Nick Redman has had a long and varied career in film, stretching from being a film soundtrack archivist and consultant for 2oth Century Fox, to being an Oscar-nominated documentarian, a moderator for BAFTA LA, and the co-founder of Twilight Time, a boutique Blu-ray label that has a  catalogue of rare and fascinating movies. In part two of  of our interview I talked to Nick about his work with BAFTA L.A., and the success of his Twilight Time Blu-ray label.  

Part One can be read here. 

How did you get involved with BAFTA? What is the most rewarding thing about your work with them? 
The first year that I lived in the U.S. all year round was 1988, and BAFTA L.A. was formed the previous year as a satellite of BAFTA London. There is also a satellite in New York and one in Australia. I met some members who were interested in creating a British community in L.A. and I was invited to become a member. Over the years, BAFTA L.A. has become huge in terms of its membership and influence. We went from being a rinky-dink bunch of Brits having a beer and having a chat about being out of work to being a major component of BAFTA's global system. BAFTA London is now connected to the other BAFTAs in New York and in Australia. My work for BAFTA L.A. is voluntary work but I feel it is my way to give back to the community. I host events for them and I do Q-and-As with filmmakers or actors. We have these evenings called 'Behind Closed Doors' where we sit down with a venerable person from the British film industry and talk to them for an hour in front of a live audience. It is filmed and kept for posterity. Over the last ten to twelve years we have built up quite an archive of these filmed interviews with quite a few people who have now passed away, so the interviews hold great value.

Is there anyone that you have gotten starstruck at all with? 
Sometimes you feel yourself getting nervous like anyone going on stage. I felt a bit nervous talking to Daniel Day Lewis. He was very nice but I was a little in awe of him. I was in the same room as Clint Eastwood but I was too nervous to talk to him. People from my childhood who were so big tend to make one nervous. Sometimes I am happy to not talk to my heroes because I don't want my iconic memories sullied if the Q-and-A or chat doesn't go well. It's like the old adage: 'Never meet your heroes, because you will be disappointed.' Some of the Q-and-As can be a little difficult because you know the celebrities are being forced into this because of a contractual deal with the studio. It happens a lot in Oscar season. They end up doing three or four interviews a day. Sometimes you get someone who is really crabby and fed up with it. You get off on the wrong foot, and it is very hard to get back on the right one. In fact, I'd say it is impossible to get back at all. You just have to get through it the best you can. That's not happened to me with someone I really love or care about but it's happened to me with three or four really big names who made me wonder, ''Did you really need to be so nasty?'' When you're up there on the stage it is like the comedian who is being heckled. The audience will always side with the comedian and not the heckler. When the star is in a bad mood, for whatever reason, and turns on the moderator, the moderator doesn't have the audience on his side. It is a typically difficult situation to be in. Luckily out of all the many hundreds of interviews I have done it's only happened a few times, but boy do I remember the times when it went wrong! My focus when I do these Q-and-As is always on the work, and not the person.

How did Twilight Time come into being?
It happened the way I like things to  happen, with synchronicity. Brian Jamieson, the executive at Warner Brothers who had green-lit AN ALBUM IN MONTAGE, retired from Warners in 2008. He and I had remained good friends over the years and we had done a number of projects after the film. Brian said, ''Nick, I don't want to go into the good night. I'm retiring from Warners after more than 33 years but I still want to do something. What can we do?'' He had been in home video for decades and I had been doing soundtrack restorations at Fox for decades, and I think we both knew the home entertainment business quite well. Because of the economic crash that took place in 2008 and continued on into 2009, the studios were backing away from releasing all their back catalogue on disc. Right up until 2007 they were releasing tons of titles onto DVD, but after the crash, it almost came to a grinding halt. Blu-ray hadn't taken off the way they thought it would. We realised there might be a hole in the market. I said to Brian, ''What if we go to the studios and say, 'Hey, you know us. We're veterans in the business. We will take some of the films that perhaps you have no interest in and we will put them out and see what kind of a reaction we can get.' '' That's how Twilight Time started. Brian and I partnered on this idea.

