Langley's The Clyde Theatre shows films of Carlino

Lewis Carlino is the screenwriter and director of
Lewis Carlino is the screenwriter and director of 'The Great Santini' among other Hollywood greats.
— image credit: Photo courtesy of Lynn Willeford

Langley continues its display of stars.

Lewis John Carlino once had three plays appearing in the same year off-Broadway. Two of them garnered awards.

The first screenplay he ever wrote, “Seconds,” ended up as the official American entry at the Cannes Film Festival and is now called a cult classic by the DVD distribution company Netflix.

During one 15-year stretch, there was one Carlino script on screen each year.

In 1970, he had two films released, and the lead and supporting actors from both films were nominated for Academy Awards.

It could be said that Carlino had a golden touch. He still does.

At age 78, Carlino, who lives in Langley with his wife Jill, has partnered with David Skinner of Shadowcatcher Films for an adaptation of the Booker Prize winning novel “Losing Nelson.”

Carlino has dozens of story ideas percolating in his mind at any given time.

“When I get an idea,” he said, “I file it away.”

“If it keeps popping out of the file drawer after four or six months, I know it needs my attention.”

The Clyde Theatre in Langley will honor Carlino and his work with “CarlinoFest” this month.

His two favorite films will be shown on consecutive Sundays, “Resurrection” at 1 p.m. on March 20, and “The Great Santini” at 1 p.m. on March 27. Carlino will be on hand after each film to talk about the films and answer questions.

Carlino claims he was only so prolific because he was in creative survival mode.

“I had a family to support,” he said.

But he went far beyond survival mode with his craft, producing screenplays for such other well-reviewed films as “The Fox,” “The Brotherhood,” “The Mechanic,” “The Sailor Who Fell from Grace into the Sea” and “I Never Promised You a Rose Garden.”

His scripts were nominated for Oscars (“I Never Promised You a Rose Garden”), Golden Globes (“The Fox”), and Writer’s Guild Awards (“Rose Garden,” “The Brotherhood” and “The Great Santini”).

He’s legendary for the boldness of his unconventional opening of “The Mechanic,” a Charles Bronson film which explores the inner life and isolation of an assassin — 16 minutes without any dialogue.

“Movies are about action more than words,” Carlino said, “and I thought it would be fascinating to let his actions give the audience their first insights into the man.”

After mainly writing scripts, Carlino decided to direct, mostly because other directors’ versions of his work dissatisfied him.

“I still cringe at my own work, too,” he admits.

”I always see ways I could have made it better.”

As a director, he was happy to be able to work more directly with actors such as Robert Duvall, Ellen Burstyn, Kris Kristofferson and Sarah Miles.

When he cast “The Class” in 1983, he discovered the young John Cusack, whom he said was clearly a star even at 17, and his sister Joan, as well as Andrew McCarthy and Virginia Madsen.

“CarlinoFest” will celebrate nearly 50 years of movie-making experience by one of Hollywood’s best, and give islanders a peek at what goes on behind the scenes in the making of a movie.

More information about “CarlinoFest” can be found at The Clyde’s website at or on its Facebook page under “Events.”

CarlinoFest tickets are the regular admission price of $6, or $4 for those younger than 12 or older than 65.


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