Obituary: Sidney Gilliat

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ALTHOUGH kind, self-effacing, yet versatile in most branches of film-making, Sidney Gilliat had a caustic manner that was often of the sort to make tyrants pause and their acolytes tremble, writes Peter Cotes (further to the obituary by Gilbert Adair, 2 June).

A good friend, once he had struck up a friendship, Sidney did not automatically respect those he was occasionally compelled to work for. He liked working with rather than for - hence his hugely successful career as writer-

producer-director with his partner for so many years, Frank Launder. Their two vastly dissimilar characters were nevertheless complementary; indeed, both staunch friends down the years, they respected each other's talents and knew when to leave the work of the other well alone.

His last years were not declining ones. Given red-carpet treatment at overseas film festivals, he was listened to with relish whenever he spoke, always with a quiet authority; over the tea-cups and the wine glasses or on the stages of such organisations as the National Film Theatre, where the famous series of Launder & Gilliat films were, more than once, shown in retrospective seasons.