The film ‘A Single Man’, directed by Tom Ford is a wonderful piece of cinema. There is behind the story a little set of links between the writer of A Single Man, Christopher Isherwood and the director of the film Tom Ford.
In 1939 Isherwood travelled to America for the first time, leaving Britain on the first steps of war. He moved to Hollywood, California. On Valentine’s Day 1953, at the age of 48, Isherwood met the eighteen-year-old Don Bachardy. The couple started to date. It was at this time Isherwood was teaching a course on modern English literature at Los Angeles State College. He worked there until the 1960s much like George, the leading character in A Single Man. During this time he wrote and published three more books.
After Don Bachardy broke up with him Isherwood started to write, the result of this was the 1964 book, ’A Single Man’.
Isherwood and Bachardy reunite and apart from fleeting breakups, they spend the rest of their lives together. They were both painted by David Hockney in 1968.
David Hockney – Don Bachardy and Christopher Isherwood, 1968
Meanwhile in 1979 Tom Ford moves to New York where he meets and dates the artist and illustrator Ian Falconer. Falconer was Ford’s first boyfriend and they dated until Falconer leaves Ford for David Hockney. Depressed and lonely, it was at this point that Ford reads Isherwood’s ‘A Single Man’.
Later Ford would say about the book:
We end up feeling isolated most of the time. That’s what the story is about for me: that isolation we can all feel even though we are surrounded by people. And in my script, George decides to kill himself, so he goes through his day in a completely different way, seeing things in a completely different way, and people respond to him in a different way because he is different. He thinks it’s his last day. For the first time in a long time, he’s actually living in the present.
Tom Ford then got to meet Isherwood in the early 1980’s at David Hockney’s house in L.A. In 1986 Isherwood died. In 2009 Tom Ford directs the Movie ‘A Single Man’.
So Isherwood writes a book. Ford reads it. It’s about Isherwood’s break up and Ford reads it after a break up.
Chris O’Dell – Don Bachardy and Christopher Isherwood, 1976