Over the years, Cinema Retro readers have repeatedly requested that we run a feature or interview devoted to director Brian G. Hutton, the wunderkind young filmmaker who helmed hits like Where Eagles Dare and Kelly's Heroes, not to mention smaller scale gems like The Pad and How to Use It and Sol Madrid (aka The Heroin Gang). Hutton walked away from his promising career, directing only occasionally in the 1980s. His last film credit High Road to China in 1983. When preparing our special edition issue devoted to Where Eagles Dare, we tried to track down every lead to contact Hutton and seek his co-operation. A phone number given to us by the film's producer Elliott Kastner proved to be a dead end and even the Director's Guild of America had no contact information.In essence, Brian G. Hutton had become The Invisible Man. We had learned that he had shunned the film business to concentrate on trading in real estate investments. Once in a blue moon, there would be a sighting (several years ago, Hutton participated in a British documentary about war movies.) However, there have been more encounters in recent years with the Yeti than there have been with the director of two of Clint Eastwood's major early career hits.
Thus, it came as a shock when I received a phone call a couple of days ago from a gentleman who claimed he was sitting with Brian G. Hutton in a coffee shop and they were poring over the Where Eagles Dare issue. Hutton came on the line and- in between some hilarious mock insults and self-deprecating jokes- said he loved the issue and wished he had been able to contribute. Ever the opportunist, I asked Hutton if he would share his memories, not only of Where Eagles Dare, but also of Kelly's Heroes (we're working on a major feature for a future issue). Happily, he agreed, so in the near future we'll get some fascinating insights from one of the most talented filmmakers of the golden age of movies - the 1960s and 1970s.- Lee Pfeiffer