Archive for Charles Wood

Wood Work

Posted in FILM with tags , , on May 22, 2020 by dcairns

“You have been wounded by a cut across your eye, which has blinded you.”

“Am I in pain?”

“You are in pain, I believe.”

I’m always amazed by this exchange in CHARGE OF THE LIGHT BRIGADE, which I believe was written on location by screenwriter Charles Wood. It captures something about the state of being in shock. Wood deliberately doubled down on the stiffness modern period movies usually try to avoid: his reading of Victorian texts convinced him that the stiffness belonged there.

Anyway, I’ve written more about the late, great Mr. Wood in this quarter’s Cineaste.


Book of Images

Posted in FILM, literature with tags , on March 24, 2020 by dcairns

This arrived yesterday. The physical outcome of the only academic conference I’ve ever been to. An actual SCHOLARLY TOME. And I’m in it!

In amongst chapters like Carol White: The Bardot of Battersea by Margherita Spiro and ‘Wholesome rough stuff’: Hammer films and the ‘A’ and ‘U’ certificate, 1959-65 by Paul Frith, you will find Woodery-Pokery: Charles Wood’s Sixties Screenwriting by me. I’m sad of course that the Great Man will never hold this book in his hands. But I hope I did right by him.

“We can’t enjoy ourselves infinitum.”

Posted in FILM, Radio, Television, Theatre with tags , , , , on February 27, 2020 by dcairns


The above sentence is from HOW I WON THE WAR, one of the late Charles Wood’s many brilliant lines, which combine slang, gobbledygook and non sequiturs into a kind of personal language named by John Gielgud: Woodery-pokery.

The most melancholy writing task I’ve ever performed was writing obits of the Great Man for The Independent and The Stage, which you can now read. But, at the same time, it was a privilege to be asked. We can’t enjoy ourselves infinitum. Thanks to Kate Wood.