Criterion focuses on 'important films'. What would you say Twilight Time's focus or agenda is?
Well, the first agenda was to get the films we could get! When it became clear that the studios were really going to be on board with this and that they were going to give us films we had never dreamed we could get, the second agenda became choosing titles that reflect the taste of the people who work at Twilight Time - Brian and I, and Julie Kirgo, who writes the essays in the booklets and does some of the commentaries with me. That's not to say that we love each and every title that we put out. They're not all our personal favourites. But we feel that all of the titles in some shape or form fit the Twilight Time brand, just as Criterion focuses on 'important films' as you said. Although I look at a lot of their titles and I think they're not important at all. What they really focus on is esoteric movies that can all come under the generalised banner of 'art.' They have been around for thirty years but they have released titles in the last few years that they never would have even looked at ten years earlier. That is a concession to reality. The films might not be all that good but they might sell well. Any company that wants to stay in business and wants to keep growing and evolving in some way has got to keep refining what it's doing and reinvest in itself. I started interacting with Criterion in the 1980s when they were based in Santa Monica on PCH. They were a small group of IT nerds. They weren't even really like film people. They were much more about the gadgetry than they were about the movies. Then they evolved into a real repository of international film history, and today they think about things commercially in a way that perhaps they didn't twenty years ago. I think this is good for everybody because it shows you that it is not just about obscure art. It can also be about commercial movies. The line is becoming blurred. All of us that are older are going to think more fondly about the movies we loved when we were young than we are about the movies made today, which are made to be disposed of as quickly as possible. They're not even designed to have any life at all, beyond their immediate life. They have the life cycle of a tsetse fly. They come out, they burn very brightly for five seconds and then they're gone. We are more interested in the movies that have lingered, the ones that you can't shake, the ones that you keep thinking about forty years after you saw them. The ones that you watch over and over again.

I think it's great that you can give the care and attention to a film like THE KILLER ELITE (1975), which, whilst not a great film, is still a Peckinpah film and still worthy of a quality release like you gave it, with commentaries and an essay. 
Well, if Buzz Kulik had directed it, it's debatable that we would have released it. We put it out because it is directed by Sam Peckinpah, even though we are aware it's not a very good film. The transfer, though, is very nice. Brian and I sat down and decided that we needed something more, and it was one of those happy circumstances where NOON WINE (1966) became available for the first time in history. That's really what made that release.

Has the success of Twilight Time surprised you? To what do you attribute the success?
It has become very surprising, since we started it as a hobby, because I still have my technical day-job consulting for Fox, and Brian was looking to work less after retiring. We find that we are working harder today than maybe we ever have because the volume of titles that we are getting is huge. We didn't think when we started this little hobby that we would make a difference as quickly as we have. The difference that I think we have made is that there is something about the peculiar, esoteric mix of stuff that we do, and the funkiness of the model, that has attracted a loyal fan base. It's been touching in a way that there are so many who love what we do and support it. Without them, Twilight Time wouldn't exist. They have enabled it to not only exist but grow. In March 2015 we will be coming up to our fourth anniversary and I would not have thought we would be anywhere near where we are.

Have you been surprised by some of the negative feedback regarding the limited edition model?
We've done something like 128 titles, and including DVDs, we've sold out of only about 25. People only remember the very quick sell-outs. That took us by surprise too. Nobody expected CHRISTINE (1983) to sell out in a day. We had no precedent for it. Fox was the first place we went to for titles and it seemed obvious because I work for them. They have always taken chances. They are seen as being a bit of a reactionary studio in a way, but strangely enough, they've often been the studio that has done things first. Fox has always had the attitude of ''Let's try something different.'' Fox was the first studio to have a film music restoration program. When I suggested a limited edition model, they were on board because they had seen that it worked in the soundtrack division. So to them, it wasn't controversial. We had been doing limited edition soundtracks for 20 years before we started Twilight Time. I was sort of shocked when the DVD and Blu-ray crowd reacted negatively to the idea of a limited edition model. I didn't see what the controversy was. I think a lot of people want to believe that if you didn't release a limited edition version of say, CHRISTINE, that somehow the studio would sell hundreds of thousands or millions of copies. But if that were true, Sony wouldn't be giving us a film like CHRISTINE. They would be releasing it themselves and reaping the rewards. The reality is that the studios have gotten out of releasing back catalogue titles because they know the sales are small. If they were to sell 10 or 15,000 copies of CHRISTINE, it would be nothing to them and hardly worth doing. When we do a 3 or 5,000 limited run, we are usually taking a chance because a title like THE KILLER ELITE will not sell out, at least not quickly. We are finding that the average length of time for most of these films to sell out is about 2 1/2 years. There are some films that won't sell out in five years or even ten years. On the other hand, something like FRIGHT NIGHT (1986) is a film we are going to re-release and are contemplating doing a 5000 copy run for.

