The Cinema Cafe

Serving Cinema's Tastiest Treasures

End Credits #18: Cinema's 2014 Lost Treasures

Bob Hoskins (October 26, 1942 - April 29, 2014) a tremendously talented actor has died age 71.

 

Guest contributor Bob DiMucci has provided this tribute to his motion picture accomplishments:

The Films of Bob Hoskins

Bob Hoskins' first feature film appearance was in this 1972 British comedy, the last of three feature films that came out of Frankie Howerd's best remembered TV series "Up Pompeii!" Hoskins played a recruiting sergeant in the film.

Hoskins had a small role in this 1973 British comedy. The film did not play in the U.S. until 1979.

Hoskins had his first major film role in this single-set, five-character drama. The film was cut by around eighteen minutes from its 117-minute UK running time to 99 minutes for its theatrical release in the U.S. But since most of the film's nudity was left intact, the film received an [X] rating in America.

Hoskins had a small role as a police constable in this 1975 Richard Lester costume comedy.

Hoskins got infected by a worm during the production of 1979's ZULU DAWN.

Hoskins' first lead role was in THE LONG GOOD FRIDAY. Completed in 1979, the film was not released in Britain until 1980. Hoskins' voice was dubbed over by a Wolverhampton actor, for fear Americans wouldn't understand his London accent. After Hoskins threatened to sue British Lion (the original producers before HandMade bought the rights) the dubbing was removed. HandMade and Embassy Pictures opened the film in the U.S. in 1982, and Hoskins became a recognized star in America.

Hoskins played a rock and roll manager in Alan Parker's film of the classic rock album PINK FLOYD: THE WALL.

Hoskins co-starred with Michael Caine and Richard Gene in 1983's "The Honorary Consul." Paramount changed the film's title to BEYOND THE LIMIT for the film's American release, since the studio felt that audiences would not generally know what a "consul" or an "honorary consul" was.

This was the first of of six films in which Bob Hoskins co-starred with Michael Caine. The others are "Mona Lisa" (1986), "Sweet Liberty" (1986), "Blue Ice" (1992), "Last Orders" (2001), and the television film, "World War II: When Lions Roared" (1994).


In 1984, Hoskins co-starred with Tom Selleck in LASSITER.

A movie I honestly did not think I would enjoy, but ended up adoring. It started me on seeing every film I could with Mr. Hoskins.

RIP Bob. You will be missed.


Hoskins again co-starred with Richard Gene in 1984's THE COTTON CLUB.


In 1985, Hoskins appeared in Terry Gilliam's critically-loved boxoffice disaster BRAZIL. Despite his prominent billing (fifth) Hoskins' role was a small one.

1986, Hoskins co-starred in Alan Alda's SWEET LIBERTY.

In 1987, Hoskins co-starred with Mickey Rourke and Alan Bates in the Northern Ireland-set drama A PRAYER FOR THE DYING.

Director Mike Hodges disowned the movie and attempted to have his name removed from the credits after creative interference from the film's producers. The producers' changes included re-editing the film to emphasize its action aspects and replacing John Scott's score with one by Bill Conti.

Hoskins had a rare romantic lead in 1987's THE LONELY PASSION OF JUDITH HEARNE. The film had a limited U.S. release from Island Pictures.

Hoskins had one of his biggest commercial successes with 1988's WHO FRAMED ROGER RABBIT. The film grossed nearly $350 million.

Hoskins said that, for two weeks after seeing the movie, his young son wouldn't talk to him. When finally asked why, his son said he couldn't believe his father would work with cartoon characters such as Bugs Bunny and not let him meet them.

Hoskins made his directorial debut with 1988's THE RAGGEDY RAWNEY, a film set during World War II. The film had limited U.S. exposure.

1990's HEART CONDITION was supposedly more commercial fare. Hoskins starred with Denzel Washington in this supernatural comedy of a racist cop who receives a heart transplant from a black lawyer he hates. The lawyer then returns as a ghost to ask the cop to help take down the men who murdered him. The film grossed less than $5 million, and Denzel Washington fired his agent.

A more family-friendly comedy for Hoskins in 1990 was MERMAIDS, in which he starred with Cher and Winona Rider. The film was also Christina Ricci's debut.

1991's SHATTERED was a thriller directed by Wolfgang Peterson. Alan Silvestri scored the film.

Hoskins played "Smee" in 1991's HOOK, a role he would later reprise in 2011's "Neverland."

Hoskins played a Soviet State Security Chief in 1991's THE INNER CIRCLE.

A 1992 farce with an unwieldy title, THE FAVOR, THE WATCH AND THE VERY BIG FISH saw Hoskins as a photographer who specializes in religious pictures searching for a model for Jesus.

Hoskins played an American in this little-seen 1992 black comedy.

Hoskins had only a cameo role in this 1992 British thriller, which made its American debut on cable TV.

