John Gibson: Lunch with Michael was a winner

John Gibson and Michael Winner - April 1977
John Gibson and Michael Winner - April 1977
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Say what you want about Michael Winner . . . and people do. I took him as I found him when he asked me down to London to privately preview his then latest film, The Sentinel.

On his demise on Monday I dived back into the Gibpress Files for a reminder of what I penned about him. The Sentinel, post-Death Wish and due in Edinburgh the following week, was another Winner concoction definitely not for faint hearts.

Anyway, tell us, Mr G, was your encounter over lunch with Michael at all pleasurable? I’d have to say so. Winner talking: “You have to lead from the front. I’m first in and last away when I’m making a picture.

“I criticise the unions here but I blame management as well. It stinks. These people were being serviced by the waitresses, the British taxpayer has got to keep them in sandwiches. And then the British film industry has the gall to ask the Government for money.”

He was hardly enamoured with the British censor either. He was risking trouble with The Sentinel, which was decidedly scary in parts.

“A picture that’s passed for general audiences in the States often gets an X certificate with cuts here. The censor is terrified.”

Winner wasn’t terrified of women and he was still a bachelor then. “I’m still waiting for the magic moment. I like the idea of marriage but I’ve not found anyone who could make me believe it would work for me. I’m quite happy to have a few girl friends on a decent basis.”

He married, finally, two years ago.