How do you decide which films you record commentaries for?
It's largely to do with our own personal taste, and whether or not there is time because it is time consuming to put together commentaries. We started by putting out one film a month, then we went to two, three, four, five and now six as an experiment to see what the right number was. I think six is too much actually, and we might scale back to four or five. If we release five titles a month, that's sixty titles a year. At that rate we can go for another ten years. There are problems inherent in doing too many releases. It forces your own aficionados to choose, and not all people can afford or want all of them. There is a lot of competition out there too, with other labels and studios doing their thing too. Sometimes there is not much difference in income from doing four or six releases a month. You are going to lower sales among all of the releases because of the averaging out of people having to choose. You don't want to go too far too fast. We are going to continue at the right pace. We're very practical people, maybe because we have spent decades working at studios. We are cautious about what we do. I think one of the most dangerous things you can do is to try and run before you can walk and try to do too many things at once. From the moment we started, our plan was for a gradual acceleration, and I don't see any signs of that stopping. We will continue as we are for a few years until we get to the next level, which isn't just about releasing more films per month, but about the kinds of films we will be releasing, whether they be bigger films from the past or newer releases. And perhaps getting into other aspects of the business too, which will be VOD, streaming, etc. We'd like to have a portal where we can put content on the website, and build something that is beyond simply releasing Blu-rays on Twilight Time and is more of a full-service entity.

When you are releasing so many titles, even if you wanted to do a commentary for each film, you couldn't. Whenever we have a title coming up, I always call up the usual suspects like Lem Dobbs, who's a terrific guy and a great screenwriter, and ask him if he's interested about talking about a movie. He doesn't always say yes! We recently put out the Mike Nichols movie THE FORTUNE (1975) with Warren Beatty and Jack Nicholson, and we couldn't find anyone who would talk about it!

I loved the commentaries on UNDER FIRE (1983). 
That was a luxury, because we had two. Roger Spottiswoode wanted to talk about the film, and so we had a track with him and Paul Seydor, who worked on the film as an assistant editor, and Matthew Naythons, who was a photojournalist. I love the Jerry Goldsmith score for the film and I really wanted to talk about it, and we were able to get Bruce Botnick and Kenny Hall to come in, as well as Jeff Bond and Julie and I. It was the first time that Botnick had ever done a commentary, and he had never talked about his career like that before.

I would have liked a commentary for THE DOGS OF WAR (1980). 
Paul Seydor is very fond of that movie and he told me that he would do a commentary with us, but when it came down to the wire, he had another project that got in the way and he couldn't do it. That was a title that missed a commentary by default. It's certainly a film that is certainly worth talking about and I'm sorry we didn't do a commentary. We didn't do one on JUDGMENT AT NUREMBERG (1961). A lot of people wish we had done one on that. But I don't think that subject needs us to contextualise it or anything. But we did them on BIRDMAN OF ALCATRAZ (1962), BUNNY LAKE IS MISSING (1965), and Lem and I even did one on FLAMING STAR (1960)!

How important are special features to you on these releases? 
I do feel that people don't want to buy a title because it's chock-a-block with extras, they buy it for the movie. I know that when I buy a DVD and it's advertised as having ten hours of extras, I watch zero hours of extras. I do love the work Charles De Lauzirika does, particularly the BLADE RUNNER (1982) documentary, but that's a far cry from most of the EPK 'Oh, I had a wonderful time' extras the average movie has. We will always go the extra yard on the films that we really care about or if there are extras that are available to us. Unfortunately, the era of the 30-minute making-of documentary has gone. I don't feel that people care enough anymore. We are just Pavlov’s dog programmed to expect extras on new Blu-rays. I was talking to my friend Jeff Nelson at Scream Factory, and he was telling me that they do a lot of extras for their horror releases but that one of the reasons they do it is because they are putting out films that have already been on Blu-ray and feel that they have to do something different. That makes perfect sense to me, but we are putting out some films that are not only on Blu-ray for the first time but are on home video for the first time in any format. I think we will continue to keep the balance the way it is. Most of our titles have isolated scores, trailers, Julie Kirgo essays, and on titles like UNDER FIRE, THE KILLER ELITE and the reissue of FRIGHT NIGHT we will really go the extra mile. 