1993's SUPER MARIO BROS. is one of Hoskins more infamous films. Reportedly, Hoskins didn't know that the film he was making was based on a game, until his son Jack asked him what he was working on. When Hoskins mentioned the film's title, his son immediately recognized it and showed Hoskins the game on his own Nintendo. Although Hoskins said that this is the worst film he ever made, his son is a fan of the film, praising his dad's performance. He said that he was too young to understand the bad reviews and now that he's old enough, he doesn't care. He's quoted on the film's fan website "SMBArchive.com": "If there's anyone reading this, please understand that it's no one's intention to ruin the classics. One last thing; if you remember your past enjoyments, then it would definitely keep your childhood memories alive and safely locked in your head forever."

In his 2007 autobiography, John Leguizamo says that he and Hoskins hated working on the film and would frequently get drunk to make it through the experience. Both men apparently knew the movie would turn out bad, so they simply tried to make the best of it. During a chase scene, Hoskins broke his finger when a van's door slammed on his hand. For the rest of the film, he is wearing a cast that was painted pink to look like a hand.

1993's THE BIG FREEZE was a silent slapstick comedy that had little distribution outside of Britain. It never played in the U.S., and is known chiefly for being Spike Milligan's last film.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hoskins' second directorial effort was 1995's RAINBOW, a family-friendly fantasy about four kids who embark on a search for the end of the rainbow. The film is said to be the first live-action theatrical motion picture originated on digital high definition video for distribution and exhibition on 35mm film. Freddie Francis photographed the movie with the Sony HDC-500 digital high definition camera system. Following the successful completion of this ground-breaking experiment, Sony along with Panavision developed the next generation of this camera system, the HDW-F900 for George Lucas, which he utilized in the production of "Star Wars Episode II-Attack Of The Clones".

RAINBOW never played commercially in the U.S.

Hoskins played F.B.I. Director J. Edgar Hoover to Anthony Hopkin's Richard M. NIXON (1995). Hopkins and Hoskins had previously acted together in a television version of "Othello" (1981) with Hopkins in the lead and Hoskins as Iago.

Hoskins played the voice of a goose in 1995's BALTO.

Hoskins was originally set to direct 1996's THE SECRET AGENT, but the film's screenwriter Christopher Hampton ("Dangerous Liaisons") helmed the film instead. The film was based upon Joseph Conrad's novel. It was scored by Philip Glass.

Hoskins plays the editor of a supermarket scandal sheet in Nora Ephron's MICHAEL.

In a part specifically written for him by writer-director Shane Meadows, Hoskins plays a man who opens a boxing facility to get young people off the street, in 1997's TWENTY FOUR SEVEN.

Hoskins had a cameo, appearing as himself, in 1997's SPICE WORLD.

Hoskins played the rich lord mayor of Paris in the 1998 costume drama COUSIN BETTE. The film was based on a novel by Honoré de Balzac and was scored by Simon Boswell.

Hoskins co-starred with such luminaries as Ben Kingsley, Oliver Reed, and Diana Rigg in director Michael Winner's final film, 1998's aptly named PARTING SHOTS. The comedy crime film never got a U.S. release.

Hoskins played a lonely middle-aged catering manager in Atom Egoyan's FELICIA'S JOURNEY (1999). Egoyan's regular collaborator Mychael Danna scored the film.

In 1999's CAPTAIN JACK, Hoskins played an eccentric seaman who puts together an equally eccentric crew with the idea of sailing from northern England to the Arctic along the path of Captain Scoresby, a 1791 sea captain. The film, which was not released in the U.S., has a score by Richard Harvey.

1999's LIVE VIRGIN had only a brief U.S, release before going to video a few months later. In this satire, Hoskins plays a porn kingpin who dreams up a stunt in which a sullen virgin agrees to get deflowered on pay-per-view television for $200,000.

And in current news, life imitates art:

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USA Films released 1999's A ROOM FOR ROMEO BRASS to U.S. art houses. Hoskins had a small role in this Shane Meadows film about two boys who undergo a test of character when a stranger comes between them.


Hoskins was everywhere in 1999, including the Antonio Banderas film WHITE RIVER KID. Despite a high-powered cast that included Ellen Barkin, Randy Travis, and Beau Bridges, the country-fried comedy went direct to video in the U.S.

Hoskins was back in a major film in 2001's ENEMY AT THE GATES, an intense film about a Russian sniper and a German sniper who play a game of cat-and-mouse during the Battle of Stalingrad. Hoskins played Nikita Khrushchev, who at the time was the leader of the Soviet defense of the city. Roger Ebert remarked that Hoskins looked "uncannily like" the later Soviet Premier.

Hoskins' final pairing with Michael Caine was in 2001's LAST ORDERS. Based on a Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, the film follows a group of friends of a London butcher who strive to fulfill his dying wish. Bolstered with a brace of British stars, the film received good notices when Sony Pictures Classics released it in the U.S.

