Indie filmmaker Joseph Strick, who adapted James Joyce’s “Ulysses” for the bigscreen, died of congestive heart failure June 1 in Paris. He was 86.
Strick’s adapted screenplay for “Ulysses,” which was frequently called “unfilmable,” played at Cannes and was nominated for an Oscar in 1967. The caused an uproar in England where the censor board wanted cuts for language and sexual references. He responded by inserting blank footage and shrieks. The Brit board relented and the film unspooled without those edits.
Born in Pennsylvania, Strick got behind the camera during World War II as an Air Force aerial photog. After the war, he made his directorial debut in 1948 with “Muscle Beach,” which played at the Cannes Film Festival drawing attention to the budding helmer. After a brief stint working for Hollywood studios, Strick struck out on his own working with Ben Maddow and Sidney Meyers on “The Savage Eye,” which world preemed at the Edinburgh film festival in 1960.
He won the trophy for 1970 docu short “Interviews With My Lai Veterans.” and produced 1983’s “Never Cry Wolf” alongside Lewis Allen and Jack Couffer.
In an interview with the Herald Scotland newspapers just before a retrospective of his films in January, Strick said: “Watching them again you say, ‘Oh my god, what did you do that for?’ I think it’s the same with all sincere film directors. But I would not have finished the films had I not liked them, and the ones I like most are ‘The Savage Eye,’ ‘Ulysses’ and ‘Interviews With My Lai Veterans.’ I look at them and I think, ‘Well, you got that right.'”
Strick was an entrepreneur as well inventing six-axis motion simulators, which are used now in Disney theme parks as “Star Tours.”
He is survived by his his wife, Martine; three sons, two daughters and six grandchildren.