Producer Robert Chartoff passed away last Wednesday, June 10, and left quite a legacy, nearly 40 films, a list that includes They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?, the Charles Bronson thriller The Mechanic, The Gambler (both 1974 and 2014 versions), Rocky, Raging Bull, and The Right Stuff. His first credit was on John Boorman’s classic revenge neo-noir Point Blank. It was the start of a lifelong friendship. The pair collaborated two more times on the director’s 1970 comedy drama Leo the Last and his 2004 drama In My Country.
Boorman also dedicated his last film, the recent Queen and Country, to his old pal. It wasn’t purely an act of sentiment, but an acknowledgement of Chartoff’s importance as a friend and collaborator, as well as a thank you. Without an act of kindness and generosity on Chartoff’s part, Queen and Country might not exist.
The subject came up during an interview with Boorman for a piece that ran in the San Francisco Chronicle. Why the dedication? Why now, nearly 50 years since their first collaboration?
“Bob’s been a dear friend for 40 years and more,” Boorman said. “We see each regularly. We talk on the phone at least once a week. I’m very devoted to him.
“When I was trying to make this film, some of the money fell out at the last moment, about a week before we were supposed to start shooting. Bob asked me how I was doing and I said, ‘Oh, I’m a bit depressed. The money’s fallen out.’ He said, ‘How much?’ And I told him. The next day he put that money in my account. He saved the film. I’m glad to say that he’s got it back from Fox picture. He just sent it. He didn’t ask for a contract or anything. The money just appeared in my account.”
Condolences to Mr. Boorman on the loss of his friend. –Pam Grady