F. Gwynplaine MacIntyre

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barry byrne

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F. Gwynplaine MacIntyre

PostSun Sep 12, 2010 2:08 am

F. Gwynplaine MacIntyre

A story in the New York Times about the reviewer of many silents, seen and unseen.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/12/nyreg ... ml?_r=1&hp
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FrankFay

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PostSun Sep 12, 2010 3:24 am

Previously he seemed eccentric, but after reading this he comes of as mentally unbalanced and creepy. A tragic end perhaps but it was an end of his own making.
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Scoundrel

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PostSun Sep 12, 2010 7:31 am

A legend in his own mind.

Let's hope the fragments of disinformation he left behind on the
films he had claimed to see is now read in with the understanding
of what appears to have been his best talent:

Fiction.
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Jack Theakston

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PostSun Sep 12, 2010 9:51 am

Amen.

I'm sorry the Times article didn't cover his IMDb hoaxery— just another layer to this man's bizarre tale.
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WaverBoy

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PostSun Sep 12, 2010 2:02 pm

This is what's scary:

One person who received the e-mail grew concerned and called 911. “It took six cops to get him out of the apartment — Fergus was a big dude — and he kept yelling, ‘I want to die and I’m going to take everyone in the building down with me,’ ” said a neighbor, Zul Savage.

The police took Mr. MacIntyre to Coney Island Hospital for evaluation, but he was released after several hours (hospital officials would not discuss the case, citing patient privacy laws).


After that, I cannot believe they let the guy go a few hours later, to do exactly what he told them he was going to do. What the hell were they thinking?
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Jack Theakston

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PostSun Sep 12, 2010 2:51 pm

Your New York tax dollars (or lack thereof) at work. Thank goodness no one else was seriously injured.
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Wm. Charles Morrow

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MacIntyre

PostSun Sep 12, 2010 3:28 pm

WaverBoy wrote:This is what's scary:

One person who received the e-mail grew concerned and called 911. “It took six cops to get him out of the apartment — Fergus was a big dude — and he kept yelling, ‘I want to die and I’m going to take everyone in the building down with me,’ ” said a neighbor, Zul Savage.

The police took Mr. MacIntyre to Coney Island Hospital for evaluation, but he was released after several hours (hospital officials would not discuss the case, citing patient privacy laws).


After that, I cannot believe they let the guy go a few hours later, to do exactly what he told them he was going to do. What the hell were they thinking?


The more I hear about this man, the more his story sickens and disgusts me.

The major problem we have in trying to discuss a person who was a known, serial liar and fraud is that one never knows what's real and what is not. His word is worthless by itself. But I have to believe that this account printed in the NY Times is true, and that he actually said he planned to take everyone in the building down with him. According to a quoted witness, he did say that. Therefore, MacIntyre was no better than a lunatic who walks into a public place with an arsenal and shoots total strangers whose only crime was being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

He had a bad childhood? That's rough, but so did lots of other people. It leaves scars of various kinds, but most abused children do not grow up to become murderers. (Trust me, if they did, there would be a lot more murders.) Maybe some of the people who lived in his building had bad childhoods too, but MacIntyre was prepared to torch them anyway.

His actions on the last day of his life put MacIntyre into an enitrely different category, far beyond "liar" or "fraud." Who cares about his bogus IMDb reviews? He was a deeply disturbed man who tried, on the last day of his life, to commit a deeply evil act. It's miraculous that he didn't kill anyone but himself.
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PostSun Sep 12, 2010 4:00 pm

Weird. Adolescence is when we reinvent ourselves and we always try to present to the world an image of ourselves as we would be rather than as we actually are, but I never suspected the personality that lurked beneath the surface -- frankly, I rarely concern myself with who people are, but what they do.

If the TIMES article is accurate -- and I have no reason to believe it is not --Mr. MacIntyre strikes me as a horrible and extreme example of a type of individual unfortunately common in sf fandom, people who never seem to grow up, who seem locked into an adolescence that never ends, growing old and decrepit without seeming to mature. So many of them seem to live in what they consider their glory days, repeating catchphrases of their youths, with never a new idea offered. It's one of the reasons I gafiated and except for going to conventions to hit the sales rooms and see a few old friends, have little to do with the folks there anymore.
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Brooksie

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PostSun Sep 12, 2010 5:10 pm

For obvious reasons, the Australian aspect intrigues me.

