|Rare publicity shots for MODESTY BLAISE|
Sylvia Syms in discussing his career in that BBC collection of interviews, as per my last post below, said "They don't make them last that any more" - how right: after starting as an actor in 1947 after his war years, he became that "Idol of the Odeons" popular leading man of the '50s,
then the respected European actor of the '60s and '70s, and took up writing successfully in the '80s and '90s. Here's a selection of the books about him, he may not have been too pleased by those '50s anonymous fan mags, with that picture story about his "unrequited love for Jean Simmons" - at Dirk comic strip label! - but the later biography by John Coldstream covers everything nicely, and he also edited that fascinating collection of letters. Sheridan Morley (Robert's son) and Robert Tanitch also did interesting surveys of his career with notes on all the films, as did the sterling work THE FILMS OF DIRK BOGARDE. He also of course featured in lots of covers of magazines like "Picture Show", "Films & Filming" and "Sight & Sound".
Of his own books my favourites are SNAKES & LADDERS about his '50s star years and pals like Kay Kendall, Judy and Capucine (the making of I COULD GO ON SINGING being particularly illuminating) and A SHORT WALK FROM HARRODS covering his return to London after the French years, and A GENTLE OCCUPATION is certainly the best of his novels. The very odd VOICES IN THE GARDEN, with characters surely based on Visconti and Helmut Berger, made an ever odder telefilm starring his old friend Anouk Aimee, very unsuitable here. His collection of book reviews FOR THE TIME BEING is also compulsive. Actor John Fraser ("The Jude Law of '50s/'60s cinema")'s 2005 autobiography CLOSE UP also has a fascinating chapter on Bogarde's home life.
www.dirkbogarde.co.uk is the perfect site on all things Bogarde.