Have you had any great feedback about your releases from filmmakers? 
MGM/ UA had called Brian Jamieson and said, ''We want to do a project with Oliver Stone, and we know you have licensed SALVADOR (1986), so can you contact him and make sure he is au fait with everything because you've worked with him before.'' One of the advantages of working with Brian is because of his long history with Warner Brothers, he worked on the contemporary campaigns of so many great filmmakers. He was the only executive at Warner Brothers that Stanley Kubrick would talk to. So he was put in sole charge of handling all of Kubrick's campaigns for home video releases in all of the international territories. He did it exclusively for Kubrick but he also did it for many other filmmakers. He knows Oliver because he handled the HEAVEN AND EARTH(1993) campaign. When we contacted Oliver we told him that we would like to get HEAVEN AND EARTH but Warners wouldn't licence it to us. Oliver made sure that they did. We also got U-TURN (1997), which is my personal favourite Oliver Stone movie. That is the story of a very favourable relationship with a filmmaker, but we have also had others. Randal Kleiser called Sony and asked them if they would give us THE BLUE LAGOON (1980) if they weren't going to put it out themselves. Bob Zemeckis and Bob Gale called Sony about giving us USED CARS (1980). We are surprised when filmmakers either call us directly about their own personal favourites, like when John Guillermin called me and asked us to do RAPTURE (1965), literally only a few months after we had started. It was his own personal favourite of his own works. We find that we get a lot of input from filmmakers. The only person that has turned us down about getting involved was David Lynch, when we did WILD AT HEART (1988), but I think that was because he was busy doing something else. Another way that they express their interest is when we get the directors or stars to sign 100 Blu-ray booklets and they are given away at Screen Archives on a first come, first served basis with Twilight Time purchases. It's a way for us to see that they feel their work is being given some spotlight.

Would you ever consider a film too 'big' for a Twilight Time release? 
Personally, no. I tried to get GHOSTBUSTERS II (1989) and people laughed at me and asked ''Do you really think that movie should be on TT?'' I said ''Why not?'' We didn't get it, although we nearly got it. I feel that whether it is a sci-fi hit or a very important film, it doesn't matter. Sony have given us three Best Picture winners – BORN YESTERDAY (1950), OLIVER! (1968), and A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS (1966). The latter film may not seem so big to a young person today but when I was a kid it was one of the biggest movies out there. We are also doing new movies, like Yoji Yamada's latest film, called THE LITTLE HOUSE, which did the festival circuit in 2014. We are going to branch out into the acquisition of new films.

Which films have you been the proudest of releasing on Twilight Time? 
Putting out ZULU was a fantastic experience. How could I ever have imagined when I was eight years old and loving this movie so much that I would one day get the opportunity to present it to people in a home video format? That's a good feeling. It's a big thrill for us to get 13 Woody Allen movies. ANNIE HALL (1977), MANHATTAN (1979), SLEEPER (1973), and HANNAH AND HER SISTERS (1986) have already been released by MGM/UA but they abandoned the rest of the catalogue and we have some terrific titles like my personal favourite LOVE AND DEATH (1975), THE PURPLE ROSE OF CAIRO (1985), STARDUST MEMORIES (1980), ZELIG (1983), SEPTEMBER (1987), A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S SEX COMEDY (1982), and SHADOWS AND FOG (1991), along with the others we’ve already put out.

Have you interacted with Allen much personally? 
We haven't interacted with him personally at all, but when we send off the stuff to him and his people, as is required by the studio, it always comes back passed. When we don't hear anything negative, I consider it tacit support. I think he gets the sense that we treat his films with respect and that there is no reason to interfere or complain about anything. Likewise with Barbra Streisand, with whom we’ve been involved in our releases of FUNNY LADY (1975) and YENTL (1983). YENTL, particularly, because that is her own personal pet project.

Are you surprised by the great reaction to your announcements of forthcoming titles on the website? 
People are attuned to our cycle of announcements. In the first week of the month we always annnounce the release schedule four months ahead. People really look forward to reading the announcements and we always get the usual array of comments on our Facebook page like 'This is a bunch of shit' or 'This is one of my favourite movies.' It's always wildly across the board. I enjoy the unveiling.

What brings you the most joy about all the things you do?
I get paid to do what I would pay other people to let me do. I have been very lucky in that I have been able to earn a pretty decent living out of just doing the things that I love.

I spoke to Nick by telephone on 18th November 2014, and would like to thank him for his time. 

Picture credits
(1) Nick doing a Q and A with Bradley Cooper and David O. Russell to promote SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK (2012).  
(2) Nick with WILD BUNCH stars Bo Hopkins and Ernest Borgnine. 
(3) Nick launching BECOMING JOHN FORD at the Venice International Film Festival with composer Christopher Caliendo, Julie Kirgo and Katy from 2oth Century Fox.
(4) Nick with Oscar Isaac, the Coen Brothers and T-Bone Burnett promoting INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS (2013).
(5) Patrick Wayne and Brian Jamieson. 

Photos are (c) Nick Redman and cannot be reptroduced without his permission. 

(c) Paul Rowlands. 


Nick Redman has had a long and varied career in film, stretching from being a film soundtrack archivist and consultant for 2oth Century Fox, to being an Oscar-nominated documentarian, a moderator for BAFTA LA, and the co-founder of Twilight Time, a boutique Blu-ray label that has a  catalogue of rare and fascinating movies. In part one of our interview I talked to Nick about his early days as a film fan, his documentaries on Sam Peckinpah and John Ford, and restoring Fox's extensive film soundtrack library. 

Part two can be read here. 

What are your earliest memories of watching movies? 
I grew up in a little place called Ewell, near Epsom Downs in Surrey. There was a cinema across the street called The Rembrandt. I practically lived in there. My life growing up was a bit like CINEMA PARADISO (1988). They used to throw out all the little frames that they'd cut out of the 35mm prints, and I would raid the wastepaper basket. I had a huge collection. From 1964 to 1971 I saw everything in that theatre, from ZULU (1964) to the CARRY On films to DR. WHO AND THE DALEKS (1965) to Spaghetti Westerns to THE DIRTY DOZEN (1967) and THE WILD BUNCH (1969).

Which films were some of your particular favourites? 
Obviously THE WILD BUNCH was huge for me, and also films like THE PROFESSIONALS (1966) and ZULU, which still remains one of my favourite films of all time. I just saw so many films, and it was a great period for movies. I mean, there was THE DOUBLE MAN (1967) with Yul Brynner, BILLION DOLLAR BRAIN (1967), WOMEN IN LOVE (1969), THE MUSIC LOVERS (1970), and THE GO-BETWEEN (1971), which is absolutely one of my favourite films. I just connect all these films with that one cinema because I saw everything in there.

What was the first film you saw in a theatre? 
The first film that I saw was actually not in that cinema. It was a film called THE MAGNIFICENT SHOWMAN (1964). It's known in America as CIRCUS WORLD. It's a Samuel Bronston picture, and has John Wayne as a circus owner, and Claudia Cardinale.


Why do you think you fell in love with cinema?
I used to look outside my bedroom window and every Saturday I'd see a guy changing the movie posters in the cinema. The posters were large, and he'd get a ladder, take the old one down, and put up the new one with long rollers on a long broom-handle stick. It was like a new piece of art I would get to see every week and I used to be completely mesmerised by it. Some people went to church, and I went to the cinema across the street. I wasn't able to go when I was very young because my mother told me that I would get whooping cough in there, but I started going when I was 8 or 9 and I never gave it up. Ironically, I DID get whooping cough, although not in the cinema!

When did you become aware of the soundtracks to films? 
That would have been ZULU. I remember being about nine or ten years old and sitting in the garden, trying to recall the whole film in my mind and remembering that incredible John Barry theme. That's when I knew the music was an integral part of the film-going process. You couldn't separate one from the other.

At what age did you begin collecting soundtrack albums?
It was probably when I was something like eleven or twelve, but I didn't have much cash, and LPs were expensive. So I had to save up, and it was always ''Do I get Led Zeppelin this week, or something by Jerry Goldsmith or Ennio Morricone?'' Nevertheless, I gradually built up a collection of LPs. I remember even until my early twenties, when I was a bit hard up, I would go to 58 Dean Street (a celebrated London record shop), even though I couldn't afford much of the stuff. I didn't have a huge collection of film soundtracks, but I always used to enjoy the experience of listening to the music. Ironically, a lot of the films that I grew up loving, particularly in the 70s, were very sparsely scored and were never wall to wall with music. It wasn't until the advent of STAR WARS (1977) that the big, big soundtrack came back. When I think of all my favourite films from the 70s – DIRTY HARRY (1971), THE PARALLAX VIEW (1974), CHINATOWN (1974) and particularly PAPILLON (1973), which remains my favourite Jerry Goldsmith score – they were all films that were very lightly scored, and the albums were very short. Films like DIRTY HARRY never even had an album.