It's a well known fact that in this country, at around the time he was young, `child labor camps' for British migrant children DID exist, and some were hideous enough to make anyone regress to a childhood they never had - sexual, physical, mental abuse, the works. Their treatment was bad enough to earn an official apology from the Government last year.

I'm not for a minute buying this business about him being a deformed twin and whatnot, but as far as I'm concerned, this - particularly given his final claim that he was going `back to Australia' - is one part of his story that may well check out.
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Re: F. Gwynplaine MacIntyre

PostSun Sep 12, 2010 10:47 pm

wow
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N_Phay

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PostMon Sep 13, 2010 2:27 pm

I must say, that is the strangest and most disturbing story I have read in a very long time.

I had a quick trawl through some of his reviews on IMDB - strange that he seemed to pick films from which one would gain very little in terms of ego-boosting if one had actually seen them. I read a review of "Infatuation"(1925), which I have a couple of promo stills from, the review is quite witty, and if one didn't know better, one might think he'd actually seen the film. But, who cares about "Infatuation", beyond people like me, who have the hots for Corinne Griffith and would watch her in anything? Why go to all that effort for something so obscure? It's is all very, very weird, kind of gaze-into-the-abyss weird.
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PostTue Sep 14, 2010 8:39 am

I had a brief email exchange with him a couple of years ago and he was very sweet, if a breathing anomaly. Every once in awhile people come along giving one the impression that they just fell out of the sky, devoid of any precise origins. That said, despite the brusque nature of our correspondence, the man fascinated me.

I think those fake reviews were maybe an extension of his work as a sci-fi writer; like they were written from the scope of an alternate universe where for whatever reason those films were spared. Who knows? Then again, maybe asking that question was the very thing he was trying to achieve. At least no one can deny that he did it amazingly well.
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Jason Liller

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PostTue Sep 14, 2010 9:55 am

I also had a brief correspondence with him and was amazed by the depth and breadth of his knowledge and his ability to draw out the most esoteric references from decades old material. I think he was lonely and genuinely eager to talk, though I began to notice that he passively denigrated just about anything that I said that I liked. It was about that time that a thread started on AMS about his fraudulent IMdB reviews and I decided to cut it off (I had bought his story up 'til then. Naive, I know).

I really felt sorry for the guy, but choosing to end one's life in a fit of attempted murder has a way of changing my outlook.
Last edited by Jason Liller on Tue Sep 14, 2010 10:57 am, edited 1 time in total.
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PostTue Sep 14, 2010 10:22 am

Jason Liller wrote:I really felt sorry for the guy, but choosing to end one's life in a fit of attempted murder has a way of changing my outlook.


I think I talked to him in Pordenone, but it's all a blur. Do any of my fellow festival Pordenonians remember him being at any, and if he did, which in particular?
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Robert Moulton

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PostTue Sep 14, 2010 10:33 am

I was kind of shocked by the video at the NYT website where you see all the apartment contents dumped into a bin. I guess IF there was anything of value in that place it is gone now. Was it legal to go through his stuff and show it in the video as they did? If not illegal, I thought it was at least in poor taste.

His website seems to have vanished too. Don't know if he took it down himself or what.
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Jason Liller

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PostTue Sep 14, 2010 10:56 am

His website seems to have vanished too. Don't know if he took it down himself or what.


Yeah. I REALLY want to see his website.
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PostTue Sep 14, 2010 11:26 am

http://open.salon.com/blog/thomas_gladysz/2010/09/13/an_encounter_with_a_curious_character

SEPTEMBER 14, 2010 2:17AM
An encounter with a curious character

Thomas Gladysz

In June, the 59 year old writer F. Gwynplaine MacIntyre took his own life. He set his book and paper-filled New York City apartment on fire and died in the resulting blaze. It was an ugly ending to what was certainly a sad, even tormented life. On Sunday, the New York Times ran a long article on the enigmatic, Scottish-born author.

