I worked on this documentary about Clift some twenty years ago, it was part of a series called Post Mortem made for Channel 4 television in the UK. The idea of the series was to look at an individual’s life through their medical history and how illness, disease and addiction affected or influenced their work. The others included in the series were Virginia Woolf (bipolar), Nijinsky (schizophrenia), Francis Bacon (asthma), Beethoven (deafness).
With Clift, we examined his life through his various ailments, including childhood amoebic dysentery, chronic colitis, hypothyroidism (which caused him to age prematurely), alcoholism, drug addiction, and the tragic effects relating to his car crash. The documentary includes rarely seen home movie footage of Clift taken by his actor friend Kevin McCarthy and interviews with McCarthy, Kenneth Anger, and Clift biographers Patricia Bosworth and Barney Hoskyns.
London Calling producer Guy Stevens had lent singer Joe Strummer a copy of Patricia Bosworth’s 1978 biography of Clift, and suggested that perhaps Strummer write a song about him. With Stevens also suffering from alcohol and drug problems, perhaps Strummer saw parallels between Clift and The Clash’s troubled producer? Roadie Johnny Green suggested that this was the case in his memoirs.