2002's WHERE ESKIMOS LIVE played U.S. film festivals, but eventually went straight to DVD in the U.S. in 2006. In the drama, Hoskins played a child trafficker who struggles to get out of war-torn Bosnia with a small boy in tow.

Hoskins had a small role as a veteran butler who teaches maid Jennifer Lopez the ropes on her new job in 2002's MAID IN MANHATTAN.

In 2003's THE SLEEPING DICTIONARY, Hoskins is the iron-handed regional governor of 1936 Malaysia, who must deal with a new assistant, an eager-beaver (Hugh Dancy), fresh from the university, sent in to be part of the ruling party establishment. The film went straight to video in the U.S.

 

 

DEN OF LIONS (2003) was a film that went direct to video all over the world. In it, a Hungarian gypsy (Stephen Dorff) working for a Russian mobster (Hoskins) becomes a double agent for the FBI.

2004's VANITY FAIR saw Reese Witherspoon's Becky Sharp becoming a governess for the down-at-heels Sir Pitt Crawley (Bob Hoskins).

In 2004's BEYOND THE SEA Hoskins played the brother-in-law of singer Bobby Darin (Kevin Spacey), who helps to start his career.

In UNLEASHED (2005), Hoskins plays a gangster who is the "master" of a a lethal martial arts warrior (Jet Li) who has been raised in captivity since childhood and is used by the Glasgow gangster as a fearsome weapon.

Said Roger Ebert: "Bart the gangster is another one of those feral characters Hoskins specializes in, a man who bares his teeth and seems prepared to dine on the throats of his enemies. Hoskins, who can be the most genial of men, has a dimension of pitiless cruelty that he revealed in his first starring role, The Long Good Friday (1980)."

2005's SON OF THE MASK was a somewhat lame sequel to 1994's Jim Carrey hit THE MASK. In it, the god Odin (Hoskins) is furious with his son Loki (Alan Cumming) for having lost the Mask, and sends him down to Earth to get it back again.

In MRS. HENDERSON PRESENTS (2005), Hoskins is an impresario to the owner of a theater (Judi Dench) who has fallen on hard times.

In his fourth film of 2005, the thriller STAY, Hoskins played a blind man.

The 2006 film PARIS JE T'AIME was an omnibus project consisting of eighteen short films, each with a well-known actor and director. Bob Hoskins co-starred with Fanny Ardant in a segment entitled "Pigalle," which was written and directed by Richard LaGravenese (THE MIRROR HAS TWO FACES). Despite the surfeit of stars in front and behind the camera, the film did not have its limited U.S. release until 2007.

Hoskins had a small voice role in 2006's GARFIELD 2 (aka "Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties").

In the 2006 fictionalized thriller HOLLYWOODLAND Hoskins played a mob-connected film mogul, who is potentially involved in the death of actor George "Superman" Reeves.

SPARKLE was a London-set domestic comedy of a young man, fresh to the city, whose career plans get complicated by love. Hoskins played a family friend to the boy and his mother. The film went straight to DVD in the U.S.

In 2007's OUTLAW, Hoskins plays a cop who is a driver to a British barrister and who gets involved in a revenge plot.

Abel Ferrara's GO GO TALES played the 2007 New York Film Festival, but didn't see its limited U.S. release until 2011. In the film, Hoskins plays a combination barker/bouncer in a lounge run by Willem Dafoe.

2007's RUBY BLUE had some festival showings in the U.S., but eventually went directly to video. Hoskins plays an elderly man, whose innocent friendship with an eight year old girl is tarnished by the assumptions of a community when the little girl goes missing.


Hoskins played a Chief of Police in the futuristic action thriller DOOMSDAY (2008).

Hoskins voiced the character of Fezziwig, Scrooge's first employer, in Robert Zemeckis' 2009 blockbuster animated version of A CHRISTMAS CAROL.

2010's MADE IN DAGENHAM was a dramatization of the 1968 strike at the Ford Dagenham car plant in Britain, where female workers walked out in protest against sexual discrimination. Hoskins played a union organizer.

The titular character in 2011's WILL is an orphaned schoolboy who absconds to Istanbul to watch his heroes Liverpool play in the 2005 Champions League Final. Hoskins plays a friend of the boy's father. The film did not get a U.S. release. 

In 2012's OUTSIDE BET, Hoskins again plays a union organizer. This time he is one of a group of cockney London print workers who are made redundant due to new technology, and decide to invest what funds they have into a race horse. Once again, the film did not make it to U.S. shores.

Bob Hoskins' final film was 2012's SNOW WHITE AND THE HUNTSMAN in which, through the magic of CGI, he played one of the dwarves who help Snow White and the Huntsman escape from the Queen's army.

B.D.