Bill Gunn


Director, Screenwriter

About

Birth Place
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
Died
April 05, 1989
Cause of Death
Encephalitis

Biography

This trailblazing black artist wrote plays and films that were noted for their subtle insights into the nature of racial relationships and their angry irony. Gunn achieved his greatest success with the independently-produced "Ganja and Hess" (1973), which began as a genre vampire movie and ended up an eloquent and disturbing mix of passions, class and African mythology. Although a succes...

Bibliography

"All the Rest Have Died"
Bill Gunn
"Rhinstone Sharecropper"
Bill Gunn

Biography

This trailblazing black artist wrote plays and films that were noted for their subtle insights into the nature of racial relationships and their angry irony. Gunn achieved his greatest success with the independently-produced "Ganja and Hess" (1973), which began as a genre vampire movie and ended up an eloquent and disturbing mix of passions, class and African mythology. Although a success at Cannes that year, the film was widely ignored in the USA, having been recut by its producers.

Life Events

1954

Broadway acting debut in "The Immoralist"

1959

Film acting debut in "The Sound and the Fury"

1970

Feature directing debut, "Stop" (never received commercial release)

1973

First feature as writer, producer, director, "Ganja and Hess"

Videos

Movie Clip

Landlord, The (1970) - Great Costume! The bustling costume-party scene from Hal Ashby's The Landlord, 1970, featuring Lee Grant, Beau Bridges, Marki Bey, Susan Anspach, Robert Klein (in black-face!) and Walter Brooke, photographed by Gordon Willis.
Landlord, The (1970) - It Ain't Your Baby Explosive scene in which Elgar (Beau Bridges, title character) overhears tenant Fanny (Diana Sands) telling husband Copee (Louis Gossett) she's pregnant, and it goes badly, in Hal Ashby's The Landlord, 1970.
Landlord, The (1970) - I Never Eat Lunch Society mom Joyce (Lee Grant) gets lubricated by fortune-teller and tenant Marge (Pearl Bailey) on a visit to her son's Brooklyn apartment building, in editor-turned-director Hal Ashby's debut film The Landlord, 1970.
Landlord, The (1970) - Open, How Do We LIve? Opening with emphasis on Beau Bridges, the title character, addressing the camera, in the little-noticed but well-regarded satire/melodrama about urban race relations, and the first feature by whiz-kid editor Hal Ashby, who was given the directing assignment by his mentor Norman Jewison who stepped aside to produce, The Landlord, 1970.
Losing Ground (1982) - I'm Using Religious Ecstasy Squeezing in a research session at her New York college library, philosophy professor Sara (Seret Scott) has an evidently chance encounter with handsome and well-read Duane Jones (we’ll later learn he’s named Duke), then, late for a date, remembers to call her husband, in writer-director Kathleen Collins’ Losing Ground, 1982.
Losing Ground (1982) - Is This Puerto Rican History Week? Finding her artist husband away from their upstate NY summer studio, professor Sara (Seret Scott) fends off a student film-maker, then locates Victor (Bill Gunn) who has, it turns out, been painting a Puerto Rican model (Maritza Rivera), in director Kathleen Collins’ Losing Ground, 1982.
Losing Ground (1982) - Sabor a Conga The song title translates to “Taste Of Conga” and the band, Los Patines, are “The Skates,” making an interesting choice as director Kathleen Collins follows Victor (Bill Gunn), artist husband of the college professor heroine, on the first visit to the town where he wants to take a summer house, in Losing Ground, 1982.
Ganja And Hess (1973) - Addicted To Blood Fascinating opening from director Bill Gunn, minister and chauffeur Luther (Sam Waymon) narrating as he introduces his boss Dr. Hess (Duane Jones), in Ganja And Hess, 1973.
Ganja And Hess (1973) - What Hunger Is Troubled, and addicted to blood, Dr. Hess (Duane Jones) conferring with his new assistant and expert George Meda (Bill Gunn, the director and screenwriter), imagninings taking over, early in Ganja And Hess, 1973.

Trailer

Bibliography

"All the Rest Have Died"
Bill Gunn
"Rhinstone Sharecropper"
Bill Gunn