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At Tate Modern

Colin Grant: Steve McQueen, 16 July 2020

... Steve McQueen​ trained as a painter before turning to video art. His early films were silent, monochrome, focusing on his own body because it was cheaper than hiring an actor. Many of the works in his retrospective at Tate Modern (which won’t reopen when the museum does later this month because it doesn’t meet ‘museum regulations for social distancing in enclosed spaces’) are shot with the camera held so close that at times you couldn’t slide a cigarette paper between McQueen’s lens and his subject ...

Two Poems

Alice Friman, 22 September 1994

... table one and two and step slide together. No matter. I still have bad dreams: I am dancing with Steve McQueen, my mouth level with the base line of his throat counting my steps to the warm tick-tick of the music when from across the room the head of the philosophy department comes barrelling down with Joan Crawford shoulders in a dress of chain link ...

Show People

Hugh Barnes, 21 February 1985

So Much Love 
by Beryl Reid.
Hutchinson, 195 pp., £8.95, October 1984, 0 09 155730 5
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Knock wood 
by Candice Bergen.
Hamish Hamilton, 223 pp., £9.95, October 1984, 9780241113585
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... called The Sand Pebbles, shot on location in the Far East. Out of hours, while the other actors, Steve McQueen amongst them, were busy getting drunk and chasing women, Dickie (bless him) was ‘acquiring art and informing himself on the island’s politics, making underground contacts with the clandestine opposition on Taiwan’. Beryl Reid worked with ...

Sack Artist

Clive James, 18 July 1985

... Of female don’t get even a brief taste – With Errol Flynn fenced in by flashing blades And Steve McQueen in aviator shades It always was a dream that they embraced. Sheer fantasy makes drama from the drab, Sweet reverie a slow blues from the bleak: How Cary Grant would not pick up the tab, Omar Sharif sent roses in a cab, Those little lumps in ...

Murph & Me

August Kleinzahler, 20 February 2020

... was at his best, or worst (‘wurst’, he would have said), in that meat-grinder,A heavy-lidded Steve McQueen gone to seed, bald, paunch, sporty double-knitCasual-wear of an indeterminate era, banging on his Roto-matic steering wheel.– So who’s that little broad with the freckles and orange hair?(Lord God-Lady, forgive me, forgive Murph: Flatbush ...

Vehicles of Dissatisfaction

Jonathan Dollimore: Men and Motors, 24 July 2003

Autopia: Cars and Culture 
edited by Peter Wollen and Joe Kerr.
Reaktion, 400 pp., £25, November 2002, 1 86189 132 6
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... in passing, and only because of the fascination with it of such Hollywood stars as James Dean and Steve McQueen. Racing appears the most absurd outgrowth of our fascination with the car: drivers hurtle around in circles, at the limits of adhesion. Some lose control and end up dead, mutilated or crippled. And yet it’s one of the most fanatically pursued ...

Short Cuts

Thomas Jones: Flashman, 9 May 2002

... of the movies are mostly anecdotes about Hollywood Legends, the likes of Burt Lancaster and Steve McQueen – we don’t glimpse much of the men behind them, or indeed of the women beside them. Fraser has written a number of screenplays, including Octopussy, The Three Musketeers (the one with Raquel Welch and Charlton Heston) and its sequel, The ...

At the Movies

Michael Wood: ‘12 Years a Slave’, 6 February 2014

12 Years a Slave 
directed by Steve McQueen.
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... For much of the time Steve McQueen’s 12 Years a Slave strikes a curiously stately rhythm, as if it didn’t want to be a movie but an art exhibition or a class in design. The frame fills with colours and lines, gold, green, black, yellow, dusty grey, sharp, blurry, fading. The effect is one of pure abstraction, and very beautiful ...

Beefcake Ease

Miranda Carter: Robert Mitchum and Steve McQueen, 14 January 2002

Robert Mitchum: Solid, Dad, Crazy 
by Damien Love.
Batsford, 208 pp., £15.99, December 2001, 0 7134 8707 0
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Robert Mitchum: Baby, I Don’t Care 
by Lee Server.
Faber, 590 pp., £20, October 2001, 0 571 20994 7
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McQueenThe Biography 
by Christopher Sandford.
HarperCollins, 497 pp., £16.99, October 2001, 0 00 257195 1
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... At the height of Steve McQueen’s fame in 1968, after a run of huge box-office successes – The Sand Pebble, The Thomas Crown Affair, Bullitt – it was Robert Mitchum, his elder by 13 years and a star for more than twenty, who was voted the screen’s ‘godfather of cool’ on America’s university campuses ...

Say thank you

Clive James: Witty Words in Pretty Mouths, 23 May 2002

Fast-Talking Dames 
by Maria DiBattista.
Yale, 365 pp., £19.95, June 2001, 0 300 08815 9
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... who have been hanging around show business for most of my life, am apt to talk of how tough Steve McQueen was in Bullitt. Reality says that Steve McQueen never did anything tough in Bullitt beyond working his usual shit-heel trick of stealing 16 pairs of new trousers from the wardrobe budget. Movies ...

The Last Hundred Days

Peter Wollen: Kassel’s Mega-Exhibition, 3 October 2002

Documenta 11 
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... Vancouver. London fared well, too, with artists such as Kutlug Ataman, Mona Hatoum, Isaac Julien, Steve McQueen and Yinka Shonibare; while Pierre Huyghe, Annette Messager and others are Paris-based. Germany was represented by a number of established artists, such as Bernd and Hilla Becher, Hanne Darboven, Maria Eichhorn and Dieter Roth. They were clearly ...


Paul Myerscough: Confessions of a Poker Player, 29 January 2009

... down. If the only time you’ve seen poker played is in The Cincinnati Kid, you’ll have watched Steve McQueen lose everything to Edward G. Robinson in one hand of five-card stud; if your family played around the kitchen table when you were a child, it’s likely the game was five-card draw. But if you have played poker for real in the last five ...

On the Sofa

Yohann Koshy: ‘Small Axe’, 7 January 2021

... a father can’t wait to kick his dreadlocked interloper of a son out of the house. Steve McQueen’s film series Small Axe, broadcast on the BBC in November and December, complicates and enriches this schema. In the third episode, ‘Red, White and Blue’, Leroy Logan applies to join the Met: he wants to combat police racism from the ...

Seeing Stars

Alan Bennett: Film actors, 3 January 2002

... Yesterday (an error I fell into)? How be casual with Katharine Hepburn or do anything but gaze at Steve McQueen? My best plan, I found, was to make a mental note of who was there so that I could write home that night, then go and get some food at the vast buffet and gracefully retire. But it often turned out that the nicest people were at the buffet, or ...

Cutty, One Rock

August Kleinzahler: My Big Bad Brother, 21 August 2003

... Cincinnati Kid some time. My brother liked that one. He liked the book better, but he liked the Steve McQueen character in the film, the gambler, the five-card stud player, the Kid who comes to town to take on the Man (Edward G. Robinson). My brother liked the notion of being the Kid, the hard living, hard loving, haunted, hounded ...

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