How did you first get involved in the film and TV industry?
I went to drama school, and I was an actor for a while, doing small roles on TV. I gradually decided that I didn't want to pursue a career as an actor and I got on to the other side of the camera. I started working for producers in the late 70s, as an assistant. Then I got involved with the BBC, doing documentaries. By the time I got to America, which was in the mid-80s, I had some projects that I brought with me and I started to try and make documentaries here.

How did you begin working with 20th Century Fox on soundtrack albums? 
When I first moved to America, I didn't know anybody. It was like starting over again. I hadn't had much of a career in the UK. One of the projects I was trying to get off the ground with the BBC was a documentary on film music. In those days, nothing substantive had ever been done about film music or the history of film music. I tried shopping it around here and some of the first people I called were at the record label Varese Sarabande. At that time, Richard Kraft, who is now a well-known composer's agent, was working there producing film soundtracks, and he said, ''You need to talk to my brother, David.'' David was a director for Channel 5 News and was the world's biggest authority on film music. He and I got chatting with a view to trying to put this documentary project together. Nobody really seemed interested in backing it, so the Kraft brothers said ''Forget the documentary. Why don't you do something more constructive?'' A friend of mine was starting a record label, Bay Cities, and he asked me to try and get the licenses to some soundtracks from the studios. I started doing that, and after a few years, I got headhunted by Fox because Richard Kraft, who by now was an agent, found out that Fox was looking for someone to go in and excavate the vaults and put together a comprehensive film program. It took several months, but I eventually got the job.

Did you realise soon that you had a love for archiving and unearthing soundtrack music?
I guess I subconsciously had a love for it because I really enjoyed the responsibility that I had at Fox. I still have that love because I am still doing the job 22 years later. I remain a consultant for Fox, and the ad-hoc person to go to if there is any issue regarding their classic film library. When I joined Fox, the head of music, a guy called Elliot Lurie, said to me ''No one here knows how to do the job that we are asking you to do. Don't come to us with any questions.'' I thought he was joking at first, but he kind of wasn't. I got the brief that I had to wander all over the lot, trying to create friends and trying to create lists and create new divisions into a move towards preserving music. I found a guy called Skip Rusk, who was the head of post-production, who was incredibly supportive. He gave me an office and connected me with all the people. Gradually over the course of a year or two, we devised a system as to how the vaults could be raided and the music recovered. Nothing had been recorded onto tape. It had all been recorded onto 35mm film. All of that film had to be restored before you could get the music. It became an unwieldy, big, and costly job to do. Here we are 22 years later, and the job is still being done. Not every title has come out as a soundtrack album. There are still quite a few films left to go!

What are some of your proudest achievements amongst the titles you have restored?
The ones that we thought were impossible are my proudest achievements. Something like CLEOPATRA (1963), which was a very big job. The music stems were very deteriorated. I remember telling Alex North's widow that we would get it done by hook or by crook. She has passed away now, but before she did, we were able to complete that job. It took years and years to do. Restoring some of the great Rodgers and Hammerstein classics, particularly THE SOUND OF MUSIC (1965) for the thirtieth anniversary in the mid-90s, was a big one. Some of the classic old musicals like THERE'S NO BUSINESS LIKE SHOW BUSINESS (1954) and science fiction films like THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL (1951) and obviously the STAR WARS trilogy (1977-83), which we worked very hard on over the years. First we did a four-disc set for Arista, and then when the twentieth anniversary rolled round, Lucasfilm wanted to go release special editions of the movies, and we went back to the music and redid the whole thing from scratch. For me, discovering Alfred Newman was a highlight. I knew that he was one of the absolute greats, but when you get to work in the room that he worked in and listen to so many of his scores you realise what an incredible genius he was. Not only was he a genius composer but he was also head of music so he supervised everybody else, as well. I often talk to his son, David Newman, about his father. His legacy is so large and so vast at Fox that it is impossible to think about Twentieth Century Fox without him.

