I’m passing on the news of the tragic passing of filmmaker and Hitchcock scholar Richard Franklin, as it’s quietly being reported through horror film websites and forums these past couple of hours. Sadly, it’s been confirmed by the makers of an upcoming documentary on the PSYCHO films, who are in touch with PSYCHO II screenwriter Tom Holland. Franklin was just 58.
I first wrote to Richard a little over three years ago, and out of the blue, we struck up a correspondence about his career and his love of Hitchcock that resulted in close to two-hundred e-mails. It culminated in my profile
of his film career for Senses of Cinema, but we still stayed in touch, and as of late last year, he was working on a Ph.D whilst teaching at the Swinburne School of Film and Television in Melbourne, Australia, and developing two new film projects: the first entitled BREAKWATER, with PATRICK and ROADGAMES screenwriter Everett De Roche, and the second being DEAD WHITE MALES, another theatrical adaptation from playwright Peter Fitzpatrick (HOTEL SORRENTO and BRILLIANT LIES). A test had been shot for the latter, and Franklin was in the middle of editing it when I’d last heard from him.
Having an enormous fondness for the late Hitchcock classics like TOPAZ and FAMILY PLOT, I had the sense that Franklin was really looking forward to making his own “late autumn” films in the years to come, with his own sense of wisdom and grace accrued through his time as both a Hitchcock-devoted director in Hollywood to a more character-oriented filmmaker back in Australia, his native land. It’s a tragedy he’s been taken from us so soon, but his legacy will doubtless live on through his significant and tireless contributions to film history. I feel privileged to have had the opportunity to ask him about his craft at length, and I do believe that his reputation will only grow in time, with renewed interest in his life’s work.
My sincere condolences to friends and family.
Here’s a series of links from Senses of Cinema, with Franklin’s writings on both John Ford and his métier, Alfred Hitchcock: