Dedications: My four late friends Rory, Stan, Bryan, Jeff - shine on you crazy diamonds, they would have blogged too. Then theres Garry from Brisbane, Franco in Milan, Mike now in S.F. / my '60s-'80s gang: Ned & Joseph in Ireland; in England: Frank, Des, Guy, Clive, Joe & Joe, Ian, Ivan, Nick, David, Les, Stewart, the 3 Michaels / Catriona, Sally, Monica, Jean, Ella, Anne, Candie / and now: Daryl in N.Y., Jerry, John, Colin, Martin and Donal.

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Dirk in 1976

A fascinatng (for Bogarde fans) interview with Dirk Bogarde back in 1976 for the English tv magazine "Radio Times" who were starting a season on his films. Dirk was on location in France for the Resnais film PROVIDENCE. He was in usual waspish mood here, and looking very dapper, as he talked to Mark Shivas about his then total of 56 films:

He talks about his old pal Dickie Attenborough (they were in BOYS IN BROWN together in 1948, and I met them both in 1970, as per my recent review, Bogarde label) asking him to be in his film A BRIDGE TOO FAR, as apparantly Dirk's name had catchet, and would lure others to sign on as he was in it "as I have, strangely. some distinction to my name, though no great box-office worth, and other actors are sort of tempted if I've said OK to a role to think maybe there's something worthwhile in the project."

The article goes on to say that Bogarde was for at least ten years top box-office in England "but I was never greedy and never got paid an enormous amount" - and of course he had all those country houses and staff to upkeep .... He sees the irony of his situation, there's only the faintest trace of bitterness: "I'm not box-office now, I'm distinguished. I've had a catalytic effect on the careers of a lot of players - Michael York, James Fox, Sarah Miles to some degree, certainly Julie Christie. Charlotte Rampling was entirely my choice for THE NIGHT PORTER. Now she's gone off like a rocket into space you can't even see, but I think its terribly important to look after young people". Well he did work with all the new talent of the Fifties and Sixities and into the Seventies ...

Talking about VICTIM he says "I said "I'll only do the film on condition I can actually say I was in love with a man". The film is pointless without it. The consternation and shock and surprise!".
THE SERVANT originally was meant to be Ralph Richardson with Dirk as the young master - (rather like Magnani and Loren being the mother and daughter in TWO WOMEN!) - but Losey said "You've got to play the servant because there's nobody else to play it at the moment, we can't afford a salary". They had wanted to make it 10 years earlier.
He also discusses how Visconti directs, as though the film is an opera, and how his part in THE DAMNED was cut to shreds, so DEATH IN VENICE was a gift to compensate. 
Now he is filming with Resnais:
"He is the only poet director I'm aware of. I said to John Gielgud the other day: "Here we are all together in some extraordinary part of France. After all the time we've both been in our various echelons, we're both ageing gentlemen, both in a new script, written specifically for us by David Mercer, both in a new form of an old craft. We're both going ahead, that's what exciting. We're not doing a revival of NO NO NANETTE".  
PROVIDENCE released in 1977 was a deserved arthouse hit, with Gielgud, Bogarde, David Warner, Ellen Burstyn and Elaine Straine all at the top of their game in Resnais's amusing puzzle.
Dirk always gave good interview, both in print and on tv (see Bogarde label). A lot of what he says though, particularly in his later interviews and memoirs, may have some slight embellishments ... like his wanting to adopt Jon Whiteley, the boy from HUNTED and THE SPANISH GARDENER; or that he discovered Brigitte Bardot, despite her being in several other films before DOCTOR AT SEA - maybe they had several French girls under consideration and he plumbed for the fascinating, charming BB?. His chapter on his old pal Capucine, for instance, in the CLEARED FOR TAKE-OFF memoir, is startlingly unfriendly and rather vicious, particularly about her suicide (she had wanted the Silvana Mangano part in DEATH IN VENICE).  I must dig out several other Bogarde interviews from various magazines .....

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