What was the genesis of your documentary, THE WILD BUNCH: AN ALBUM IN MONTAGE (1996)?
THE WILD BUNCH has always been one of my favourite films, and one of the first things that I did when I came out here to L.A. was to look up some of the people who were important in Sam Peckinpah's world. Even though he had passed, a lot of his relatives were still around and also the people who had written books about him that I was very keen on meeting – people like Paul Seydor and Garner Simmons. At this time, David Weddle had not yet written his biography. I got to meet all these guys and become friendly with them. My deal with Fox was that I was not an employee, I was a consultant, and I had a non-exclusive contract. I was not precluded from going and doing other work at other studios if that work came up. So in the mid-90s, I had been asked by an executive at Warner Brothers called Brian Jamieson to restore the music to THE WILD BUNCH. I said that I would love to, and they gave me full access to all of the original multi-tracks and we remixed the whole thing from start to finish. It was really terrific. While I was doing that job, Brian called me and said that there had been a discovery. While they were clearing out one of the vaults, somebody had found a couple of cans that said 'Wild Bunch 16mm' on them. They didn't really know what they were, but it looked like black and white footage of Peckinpah directing the film. He asked me if there was any value in keeping it. I said I was sure we could find something to do with it. So Brian made it his cause to make sure that all of the stuff that was WILD BUNCH-related in the vault was kept. When we found out what it was, Brian asked me if I would be interested in doing a small documentary to accompany the film's laserdisc release. I called Paul Seydor, who by that time was a very good friend of mine and of course not only a great academic but also an A-list film editor. He was editing all the films that Ron Shelton was doing, and at that time hewas editing TIN CUP. (1996). Ron Shelton is also a big Peckinpah fan. I told Paul, ''You will never guess what has fallen into our lap. All this black and white footage that's silent. It's never-before-seen stuff of Sam directing the film.'' I asked Paul to join me on it, and Ron Shelton very generously let us use all of the TIN CUP post-production facilities so Paul could put together the documentary. He was editing AN ALBUM IN MONTAGE at the same time he was editing TIN CUP. We were able to reduce the budget of what it would have cost to make this little documentary because it got buried in the TIN CUP budget. Consequently, we ended up with a much better product than we otherwise would have, and also because Brian Jamieson green-lit the project and was such a mensch. Once we had made the film, he thought it was so good that he had it transferred to 35mm. These 35mm prints started doing the rounds at film festivals and that allowed us to have it qualified for Academy Award consideration. And then of course it went all the way to the Oscars and we got nominated. Unfortunately, we didn't win, but that little documentary that started on the back of a postage stamp became an Oscar-nominated film.

How was the experience of finding out you were nominated for an Oscar?
I couldn't quite believe it, because when we started making the film, an Oscar nomination was the furthest thing from our minds. We were effectively making a little documentary to go on the laserdisc release of the film. That was its original concept. It had no life beyond that. When the documentary had been completed and Brian was so supportive of it, and had sent it to film festivals in 35mm, it got traction as they say. It got reviews in Variety and The Hollywood Reporter, and I started to realise that this little film was like The Little Engine That Could. It could go the distance. Then when the Oscar nominations were announced at dawn, as always about 5 am, I got a call from a friend of mine who said ''Guess what? You're now an Oscar nominee.'' So we went to the Oscars, and it was a great experience. Entertainment Weekly had written that they thought we would win, and I was worried that we were being tagged as the favourite. The winner was a film called BREATHING LESSONS, directed by a young woman called Jessica Yu. She made a film about a poet in an iron lung. As you know, the Oscars are incredibly sentimental about anyone who is an invalid. As soon as we knew our competition was a film about a guy in an iron lung we thought, ''We're dead.'' And we were.

What were your initial hopes for the documentary?
Were you hoping it would revive interest in Peckinpah? I think so, yes. Ever since I had become friends with Paul, which was back in 1990, we had been getting together with the surviving cast and crew members of Peckinpah's films, and members of his family. At that time Peckinpah had not been dead long and he was not the venerated giant that he appears to be now. I think it was because his end had been a horrible decline. By the time he passed away, he had drifted into the ether. I think it was in our minds in the 1990s that we would try to redress the balance. David Weddle's incredible biography of Peckinpah came out in 1994, right before we made the documentary. So there was already a move towards redressing the balance. When our documentary got an Oscar nomination, we felt that this was partly a validation for Peckinpah and a reward for all the times that he had been stiffed at the Oscars. We were proud that we could do a little something. Since then, we have continued to do various projects that are Peckinpah-related, and now nearly twenty years later he occupies the venerated spot that he should have all along.

