TV Cream

Films: K is for...

Killing Moon, The

While Bryan Forbes was head of EMI-Elstree, he did his own little bit, in a rather naive way, to help the workers. One of his first acts on taking charge of the studio complex was to have all the time clocks removed, stating he was running a creative enterprise, not a factory. Then he solemnly pledged no redundancies were to be made. This, sadly, resulted in a hell of a deficit being clocked up when a mere two of the films he turned out (Railway Children and – inexplicably – Potter) proved sizeable hits. In this climate of unease, his decision to direct a picture himself, not to mention casting his entire family in various parts (‘Daddy! My daddy!’ indeed), was never going to win over support of the workforce, or indeed the board. La Newman’s actually pretty good in this just-about-unsentimental tale of paraplegic love with Malcolm McDowell, mind – it wasn’t until Bri went to America and bunged her in The Stepford Wives that the nepotistic miscasting allegations would really hold water. But with all that, and despite pre-empting both McDowell’s popular success in A Clockwork Orange the following year, and the latent box office potential in tragi-medical romance unearthed mere months later by Love Story, the film tanked like Rommel, and Forbes, sensing industry opinion was against him, made his excuses and left.



  1. Dermot O'Logical

    June 27, 2020 at 9:38 pm

    Except it’s called The Raging Moon.

  2. THX 1139

    June 28, 2020 at 10:13 am

    Also the reason Malcolm McDowell refuses to ride a horse, or let his family members ride a horse, because when researching his role he kept meeting people who had ended up in wheelchairs for the rest of their lives after falling off horses.

  3. richardpd

    June 28, 2020 at 11:07 am

    The Killing Moon was an Echo & The Bunnyman song.

    • THX 1139

      June 28, 2020 at 12:33 pm

      However, there is a 70s horror film called Killer’s Moon, which is British, bad taste and hilariously awful. Love to see a write up of that one.

      • Dermot O'Logical

        June 28, 2020 at 6:42 pm

        Good to have the confusion sorted out now. Anyway, I thought Ryan and Tatum O’Neal were brilliant in it.

  4. Dermot O'Logical

    June 28, 2020 at 12:11 pm

    I remember, I hope reasonably correctly, an anecdote regarding time between outdoor takes when the then Archbishop of Canterbury, Michael Ramsey, happened to be walking past. As his robe brushed by Malcolm McDowell in his wheelchair, McDowell stood up and shouted ‘I’m cured!’ The cleric looked back perplexed and unamused.

    I thought the Echo and the Bunnymen song was ‘Under the Blue Moon River Deep Mountain High Enough of Love’.

  5. Droogie

    June 30, 2020 at 2:48 am

    Reading this piece, I couldn’t place what British movie called Potter was so successful, then realised TVC had omitted The Tales Of Beatrix before the title. I hated this movie as a kid. It was both twee and terrifying ( but not in a good way) and was regularly used as a clip on Screen Test.

  6. Sidney Balmoral James

    July 1, 2020 at 8:16 pm

    Why would it be a bad idea for Bryan Forbes to direct a film when he was a well established director? Why is the title wrong? And I second earlier comment: why does it refer to The Tales of Beatrix Potter as just Potter, risking confusion with the Arthur Lowe series? Shouldn’t it be referred to as Tales, as they would do in Variety magazine? Although they don’t always stick to that rule: as Alan Bennett noted when Prick Up Your Ears came out Variety coyly referred to it as Ears. Ho ho.

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