Little is known about his personal life, except that at one point, in order to escape his troubled past, he changed his name to "Fergus MacIntyre." According to Wikipedia, the allusive author acknowledged he took his middle-name of "Gwynplaine" from the protagonist of The Man Who Laughs, the memorable novel by Victor Hugo turned into an equally memorable 1928 film starring Conrad Veidt. In those works, Gwynplaine was the disfigured, always smiling malcontent who later inspired “The Joker” character in Batman.

MacIntyre was best known as a genre author whose sporadic output included science fiction, fantasy, horror, and mystery stories as well as a science fiction novel and a book of light verse once praised by Isaac Asimov and Ray Bradbury. MacIntyre also authored newspaper articles and book reviews, and ghost authored and contributed to other works. Reportedly, a number of unpublished manuscripts were burned in his apartment fire.

MacIntyre’s reputation in the film community (which is curiously not addressed in the New York Times article) rests on his having written reviews of lost films which he sometimes claimed to have recently seen. These reviews appeared on IMDb and film message boards, where they live-on to this day.

Such claims, made convincing through MacIntyre’s skills as a writer, drove film enthuisiasts to distraction. To many in the online film community, he was little more than a prankster playing with the facts.

social-celebrity-still

In the spring of 2006, I emailed MacIntyre regarding his 2002 IMDb review of that lost Louise Brooks film. Not knowing his reputation, I wrote “I am preparing a book on the films of Louise Brooks, and noticed your thoughtful comments on A Social Celebrity on the IMDB website. I am wondering if you ever saw the film? (The last known copy of A Social Celebrity was lost in a disastrous nitrate fire at the Cinémathèque Française in the late 1950s.) If you have in fact seen the film, I would be very curious to know when and where.”

MacIntyre responded the next day. In his email, he stated that he had in fact seen A Social Celebrity. He wrote, "This print is (or was) in the personal collection of a private film collector in Europe, who does not wish to be publicly identified. He owns several original nitrate prints of films that were released in the 1930s and earlier. I was given some limited access to some of the films in his collection, solely in order to examine their physical deterioration, and to advise him as to which reels of film in his collection were most urgently in need of restoration or duplication to acetate safety stock.

This collector is a private individual who only very rarely grants access to his film collection. I was given very limited access to his collection, solely in order to inspect his films as physical artefacts in need of restoration. I do not have direct contact with this gentleman; I contact him only through his attorneys, who are strongly inclined to refuse all requests for access to his collection. He has made it clear that he will not grant public access to his collection. As this gentleman has been helpful to me in my own business endeavours, I must respect his privacy. . . .

I took some notes while I was Steenbecking A Social Celebrity. If you have any specific questions about the content of this film, I will gladly try to answer them for you, but I must decline any request to give you access to the print."

Could it be true? I wondered.

In my naiveté, I hoped it would be. I responded immediately and pressed MacIntyre for details, sent him specific questions, but didn’t hear back. I am sure I came off as too eager, and MacIntyre wasn’t willing to go extra innings with a zealous fan. I never heard from him again. And, as time passed, I began to feel this curious character with unsubstantiated claims had been pulling my leg - as he had so many others.

The New York Times noted MacIntyre worked night jobs in order to spend his days at the New York Public Library researching things which interested him. Those subjects included early film, of which he was by all accounts knowledgeable.

What I came to realize was that MacIntyre was something of a pastiche artist. To me, his reviews of silent films he couldn’t have seen read like a pastiche of reviews found in the old film periodicals (housed at the New York Public Library). That occurs to me now when I reread his IMDb review of A Social Celebrity. Its last line, “Louise Brooks is as seductive as usual, but she has very little to do here,” echoes the kind of observation made by a number of film critics in the 1920’s.

It’s hard to know why MacIntyre claimed to have seen lost films – and thereby muddied the historical record. Perhaps it was a game. Perhaps it was one way of getting attention. Perhaps it was his way of asserting control over a world in which he felt increasingly out-of-sorts. We’ll never know.

