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Film

George Harrison's favourite actor of all time

George Harrison did not solely have an impact on the socio-cultural spheres of the 20th century through his work with The Beatles. The guitarist also entered the world of cinema in various capacities, ranging from acting parts in films about the iconic music group to founding a production company called HandMade Films which produced classics such as Monty Python’s Life of Brian and Terry Gilliam’s Time Bandits among others.

As a creative contributor to the films he produced, Harrison had a clear idea about his preferences in the cinematic medium. “There are certain things I don’t like that always crop up into films,” Harrison explained in an interview. The musician had no problem with cinematic violence that was “integral to the story” but he did not see the point of violence for the sake of violence.

He also criticised action films like Rambo for glorifying violence and contributing to a highly pernicious cultural discourse. Harrison had an intense dislike for high octane action flicks featuring the likes Sylvester Stallone, which made people tune in only to watch gory special effects like heads getting blown off and rivers of blood painting the landscape red.

That’s probably why his favourite film of all time was a Mel Brooks comedy called The Producers. “Someday, I’d like to make a real silly comedy movie full of silly music,” Harrison revealed. Although he didn’t really have hopes of being a proper actor or a talented screenwriter, Harrison wanted to create a “cheap flop” which would be the manifestation of all the terrible ideas he ever had and would star his best friends. He wanted it to be his final project.

As a counterculture icon, Harrison’s opinions about the state of music and cinema were vastly influential to the youth as well as the conservative defenders of the old guard. That is most likely why it shocked everyone when Harrison named his favourite actor of all time after being asked about it during a press conference when Beatlemania was at its apotheosis.

Contrary to what everyone expected, Harrison cited the old icon, Margaret Rutherford, as his favourite performing artist. Rutherford had risen to stardom through films such as The Importance of Being Earnest and managed to break into popular culture due to her portrayal of Miss Marple in the Agatha Christie adaptations conducted by George Pollock.

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