 1977's The Deep; the vanilla sci-fi/fantasy Star Wars-wannabe Krull; An Innocent Man (1987) which starred Tom Selleck as a wrongly convinced man sent to prison; and Suspect, an unlikely crime drama/romantic thriller with Cher and Dennis Quaid. His last theatrical film as director was 1999's Curtain Call with James Spader; his last credit was on a 2004 TV movie titled A Separate Peace.

 

The Swollen Goi...
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Posted: 6 years 41 weeks ago

He directed Eyewitness.  I'll be reviewing it in early February.