Film: David Benedict quotes what people say (and the man himself says) about the revered and reviled Kenneth Branagh, whose Frankenstein is the fest's centrepiece

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The Independent Culture
PRO KEN 'The reaction to Branagh and his talented peer group is symptomatic of the mean- spiritedness that is the foundation of this country.' Jaci Stephen, Today, 21 Nov 1992.

'Although a gypsy at heart, he manages to project an enviable mixture of affability and ruthlessness.' Michael Coveney, FT, 5 Aug 1989.

'A knighthood surely cannot be far off.' Paul Donovan, Sunday Times, 19 Apr 1992.

'The industry needs a dozen more like him. He provides many who work in it with a fair living.' David Gritten, Daily Telegraph, 4 Nov 1992.

'The muffin face of his youth now has a commanding gravitas. The voice can soar the verse to the heavens.' Jack Tinker, Daily Mail, 21 Dec 1992.

'This actor's greatest strength has always been his manifest humanity, his dogged decency.' Charles Spencer, Daily Telegraph, 21 Dec 1992.

'Some of those critics need their backsides smacked. There's blood, sweat and tears, and some condescending bastard is ready to condemn it all. Ken and Emma are bitter about the attacks.' Lord Attenborough on 'Much Ado About Nothing', Times, 27 Aug 1993.

ANTI KEN 'Disgraceful] The worst performance I've ever seen.' Audience member interrupting Branagh's first night of 'Look Back in Anger', 9 Aug 1989.

'He resembles a schoolboy who has eaten too many buns during the tuck-box break.' Nigel Andrews on 'Henry V', FT, 7 Oct 1989.

'Kenneth Branagh, the man who puts the cock-sure back into peacock . . . our laddie of the flaws - the most over-rated, over-celebrated British actor to have reached leading man status in two decades.' Nicholas de Jongh, Guardian, 9 Oct 1989.

'The comparison to Olivier is wildly off the mark.' Richard Eyre, Guardian, 9 Nov 1992.

'If ever Ken falls on hard times he would make a terrific caption writer for Hello] magazine.' Sunday Telegraph, 15 Nov 1992.

'The thinness of Branagh's lips is a real liability for a screen actor in close-up.' Adam Mars-Jones, Independent 27 Aug 1993 'Final result: Shakespeare 6: Renaissance Theatre Company 3 (Branagh, own goals 3). Gillian Reynolds on 'Romeo and Juliet', Daily Telegraph, 27 Apr 1993.

KEN ON KEN 'It's the story of a particular talent, and how that talent was combined with a measure of ambition and some quite extraordinary professional good fortune.' Intro to 'Beginnings', his autobiography, 1989.

'It seemed that I was not able to function well in large institutions.' KB on leaving the RSC, 'Beginnings'.

'I find myself unreasonably suspicious of praise. I become instantly alarmed when others approve.' Sunday Times, 10 Sept 1989.

'I haven't gone around saying I'm the new Olivier, nor would I' Today, 23 Oct 1989.

'I have no interest in making money, and I am not sufficiently aggressive or hardnosed to be some titanic showbiz mogul.' KB interviewed by Michael Coveney, FT, 5 Aug 1989.

'I don't want to go round as Sir Kevin O'Lovey, Young Lord of the Theatre.'

Guardian 9 Nov 1992.

'It's very hard for an actor to open his gob without whatever he says sounding risible. If you even whisper a murmur of complaint you're labelled a po-faced git who can't see the funny side of things.' Sunday Times, 15 Aug 1993.

(Photograph omitted)