Deliverance with Tom Priestley

Posted in: Blog, News

Posted on: February 18, 2020

Sunday 26 April at 3pm

Regent Street Cinema

J B Priestley Society presents

Preceded by a talk with editor Tom Priestley and followed by a Q&A

USA 1972 104 mins cert 18

Director: John Boorman

Cast: Burt Reynolds, Jon Voight, Ned Beatty

Film Editing Tom Priestley

This screening of the classic and controversial 1970s film Deliverance comes with an added bonus – a personal appearance by renowned film editor Tom Priestley, the only son of iconic author and playwright J B Priestley.

A gripping, notorious American thriller set in the isolated Deep South Appalachian Mountains sees four city-dwelling friends go on an adventure canoe trip, their experience turning into a battle for survival at the hands of the antagonistic locals.

In a half-hour, pre-film presentation, Tom will reveal his insight into the filming and editing of Deliverance, which starred Jon Voight, Burt Reynolds and Ned Beatty. Tom’s list of edits range from This Sporting Life to 1984, from The Great Gatsby to Return of the Pink Panther, from Exorcist II to Lord of the Flies. Tom, who handles the J B Priestley Estate, and who is President of the J B Priestley Society, will talk about his technique of film editing, his criteria for accepting a commission, and his distinguished career. 

Tom’s early achievements began with the celebrated Whistle Down The Wind, starring a young Hayley Mills, with Tom cutting his teeth as assistant film editor. In 1965, he was sound editor on Dr Who and the Daleks, and he won a BAFTA award a year later with Morgan – a Suitable Case For Treatment. Although he read Classics and English at Cambridge, he never wanted to follow his father as an author, playwright, script writer and broadcaster. ‘JB,’ as he is affectionately known, is perhaps most famous for An Inspector CallsThe Good CompanionsWhen We Are MarriedAngel Pavement and English Journey. Tom spent much of his time at university watching films in the local cinema. In velvet jacket and corduroy hat, he cut a bohemian figure, going on to cut film by hand when he worked at Ealing Studios in the pre-digital era. On location with Deliverance in rural Georgia, he claimed that he felt at home with the Appalachian hillbillies, while the Californian film crew “were terrified.” 

A question and answer session will follow the screening, with Lindsay Sutton in the chair.

Lindsay Sutton – chair of the J B Priestley Society – says: “The Society thought Tom’s presence would give the film audience real added value. Like his father, he has made his mark, but in a different medium. Film editing is often the forgotten or overlooked component in the making of great films. Tom is a top-class professional, who was in demand for all of his working life. He has authority, knowledge and charm.”