MacIntyre was an enigmatic, intellectual loner. He once wrote, “I collect the fragments of time that other people throw away, and I put these to good use.” I beg to differ.
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PostTue Sep 14, 2010 11:38 am

For what it's worth (not much), he specifically told me that he did NOT take the name Gwynplaine from THE MAN WHO LAUGHS.
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PostTue Sep 14, 2010 1:00 pm

He bound and tortured a woman, and, by setting fire to the building in which he lived, attempted to murder his fellow tenants. Nice guy.
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PostTue Sep 14, 2010 1:10 pm

I read the NY Times article and wonder about the truth of this claim. If he did this, why wasn't he in jail?

Bob
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PostTue Sep 14, 2010 2:49 pm

The saddest thing about this article is the statement that his body is lying unclaimed in the morgue.
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PostTue Sep 14, 2010 3:40 pm

If you were a relative, would you want to be exposed to litigation from your relative's selfish and criminal act by claiming his remains...?

You can't sue someone that you can't find.
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Tommy Stathes

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PostTue Sep 14, 2010 4:28 pm

Robert Moulton: What became of his possessions is very common here in NYC. I think it's very reasonable that if the guy had no relatives turn up within a certain amount of time, he was dead/his rent was due PLUS the building needed to be gutted and repaired after the fire, a grace period ends and the landlord can dispose of the contents of the apartment.
I often take a look in dumpsters...have found some amazing things, usually items families don't care to keep from their deceased 'loved ones'.

Scoundrel: Maybe my knowledge of law is a gray area, but how could a relative be responsible for another person's illegal behavior? Guilty by genetic relation?
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FrankFay

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PostTue Sep 14, 2010 4:51 pm

As to possessions being dumped into the street I have a personal story. Some decades ago the "reverend" of a street-front church here in Albany murdered his teen aged daughter. He was thrown into jail, the apartment searched for evidence, and as there were no immediate survivors the landlord took everything left by relatives and pitched it onto the street. This not only included the "reverend's" black polyester suits and sermon texts but (quite shockingly) the murdered girl's remaining personal items such as her cheerleading trophies.
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Rodney

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PostTue Sep 14, 2010 5:25 pm

FrankFay wrote:As to possessions being dumped into the street...


And on a more on-topic note, one of the silent film music collections I use was rescued because it was seen being thrown in a dumpster during a "cleanout," after the owner of the house died (who may have been the musician, no one knows).

Fortunately, a portion of the collection was saved by an alert passerby, and I was able to assist in getting it cataloged and donated to the University of Colorado. But some of it is gone.
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PostTue Sep 14, 2010 10:39 pm

My question got a little buried -- does anyone remember what year(s) this guy was in Pordenone?
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PostWed Sep 15, 2010 6:24 am

Jason Liller wrote:For what it's worth (not much), he specifically told me that he did NOT take the name Gwynplaine from THE MAN WHO LAUGHS.


That's got to be another lie (from him, not from you). Where else would he have gotten it?

Jim
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Rodney

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PostWed Sep 15, 2010 6:36 am

Jim Roots wrote:
Jason Liller wrote:For what it's worth (not much), he specifically told me that he did NOT take the name Gwynplaine from THE MAN WHO LAUGHS.


That's got to be another lie (from him, not from you). Where else would he have gotten it?

Jim


It was the name of the hermit in the long-lost silent version of ARE THESE THE AUTOMATONS YOU'RE LOOKING FOR?, which he viewed on a portable Steenbeck that he took to the collection of a wealthy but reclusive eccentric millionaire who lives north of Santa Rosa.
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PostWed Sep 15, 2010 7:19 am

Lokke Heiss wrote:My question got a little buried -- does anyone remember what year(s) this guy was in Pordenone?


Well, this image Image is of him in front of the 2006 poster....
http://www.cinetecadelfriuli.org/gcm/ed_precedenti/edizione2006/edizione2006_frameset.html
I could use some digital restoration myself...
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PostWed Sep 15, 2010 8:07 am

Penfold wrote:
Lokke Heiss wrote:My question got a little buried -- does anyone remember what year(s) this guy was in Pordenone?


Well, this image Image is of him in front of the 2006 poster....
http://www.cinetecadelfriuli.org/gcm/ed_precedenti/edizione2006/edizione2006_frameset.html



Gad!- Ignatius J. Reilly, and I don't mean that as a compliment (I think CONFEDERACY OF DUNCES stinks)
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