A DON SIEGEL DOC

Here’s a documentary that I never knew about. ‘Last Of The Independents’ is an hour-long doc on director Don Siegel (‘Dirty Harry’, ‘Invasion of the Body Snatchers’ etc.) which features a long interview with Siegel himself. This alone makes it an interesting find as Siegel was not a particularly visible figure, eschewing publicity for the most part and rarely seen promoting his work. ‘I don’t like success’, he says in one of his numerous disarming and somewhat starling assertions during this interview, my favorite being: “I find directing very boring, dull…I don’t enjoy directing.’ Siegel’s manner is low-key, droll, pensive and bitterly amused around the edges. If you’re already a Siegel buff you’ve most likely heard the anecdotes before in his memoir. But he tells them with a dry archness that is amusing and worthy of an hour of your time.

Did you know that Burt Reynolds and Clint Eastwood were best friends? I didn’t. Maybe Eastwood didn’t either. But Reynolds says they were in his talking head interview for the doc shot on the set of ‘Rough Cut’, Siegel’s penultimate film. A strikingly handsome Eastwood is also interviewed as is (somewhat curiously) the ever-dishy Sheree North. There’s a nice view of Siegel’s hillside house overlooking the San Fernando Valley and his modest office within, containing only one movie poster and a chin-up bar. The house, unfortunately, has the feel of a 70s-era singles condo–wooden railings, hanging plants, cheap stucco–but Siegel says he likes it and his life so that’s that and what the hell of it?

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