Obituary: Don Getz
Friday 27 August 1993
DON GETZ was born in Chicago and grew up in New York, but will be remembered as an international figure in films, an independent film distributor, producer's representative and sales agent. He was, says Jeremy Thomas - whose early film The Great Rock 'n Roll Swindle Getz had helped to sell - 'one of the unique band of warrior salesmen who are an important part of putting together films': not the employees of the leading American studios, but the men with small companies to whom foreign and 'art-house' film-makers must turn if they ever hope to be given adequate distribution. The essential connecting link between independent, avant-garde cinema and its public.
After an early career in radio, records and comedy-writing and a wartime posting as an air force sergeant in Florida, Getz, in partnership with his brother-in-law Jules Buck, brought the films of Jacques Tati to America: Mr Hulot's Holiday and Jour de Fete. They also brought Clouzot's Les Diaboliques. Later remarkable films that owed their distribution to him include Joe, Attenborough's Seance on a Wet Afternoon, and Too Bad She's Bad. In recent years he concentrated on films from Holland, particularly the work of the highly regarded director Jos Stelling. He also championed the film A Year of the Quiet Sun by the Polish director Krysztof Zanussi.
Don Getz had a classically handsome, Roman face, and a permanently youthful bearing, contradicted by a certain avoirdupois. His personality was a uniquely reassuring blend of highly sophisticated, ironic humour, laid-back tolerance, and a total lack of awe. An independent thinker unimpressed by power and unfazed by fashions, he went his own way and collected in his wake so many friends that to walk down the street with him at the Cannes Film Festival was to understand for the first time the feeling of being mobbed.
While his company Playpont Films was headquartered in London, Getz's turf stretched from the Milan MIFED to the American Film Market in Los Angeles, with a particular stretch of wholly owned territory that encompassed the entire Croisette at the Cannes Festival. Every year at the Martinez a slew of rooms, some mysterious cubbyholes without numbers and a suite, were reserved for him, and from here he persuaded Japanese and South African and US exhibitors of the virtues of showing such films as Caligula or The Great Catherine.
As my uncle, Don Getz was for me a down-to-earth interpreter of the adult world who managed to make the worst dramas seem funny. For the last 20 years I have been discovering that no matter what new people or places I discovered, Uncle Don had already been there and made them his own.
- 2 Argentina may change its capital city from Buenos Aires, says president
- 3 Joan Rivers: 'Palestinians deserve to be dead'
- 4 The 3D-printed key that can unlock anything
- 5 Lady al-Qa’ida: On the trail of Dr Aafia Siddiqui, the world’s most wanted prisoner
Keira Knightley topless: Conservative actress does own take on #Freethenipple campaign for Interview Magazine
YouTube video posted by Isis militants shows 'execution of 250 Syrian soldiers'
Oil tanker with $100 million cargo goes missing off Texas coast
Joan Rivers: 'Palestinians deserve to be dead'
Sir Paul McCartney makes his stance on Scottish independence known
Robin Williams Emmys tribute led by Billy Crystal criticised for including 'racist' joke about Muslim woman
The Rotherham child abuse scandal is a tale of apologists, misogyny and double standards
What do immigrants really think of Britain? Polish immigrant's Reddit post goes viral
Scottish independence TV debate: Pumped-up Alex Salmond bounces back in bruising second round against Alistair Darling
Do you realise just how foolish the UK looks?
With Douglas Carswell joining Ukip, my party has taken another giant step forward
- < Previous
- Next >
£32000 - £40000 per annum + bonus: Ashdown Group: HR Manager (Generalist) -Old...
£45000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Talent / Learning & Development Mana...
Up to £40,000: Ashdown Group: Standalone HR Manager role for an SME business b...
£350 - £400 per day: Orgtel: HR Analyst - Banking - Bristol - £350 - £400 per ...