Do you feel that your documentary helped it happen?
I do. It spawned a lot of books. Before our documentary was made, there were maybe four or five books on Peckinpah. Now there are something like 45 books, and you can trace the renaissance from the late 90s, so there's no question about that.

How did you come to make the John Ford documentary, BECOMING JOHN FORD (2007)?
I had made a number of film-related documentaries over the years I had been here in L.A. Ironically they had all been for Warner Brothers. I had not done any for Fox, and yet by the time we did the John Ford documentary I had been involved at Fox for fourteen years, doing the soundtracks. There was an executive in the Home Entertainment Division at Fox called Richard Ashton, who was a Brit. Fox proposed a box set of 24 John Ford films all in one box. Richard liked a particular producer, a young woman named Jamie Willett, who had done a tremendous amount of special features and bonus materials for Fox DVDs. I had worked with her on a couple of occasions and we split the duties. Jamie would effectively produce the documentary and I would direct it. Julie Kirgo would write it. This was in the spring of 2007 and we had to make it very quickly because the box was going to be released in December. Effectively the film had to be completed by August. Brian Jamieson was segueing out of Warner Brothers and was consulting with them and other companies at that time. He had mentioned our film to the Venice Film Festival and they said they would take a documentary on John Ford, providing it was good enough, and premiere it. The bad news was that in order for it to premiere at Venice, it had to be completed a month earlier, in July. We were really under the gun. I tried to make it easier for ourselves by creating this conceit that everyone we interviewed was watching a John Ford movie in a screening room. We could interview everybody on that set and not go anywhere else. We lost a bunch of people I would have loved to have had because they couldn't come the week we had that set up. The theatre we used is the very theatre that Ford and Zanuck sat in, viewing dailies. Using that theatre had verisimilitude so I wasn't going to give that up for anything.

What is it that you love the most about John Ford as a director?
As with Sam Peckinpah, John Ford is not a guy you would want to sit around with and chew the fat. Where is it written that these guys should be nice guys? Because they're not. They're real rough birds. You have to separate the personal behaviour of these guys from the work. Ford's movies are like the paintings of the Old West that you somehow saw etched in your mind when you were a child. There were British kids like me growing up in the 60s who loved the idea of America and kids who hated the idea of America. The general attitude of the time in England was anti-American. I would be in my History class at school talking about how I always wanted to go to America and the teacher would ask me why the hell I would want to go to that god-awful place. My images of America as a kid were half formed by images of the mountain ranges, the deserts, the Old West, the western expansion, something about the idea of getting in a covered wagon and going from a so-called civilisation to a barbaric wasteland that would have to be settled and a whole new world would be born. Those were inescapable fantasies to me that I learned from watching the movies of John Ford. It worked on you subconsciously. You didn't know what you were watching when you were young. All you knew was that there were these black and white images on your television that spoke to you like paintings that came alive. When you get older, and you try to research what it was that you saw, you find out that they're all John Ford movies. These things are like DNA, pieces of yourself that you can't separate yourself from. That's really what the film BECOMING JOHN FORD was about. It was about how you and the celluloid became one. You get to a point where you cannot separate the dream from reality. All you know is that you feel alive when you're watching the film in the theatre and that is what we tried to replicate in that film. It took me back to being an eight-year-old taking filmstrips out of that bin. It was tactile. You were touching a piece of the film. It was alive, a tangible thing. We got a lot of interesting people to talk in the documentary. It was really about a love of America. That is what comes through more than anything.

I spoke to Nick by telephone on 18th November 2014, and would like to thank him for his time. 

Picture credits:
(1) Nick interviewing Tom Hanks for SAVING MR. BANKS (2013).
(2) Nick interviewing Ralph Fiennes. 
(3) Nick on the Alfred Newman Recording Stage at Fox Studios.
(4) In Parras, Mexico: Jesse Graham, Nick, Jonathan Redman, Paul Seydor, Garner Simmons, David Weddle and Lupita Peckinpah.
(5) Nick with Peter Fonda and screenwriter Lem Dobbs whilst shooting BECOMING JOHN FORD. 

All photos are (c) Nick Redman and cannot be reproduced without his permission. 

(c) Paul Rowlands