This was initially going to be a brief notice at the end of today’s forthcoming Editorial but I thought a talent as great as Philip French deserved better. Today marks the esteemed writer’s final day as the Observer’s chief film critic, a post he’s occupied since 1978. As I’ve mentioned numerous times within the pages of Hope Lies at 24 Frames Per Second, Mr. French is a major influence of mine, and actually wrote the first serious tome on film I ever read. Crass comparisons stink, but for those not au fait with the scribbling of French in short he’s as close to an Ebert as we’ve got in the UK. I’ll be sad to see him go. To be perfectly honest I’ve been dreading this day coming ever since he made the announcement outlining his plans. That Mark Kermode, a similarly influential figure is taking over the position is some recompense, Mr. French’s retirement remains a great loss to the film community. That said, I wish him the best of happiness in his well deserved retirement.
I’ve not read Philip French’s final Observer column yet. I’m going to nip out and buy a physical copy, and take my time with it over coffee, as per my teenage years, albeit for one last time.