On This Gay Day: Film director Terrence Davies was born in 1945

Terrence Davies films were highly acclaimed and distinctive

Film director Terrence Davies was born on this day in 1945.

Davies was known for his autobiographical films and his adaptations of literary classics, and stories about famous authors. Throughout his work his subtly explored gay themes, and his work was noted for it’s understated drama.

After leaving school at sixteen he worked as a clerk for almost a decade before being accepting into drama school. Here, in 1976, he wrote the screenplay for his Children first autobiographical short film.

After attending film school, he created two more films that continued the trilogy of alter-ego Robert Tucker, 1980’s Madonna and Child, and its follow-up 1983’s Death and Transfiguration. The three films would screen as a trilogy bringing a lot of attention to the director whose career only got underway when he was in his forties.   

Davies first two features Distant voices, Still Lives (1988) and The Long Day Closes (1992) were also autobiographical works set in Liverpool. The first included Pete Postlewaite and Lorraine Ashbourne among its cast.

The director’s next two films were adaptations of literary works, 1995’s The Neon Bible was an adaptation of the book by John Kennedy Toole and starred Gena Rowlands and Denis Leary. While 2000’s House of Mirth was an adaptation of Edith Warton’s novel starring Gillian Anderson, Dan Ackroyd, Anthony LaPaglia, Elizabeth McGovern, Laura Linney and Eric Stoltz.

The next decade proved challenging for the director with several unfulfilled projects not making it to the screen. In 2011 he returned with an acclaimed adaptation of the Terrance Rattigan play The Deep Blue Sea. It’s cast included Rachel Weisz, Tom Hiddleston and Ann Mitchell.

In 2015, he released Sunset Song, an adaptation of the Lewis Grassic Gibbon novel of the same name. While the following year he created A Quiet Passion, a film about the life of American poet Emily Dickinson. Cynthia Nixon took on the lead role.

Davies’ final film Benediction was released in 2021. The romantic drama documented the life of English poet Siegfried Sassoon. Jack Loudon played the younger version of the poet, while Peter Capaldi portrayed Sassoon in his latter years.

Davies passed away on the 7th of October 2023 aged 77.

During his life, Davies often spoke about his homosexuality, but declared he much rather preferred being alone than in a relationship. He once commented that he joined the gay scene once for a fortnight but had found it was not to his liking.

 OIP Staff

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