Daryl Duke - Rotten Tomatoes

Daryl Duke

Lowest Rated:   20% Tai-Pan (1986)
Birthday:  
Birthplace:   Not Available
Though nominally a "director for hire," Vancouver native Daryl Duke occasionally transcended the boundaries of that categorization. When Duke died on October 21, 2006, he left behind an extraordinarily diverse resumé, with content in the telemovie, theatrical feature, miniseries, and prime-time series categories. As for quality of work, Duke hit a few zeniths that most directors never dream of, but also fell flat on many occasions, suggesting that unlike some of his contemporaries (such as, say, Hal Ashby or Robert Altman), his ability to make a project soar may have been largely contingent on the quality of the script at hand. In the end, Duke left behind an occasionally exciting yet maddeningly uneven body of work. Born October 21, 1929, Duke spent time laboring at a Canadian sawmill as a young man. At the age of 24, he joined Vancouver's premier CBC affiliate, CBUT, where he helped produce the network's first television programs in December 1953, then transferred to the Toronto branch of the CBC in 1958. From that seat, Duke produced additional television specials and documentaries, including episodes of This Hour Has Seven Days and Wojeck. When the late '60s arrived, Duke parlayed the success of his Canadian endeavors into a Hollywood-based television career. He helmed episodes of weekly prime-timers for NBC, including The Bold Ones, The Psychiatrist, Night Gallery, Banacek, and Ghost Story, which carried him through the early '70s, then made a stunning (and brave) leap into feature films, enlisting the notoriously volatile and colorful Rip Torn to play booze and pill-addled country singer Maury Dann in the road picture Payday (1973). Though the picture is now largely forgotten, it remains the archetypal "critical darling," justly lauded by the press for its remarkable craftsmanship but virtually ignored by the public, who shied away given the manically depressing nature of the material. Even more problematically, the film didn't receive an official studio release until 1975. Variety wrote of it, "Duke's feature debut is outstanding...[and] co-producer Don Carpenter's first-produced screenplay neatly captures the grit and the sweat of a poptune idol's barnstorming life. The girls, the pills, the payoffs, the cynical flackery, the hollow sentiment, and the desperate flight from poverty all are integrated deftly and superbly in concise, meaty characterizations." In 1973, Duke returned to the small screen, where he helmed the telepic for which he most wanted to be remembered. Skillfully adapted from Margaret Craven's novel by Gerald Di Pego, I Heard the Owl Call My Name stars kitchen sink vet Tom Courtenay as an Anglican priest transferred to a rural Native American village in British Columbia, who, in order to connect with the parishioners, must first reach into his own heart and soul. In 1976, after co-directing the poorly received telefilm The Return of Charlie Chan with Leslie Martinson (a project that wasn't officially released until 1979, several years after its production), Duke took on a project that would occupy him for 12 years: he co-founded and ran an independent Vancouver television station. Meanwhile, in 1977, Duke did the finest directorial work of his career by helming the Curtis Hanson-scripted adaptation of Anders Bodelsen's ingenious Danish novel Think of a Number. Retitled The Silent Partner for the screen, deliriously souped up by Hanson with brilliant plot twists, complex supporting characters, and shocking acts of violence, and given life by two of the finest performances in the careers of leads Elliott Gould and Christopher Plummer, this motion picture deservedly won a Canadian Film Award for Best Picture prior to the official establishment of the Genies in 1980. It has since garnered a small but sturdy cult following among those who have seen it. In the early '80s, Duke accepted the assignment for which he is best remembered by legions of television viewers: directing the seven

Highest Rated Movies

Filmography

MOVIES

RATING TITLE CREDIT BOX OFFICE YEAR
No Score Yet Florence Nightingale
  • Director
2008
No Score Yet Fatal Memories
  • Director
1992
No Score Yet Caution: Murder Can Be Hazardous to Your Health
  • Director
1991
No Score Yet Hang Tough
  • Director
1990
20% Tai-Pan
  • Director
1986
No Score Yet Florence Nightingale
  • Director
1985
No Score Yet Hard Feelings
  • Director
1982
No Score Yet The Silent Partner
  • Director
1978
No Score Yet Griffin and Phoenix: A Love Story
  • Director
1976
No Score Yet I Heard the Owl Call My Name
  • Director
  • Producer
1973
No Score Yet Payday
  • Director
1973
No Score Yet The President's Plane Is Missing
  • Director
1972
80% Mr. Hobbs Takes a Vacation
  • Boy
1962

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